We guess Lee Daniels got his fill of gritty urban realism with Precious because Gossip guru Perez Hilton is reporting the openly gay writer/director is helming a new version of the glittery pot-boiler Valley of the Dolls for NBC.
Daniels—who is currently filming The Paperboy with Matthew Mcconaughey, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron—will also serve as executive producer of the series, alongside Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
We never read Jacqueline Susann’s original novel, but we can practically quote the 1967 film verbatim. (“Ted Casablanca is not a fag… and I’m the dame who can prove it!”) With Pan Am and The Playboy Club already on the air, the 1960s seem hotter than ever—assuming Daniels doesn’t update the storyline for the modern age.
Courtney Love is a lock for the part of Helen Lawson, the ego-driven Broadway star Neely O’Hara pushes out of the way. (Can’t you just imagine her duplicating Judy Garland’s car-crash screen test for the role?)
But who will play O’Hara and her best friends, Anne Welles and Jennifer North?
As Welles, the smart but love-foolish theatrical agent turned model, how about Ana Ortiz? She was one of the biggest charms on Ugly Betty, where her character, Hilda, was a self-starter who made bad choices when it came to men.
As North, the dim beauty with limited talent who makes “art films” in Europe, who would be better than Courtney Stodden, the child bride of Green Mile actor Doug Hutchison. They’d probably have to spell out her cue cards phonetically but the outtakes would be priceless.
And then there’s O’Hara, one of the most beloved icons of camp culture. We’re kind of at a loss here. Would Patty Duke be willing to reprise her role? Or how about Gabourey Sidibe—she’s worked with Daniels before and did a great job with those fantasy stardom scenes in Precious.
Below, a clip from the original Dolls movie to inspire your suggestions.