A few years ago, I would've been much less nervous about the news that The Big Chill, Lawrence Kasdan's 1983 accomplishment, was going to be re-made with an African-American cast. Switching race in classics can be an interesting thing -- especially in Shakespeare. I'm still bummed that I wasn't able to see Patrick Stewart's reverted theater version of Othello (where he was the only white man among a black cast). However, then came Guess Who, the "remake," if you can call it that, of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. (Then again, it actually got a bunch of nods from Black Reel Awards to Black Movie Awards...) Now I worry that a good opportunity will just be turned into a lame farce.

The plan is to re-title the movie, and keep the original script as a template -- college friends who reunite for a weekend to attend the funeral of a friend and get reacquainted -- just update it for the new cast, which will be a collection of actors in their 30's. Keeping the funeral angle will, I hope, keep its potential. This will pull the school memories out of the 60's and into the 90's, and music is said to be a big component of the film, although Variety says "the redo may stick with the original's fixation on Motown classics." Regina King (Ray) is already on the cast list as she is producing the ensemble with Reina King (her sister) and Stomp the Yard's Will Packer. She's been in some quality films, as well as her share of fluff, but hopefully King is looking to leave the goofy at the adaptation door. We should know soon enough -- the plan is to get the movie into production by the end of the year.