Thursday, 18 January 2018

An Avengers (Steed/Peel) remake?

John Steed and Emma Peel from The Avengers
Do you have a strong view on remakes? Probably all of us have views that vary according to what’s being remade. Breakfast At Tiffany's? GET IN THE SEA. Dracula? Meh, another one… A lot of the time I think it depends on how iconic the film/programme, cast and characters are. In the case of Breakfast At Tiffany's, you’ve got the triple whammy: an adored film, with Holly Golightly at its heart, and only Audrey Hepburn can be Holly. (That in itself is ironic as the heroine of the original novella is blonde, and Marilyn Monroe was pencilled in for the part. I think we’d have seen a more tragic Holly in that case, less cool and more fragile.) For me The Avengers (NOT the Marvel ones, of course) is another example, but film and TV makers don’t seem to agree with me as they keep trying to remake it.

Yes, they’re trying again.

American screenwriter Shane Black has co-written scripts for a new series of The Avengers. Blake’s actually written a lot of action films that I’ve liked, and is doing a 1930s-set film of Doc Savage, which reassures me a little that he can handle the mix of action and fun. His past work has referenced old noirs and Raymond Chandler, again reassuring me that he’s got a genuine love of old crime/adventure material.
Emma Peel from The Avengers
Half my problem with the remake lies in the fact that they’re trying to recast Steed and Peel. Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg had a special chemistry on screen. Both of them seemed to be lazily amused by the world, observing it wryly – but they took the threats and plots as seriously as they took anything else. They mocked their reality from within their reality, not from ours, if you understand what I mean; this wasn’t the knowing campery of Up Pompeii. I also fear modern programme- and film-makers always seem determined to ramp up the sex appeal. Steed and Peel don’t need sexing up; they already have all the sexy, thank you very much.
John Steed from The Avengers
What I might like – depending on how well they do it – is the fact this series is being set in Britain in the 1960s. It won’t be accurate, of course. I’m expecting it to be a sort of ‘dream of the 1960s’ in the same way the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a very stylish version of the 1970s. But they need to stick to the cool side of the 60s, in the same way as the recent The Man From UNCLE movie did, otherwise things will skate perilously close to Austin Powers territory.
John Steed and Emma Peel from The Avengers
But, you know what? If you want The Avengers set in the Britain of the 1960s, cool, with the perfect Steed and Peel, it already exists. It exists in colour, too, not the black-and-white TV companies seem convinced people will be put off by. Watch the original. The more I think about this remake, the more I wonder why they’d bother.

In other news
The death of Peter Wyngarde was announced today. He guest-starred in The Avengers, The Champions and The Saint (among many programmes) and was Number Two in one episode of The Prisoner. But the possessor of telly's most tremendous 'tache is best known for his role as Jason King in Department S and its Jason King spin-off. Rest groovily, Mr W.

10 comments :

  1. The mention of a remake, especially of one's favourites, always fills me with dread. I don't think I'd watch a remake of The Avengers. I totally agree that if you want to watch The Avengers set in 1960's Britain, the original surely can't be bettered. xxx

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    1. I'd probably watch it, and moan like mad.

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  2. NO ONE wore leather like Peter Wyngarde. And no one ever will.

    Remaking the Avengers sounds like a terrible idea. I understand wanting to take a chance with it but I do think it would be best left alone. Sometimes, I've liked remakes (I admit to enjoying the remake of War of the Worlds) but somehow the Avengers seems like a special show that shouldn't be messed with.

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    1. Remakes never really work. Half the problem nowadays is tone - things need to be sincere, and everything's 'ironic'.

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  3. Oh, and the tone on tone purple outfit...my god, that's how to wear this year's Pantone Ultraviolet shade!

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  4. Rant: I read Breakfast At Tiffany's before I saw the movie.Although Audrey Hepburn was iconically gorgeous in the movie I felt she was totally miscast as Holly Golightly. I mean Audrey with her precise & slightly European accented English is not whom I'd picture as a blonde from rural Texas originally named Lulamae Barnes. Marilyn would have been far more believable. Rant over.

    The Avengers remade - maybe. I can't think of whom I'd cast as Steed & Peel though either. It might start a retro British '60's fashion trend - YAY!

    On the Indian trip- yes, there are big indoor malls in Kolkata as well as Mumbai! And a leisurely walk/shopping trip in a modern air conditioned multi story mall after a long flight is quite restorative!

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    1. Yeah, restarting the retro fashion trend is something I could get on board with. Especially if it went as far as the shoes.

      I think Pete is planning a beer on Park Street after the long flight ;-)

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  5. Theres some 60s shows that were perfect then and remain so . The Avengers , Lost in Space, The Fugitive , we have a 9 year old grandson hooked on them and ancient Carry on Films , we have succeeded in life !!

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