Variety (subscription required) reports that the studio has hired two veteran chick-flick screenwriters to revisit the Chicken Ranch. Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, whose credits include 'Legally Blonde,' 'The Ugly Truth' and 'The House Bunny,' are charged with updating the musical, which was adapted from the long-running 1978 Broadway hit scripted by Larry L, King and Peter Masterson. Producing the remake will be Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, whose recent movies include 'Dear John' and the 'Twilight' franchise.
The movie, like the play, was based on a magazine article by King about the real-life Chicken Ranch brothel, shut down in 1973 by a crusading TV reporter who revealed its ties to organized crime. In the 1982 movie, the reporter has become a cynical, publicity-seeking moralist (played by Dom DeLuise), and the poor, henpecked Chicken Ranch the site of some good, clean, dirty fun, run by the world's nicest madam (Dolly Parton) and protected by her boyfriend, an easygoing sheriff (Burt Reynolds). Parton added a couple of her own songs to Carol Hall's score, 'Sneakin' Around' (a Parton-Reynolds duet) and her 1974 classic 'I Will Always Love You.' Charles Durning, playing a wily Texas governor, earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. (You can watch the whole movie, which is rated R, at SlashControl.)
No word on who might star in the remake or whether any of Parton's or Hall's songs will survive what Variety calls a "complete overhaul" of the 1982 film. But given the current lackluster box office for 'Nine' (and with all due respect to Fergie's showstopping performance in it), there doesn't seem to be much of a market at the multiplex these days for singing hookers.