If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That appears to be the mantra Sony Pictures intends on repeating. In what has become familiar form throughout Hollywood, Sony is going back to the well once again. This time, it is with a Bewitched reboot, a new movie based on the classic television series from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. There isn’t much information at this early stage, but here is what we know.
MAKING A BEWITCHED REBOOT HAPPEN
Sony Pictures is forgoing the TV series route in favor of a feature film. They have tapped Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, both of whom ran the 12 Monkeys and MacGyver TV series, to pen the script for the Bewitched reboot. Also on board as co-producers are John Fox (The Player, Dr. Ken, Dolemite Is My Name) and John Davis (Dr. Dolittle, Predator, Daddy Day Care) through their Davis Entertainment shingle.
THE NOSE KNOWS
Long before Bewitched reboots were a possibility, the original Bewitched TV series began back in 1964 and the first three seasons were filmed in black and white. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha Stephens, a witch who meets, then falls in love with, and marries a mortal man, Darrin. Darrin knows about Samantha’s magical abilities and wishes for her to keep her magic a secret. Even though Samantha promises, as the series progresses, she finds it more and more difficult to keep her word and twitching nose in check.
It wasn’t only Samantha that was having difficulty not using her magic. Samantha’s family, more so her mother Endora (played wonderfully by Agnes Moorehead), would also show up from time to time prying and using their magic for their own gain. They, again more Endora, disapprove of the mixed marriage so Samantha and Darrin always seem to be in the middle of the shenanigans.
THE TWO DICKS
Bewitched ran for eight seasons and for the first four, actor Dick York played the part of Darrin Stephens to great comedic timing with Montgomery. But the actor had injured his back during the filming of the 1959 movie They Came to Cordura and the injury lingered, only to get worse as the seasons of Bewitched wore on. His injury started to take its toll on the shooting schedule of the series, prompting delays and many script rewrites. Finally, things came to a head for York when he collapsed on set. He was rushed to the hospital where he finally talked to producer William Asher and they decide it was time for York to leave the series. After a brief search, Dick Sargent was hired to play Darrin.
The original series was also notable for some of the big names that rolled through. On top of Moorehead playing Endora, the series also had David White as Larry Tate, Darrin’s boss. Paul Lynde appeared as Uncle Arthur, Maurice Evans dropped in as Samantha’s father, Bernard Fox was Dr. Bombay, and Erin Murphy eventually joined the cast as Samantha and Darrin’s daughter Tabitha.
THAT BIG BEWITCHED REBOOT MISFIRE
This is not the first time Sony has gone after a Bewitched reboot. In 2005, they brought on Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in an attempt to tap into the nostalgia that was Bewitched. The movie seemed to be in good hands. Nora Ephron was hired to direct from a script she co-wrote with her sister Delia. Nora had major hits in the past with movies such as Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. But her rendition of Bewitched not only failed, it failed hard. She went away from what made the series so fun and turned the story more into a Will Ferrell vehicle, which sometimes isn’t a bad thing. But sometimes it is.
That Betwitched reboot was about an actor (Ferrell) who is trying to make a comeback by starring in a reboot of the TV show Bewitched. He is searching for the perfect Samantha and finds Isabel (Kidman), who actually happens to be a real witch. Ugh. Even Will Ferrell fans had to admit this more was an abject failure.
FAILED BEWITCHED REBOOT
Believe it or not, Sony tried again for a Bewitched reboot after the failure with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. This time it was for a potential TV series. Sony had brought on Kenya Barris (Black-ish, Grown-ish, Mixed-ish) and Yamara Taylor to write and executive produce the series which was retooled for today’s audience. This one told the story of a Black female witch who falls in love with a white mortal man. The series was set to go to ABC with Davis and Fox also assuming the roles of executive producers. But as ABC president Karey Burke explained via Variety, “I thought it was an incredibly smart rethink and re-telling of that story. Kenya is peerless in the television business as far as I’m concerned…[Kenya and I] decided together that the script wasn’t quite there.”
Currently, all we know is that Sony Pictures has hired Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett to write a feature film for a Bewitched reboot. Other than that, there isn’t any other information concerning the new Bewitched movie. So far, no actresses have been mentioned to portray Samantha nor have there been any actors circling the part of Darrin. As soon as more information drops, Giant Freakin Robot will be here to pass it along.
Sometimes, Hollywood just can’t help itself. Hopefully, this Bewitched reboot fares way better than the Ferrell/Kidman trainwreck.