I’m not really sure how I feel about this Charlie’s Angels “comeback.” I just can’t figure it out: why does Drew Barrymore, who starred in the recent movie reboots and is executive producer on ABC's upcoming relaunch, keep pushing for it? Why now? And with such a campy history, how can we be expected to take this version seriously? I might be jumping the gun a little bit, but it just feels like the theoretical square peg that, for whatever reason, we keep trying to cram into our circle-shaped sense of pop culture.
I caught up will all three Angels (Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor, and Annie Ilonzeh) and the new Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez) at Comic-Con, in hopes that they might be able to change my perspective. Here’s what they had to say:
Had you guys watched the original '70s series going in?
A collective “no” from Minka Kelly (Eve), Rachael Taylor (Abby), and Annie Ilonzeh (Kate).
Ramon Rodriguez (Bosley): My older sisters forced me watch it.
Do you know how your version differs?
Taylor: Yes, I think the first one was kind of earnest, wasn’t it? It took itself rather seriously, I think. Whereas our version is more of a blend of camp and credible. I think we’re always aiming for credible, but we do it with a wink and a smile whereas the first one was quite serious.
Rodriguez: Yeah, we’re a lot more badass, too. Everyone kicks ass on the show. We take pride in the training we’ve been doing.
Do you feel like the characters are stronger?
Rodriquez: I would say so, yeah. I mean, Bosley’s completely different and I think we’re getting completely different characters in this one with unique personalities that really stand out.
Kelly: We all have dark pasts, and we all have different skill sets. And we don’t always follow the rules, which is fun.
Do you think this version is really about female power or is it more about sex appeal?
Taylor: I think every reincarnation of Charlie’s Angels has been appropriate for its time. I think the original series had incredibly strong and interesting female characters for that time, and the movie spoke to its time, and this time, we’re back in people’s living rooms so we want to do something that’s different again. But I certainly don’t think our series allows the sex appeal to get ahead–in fact, quite the opposite. We haven’t had any swimsuit moments or anything like that, yet. Certainly there’s some fun with fashion, but that’s actually quite credible because women like fashion. I don’t think that’s a sex appeal thing as much as a reality thing.
Is it inspired by the 70s version? Are we going to see any Farrah Fawcett feathered ‘dos?
Kelly: No, that was for that time, you know, like Rachael said, [looking to Rachael] right?
Taylor: Yeah, and that’s why I cut my hair short, not because I didn’t like [Fawcett’s], but because I was like, “what are women doing now?” It’s about keeping things current and credible. We’re not trying to make something fantastical. It’s not a superhero show, it’s about young private detectives.
How is Drew Barrymore as Executive Producer?
Ilonzeh: She’s been extremely supportive and nurturing.
Taylor: Drew’s very clever. She’s a very clever lady. I think she knows what women want, so having her influence on the show has been very useful. As far as overall time, she was in my audition, so she’s certainly pretty hands-on.
On the stunts (they do them all):
Rodriguez: I give a lot of credit to the producers and everybody involved with the show that they set up training for us. We were training with Navy Seals and stunt guys to make it authentic and real.
Rodriguez: I’m just the male support.
Kelly: No, no! He’s the fourth angel.
Ilonzeh: The big difference between the older versions and us is that we have four angels. Four angels, and Charlie in the box. And that is what it is.
Kelly: He’s as involved with all the action as any of us.
Ilonzeh: No Bosley has ever been like that, with a real specific skill.
Kelly: He has a skill set, we’ve got our skill sets.
On selling the show:
Taylor: It’s part Sex and the City, part 24.
Not a bad sell, right? But did the Angels manage to change your perspective? I’m not entirely sold, though I’ll be sure to catch the premiere on ABC this Fall. It still has a chance to win me over.
Charlie’s Angels premieres Thursday, September 22nd, at 8/7c on ABC.