Unlike the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, which faced intense backlash from fans of the original, there has barely been a tweet written against What Men Want, the new gender-flipping remake of the 2000 rom-com What Women Want. While the Bill Murray-powered Ghostbusters remains cherished, it seems no one holds the Mel Gibson star vehicle particularly sacred — especially considering that, in retrospect, the film is more than a little problematic.
Still, like the revamped Ghostbusters and last year’s heist sequel Ocean’s 8, What Men Want marks the latest example of Hollywood revisiting an older hit film and recasting male roles with female stars. And that’s a good thing, according to the ensemble of What Men Want (watch above).
“I think the industry is proving that women can carry these kinds of movies that men would usually carry,” said Taraji P. Henson (Empire), who stars as an ambitious sports agents who acquires the ability to hear men’s inner thoughts. “And we’re proving it. The box office is proving it. The box office is saying, ‘Hey, we want this.’ So I’m just glad to be alive in this time and this moment to be a part of it.”
While Ghostbusters underdelivered, grossing “only” $229 million against a budget of $144 million, Ocean’s 8 performed admirably (nearly $300 million worldwide). Meanwhile, audiences have embraced several other female-led blockbusters across genres, including Wonder Woman, Girls Trip, and Henson’s own Hidden Figures.
What Men Want co-star Tracy Morgan cautioned that Hollywood needs to be “careful” when choosing what projects to retool. “Ghostbusters is a safe place for many people for many years,” he said, alluding to the criticism of the reboot. “So when you touch these movies they’ve got to be done right.”
“The fact that [in] all these movies, there are powerful roles for women, and then you get powerful actors and performers to come in and deliver and they’re all great,” added actress Tamala Jones, who was joined by co-star (and R&B star) Erykah Badu.
“It says something about women. It says that, yes, we are powerful. Yes, we are talented. And yes, we can make money. So I love what’s happening, as far as that goes.”
What Men Want opens Friday. Watch the trailer:
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