'Charlie's Angels': 'Smallville' producers talk their reboot's creative approach, casting, and... a dog named Bosley?!

drew-barrymoreImage Credit: James Devaney/WireImage.comMiami is officially the hottest crime-fighting town on television. See: CSI: Miami, Dexter, and Burn Notice. Since you can’t have too many guardian angels keeping the peace in Miami (especially now that evil pro basketball racketeer LeBron James lives there, not to mention the occasional mischief making visit from those Kardashian sisters), TV’s sexiest and clearly most sinful setting will soon be home to the three more sentinels: Charlie’s Angels, a new television version of the classic 70s action drama slated for next year on ABC. Guiding the project will be the guys who successfully put young Clark Kent on the road to Superman in Smallville, the producing team of Al Gough and Miles Millar. Drew Barrymore—who produced and starred in two big screen translations—will serve as exec producer. Why set the show in the present-day Miami? In order to help the new show distinguish itself from its predecessors while remaining true to its core values. “Sun and surf are in the Charlie’s Angels DNA,” says Gough. “But we didn’t want to revisit Los Angeles, since that was done in both the original TV series and the movie series.”

ABC (the network home of the original Charlie’s Angels) and Sony (the studio owner of the franchise) have been keen to relaunch the Charlie’s Angels franchise, which premiered in 1976 with Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson in the leads. (Fawcett left after the first season and was replaced by Cheryl Ladd.) At one point, Lost exec producer Carlton Cuse had been recruited to help develop a new version of the show. Last fall, Josh Friedman, exec producer of Fox’s now-defunct Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was tapped to write a pilot script, but it was never produced. Gough doesn’t want to give too many details away about the angle he and Millar are taking on Charlie’s Angels, but he would say this: “It won’t be campy or retro. The characters are real and emotionally grounded, but they still like to have fun, wear great clothes, solve crime and kick some serious ass. There are three new angels and one mysterious Charlie—and he’s still on the box, not skyping or teleconferencing.” Charlie’s lack of physical presence could be a source of mystery in the show, as Gough adds the following: “Yes, there is a reason why, and no we won’t tell you now.”

Why did the Smallville producers want to make Charlie’s Angels their next big TV project? “Because after tackling Superman, the pop culture third rail didn’t scare us anymore,” jokes Gough. “We were approached by Sony Television, and to be honest, we initially found the prospect very daunting. The question when approaching any reboot is ‘Why now?’ How do you make it relevant for today’s audiences? Miles and I believe we figured out a way to do that. We pitched it to our partners Leonard Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen, who have been the caretakers of this franchise, and they really liked it. More importantly, ABC got excited about it.” Cynics may roll their eyes at yet another Hollywood reboot of a classic entertainment brand (hello, Hawaii Five-O)-—and Gough gets it. Still, he hopes viewers will give the show a chance. “We realize that we have a big target on our backs,” he says, “but we hope to surprise people and bring a whole new generation to Charlie’s Angels.”

As for the actresses who play these new century TV Angels, there have been reports that producers are looking for a multi-ethnic trio. Gough will only say that the casting process has begun. “The timetable is NOW,” he says. “Seriously, we started this week with our casting director John Papsidera (The Dark Knight, Inception). We now have the arduous task of seeing hundreds of potential Angels.” Will a recognizable star voice intone the part of the mysteriously distant Charlie? Gough is keeping mum on that one. (Dynasty’s John Forsythe, who died earlier this year, did the honors in both the first TV series and the movies.) The team is also hunting for someone to play Charlie’s liason to his do-gooding damsels, Bosley, played in the first TV series by the late David Doyle and represented in the Drew Barrymore films by Bill Murray and Bernie Mac. Gough says that in a “huge departure from canon,” the new Bosley will be… a dog. “KIDDING,” says Gough. “Unless the test audiences hate the real Bosley we cast, and then we are totally going the pooch route.”

