The latest big studio romcom is about to land in our laps with When in Rome. It has the requisite lovey dovey elements: The earnest wishes for love, slapstick hijinks, siblings having all the romantic luck, ineligible suitors, grandiose displays of affection... You get the idea. It's all right there in the trailer (although I do find myself chuckling at that dark dinner clip).
There's nothing new about the typical romantic comedy, but this one does inspire me to wish about a world that could be. What if Kristen Bell's cinematic career wasn't filled with romantic turmoil, but rather fare that would make Veronica Mars proud? Instead of the wish-stealing, retreating couples, and kidnapped spouses, what if we got roles that continued to make Bell a name of note? She's the Nancy Drew-esque star who, under the hands of Rob Thomas, inspired Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon to appear on the show. Critics and fans heaped praise on her performance as the teen detective, but as the show was axed, so was the same magic.
However, I think it's still there, waiting to be tapped. In honor of Ms. Mars and Bell's potential, here are seven roles I'd rather see her in. Check them out and weigh in with your own picks below.
There's another Star Trek on the way, and Bell still has her geek ties, so what better way to tap into that than make her Yeoman Janice Rand in the next installment? She resembles original actress Grace Lee Whitney, and even though she was a very short-term character, it gives Captain Kirk a new romantic love interest, since J.J. Abrams was big into the romantic hook-ups in the first film.
Trash Talkin' Cutie Tough Girl
Remember that Natalie Portman Saturday Night Live sketch? I say Hollywood should forget the likes of Charlie's Angels and get a new, acerbic group of action girls. Whether a buddy girl scenario or a group of toughies, Bell and Portman need to band together as trash-talkin' tough women who pull no punches. In Mars, Bell proved her ability to hop back and forth between personas, and she could easily slide into a foul-mouthed, take-no-prisoners role. As an added bonus, Andy Sandberg and Chris Parnell could film some Digital Short-esque promo pieces for the film, sort of like the Sid and Nancy clip from (500) Days of Summer.
A Kevin Smith Indie
They've already met and Smith is already a fan, so it's no jump to imagine Bell as the star of an upcoming Smith film. Imagine a Veronica or Caitlin mixed with Tricia, Alyssa, and Becky -- the girl-next-door type we can all relate to and recognize in our own friends, perched in a simple scenario where dialogue leads the way. Maybe a retreat sort of film where friends go off and reconnect a la The Big Chill and Indian Summer. It could be a return to form without a return to the same ol' slacker story.
Try as I might, I cannot wrench this image from my head: Kristen Bell in a smart, dark brown noir-styled suit, coif perfectly curled, a cap slapped on her head, a slanting drawl to her voice, and her fingers wildly typing as smoke billows from a nearby cigarette. It definitely toes the detective line, pulling up mysteries and investigation, but in a whole new and dynamic arena, giving the actress more historical range. For the most part, Bell's roles deal with the everyday, and it's time she really broke out of that. A little dark, a little dramatic, and a little fun.
One of Bell's upcoming roles, which will challenge our conceptions of her, is the alcoholic burlesque dancer in Burlesque. When talking about the role, she told Parade: "I've come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to look like her [Christina Aguilera]. I'm a little bit closer to an elf in Santa's workshop." She's got a point, and I'd definitely be interested in seeing her as an elven sort of figure ... maybe in the new Hobbit as a puckish elf? That'd let her be elvish, but not all-out goofy.
Maddie in Moonlighting
If we're going to get a Moonlighting remake, I would want it to be with the real Dave and Maddie -- especially since both Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis are still in the biz. We already know that Bruce Willis wants a movie and one was potentially in the works last year, but let's be real -- Hollywood likes to young it up, and if the pair do make it to the big screen, it will most likely be with new faces. And if it is, it should be Bell. Well, only with the right David. If he turns out more Duncan than Logan, the film would be in trouble.
Last, but not least: Veronica Mars
While it doesn't get quite the fervent, meaningless "omg it's almost in the works!" updates a la Arrested Development, there is that big-screen adaptation of the series that Rob Thomas wrote, which both he and Bell are eager to do. They've just got to get Joel Silver and the studio on-board. It's a long-shot, considering the series' struggles and what happened to similar projects (Firefly), but still -- as long as it wasn't bred out of the same FBI re-imagining, and included the cast we all loved, it could be a great little feature.
In fact, Bell recently joked with Collider about how if Silver and Warner Brothers don't get enthusiastic, she'll just shoot it with Thomas in his backyard. (Or, I assume she said it, the quote is credited to Josh Duhamel. Now that would make for an interesting twist...) Veronica Mars doesn't need a huge budget. And if, even as an indie, there's not enough money, grab Joss Whedon for a pow-wow and take a Dr. Horrible internet route.