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As devotees of Felicia Day’s The Guild cleared out of the ballroom at Comic-Con International in San Diego, another influx of fans of strong female characters — specifically, those of the Charlie’s Angels franchise — lined up for a panel dedicated to the eagerly anticipated revival of the popular television series. Mike Moderator Schneider introduced the cast, Annie Ilonzeh (Kate Prince), Minka Kelly (Eve French), Rachel Taylor (Abigail “Abby” Sampson) and Ramón Rodríguez (John Bosley), and the show’s developers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough.
The very vocal and enthusiastic Gough immediately proceeded to answer Schneider’s lead-off question about the development of the remake. Gough said he was hesitant when Sony first approached him and his Smallville collaborator Millar about updating Charlie’s Angels, initially rebuffing the studio’s offer. But about a year later, he couldn’t resist changing his mind when his wife told him he shouldn’t go anywhere near the show.
Once the green light was given, the biggest challenge, according to Gough and Millar, was what direction to take. Modern audiences likely wouldn’t respond well to the campy style of the 1970s original, so the plan was to take the characters more seriously. Taylor said what primarily attracted her to this incarnation was the mythology behind the show, the depth of the Angels and their colorful backgrounds. It’s a show about three strong women and the relationship they have with each other, a further exploration of the original theme of female empowerment.
Fans reacted positively to the radical change to Bosley, the assistant to Charlie Townsend played in the original series by David Doyle. Rodriguez was not only cast to make Bosley “young and hot,” but to transform the character into “one of the Angels.” This, along with changing the series’ location from Los Angeles to Miami, was done in an attempt to give the show a more exciting and dangerous feel. Bosley has become a sort of protector of the Angels, and an embodiment of Charlie’s voice.
When the subject of Charlie’s casting was brought up by an audience member, it was revealed the official voice of Charlie had not been found. (Robert Wagner was originally hired for the role but bowed out in mid-July.) Gough encouraged attendees to say who they would like as Charlie, with many suggesting Patrick Stewart. However, one audience member jokingly suggested Gilbert Gottfried.
One of the biggest concerns that arose in the production of Charlie’s Angels was the fear of backlash to another remake. Gough conceded that was one of his fears at the first offer from Sony. Despite that initial concern, he remains confident in his and Millar’s reimagining.
A high-profile name that the developers could not mention enough was executive producer Drew Barrymore. Being a former Angel herself, producing the show was an obvious choice for her. Rodriguez referred to her charismatic abilities as a “Jedi mind trick.” He didn’t understand why he would ever be chosen to play, but Barrymore called him and sold the concept of the new Bosley to him over dinner. According to Gough, she is the glue that holds the show together, which still amazes him because of her constant work on outside projects during production.
Charlie’s Angels premieres Sept. 22 on ABC.