What if True Romance was directed by a woman?

We reimagine male-centric, testosterone-heavy cult favs from a female perspective

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Still from "True Romance"
Still from "True Romance"Drafthouse Films

One of my favourite activities while watching movies is to ponder “What if Jane Campion directed this?” (I mean, Jane Campion’s Captain Phillips is one of the best movies never made as far as I’m concerned). Taking that one step further, we thought it would be interesting to speculate what a handful of cult classics might have been like if they were directed by women. While any director – man or woman – worth their salt has their own voice based on their own life experience, so much of what we see comes from the perspective of male creators. When women are behind the camera, speaking roles for women increase from 4% to 39%. So what would happen if that perspective was flipped?

THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)

The Big Lebowski, the Coen Bros’ modern, slacker take on Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep focuses on the Dude (Jeff Bridges) and his bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) as they try to solve a few mysteries for the titular Big Lebowski (David Huddleston) and his eccentric socialite daughter Maude (Julianne Moore) involving his trophy wife named Bunny (Tara Reid).

WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY A WOMAN?

What if the Dude actually dug deeper into Bunny’s exploits as a runaway farm girl who marries rich and hangs out with ex-rockstar Nihilists (and Aimee Mann!)? What if he found out she watched Pretty Woman and decided to become a sex worker in LA, only to be saved by the Big Lebowski (who was also a really big Richard Gere fan) and after visiting a spiritual guru in Palm Springs decides she needs to use her new-found wealth to help other young girls who foolishly fall for LA’s siren call?

TRUE ROMANCE (1993)

Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, True Romance finds Clarence (Christian Slater) alone on his birthday watching a Kung Fu triple feature when he meets Alabama, who appears to be at the girl of his dreams (and is actually an escort hired by his boss so he’ll have a good time). They fall in love, get married, and, after killing Alabama’s pimp, take off on a crime-addled road trip to California. Although we get voice over from Alabama’s point of view, we don’t really get to know much about her aside from her love of pie, Mickey Rourke and her new husband.

WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY A WOMAN?

What if before she became an escort she and her friend Bambi had tried to be singers, but somehow found themselves working as escorts in order to make ends meet? What if after Clarence kills their pimp, since neither of them ever dreamed of getting married and having a baby, they leave him and run off together to pursue music again somewhere else. Really, let’s just make Thelma and Louise, but with Alabama and Bambi.

BLUE VELVET (1986)

David Lynch’s neo-noir masterpiece of small town corruption stars Kyle MacLachlan as Jeffrey, a college student visiting his ill father. After finding a severed human ear in a field, he and local girl Sandy (Laura Dern) become entangled in a messy mystery involving a lounge singer named Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and a criminal named Frank (Dennis Hopper).

WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY A WOMAN?

What if the story was focused on Dorothy and Sandy? Sandy finds the ear and using instincts she learned from her dad (who is a detective), she finds Dorothy and the two of them become friends in a mother-daughter way (instead of oedipal relationship she has with Jeffrey). After finding strength in each other’s friendship, they come up with an actual plan to take down Frank and rescue her son.

BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and set in 2019, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner stars Harrison Ford a retired L.A. Rick Deckard, who is brought back to the force to track down four renegade replicants (androids), who are on Earth illegally. While doing so, he falls in love with Rachael (Sean Young), a replicant who believes she is actually human. Like most film noir, this story is told from the male protagonist’s point of view.

WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY A WOMAN?

But what if we saw Rachael’s point of view? She discovers she is an android with a finite lifespan and has spent her entire life as an assistant, so she falls in love with a retired cop because love is the ultimate expression of humanity? Boring. Our Rachael would embrace the YOLO spirit and go out and do as many things (and people) as she possibly could. Maybe even find out what she’s passionate about, which in the end maybe could be Deckard, but the girl deserves to try her options out first!

THE WARRIORS (1979)

Directed by Walter Hill, The Warriors is based on a novel of the same name by Sol Yurick. Cyrus, the leader of the most powerful gang in New York City, calls a midnight meeting of all the gangs in order to create a citywide truce. Chaos ensues after he is murdered and we follow the The Warriors, who have been framed for the shooting, as they try to make their way back to Coney Island. Most of groups are after The Warriors, including the only all-girl group The Lizzies.

WHAT IF IT WAS DIRECTED BY A WOMAN?

What if the whole film was about The Lizzies? What if all the gangs were after them? Along with people trying to kill, they would probably have to deal with rampant sexism, rape threats and worse (and not just from the gangs who are after them; pre-gentrified 1970s New York City was not too kind to anyone walking alone at night, but especially women). But The Lizzies are tough chicks, who pack heat, shut down gender roles and fight the patriarchy every way they can.

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