Around here, we like to play a little game called Reboot, Remake, Ruin, wherein we take a property and decide if we want to reboot (with the same cast or a continuation of an existing storyline), remake (starting totally fresh, origin-story style), or ruin it (meaning DON'T TOUCH IT — either because it's too perfect as-is or wholly unsalvageable and should be forgotten for eternity).
But another thing we like to do 'round these parts is MAKE IT GAY. As we close out Pride Month, we thought "why not both?" And so, we are looking at vampire movies (already very queer) and examining how we might make them even better. This is Reboot, Remake (it gay, you cowards!), Ruin: Vampire Edition.
Sara: More like Bi-light.
Sara: I was waiting for that joke and now I'm done.
Riley: Well, I'm just gonna say it: This one is my Remake (it Gay You Cowards) movie.
Clare: Honestly, absolute same. And my pitch is that Kristen Stewart should play Lesbian Edward. Forks should be crawling with gays; it's the Pacific Northwest!
Riley: I feel like given that Stephenie Meyer is about to do her second remake of the book, it clearly feels like a story that can be reworked and redone.
Sara: I think it's because it's too straight and it's about the gayest subject matter so it's like please remake it gay. There's so many button-up shirts and so few lesbians. It's not right.
Clare: Yeah. And at this point, Twilight has become iconic as both a story and a cinematic language (the blues and greys, the melodramatic acting, the utter AUGHTSNESS OF IT ALL), so you can really get very flexible with it and still be recognizably TWILIGHT.
Sara: K. Stew should still play her role and be Edward also. Starring K. Stew in a double role in a forbidden love affair with herself, a vampire.
Riley: I think there's something really interesting in the idea of Lesbian Edward, as an exploration of the way that vampires, through their immortality, kind of get to see the cultural morals and stigmas change around them as they exist.
Clare: Agreed. I think that's something Meyers tries to hit with Alice and Rosalie, but since they're supporting characters, we just get the "and this is my tragic backstory!" dump and move on, versus Lesbian Edward and Bella just talking about the past. I would absolutely watch that.
Sara: "I loved you long ago, in the past." - lesbians
Riley: So like, K. Stedward, as I've now dubbed her, could be this queer woman who couldn't be out at the time she was made into a vampire, and it's all hush hush and Gentleman Jack type stuff. And now it's the modern day and here she comes across this mortal who gets her blood going.
Clare: Oh my gosh, I love that take. She's still kind of reconciling it all on an immortal timeline and then in walks Bella (K. Stew in a different wig) and suddenly it becomes VERY URGENT she figures it out. Which is a very relatable WLW experience, imho.
Riley: Oh! But one thing I really insist upon for the Make it Gay You Cowards Remake of Twilight...
Clare: More Muse?
Riley: ...is that Catherine Hardwicke come back to direct it.
Clare: ABSOLUTELY, merylstreeppointing.gif, absolutely!
Riley: She totally got the shaft in the original version's franchise and I think she deserves to get her time in the sun. To shine like diamonds, I mean.
Clare: I couldn't agree more. I saw Thirteen when I was way too young and she's got such a gift for parsing out teenage angst where it's both recognizably ridiculous (as teen angst can be) but also very important and impactful to the person experiencing it. Let her do Twilight again but gayer!! Better!!
Riley: I also don't know how this works, but I would like it if they could make Bella not a teenager. I know Edward is supposed to be a teenage vampire but it always skeeves me out when there's this 200+-year-old dating a teenager and it's OK because they're immortal. Like they're still an older person just because they look young and hot.
Clare: That's a very good point.
Sara: Yes if they could be in their mid-30s that would be ideal for me. Like, I'm a 200-year-old 35-year-old.
Clare: Also, the fact that Edward willingly has gone to high school for decades? No self-respecting lesbian vampire would do that.
Riley: Not at all.
Sara: lol I forgot that he just keeps going to high school, that's hilarious.
Clare: Just to chase high school diplomas. Collecting them all.
Riley: Gotta catch 'em all.
Clare: I'd say they meet on their roller derby team but even Lesbian Edward seems like she wouldn't go in for team sports. It'd have to be something more pretentious and erudite.
Riley: I know part of the story is Bella's dad has moved her to Forks and she's feeling kind of isolated and alone, but there are totally other ways for two gal pals to meet.
Clare: I mean, you could do Bella moves back to Forks to take care of her dad; maybe post-divorce she's worried about him and she's in a transition period at work or graduate school and decides to go spend time with him. Which means she has PLENTY of free time to gal pal around with Lesbian Edward.
Riley: She loses her job maybe and has to start over and goes to take care of her dad and then meets a Sapphic Sanguinist.
Clare: SAPPHIC SANGUINIST!!! She starts going on hikes and stuff and just such a sapphic sanguinist falls out of a tree.
Riley: Does anyone want to make a case for another of the two options for it? A reboot or ruin?
Sara: We just want the gay version, thank you.
Clare: I think we're all very much in favor of a Remake It Gay here and have demonstrated that the base formula of Twilight not only supports it, but begs for such gayification. I'm personally set.
Riley: I worry this is just gonna be us saying Remake it Gay for all three.
Clare: We have walked into this restaurant already knowing what we want to order.
Sara: Pan Helsing.
