The new Charlie’s Angels movie may break with tradition and contain more than three Angels among its core cast of heroes. Such is the word from actress Kristen Stewart, who will join Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska in playing the Angels to Elizabeth Banks’ Bosley in the upcoming reboot film, which Banks is also co-writing and directing.
First airing in 1976, Charlie’s Angels centered upon a team of three female police officers (played by Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith) recruited by the wealthy and reclusive Charles “Charlie” Townsend to act as the faces of his detective agency. A film based on the show starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu released in 2000 and proved popular enough to inspire a sequel in 2003: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. A 2011 attempt to reboot the television series was far less successful, and was canceled after only four episodes. But now, Sony Pictures is looking to capture audiences’ attention again with a new reboot.
In an interview with ComicBook, Kristen Stewart revealed that there will be an entire network of Angels in the upcoming Charlie’s Angels movie, thus meaning there will be more than just three core heroes, as has been the case since the franchise’s inception. Stewart said: “...there’s a whole network of Angels — it’s not just three — it’s women across the entire globe [that] are connected and helping each other.”
Stewart also spoke about how the new film will be more “woke” and proactively feminist in tone than the previous Charlie’s Angels productions. The film will also be decidedly more serious, with the Angels depending more upon honest combat skills than their sexuality to combat their enemies. “There is a kitsch nature to the last ones that was super fun, but nowadays if you see a woman in combat, everything should be something completely and utterly well within their ability,” Stewart said. She also went on to say that the new movie will be “warm and funny” as well as “grounded and well-intentioned and really shows the way women can work together now.”
Stewart’s comments seem certain to provoke worry among some fans of the franchise. To many, the idea of Charlie’s Angel’s without kitsch is like the idea of an ocean without water. The 2000 and 2003 movies were successful largely because they played up the sexual exploitation of the Angels with its tongue planted firmly in cheek, still allowing them to be competent action heroines when they weren’t playing the whole concept for laughs. Many feel the 2011 reboot series failed to build an audience precisely because it tried to play the idea far too seriously.
Thankfully, with Elizabeth Banks running the film, it seems unlikely that the Charlie’s Angels reboot will be entirely free of comedy. Banks is a gifted comedian, whose work on Pitch Perfect 2 proves she can direct dramatic moments centered around a cast of strong women and get an audience to laugh as well. That bodes well for the future of the film, even if it is less kitschy than the previous incarnations.