Which Grand Dames Will Star In The Remake Of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

We almost spit out our Ensure when we heard someone was remaking Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Of course, we’re still recovering from the trailer for Lifetime’s redo of Steel Magnolias, so you know we take these things pretty hard.

The Aldrich Company has just announced that Walter Hill, who has helmed everything from 48 Hrs to Brewster’s Millions, will be tackling the update of the camp classic.

This immediately begs the question: Why? Baby Jane is beloved by a small subset of the general population (namely us queens) and is hardly suited to today’s Twilight-watching tweens.

More importantly, the film endures because of the actresses involved—feuding film icons Bette Davis and Joan Crawford—more than the plot or script. The 1991 TV remake capitalized on that dynamic by casting real-life sisters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave—and even that had, shall we say, limited success.

But if this remake is going to be made, it’s gotta be all about the actresses playing Blanche and Baby Jane. Hill hasn’t picked his leading ladies yet, so we thought we’d toss out some suggestions:

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: Everyone assumes the former Full House stars are batshit crazy anyway, and the Olsen sisters are savvy enough to capitalize on it. Bonus points if Mary Kate and Ashley both play Baby Jane and their rising-star sis Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) plays hapless Blanche.

Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith: Latifah’s already dipped into the remake pool with Magnolias, so why not another go as Blanche? And Jada’s got that hard edge you want from Jane. Must come from years of putting up with Will’s foolishness.

Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore: We would just die—die! die! die! Can you imagine? Especially if the studio ditched Hill and got Todd Haynes to direct.

Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry: This is conceivably the only way a Baby Jane remake could be a real cash cow. Have Madea and Big Momma reel around the house making sexual innuendos and poop jokes.


Okay, those are our picks. Who would you cast in the remake of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?


Feature photo: David Shankbone


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  • Gdouglasw

    Lest we forget the Redgraves’ remake!?

  • Lady Gag

    Britney and Xtina.

  • kevin

    ummm it’s Bette not betty *le sigh*

  • angelwise

    If ever a movie deserved a camp version, it is this one. Unfortunately, the track record of Hill does not bode well.

  • Meowzer

    Aren’t there any new ideas left in Hollywood? Any at all?
    Great movies are great for one reason. Lightning struck at the right time and chemistry clicked. Look at the recent Dirty Dancing remake. Wasn’t needed and it sucked. Look at the upcoming Steel Magnolias remake. Not needed and will suck. It’s a shame we can’t leave classic Hollywood films alone.

  • Jason Carson Wilson

    Good afternoon, I’d be glad to offer my editing services. FYI, BETTE DAVIS played Baby Jane in the original, not BETTY DAVID.

  • luther

    I loved Betty David, she was great. So was Joanne Crawfish.

  • loafersguy

    John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

  • Anthony

    I’d like to see the remake go way out on it’s own and cast two men… Ian McKellen and Terrence Stamp? One of them an ex former Justin Beiber type or a boy band member in place of the Shirley Temple like role in the original? And at least one if not both characters should be straight… Making them gay camp would be too easy…

  • dvlaries

    Davis ended up doing her own makeup in the film because every professional she asked recoiled, sure he’d never work Hollywood again if he did to Bette Davis what she was asking. She said she felt as though Jane never washed face, only applied a new later of makeup each day. When she finally attended the premiere with Robert Aldrich, he soon heard her softly weeping, “Did I really look that bad…?” Not every battle that Davis won was one she remained happy about.
    Streep can do anything, and if she set out to scare the hell out of us, she could, but I doubt she’d do it. A black version would definitely foster a fresh fascination factor, and Latifah does have the chops for it. We’ll see.

  • Cinesnatch

    Nurse Ratchett would be a better role for Latifah. I don’t see her as either sister.

  • kevin

    oh gawd IT SAID “DAVID” as well i didnt see it i was too incensed to notice when I saw Betty !!! double *le sigh*

  • lambillio

    @kevin: yeah and davis, not david…

  • Michael in Toronto

    Betty David: un-frigging-forgivable…

  • Aquarelle

    Betty David … oh Dan, I think you’ve just been officially kicked out of the club. Better start looking for a girlfriend.

  • dj riz

    harvey fierstein and charles busch and yes.. directed by tood haynes

  • Eric

    First choice: Angelina and Jennifer Aniston. Second choice: Lindsay Lohan and Emma Stone.

  • LeoMarius

    No one! Quit remaking classics; they never compare favorable to the original. See: the Women

  • LeoMarius

    No one! Quit remaking classics; they never compare favorably to the original. See: the Women

  • Theespian

    Baby Jane by Michael Holmes (The Judy Show!) he is without equal as a Bette Davis impersonator

  • Chrisconcert

    How about Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey? Beaches Reuion! Gaaaayyy!

  • Jonathonz

    How about Varla Jean Merman and Coco Peru? If it’s not drag queens I am VEHEMENTLY UN-INTERESTED!

  • MisterD

    Bette Midler and Meryl Streep

  • Chris

    Again hire an editor. Preferably one who knows the difference between Betty David and Bette Davis.

  • Scott

    Shirley Jones as Blanche and Barbara Cook as Baby Jane. Jones took all of the film roles Cook did on Broadway.

  • Sam Glass Jr.

    I guess that Hill and the Aldrich Company never saw the refreshingly camp homage to WEHTBJ, called BABY JANE? (2010), directed by Billy Clift, with Matthew Martin and J. Conrad Frank as Jane and Blanche, respectively. (Only in the chronological sense.) They probably don’t know that he’s also gearing up for the second screamingly funny camp salute to Bette and Joan, HUSH UP, SWEET CHARLOTTE!

