Sony Pictures has just announced a female spinoff of the 21 Jump Street movies after the two Channing Tatum-Jonah Hill films performed well for them a few years back.
Female-driven reboots are in vogue following Sony’s ill-fated remake of Ghostbusters and the Ocean’s Eleven remake starring Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock, which is currently in production. The latest take of the version of the Fox cop drama series that starred Johnny Depp is a separate entity from the 21 Jump Street–Men in Black mashup, which remains in development (and maybe where it should stay).
Sony has tapped Rodney Rothman to direct, and that’s where the problems start. Rothman wrote the franchise hit sequel 22 Jump Street as well as Get Him to the Greek and PopStar: Never Stop Never Stopping. But he doesn’t have previous directing experience and, as you may have guessed from his name, he is a dude.
Advocacy group Women and Hollywood is outraged at the “indignity”:
The indignity continues male writer with no directing experience to direct female centric 21 Jump Street spinoff off https://t.co/NO8vAvpyTF
— Women and Hollywood (@WomenaHollywood) December 2, 2016
New York magazine’s Vulture website, as predictable as it is prolific, took a dim view even though they haven’t even seen a plot outline. Kaitlin Fontana wrote: “Rothman, of course, knows the world and the story, and look—we’re sure he’ll do great. But would it hurt, if you’re looking to tell a story starring two women, for those women to be created by a female writer? Women need film work!”
(On the subject of New York magazine, editor Adam Moss seems a bit down these days. He told the Guardian about his doomed efforts to sink a Trump Presidency: “We’re just talking to ourselves and we’re talking to people who already agree with us…”)
That’s right in the case of the female reboot of 21 Jump Street. While it is in pre-production, social justice warriors might like to go back and read “My Fake Job,” director Rothman’s one and only article for the New Yorker, published in the fall of 2000.
It’s a great read about Rothman’s two weeks doing absolutely nothing at an early internet start-up. But The New Yorker wound up having to apologize for Rothman blending fact and fiction.
One of the things he got in trouble for—and this will surely be grist for Women and Hollywood—was not mentioning that his mother had worked at the tech company.