From Silver Screen to Small Screen: Classic Movies Are Getting The TV Treatment


In recent years, looking at cinema listings week on week, it seems that all you can find are remakes, reboots, sequels, and threequels. Streaming and TV was the place to go for original content. But now Paramount Plus, a streaming service which launches on 4th March in the US, is doing the reverse, taking well-loved classic films and reworking them into TV shows for a new audience.

Paramount Plus has plans to directly adapt Fatal Attraction, Love Story, The Parallax View, and Flashdance. In addition, the streamer will produce a sequel series to The Italian Job and a prequel series to Grease.

Fatal Attraction (1987)

The original psychological thriller starred Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer. It follows a married man who has a brief affair with a woman who quickly becomes obsessive. He must then try to keep his marriage from falling apart and placate the woman who will stop at nothing to be with him.

The new adaptation will come at the story with a modern sensibility, providing a more nuanced portrayal of mental illness. Close has previously said that she would love to see a Fatal Attraction remake which flipped the narrative, telling the story from the point of view of the spurned woman.

Flashdance (1983)

Flashdance, that most 80s of 80s films, is also getting a modern encore. The plot will follow a Black woman who dances at a strip club but dreams of becoming a ballet star. Tracy McMillan, producer of Good Girls Revolt is writing the show. Jennifer Beals, whose career was made by the original, is not set for a reprisal.

The film was inspired by the life Maureen Marder, who must have spent most of the last 40 years kicking herself. She signed a general release with Paramount in 1982, giving them the rights to her life story in exchange for $2,300. The film grossed $150 million. Now, with another adaptation in the works, it seems that Marder sold her story far too cheaply.

Love Story (1970) 

Love Story is a timeless movie featuring maybe the most prolific obstacle in romance films – the class divide. Oliver Barrett IV comes from a wealthy and privileged family, but of course, you know that for the mere fact that he has roman numerals after his name. Jenny Cavilleri is working class and had to fight for her place at Radcliffe.

As the two get to know each other and their love blossoms, they face the prejudice of Barrett’s father which tests them both. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, executive producers of Gossip Girl, are on board for this project. They said: “We’re beyond excited to update it for the next generation”.     

The Parallax View (1974)

The Parallax View might be the least know of these classics. It follows a reporter, played by Warren Beatty, as he investigates a mysterious organisation which oversees political assassinations. This performance may have defined Beatty’s career had it not been for Bonnie and Clyde.

Very little has been confirmed regarding what the series will look like, with no writer or cast yet slated. However, it is likely that recent developments in US politics, fears of Russian interference, fake news, and voter fraud may have some influence on the plot.

The Italian Job (1969)

Obviously the 2003 remake of this British gem never needed to happen. No one asked for it and no one wanted it. Yet it was Paramount’s best performing film that year, so perhaps it was inevitable that there would be more outings for this title. The series adaptation will follow Charlie Croker’s grandchildren as they search for the gold bullion we last saw hanging off a cliff in a truly terrific… cliff-hanger.

It’s hard to see how any series that continues a story which ended so perfectly can do so without tarnishing it. Having said that, if the series throws caution to the wind, embraces the campy crime caper legacy of the original, and rolls out the Mini Coopers, it might just be a great idea.

Grease (1978)

Grease casts a massive shadow over musicals that came after it and the careers of its cast. Most people when asked what role they associate John Travolta with will say either Pulp Fiction or Grease. Some might say Wild Hogs, but I doubt it. So it’s a good thing that the adapted series is not a sequel, as in the case of The Italian Job, but rather a prequel.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies will look at how the notorious eponymous girl gang came to meet. Annabel Oakes, writer for Awkward, is set to write and executive produce the project. The series will be set before Sandy came to Rydell High, and will focus on the original Pink Ladies. However, it’s possible that some of the T-Birds, maybe even a young Danny Zuko, will make a brief appearance.  

Words by Steven Ross

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