In the age of reboots, remakes, decades-later sequels, and franchises, rumblings or whisperings about tend to set the internet ablaze and elicit an opinion from just about everyone. And those opinions tend to be much, much stronger when reboot or remakes are involved in discussions of race-bending and/or gender-bending.
The former has been in full swing with the announcement of Halle Bailey being cast as beloved Disney princess Ariel in media giant’s upcoming live-action remake and adaptation of The Little Mermaid. And the latter may not be far behind.
Recently, in honor of the franchise’s upcoming 25th anniversary, The Mask creator and Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson sat down with Forbes and discussed that The Mask may, in fact, return to the big screen. And that if it were to do so, he’d actually be in favor of a female-led reboot over anything else:
“I’d like to see a really good physical comedian [in the role]. I have one in mind, but I’m not gonna say her name. We have to do a lot of convincing for this particular actor, but we’ll see … You never know what’s coming in the future. We have some ideas,” he shared.
While the franchise, made famous by Jim Carrey’s 1994 critically-acclaimed turn, hasn’t seen any development since its failed Son of The Mask sequel in 2005 (which starred Jamie Kennedy in Carrey’s stead), Richardson still thinks there is still much of character Stanley Ipkiss’s story that could be adapted for the silver screen. While Carrey’s turn as the Dark Horse comic character was more hilarious, lighthearted, and comedic in nature, the canonical version of the character is in fact much darker and has a tendency to use his reality-warping abilities for personal vendettas and against people who have wronged him.
This grittier take on the character, a trend that is currently in vogue when it comes to R-rated comic adaptions like Deadpool, is something that Richardson is more interested in exploring onscreen:
“I’d like it to be another character film about a person dealing with absolute power,” he added. “The whole theme of ‘The Mask’ was we all say what we would do if we had absolute power, just like Stanley Ipkiss. When we get absolute power, we often resort to the most petty of endeavors and it’s overcoming our human nature and using the power for good.”
With this line of thinking, it’s very possible that a female actress would be able to put a fresh spin on this “absolute power” concept, considering the current political climate of this country AND what a casting like that would do to address what happens specifically when someone who is marginalized has absolute power bestowed on them and if said marginalization makes them more likely to use this power for good—or the opposite.
Of course, it remains to be seen what actress Richardson would cast in the role and if we’ll actually be seeing a new adaptation of The Mask at all. Considering the fact that we’ve only scratched the surface of comic book adaptations and that there are other comic book houses besides Marvel and DC out there, there may be an audience for it after all. But only time will tell if a reboot of this nature would be welcomed with open arms or if it would face a similar, uphill battle like the female-led reboot of Ghostbusters or the female-led reboot of Ocean’s 8.