Disney has announced a new project for their upcoming digital streaming service – a television series based on the movie High Fidelity. The series will have a twist, however, centering upon a female protagonist, while still maintaining the romantic comedy tone of the original movie.
Based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, High Fidelity tells the story of Rob Gordon – a devout music fan and record-shop owner, who is played by John Cusack. Attended by his two assistants – “the musical moron twins” Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black) – Rob spends his days at the shop mocking his customer’s poor taste in music while composing lists of the Top 5 greatest songs to fit certain themes. As the movie opens, Rob has been dumped by his latest girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle). This prompts Rob to seek out his old girlfriends in an effort to figure out why he can’t seem to maintain a relationship, before resolving to win Laura back. The movie was a critical success, earning a 91 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a rare four star rating from critic Roger Ebert.
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Deadline broke the story on the new gender-flipped television series. While no cast has been announced at this time, it has been revealed that the writing team includes Scott Rosenberg, who was one of the screenwriters on the original film. The pilot is being scripted by writers Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka (Bull, Ugly Betty).
As in the movie, a record store will be the primary setting and the show’s unnamed female lead will be the shop’s owner. It is unknown if the rest of the cast will be gender-flipped as well. The show will, however, features segments where the main character breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience, just like Rob Gordon did in the original movie. The series will be aiming for a PG-13 tone. Ironically, the original movie will not be available for viewers to compare to the new series, as R-rated films have been banned from the new streaming service.
While a television series based on High Fidelity seems an eclectic choice for one of the first original projects for Disney’s new on-demand streaming service, it is heartening to see the company taking chances on a more obscure property. It will be interesting to see how shifting the perspective of the film to a female lead might alter the story. It also remains to be seen if the basic conceit of the film – considered a definitive look at turn-of-the-century Gen-Xer life – can be adapted for a more modern audience.
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