The fundamental appeal of Charlie’s Angels? It’s about three smart, capable women who not only save the day, but also have each other’s back. It’s about friendship. It’s about teamwork. And you only have to deal with your boss via speakerphone! I think that appeal is timeless.”

Comments (89 total) Add your comment
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  • Mark

    I really, really, really hope that they use a totally multi-ethnic trio. One white. one black, one asian…or one white, one asian, one latino, or one white, one black, one latino….or whatnot, but I hope they don’t make it two thirds white.

    • Devin

      I hope they pick the best actresses to play the parts. Why do we have to look at race? If there aren’t any minorities in the cast are you not going to watch it?

      • Zach

        Thank you. Affirmative action for its own sake is getting to be bad. What’s next, a Gilligan’s Island remake with Tyra Banks as Ginger?

      • Mark

        Why do we have to look at race? Because the world we live in is not made of white people. Because TV shows should reflect reality. Because especially TV show set in MIAMI should acknowledge the HUGE non-white population there (especially latinos)

      • Brett

        A “Gilligan’s Island” remake with Tyra as Tyra would be funny as hell, though.

      • Elena

        Kerry Washington, Barbara Mori, and Morena Baccarin.

      • corecto

        Forget what color the actress is, the real question “Does she look HOT in a Bikini?” That is all that matters.

      • Ian

        Whoever has the best audition should get the part. Race should not factor into it. Just look at their previous show, Smallville. Throughout the comics, Lana was a redhead and Pete was a white man, but they cast an Asian woman and an African American, and they both played their parts well.

      • Ben

        They already made a remake of Gilligan’s Island. It was called ‘Lost’.

    • Zach

      Well, they better have at least a blonde and a white brunette! Sorry, but that’s the original series, and if you want to do a remake, what’s the point of making it unrecognizable? Thia is not just Hawaii Five-O or 90210 or Bionic Woman.

      • Mitch Logan

        There’s no evidence that this is a remake.

    • HD

      Am I the only one who thinks Tyra Banks as Ginger would be totally awesome?!

      • A

        Yes.

      • bma

        No.

    • Please don’t

      They should keep it at least 2/3 white cause that is what America is – a predominately WHITE country – like it or not. It’s not Mexico – YET!

      • corecto

        Hot mexicans are geeat, and I thinkyour stats are out of date.

    • Mitch Logan

      Why are you so obsessed with having a white Angel?

      • Please don’t

        They are prettier to look at and they are not all about their color unlike a LOT of minorities, ex: George Lopez,
        Chris Rock, Eva Longwhoria, etc. and etc.

    • Fred ][

      I think it would be a good idea to take a different spin and rotate several different groups of “Angels”, similar to the 1968 series “The Name of The Game”. That way you could have a Caucasian/Asian/Afro-American one week, a different set the next week of Latino/Slavic/Afro-Asiatic, etc. You could even mix the “Angels” up every once in a while to see which grouping the audience prefers. The core each week, of course, will be Bosley and the disembodied Charlie’s voice. I could watch that show.

      • esquirrel

        Oooh, a “the name of the game” reference. very old school and you watch way too much tv.

  • Jack Nolte

    While we are at it, lets make Predator series!

  • DW

    You lost me with “Smallville producers.”

    • Brett

      And I’ll bet they’re not going to miss you, DW.

  • Dave

    Why can’t I post my comment?

    • Dave

      Annoying. I can post this nonsense, but not a comment that pertains to the article. And those spammers can talk about finding their loser boyfriends, and “Larry David” can talk all kinds of garbage.

      • Vic Nardozza

        Hey. I don’t know what your gripe is, but get off LD’s back.

  • alex

    I love female action heroes. Bring on the Angels!!

  • Adam

    Probably the only series I wouldn’t mind seeing a reboot of. I’ll certainly give it a shot if they cast the right women.

