Jennifer Garner’s next move should be an “Alias” movie
Hollywoodnews.com: Why not, right?
Television-to-movie adaptations are the current craze, and have been for the past few years. Hollywood is going back to the archives for “The A-Team,” celebrating present-day hits with “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and looking ahead to future big-screen stories from the “24” and (possibly) “Lost” universe. “Alias,” at the very least, belongs in the conversation.
This isn’t coming out of thin air. The idea came to me after digesting Fox’s recent Blu-ray touch-up of “Elektra” while surfing The Hollywood Reporter’s column asking if movie audiences are tiring of sequels. The answer to that age-old question is yes and no. Most of us didn’t need to see another “Shrek” film, and clearly “Sex and the City 2” ran out of gas before Liza Minelli put the finishing touches on Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies.”
But “Iron Man 2” brought plenty of story material to the table — some would argue too much, in fact — and audience members responded in kind. Sequels will always be accepted if they continue to expand on the overall story being told. Take the fourth “Die Hard,” as an example. It felt like a natural progression for Bruce Willis’ indestructible officer John McClane. A rumored fifth adventure, however, might be overdoing it. We’ll know when we see it.
Why “Alias,” though?
Well, the show (which ran from 2001-06 with a relatively unknown but perfectly cast Jennifer Garner) was nothing short of fantastic. The earliest seasons, which featured Garner’s double-agent character Sydney Bristow juggling a private life and a lethal secret life), were enormously elaborate and entertaining episodes of spy fiction. Character actors Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin chewed the right amount of scenery as Garner’s father and nemesis. And while the show got caught up in a convoluted mythology that led to the series’ ultimate demise, there’s PLENTY of material left on the table to turn Bristow into a big-screen James Bond for multiple feature-length adventures — especially while Bond, himself, languishes in MGM’s financial discontent.
Why now? For a number of reasons.
1. Bond is in limbo.
As we just mentioned, the next Bond adventure officially is TBD. A Sydney Bristow thriller could not only fill the void left by 007, it could potentially replace him on the spy food chain in ways Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt could not.
2. A TV version might be on the horizon
Rumors of an “Alias” reboot on network television are starting to swirl. And while that might not be a bad idea, I don’t think it’s the best idea. A limited budget often affected “Alias” (special effects weren’t necessarily special), and the original cast likely would command a hefty salary bump. Spend the money and do “Alias” the right way … on the big screen. That leads me to this.
3. Jennifer Garner’s a major movie star now. Bradley Cooper is, too.
You already can sell the franchise on two stars — something that couldn’t be said back in 2001 when the show started. Yes, Cooper “Alias” character, Will, largely played third banana to Garner and love interest Michael Vartan. But kill of Vartan’s vanilla Vaughn in the opening minutes, and the door is open to a rousing adventure with Garner and Cooper playing off each other and putting to use the skills they’ve picked up in the motion picture exercises. Speaking of experience …
4. Regular “Alias” directors like J.J. Abrams and Jack Bender have more experience now
Abrams, himself, has become a household name thanks to his contributions to “Lost” and his directorial efforts with “Star Trek” and the third “Mission: Impossible” (which, essentially, was “Alias” with Cruise in the title role). A studio would be more likely to sign off on an Abrams or Bender-directed “Alias” now that the talents have proven themselves in the motion-picture ring.
5. Garner could use a hit.
Yes, the once bankable actress was part of “Valentine’s Day,” which made a boatload of money. But that was an ensemble. Her recent attempts at carrying a film (or sharing the lead with a male co-star) haven’t flown as high as expected. “The Invention of Lying” made $18 million. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” took in $55.2 million in a summer season. “The Kingdom” scored only $47M, while “Catch and Release” barely earned $15M. A return to the franchise that launched her career could give her current career-track a real boost.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen. But I am saying I want it to happen. And I hope the powers that be make it happen. Soon.