For those of us who are too young to remember/know of Splash, let me tell you that it was a big deal. Granted, I was on the younger side of things when the movie was “popular,” but it still left an impression that changed my mind on what fantasy movies in live action could be like.
It starred Tom Hanks and a young Daryl Hannah, telling the romantic tale of boy meets mermaid, their courtship, and how they have to run away from the government trying to experiment on her. Though to a 2016 modern audience this movie might sound ultra silly, it (in my eyes) is a classic – one that jump started the careers of its leads (along with director Ron Howard) and gave Disney one of their biggest live action hits of the decade. So when news of a remake came about, I was initially skeptical at best – until some recent news surfaced.
It was revealed that the Disney produced retelling will have a twist – instead of having a mermaid, we’re getting a merman. That’s right, Disney is rumored to be casting Channing Tatum as the aquatic mystical being that’ll sweep 22 Jump Street‘s Jillian Bell off her feet and into the ocean (most likely.) This is the kind of news that could divide people, but there seems to be a much more positive reaction to the change than say that Ghostbusters thing. As for me, I am throwing my hands up in the air – because this sounds gosh-darn-exciting!
Firstly, I have a secret love for the Tatum – not because he’s easy on the eyes (he’s not really my type physically, to be honest), but because he has this great ability to be a go-getter. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching the greatest comedy of 2015 (Jupiter Ascending) you’ll know that Channing was one of a hand full of things that was actually intentionally good about the movie, and showed that even with a questionable script, he could make something entertaining. With this new role, I could totally see Channing going all out in his performance, and knowing how well the original blended the comedic aspects with the more heartbreaking moments, Tatum is a perfect choice for the role (and to fit into those mer-suits.)
But the thing that gets me more excited is the rumored casting of the human lead. If you don’t know Jillian Bell, she is a comedian actor on the rise, and is mostly known for her roles where she either plays a jerk, bad guy, or a sassy crazy lady. But instead of being cast in the “obvious” John Candy role (from the original) of the lovable dorky sibling, Jillian is going to be the romantic lead and that is absolutely amazing.
Typically, this is the part that would be filled by an actress who has been in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, or someone like Anne Hathaway or even the current B-Movie queen Jennifer Garner. But with the choice of Bell, we have a female lead that is the everyday woman – she’s pretty, but not highly made up either, doesn’t have a tiny doll-like voice, and knowing Tom Hank’s character from the original, will likely be more career driven. And I am 100% down for all of that.
This is the kind of direction going forward that I want to see Hollywood move towards – where we have a woman leading a movie, that much like the ladies of Ghostbusters and Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, aren’t perfect head-to-toe depictions of the female gender. That Jillian Bell can get the guy (or merman) without having to change herself. And knowing how the original goes, she’ll likely have to save him from the science lab and help him back into the water – a moment that I can’t wait to see. All of this, plus the hope that more interesting casting choices are made for the other characters (Can we please get Mindy Kaling in the Eugene Levy role?) and even more intriguing changes to the story, this Splash is definitely on my radar.
So what do you think? Are you excited for Splash or thinking you’re gonna skip it? Do you like Channing Tatum as the merman or wish it was someone else? What about Jillian Bell? Comment below with your thoughts and mer-wishes!