  • Mike

    Edina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth! There rivalry is up there with Davis and Crawford and they are approaching the right age!

  • Mark

    Not a very good “queen” if you call Bette Davis “Betty David”. Julie Harland should jump out her grave and slap you.

  • Bomo Queebo

    RuPaul in a dual role as 2 sisters from 2 different 60’s girl groups – one successful and the other whose career was sabotaged by a spouse (like Phil Specter did to Veronica of the Ronettes) or who was dumped from the group (like Flo Ballard) or who was unable to make the transition from early 60’s “glamour” to late 60’s “authenticity” – lots of possibilities – making it black & gay would give it the difference required to make it worthwhile – otherwise it would be 2 dreary little white female ickies trying to step into the huge vacancies left by major talented fabulous old movie stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood – only a black drag queen is up to that and RuPaul is the only black drag queen with the chops to pull it off – unless it was Latrice (motherfuckin) Royale as the Jane character all big & bitter ’bout the past… I could see that – that would be good – lots of opportunities for retro fashions in flashbacks!

  • Gene

    Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley ……But ya did Eddie, but ya did!!

  • Gaspar Marino

    Bette Midler and Meryl Streep.

  • bbg372

    Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston

  • luther

    @Gaspar Marino: okay, that’s a pretty good combo – but who would play what?

  • MisterD

    I see Bette Midler playing Bette Davis’s part…

  • Amanda

    Lypsinka and Hedda Lettuce.

  • bill(Guillermo3)

    Choice between 2 pair: Bill Clinton,as “Blanche”, Newt Romney as
    Baby Jane,or:Clarence Thomas as Baby Jane,Anita Hill as “Blanche”.

  • Mal Tempo

    It’s obviously going to be Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.

  • JD

    In point of fact, the writer gaffs with “Betty David” for Bette Davis.

    I do not agree at all that the plot is lack-luster. The plot is interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed the use of early Crawford and Davis films to “show their past.” The problem with the original film was the FILM-MAKING. The movie looks like is was made on-the-cheap, in spite of good sets, costumes, make-up, and what have you. Blame the camera and film-stock for the look of the movie. Particularly the final scenes at the beach–that have long shadows (in the “morning”).

    Let’s not forget, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane was nominated for FIVE Academy Awards, and actually won for Best Costuming.

    When I was a teenager, I read the book–and what impressed me at that time was that the movie nearly exactly shows what the book tells. The only other time I could think of where this happened was Rosemary’s Baby, where Polanski managed to do the same thing.

    I’m sorry to say it, but I think the writer of this piece is not in-touch with the topic, but is just writing about clichés that everyone knows. Articles that are frequently cliché, shallow and ill-informed, are not really worth my time. And for god’s sake, hire a proof-reader. Bette deserves better.

  • butterfly

    @bbg372: everyone would go see it.

  • BobbyG

    Streisand and Midler.

  • Mark Jenkins

    @MisterD: Yours is the only viable choice I’ve seen so far- don’t think anyone else could or SHOULD handle it- if it must be handled at all- Why make a remake of a Classic of Classics- No one can Really do it justice. The public of today would never leave the two sisters out of the limelight long enough for them to reach the deteriorated state of Bette and Joan in the original. The papparazzi would be all over a story like theirs- so the whole premise would be unworkable in today’s society. Not to mention the truly AWFUL remakes they’ve been doing lately- DARK SHADOWS, A COMEDY??!!! That’s what killed Jonathan Frid- it wasn’t old age at all.

  • Chris

    I appreciate the many suggestions of Bette Midler, and I love her,I have seen her in concert multiple times, but I just don’t think she is really much of an actress, even in first wives club.

    I suggest Glenn Close and Meryl Streep.

  • Warwick

    Anjelica Houston and Kathleen Turner.. With a cameo by Liza and John waters

  • Jay Wilson

    Joan Collins and Linda Evans or Linda Carter and Lindsay Wagner!

  • NoHoInTO

    Although one can never replace or replicate the performances from Bette and Joan, I believe the best comeback solution would be to cast ‘Nancy Kerrigan’ and ‘Tanya Harding’ to do “Baby Jane on Ice”! …then maybe “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte”,…

  • Ace

    Lady Gaga and Madonna (they don’t exactly love each other to begin with) OR Matt Lucas and David Walliams (Little Britain)

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  • Raul in Miami

    Faye Dunaway and Merryl Streep

  • Nick

    The Olsen twins are too busy spending their money on lots of coke and opiates, and getting fucked by male celebrities to do movies now.

  • David

    Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho.

  • richard

    angelina jolie and lindsey lohan, or meryl streep and glenn close.

  • jeff

    charles busch and harvey fierstein would be brilliant. alternately liza and bette midler could be very interesting. eh – better, i think they should leave this one alone.

  • I won't grow up

    Come on girls we can all agree, this MUST be directed by John Waters and star Faye channeling Joan again as Blanche and Meryl as a bouncing off the walls chewing the woodwork Jane. With Harvey Firestein in the Victor Buono roll.
    I just scared myself…why am I giving this so much thought? We MUST storm the castle and stop this from happening. Baby Jane is the Gone With The Wind of camp.

  • don

    paul ruben (pee-wee herman) and faye dunaway or glenn close

  • jimbo324

    It’s dated material! Two competitive sisters in the early days of movie making- how can you make it current without destroying the basic premise?? Even if they could get Helen Mirren and Judy Dench it would still be compared to the original. Helen Mirren and Judy Dench…..not a bad idea, though!

  • Redd

    Too bad Liz Taylor passed away. She could have played Blanche to Debbie Reynolds’ Jane! Touche!

Comments are closed.