Casting Call: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Published July 27, 2012

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

The 1962 cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane takes the age-old ailment of sibling rivalry and stretches it to its most grotesque, adding in a sadistic senior citizen, a gothic storyline, and blood-chilling scenes of physical and mental abuse. It’s a psychological thriller: Great Dame Edition. Real-life rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford play Jane and Blanche, Hollywood has-beens with a history of sisterly jealousy that escalates into murderous and disturbing actions. 

In the original film Jane (Bette Davis) is a onetime child star who resents her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) for outshining her as they grew up. Years later, both inhabit a decaying Hollywood mansion together. Crippled after an automobile accident, sweet and docile Blanche is dependent on the care of her emotionally disturbed sister. Jane, unable to accept her failed career, has taken up drinking, abusing her sister and caking on make-up while dressing like a 10-year-old.

So, what did ever happened to baby Jane? Looks like director Walter Hill took the question seriously. According to the New York Times, Hill is directing the new remake. We’re interested to see how Hill is going to tackle recreating one of the most iconic female pairings in history, especially since he’s known for directing male-dominated, action films. In a press release, Hill stated, “The two equal leads demand great performers—that is a given. The intensity of the gothic storyline makes a reconfiguration of the drama still a potentially searing experience. The idea is to make a modern film without modernizing the period. It needs to resonate the golden age of Hollywood.” Modernizing a film without modernizing the period is a pretty lofty goal but we have faith in Hill; though he isn’t too well-versed in the Hollywood portrayal of female envy, he is experienced when it comes to directing cult classics —for reference, see the 70s underground classic, The Warriors. To help him out a bit, we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a few casting suggestions.

For more Casting Calls, click here.