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maryann johanson | watching movies at home

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Remington Steele’ movie

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Remington Steele, the 1982-7 NBC romantic comedy series about a female private detective, Laura Holt, who hired a former con man, alias Remington Steele (possible real name: Harry Chalmers), as a front man for her PI agency, because, you know: Who would hire a lady detective? Of course, you could cut the sexual tension between the two of them with a knife. When the show grew into its own in its second season, a former IRS agent, Mildred Krebs, came onboard as the agency’s secretary, third investigator, and mother figure.

(This week’s Dream Cast topic was suggested by my friend Bonnie offline; if you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with and don’t see me in person to share it, feel free to email me.)
The original cast featured:

Remington Steele/Harry Chalmers: Pierce Brosnan
Laura Holt: Stephanie Zimbalist
Mildred Krebs: Doris Roberts

There’s two options for a movie version. Either it has to go retro, back to the 80s, because no one would believe today that a woman would not be taken seriously as an investigator of crime. Or it has to switch things up by, perhaps, positing a male PI who’s so young (or so young looking, or so not-PI looking) that he’s not taken seriously, and so he hires a (slightly) older and more experienced woman as his front. Mildred can probably stay Mildred, though, in either case.

Here’s my dream cast for the retro remake:

Remington Steele/Harry Chalmers: David Tennant
Laura Holt: Mariska Hargitay
Mildred Krebs: Julie Walters

And for the gender-switcher remake:

Remington Steele/Mary Chalmers: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Larry Holt: Colin Hanks
Mildred Krebs: Julie Walters

(I think our modern female Steele could keep the name “Remington” — it sounds gender nonspecific enough, in the same way that names like “Madison” and “Sydney” do.)

Who’s in your dream cast?

Look, it’s 80s-licious!

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