Nicole Kidman is taking on the fembots.
The former Mrs. Cruise is stepping into a remake of the 1975 cult classic sci-fi thriller The Stepford Wives, according to Daily Variety.As any late-night TV watcher can tell you, the film takes place in the too perfect Connecticut suburb of Stepford, where doting wives seem perfectly content leading June Cleaver-esque lives in service of their loafing husbands.
The story revolves around a transplanted New York couple, Walter and Joanna Eberhardt, who relocate to the burg with their two kids. Suspicious of the cheery townswomen and their idea of domestic bliss, Joanna does some snooping and uncovers the sinster truth--that their hubbies have secretly gone about replacing all of Stepford's wives with zombie-like robot slaves.
Kidman would play the lead wife, the role originated by Katharine Ross (The Graduate).
The original Stepford was written by Oscar-winning scribe William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Princess Bride) and directed by Bryan Forbes and has a cast that included Ross, Peter Masterson, Paula Prentiss and a post-Gilligan's Island Tina Louise. It spawned a lightly regarded sequel, Revenge of the Stepford Wives, starring Don Johnson and Sharon Gless, came out in 1980.
While the 1975 version was a thriller in the vein of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the remake, as penned by Paul Rudnick (In & Out, The Addams Family Values), will update the story to fit the profile of today's upper-middle-class SUV-driving soccer moms and, Variety says, will be more of a stylish black comedy.
The contemporized Stepford will be directed by Frank Oz, who knows a thing or two about feminist issues having provided the voice of muppet diva Miss Piggy (while still a pig, she was no slouch in the women's lib department, willing to karate chop Kermit or anyone who stood in her way).
While Oz is better known for comedy hits like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob? and In & Out, lately he's been looking to branch out, having recently helmed last year's crime drama, The Score, with the troika of Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton.
Unlike the low-budget original, the new version is likely to have spiffy, CGI effects for the scenes involving the fembots' transformation.
Speaking of transformations, Kidman is almost unrecognizable in her next big-screen outing, playing Virginia Woolf opposite Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore in Stephen Daldry's Oscar hopeful The Hours, slated to hits theaters in December.
The erstwhile Practical Magic star is also looking to cast her spell as twitchy-nosed good witch Samantha Stephens in a movie version of Bewitched.
But first on the domestic agenda would be Wives, which is scheduled to go into production sometime in mid-2003, after Kidman wraps filming on Fine Line Features' reincarnation drama Birth for Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer. That film starts shooting in New York next January. Kidman is currently wrapping the Anthony Minghella-helmed Civil War drama Cold Mountain with Jude Law and Renée Zellweger.