Last Thursday, September 11th, a glamorous array of stars turned out for the premiere of Diane English’s all-female film ‘The Women’ at the Mann Village Theatre in California.
Unsurprisingly, most of the people attending were of the female variety. The film revolves around ‘a group of gossipy, high-society ladies’ and stars Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, and model-turned-actress Natasha Alam.
In the introduction to her interview with Diane English, journalist Erica Abeel writes:
“In 1936, theatergoers were first treated to a rousing bitch-a-thon called “The Women.” Outrageous and often hilarious, the Clare Booth Luce-penned play is set in a female-only zone of Park Avenue, and its plot, a flimsy affair, concerns the trials of Mary Haines, a contented wife who discovers that her wealthy husband Steven is having a fling with the “spritzer girl” at the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter. Mary’s girlfriends offer solace by feeding her marital woes to the tabloids, when they’re not cracking wise at each other’s expense, at times literally drawing blood. (Sample stage direction: “Sylvia is about to use her nails…”) In 1939, the fur flew again in a film by George Cukor that’s become a cult classic and faithfully reflects the venomous spirit of the play.
Now, after a lengthy sojourn in development hell, Diane English (the creator of “Murphy Brown”) brings “The Women” into the 21st century, turning the bitchfest into a lovefest. As in Luce’s original, English has kept the all-female cast, with nary a guy in sight. Meg Ryan stars as Mary the wronged wife and Eva Mendes as the bombshell shopgirl. The delicious Annette Bening, tearing through pricey real estate with manic glee, takes on the Rosalind Russell role as Sylvie, Mary’s best friend since college — though she’s now a happily unmarried editor of a high-profile magazine. In a post-“Sex and the City” landscape, these “Women” come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, generations, and professions.”