  • Geraldine

    Eliza Dushku, Summer Glau and Jessica Aba

    • Dave

      How bout a little variety? All three of them are too similar to each other. Boring.

      • Mark

        I agree, Dave. Not to mention that both Eliza and Summer will not be cast here, not after the flops that were Firefly, SCC and Dollhouse. Hopefully we’ll get a kickass redhead gal, a badass latino babe, and a fearsomely fierce black girl!

  • Jeff

    Back in ’76 the original Angels EXPLODED after one night.

  • Jeff

    Who cares if they are all white? Pick the actresses that fit the role best. The PC attitude of America is becoming repulsive. I’m Hispanic and I don’t care if there is a Hispanic woman or not.

    • Tarc

      *rolls eyes* Yes, we should all be more self-absorbed and hostile to one another…

      • Jeff

        Is THAT what political correctness has achieved? Ha.

    • Lala

      No, Jeff. You are probably a latino man who doesnt’t have any kind of cultural conscience, is totally assimilated into white culture, and are probably ashamed of people knowing you are latino. I bet your skin is light, your eyes are green or blue, and your features are fair, the better to pass off as white. Sorry, but a lot of latinos who live here care about our roots, and we feel proud to be latinos…

      • Jeff

        That’s extrapolating alot from a post. I am all for making sure everyone is represented fairly. I am also proud of my heritage as I’m sure everyone no matter there race is. My point is, if the shows creator’s pick three white actresses, does that mean they are “racist?” No. It means they picked the three who they believed fit the roles the best. Why do they have to prove anything? Why are we still talking about race if we want there to be equality?

      • Jeff

        Which is fine. That has nothing to do with what I said. All I said was, does every show inherently now have to be equal in terms of how many people of each race there are? Is that more important than finding an actor/actress who is fitted for the character? If it’s three black Angels, three white Angels, one white, one black, one Hispanic, or Asian, I don’t care so long as they play a good character. I just figured that mattered more.

    • Antonio

      What I find repulsive is latinos who think that other latinos being proud of their culture and wanting a more culturally inclusive TV is repulsive. Jeff, you need to journey inside and rescue your self-identity, Tio Tomas.

      • Latina girl

        Antonio….That is not what Jeff is saying. I’m sure that he is proud to be a latino…he was just saying that race should not play a part in the casting of this show. It should be about the best actresses for the parts,that’s all. Lighten up por favor!

    • esquirrel

      of course not, you have at least 6 networks geared toward latinos. univision, telemundo, azteca, etx.

  • S58

    Katie Cassidy must be an angel. This would be a perfect project for her.

    • THE BEST COMMENT TO COME OUT OF THIS BOARD

      That is SO spot on, you’re genius. She is a PERFECT ANGEL. Television isn’t beneath her either. If not her, then what ever happened to Sarah Michelle Gellar… the actress has a pretty good track record when it comes to kicking ass and carrying a franchise.

  • Flip

    I hope this series counts the original series and films as canon. I’d like to see Drew reprise her role as Dylan in a cameo appearance one day.

  • *lg*

    Minka Kelly, Katie Cassidy and Jurnee Smollett. If Jurnee’s still on The Defenders, then Jessica Lucas.

  • dennis

    In order to work, it needs to be cast with unknowns. No big name stars and they need to be relatable and approachable actresses, just like in 1976.

    Keep it “free standing” episodes, no “boyfriends” “family issues” etc. Just focus on the girls and their relationships with each other.

    the fun was them going under cover. keep that part of the formula.

    Really, no big name stars need to be attached to this in order for it to work. I think it will only hurt.

  • Please don’t

    Hope their are no minorities. Can’t their be just one show without bowing to brainwashing of diversity? Keep it white and clean like the original. Are they really gonna try to find a Mexican Farrah Fawcett???? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT ONE!

    • Karl

      “WHITE and CLEAN?!”

  • diane

    Love to see Drew Barrymore in it..the other two..dont care

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