Sometimes, the idea of a favorite film being rebooted makes people nervous — we get it, we really do. So it’s totally understandable if you experienced a moment of doubt when it was announced that the 1986 cult classic Overboard was being remade. But here’s the thing: It’s in good hands — Anna Faris is at the helm. And when we got the chance to chat with her, she made it clear she takes the responsibility of bringing Overboard back to life (with a gender swap, nonetheless) very seriously.
“I had a lot of emotions about it,” Faris told us. “It’s one of my favorite all-time movies that I have! And I was nervous about filling such big shoes — Goldie Hawn has been such a hero of mine.” But for as much nervous trepidation as Faris had going into the project, another feeling proved just as dominant: protectiveness. Faris couldn’t stand the thought of it being done without her, saying, “I had this overwhelming feeling of, ‘But if they’re gonna do it, I don’t want anyone else to be a part of it.’”
Within minutes of hopping on a call with Faris, the actor began quoting lines from the iconic ‘80s film. Like the rest of us, she watched it with wild abandon during her formative years, never imagining she’d one day be sliding into the film’s female lead role. And she certainly never imagined she’d be called upon by the original stars, Hawn and Kurt Russell, to discuss that decision.
Backstory: Years prior, Faris met Hawn by happenstance. She had auditioned for a movie Hawn’s son, Oliver Hudson, was putting together. Of that first meeting, Faris confesses she was starstruck. “I was just floored,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is my hero. I’m shaking.’ So you can imagine her nerves when, last winter, Russell questioned the upcoming project. “I didn’t know him, but he said, ‘I hear that you’re making our movie’ — and he didn’t say it like, ‘That’s awesome,’” Faris shared, laughing. Then it was Faris’ turn to panic when the inimitable duo of Hawn and Russell invited her to dinner the following night.
She says she naturally she spent the entire day predinner terrified about what was to come. “I wanted to reassure him that this was different but would also hopefully honor the movie that they made. I think all of us as a production have been worried that superfans like myself would feel like we are treading on very sacred ground, and I think that’s why we wanted to make it different enough.”
Faris must have relayed the sentiment well. “By the end of the meal, they gave me their blessing — ‘Have a great time. Stick to your guns. Don’t get bullied around’ — and they picked up the check,” an obviously relieved Faris revealed with a laugh.
What is it about the reboot, then, that makes it different enough from the original to merit Hawn’s and Russell’s approval (not to mention that of devoted fans)? Well, there are a couple of things. “I think the gender switching of the roles helped, and the fact that we had such a Latino and Latina presence in the movie,” Faris said, admitting in the same breath that her linguistic mastery could use some polishing. “I think I had, like, four lines in Spanish, maybe that, and I could barely get through them,” she joked. “I don’t have the brain capacity, I think, for acting in another language.”
Despite her linguistic skills (or lack thereof), Faris feels the revamped perspective makes the new Overboard a standout. “I’m really proud that we’re telling a story that a lot of Americans haven’t seen in terms of typical stereotypes… of how we view our incredible neighbors to the South.”
The addition of a strong female voice — in a character played by costar Eva Longoria — also differentiates the old film from the new. “She’s amazing!” Faris told us. “She’s one of those people that, from the second I met her, I felt like I knew her. She just ran up to me at, like, 5:30 in the morning and gave me this massive hug. She is just so warm. She’s so talented. She made everything easy. I am just really honored to know her.”
And on top of all that, the Overboard remake isn’t the typical rom-com we’re used to — it presents a message all audiences will appreciate. “It is romantic, but it’s about the importance of family,” Faris said.
So, still not convinced you want to see the Overboard remake? OK, consider this: It could be Faris’ last comedic movie role for a while; apparently, she’s got an untapped flair for the dramatic — and according to IMDb, she doesn’t have any other comedies (aside from Mom) currently in the works.
“I love playing really flawed people because I can relate to them,” Faris said, laughing. “Part of what I enjoy so much about acting is disappearing… I grew up doing drama. I would love to find the perfect project.”
Turns out, Faris’ mom wants her to pursue more dramatic roles. “My mom is always like, ‘Why don’t you play Amelia Earhart or Joan of Arc?’ I’m like, ‘Mom, first of all, those have already been done. And second, I don’t know if I’d be any good at it,’” Faris said, laughing through what we imagine to be a classic “Oh, mom” eye roll.
Ironically, Faris confesses she never even envisioned herself in the world of comedy — and while she’s had an incredible career in it, with Overboard just being her latest success — we might see a different side of Faris, just yet.
Overboard hits theaters May 4.