By bringing together the starry cast of coaches and fellow recruits for the fun-filled end-credit sequence in Sony's Charlie & Angels reboot, writer-director Elizabeth Banks sought out women at the top of her game.
"I wanted really exceptional women in their fields," she said before the November 15 theatrical release. “That was the first. I also wanted to remind people that women can be exceptional in fields that are typically within the competence of men. That's the kind of DNA from Charlie & # 39; s Angels & # 39; generally. "
Banks' "Charlie's Angels" stars Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott as new Angels in a decidedly feminist version of the franchise. Banks herself plays Bosley, a former Angel who liaised with Charlie, whose Townsend Agency has expanded to become a global company.
The film's medium-credit scene features guest appearances by Olympic athletes Aly Raisman and Chloe Kim, Danica Patrick, former mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey and actresses Laverne Cox, Hailee Steinfeld and Lili Reinhart. Michael Strahan also briefly appears in the movie as Bosley, and one of the original 70's ABC Angels that started it all makes a cameo in a surprising role (which we won't spoil here).
"We wanted to tell the story of what Charles Townsend Agency would look like now," said producer Elizabeth Cantillon. “Who would they bring to train the best-in-class Angels? So that's how we ended up with Ronda Rousey and Danica Patrick. "
"Ronda and Danica are very revolutionary in their fields and are very representative of the spirit of & # 39; Charlie & # 39; s Angels & # 39;" added Banks.
Elizabeth Banks on the set of "Charlie's Angels".
(Chiabella James / Columbia Pictures)
Raisman, Kim, Steinfeld ("Dickinson", "Bumblebee") and Reinhart ("Riverdale", "Hustlers") play Angel recruits who are tested alongside Scott's character Elena. "Aly, of course, represents not only an excellent athlete but also a defender," said Cantillon. “And Chloe is just a great snowboarder, so we were so excited about her. Liz (Banks) knew Hailee from "Pitch Perfect 2" and Lily raised her hand. And we thought: That's awesome! We love her too! & # 39; So that was just random. "
"Hailee and Lily, to me, are two chameleons," Banks added. "I felt that this was also important to Charlie's Angels. We're everywhere. We might even be on a television show or create his favorite song."
Emmy Cox-nominated Orange Is the New Black star, a friend of Banks, was cast to play a blasting expert. And "Good Morning America" co-host Strahan was an ideal Bosley, says Banks, because he already wears so many hats.
"I wanted to plant the seed at the beginning of the movie that the universe of Charlie's Angels is bigger than the story of these women you're watching," said Banks. “It's a reminder that this is an organization that has access and infrastructure around the world that touches people everywhere, so we said, 'Let Michael Strahan be Michael Strahan.' We do not pretend that he was not the host of Good Morning America. ; We're just adding this work to the long list of jobs Michael Strahan already does in his life. "
As for the special appearances of the original big-screen angels – Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu – Banks says he considered including them, but that the negotiations didn't work out. "I won't tell you why," she said. "I considered everything and I think I ended up in exactly the right places."
"We had conversations, not with the girls directly, but with the representatives," Cantillon said. "Just making a cameo at the end didn't seem like enough for them. We didn't have much time to do something more elaborate, but I hope if we ever build another we can build them."
Despite the absence of stars in the movie, Banks considers his movie in the same canon as McG's franchise entries in 2000 and 2003.
"I felt we owed a debt to the whole canon," she said. "I like to say that this movie simplifies the timeline of & # 39; Charlie & # 39; s Angels & # 39; & # 39; s. We are embracing everything that came before. I am proud of the legacy of" The Angels of Charlie. "and my Angels are standing on the shoulders of the Angels who came before them. I know that Drew Barrymore (who produced the 2000 and 2003 films) believed the same when he made his films. Now, my hope is that we will inspire another filmmaker and another group of angels in another 10 years. ”
From the left, Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott and Kristen Stewart star in Sony's "Charlie & Angels" reboot.
(Najda Klier / Columbia Pictures)
Banks says his iteration of "Charlie's Angels" was inspired more directly by the 1970s series than the first films of the decade. Growing up, she and her two sisters considered the angels a "wish fulfillment," she says.
"I wanted to make a movie about women at work," she said. "This is one of the things I loved most about watching the original show, which was professional women. The original show was very revolutionary, because it's about women in the 70's doing detective work, which was usually done by men. … This movie is a portrait of women who are really good at what they do, love to do, and when they do it together they are even stronger. ”
"The messages for women and girls (in this movie) are not so different from the messages on the TV show," Cantillon said. "What it is: Women can do anything if they have the opportunity and are stronger when they work together."
But the message of women's empowerment and feminism sounds differently following the Time's Up and #MeToo movements.
"This story is about an unsupported whistleblower who believes in her work," Banks said. "And to me, this is partly a story of a woman turning to a group of women who say, 'We believe in you and we support and help.' And I find that really powerful. And there are really great ones. men helping too. ”
"I think there's a bit of stigma about being a feminist," Cantillon added. "There is a historical association with which young women do not identify. But in fact, there are women police and astronauts and all because of feminism. I think female empowerment seems like women are not being impeded, and I think That's what Charlie & # 39; s Angels & # 39; s messages are. Every girl has the potential to be a great woman if you give the clue to it. They could be Chloe Kim or Danica Patrick or Elizabeth Banks! They can be anything.