Clare: Van Helsing goes in the Ruin bucket for me, and I say this as someone who purchased the direct-to-DVD animated prequel back in the day for some unfathomable reason.
Sara: I mean so my thing is that Frankenstein and Dracula are already gay, so maybe Reboot. All my ideas for rebooting it make it much better, like time travel and motorcycles.
Clare: My immediate impulse would be to sweep everything off the table and start over from scratch, but that basically just takes us back to Dracula, so Van Helsing might as well be disposed of?
Riley: I'm putting it in the reboot camp because I think it's a genuinely really fun idea for a movie. I really liked the idea of Hugh Jackman getting to slip into a non-Wolverine franchise hero-type role. But I feel like for whatever reason it just kind of got a bit messy and didn't really work. But if we're rebooting it with the same cast, which in this case would really just be him, there's a real opportunity to set it like a few decades later, new isolated village, different versions of the Universal monsters, and you can even make it gay by having some younger monster hunter that he's come across that is gay and he's helping train them.
Clare: So vampire-hunting James Bond with a Bond boy? I can get down with that.
Riley: And there can be some interesting stuff there since he literally works for the Vatican so there's elements of like, the conflict there because he's an agent of this very conservative organization but he's also like, hey not everything about them is right.
Clare: Actually, getting Van Helsing away from Dracula and into his own thing is a good idea if you want to build him up, I really like that, Riley. Am I remembering correctly that Van Helsing or Dracula is secretly the archangel Gabriel or am I reading this plot summary upside down?
Riley: I very much don't remember that but it has been a long time since I saw it. I remember in Dracula 2000, Dracula was turned into Judas.
Clare: Wow Dracula gets around… in history!
Riley: Oh! The villain in the new Van Helsing could be Elizabeth Bathory! Van Helsing vs The Blood Countess.
Clare: I have consulted the Script of the 2004 Motion Picture Van Helsing and it is indeed Van Helsing who is secretly the Archangel Gabriel, having conveniently lost his angelic memory. Ooohhhh I LIKE THAT. Get Anna Friel to play her again!
Riley: I'm reboot, Clare is ruin, and Sara, where do you finally land?
Sara: Reboot because it's already got a bunch of queer monsters in it and I love them.
Queen of the Damned
Clare: Sara, I am so tempted to hop in that positive ruin boat with you.
Riley: Yeah, I'm pretty much in that boat too. Like, it is very much kind of a mess since it's actually two movies smashed together into one. Like I could see giving us a The Vampire Lestat movie and a full Queen of the Damned movie instead.
Clare: Except I would argue it benefits from rebooting right on back down to the beginning of the Interview franchise: by getting Tom Cruise back as Lestat. So everything as is, just Cruise's absolutely pitch-perfect Lestat in place of Townsend, everything else is gold.
Riley: Yeah, can we edit Tom Cruise's Lestat in but leave the late Aaliyah's performance in untouched?
Clare: Aaliyah is INCREDIBLE in Queen of the Damned. Which is why we need someone on her level. I want Cruise's Lestat pitching fits in mansions while Akasha looks on.
Sara: The only possible recast is Lupita.
Riley: OK you have my attention there.
Clare: DO GO ON.
Riley: We know she can do that otherworldly/alien thing fairly well from Us.
Sara: Aaliyah is too good. You can't level up. You can only choose someone as awesome and give them the space to go off on acting.
Clare: Exactly; she's great at developing narratively relevant physicality, which you need for early aughts Akasha. Truly, Akasha's abs are the mother of all vampires.
Riley: Oh and Paul McGann stays in the movie too. But he and Marius are way more of a thing.
Clare: The correct amount of Paul McGann is "more Paul McGann." Marius keeps showing up to be like "Lestat, you have to stop making music, the humans will get suspicious" and Lestat is like "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND NU METAL."
Riley: And David is just like this Marius fanboy. Which makes them so cute as a potential couple.
Clare: Now there's a vampire/human romance I can get behind! A sassy older vampire and the historian who researches him and collects his paintings for "research"
Riley: I just honestly feel like trying to make those books into individual movies really ruins them because their scale is so spread out.
Clare: Hence why it makes more sense to do it as a television series. That's why I keep hitting a wall with the books. I hit about book five or six and feel like I've watched 10 seasons of a show, so if I put it down, I'm a goner.
Riley: It's so hard to really show the depth of immortality in a two-hour movie.
Sara: Yes, a true adaptation of Queen of the Damned is difficult but in TV or film my remake features Limp Bizkit instrumentals played on harp. Which will make it immortal.
Clare: Sara, are you proposing that Lestat awakens the great Ancient Queen Akasha by playing "I Did It All for the Nookie" on a harpsichord?
Sara: I mean... YES. That is my proposal.
Clare: While I remain firmly in Reboot camp, I am intrigued by your Remake.
Sara: Thank you, I can only hope Hollywood studios will agree.
Riley: I think we can put the vampire movies in their coffin.
Clare: Yes! We can smooch them on their foreheads and tuck them into their coffins.
Riley: They're dead, they're dead, they're dead and outta this world.
Clare: Good night good night don't let the bed bugs bite, or rather bite them first because you're vampires and biting is an integral part of your existence.
Sara: Sleep well, you princes of getting staked.