Paramount Players, the new Paramount Pictures division aimed at developing movies based on properties owned by parent company Viacom, is putting together What Men Want, a gender-swapped remake of What Women Want, the 2000 romantic comedy starring Mel Gibson, with Taraji P. Henson set to star. While it doesn't seem that there is a writer or director on board at this stage, Paramount is already putting this project on the fast track, setting a January 11, 2019 release date. The original movie starred Mel Gibson as a chauvinistic man who begins to hear what women are really thinking about, which will be turned on its ear in this remake.
The story centers on Taraji P. Henson's character, a female sports agent who is always getting bested by her male colleagues. After she gains the power to hear what men are really thinking about, she uses this unique ability to her advantage, as she tries to beat out her male colleagues and competitors to sign the next big NBA sensation. Will Packer is producing alongside James Lopez, with Taraji P. Henson also serving as an executive producer. With a release date already set, it's possible that the studio could already be searching for a writer and director as we speak, and with a star of Taraji P. Henson's caliber attached, this could come together quite quickly.
It isn't clear if there are any plans to bring in original What Women Want star Mel Gibson, who is enjoying a career renaissance of sorts after directing Hacksaw Ridge and starring in the comedy sequel Daddy's Home 2, which opened last weekend. There was also a recent rumor that Lethal Weapon 5 may happen with both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and even if that doesn't happen, it seems unlikely that any of the stars from the original What Women Want would surface. The cast also included Helen Hunt, Alan Alda, Marisa Tomei, Ashley Johnson and Mark Feurstein, with Nancy Meyers directing from a script by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa (King of Queens). The original movie was one of the surprise box office hits of 2000, earning $182.8 million domestic, the fifth highest grossing movie that year, beating out The Perfect Storm, Meet the Parents and X-Men.
This is the third project we've reported on that is originating from the Paramount Players division. The first was the studio's live-action Dora the Explorer movie that was put together in late October, and just yesterday, we reported that Paramount Players is moving forward with a new rendition of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV series Are You Afraid Of The Dark. The Paramount Players division is being run by Awesomeness TV founder Brian Robbins, which will develop movies based on Viacom properties like Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET, which also includes Paramount Pictures itself. Given that this is being put on the fast track, with a release date already locked down, it's possible that this could be the first movie to be released under the Paramount Players banner.
This movie will also serve as a reunion for Taraji P. Henson and producer Will Packer, who both worked on the hit 2012 comedy Think Like a Man and its 2014 follow-up, Think Like a Man Too. Taraji P. Henson is coming off the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures, and she currently stars on Fox's hit series Empire. She also has a trio of movies hitting theaters next year, Sony's revenge thriller Proud Mary, arriving on January 12, 2018, Lionsgate's thriller Acrimony, hitting theaters March 30, 2018 and Disney's animated sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. Deadline broke the news on this new remake earlier today.