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John Cusack Has Zero Faith in the Female-Led High Fidelity Reboot

Just go ahead and file the following under “Comments From a Male Actor That Nobody Asked For.” The story you’re about to read is particularly irksome, not just because it’s reductive but because it also stems from the belief that some original films are so good even trying to reboot them would just be an affront to the legacy of the original. In the case of the recently announced High Fidelity reboot, this is completely not the case; this film needs a tune-up.

It was announced in the first week of April that a television reboot of the 2000 film High Fidelity, which originally starred John Cusack and Jack Black, would go into production for Disney’s streaming service in the near future. The movie would not only be tailored for television instead of film, but it would also star a woman, not be a man (as was the case with Cusack in the film). The TV show will still feature some of the same key aspects of the film — a protagonist that breaks the fourth wall to discuss past relationships, the record store as one of the central locations for the story — while potentially retooling some of the more adult material down to a PG-13-rated story to make it accessible to a wider audience for the Disney streaming platform.

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This sounds like an exciting reimagining of a beloved ’00s indie hit. I’m always a fan of gender-swapping as a means to unlocking new thematic possibilities within a previously established plot (which is certainly the case with the ego-driven, male-dominated, men-as-gatekeepers-of-pop-culture foundation upon which High Fidelity is built). I also think tinkering with a film of this quality for an audience like Disney’s could make for some interesting new stories to be developed, so sure, why not go for it?

Welp, it turns out someone is determined to give their two unsolicited cents about this planned High Fidelity reboot, and yes, it’s none other than Cusack himself. The star of the original film tweeted his thoughts about the planned reboot on Monday, and it seems he’s ready to make it known he’s not super-on board with what’s happening. This should be good.

One commenter remarked, “The beauty of #HighFidelity is your character’s exquisite, well scored, misery,” and Cusack hopped in in agreement.

“Of course – they want to brand their thing with our thing- they’ll fuck it up,” he replied, adding a winking smiley face at the end. While Cusack doesn’t name the “they” in his statement, one could interpret this as a dig at Disney and Cusack having little faith in the writers assigned to this project (Pitchfork reports that the honor goes to former Ugly Betty scribes Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka) to capably adapt High Fidelity for a Disney audience.

Cusack continued in another tweet, “The woman part seems good / the rest not so much – but it’s [Nick Hornby’s] book hope at least he’s involved- if he’s not – it’ll suck,” he commented. Wow. OK, so, let’s break that down, shall we? First off, you’ve gotta love the reductive vibes coming in hot from “the woman part seems good” part of this statement. But the real kicker is that Cusack seems ready to just knock this reboot down a peg without even giving it a chance to develop. Rather than endorse or even give it a chance, Cusack seems intent on being smarmy.

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I’m not opposed to healthy criticism of an announced reboot during an era when there seems to be a deluge of reboots announced with regularity. But there’s something uniquely annoying about Cusack piping in to offer what seems to be a belittling commentary. You mean to tell me that with the announcement of this reboot and the exciting new directions two high-profile female TV writers want to take this project, which will give new life to a film that is almost 20 years old and that doesn’t have quite the same foothold in the zeitgeist as it once did, dear Cusack just wants to take it all down a peg or two with his snarky comments?

No thanks; you can keep your opinions to yourself, good sir.

High Fidelity GIF Jack Black
Image: Giphy

I’m all tapped out on taking the negative approach to any reboot news. When this kind of news comes in as quickly as it seems to these days, it’s probably more productive to get excited, be hopeful and give your support (if it’s a project you care about, that is). Frankly, it’s so much easier to be a fan of something rather than a critic. Let’s hope the folks on the High Fidelity reboot team just brush the Cusack comments right off should they catch wind of them.

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