In a week's time, fans will get to see Idina Menzel and Nia Long do their best Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey when Lifetime's remake of the iconic Garry Marshall film Beaches premieres. But stepping into Midler's shoes—and taking on "Wind Beneath My Wings"—wasn't exactly something the Broadway vet was looking to take on.
"Well, if you've noticed, I've never—I don't usually do revivals. There's a reason. Because I'm terrified," she told reporters during the remake's panel at the 2017 Winter TCA Press Tour. "I'm scared s--t to do that. I like to originate so I don't have to walk in someone else's footsteps, which is why this is actually a departure for me."
Aside from her blanket rule about revivals, Menzel admitted that her attachment to the original film added a second layer of pressure to overcome when considering taking the role on. "Well, I saw the movie back in high school with two of my best friends. We cried our eyes out in the movie theater, so it's quite a nostalgic memory for me," she explained. "But if I'm being completely honest, I was terrified to do it at first because I love the movie, it's a beautiful, beautiful movie and both of those women—especially Bette Midler, for me—were idol my whole life."
Ultimately, though, the possibility to pay homage to the beloved classic—and expose younger generations to it—proved enough for Menzel to sign on. "There's a whole young generation of kids who haven't seen Beaches," she said. "But if Nia and I can bring people to it...it can open a new discussion at this time about where women are and how we balance and navigate all these passions we have—our career and our family…it's just another way to start a conversation."
Executive producer Denise Di Novi expounded on the care taken to protect the spirit of the original film while remaking it for the cable network. "The most important thing was to stay truthful to how deeply important female friendships are," she said. "Relationships come and go, jobs come and go, you may live one place or another, but I think very few women will tell you they would've made it through life without their best female friend, or their best friend. So the truth of that and the power and how special female friendships are was really the reason to make it. Every scene that supported that was important."
Beaches follows the serendipitous meeting of two young girls, CC and Hillary, on the Venice Boardwalk who, despite vastly different lifestyles, maintain an unexpected, yet lifelong friendship. CC (Menzel) is an aspiring singer trying to make it work in Los Angeles until she's discovered by a director who gives her big break, while Hillary (Long) is the daughter of a prominent civil rights lawyer who struggles to find her own destiny.
Beaches premieres Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.