Empire star Taraji P. Henson is set to headline What Men Want, a gender-flipped remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy What Women Want. While gender-flipped remakes of classic properties have become more and more common as of late, it’s unlikely that most would have seen this particular one coming. After all, What Women Want isn’t exactly one of Gibson’s best-remembered films, and critics at the time weren’t very kind to it overall. However, the film did do well financially, hauling in nearly $400 million worldwide on a budget of $70 million.
Directed by Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give), the original What Women Want starred Gibson as Nick Marshall, a womanizing alpha male ad executive in Chicago utterly overflowing with confidence in his abilities both professionally and romantically. After accidentally electrocuting himself, Nick’s world is changed, as he can now suddenly hear the thoughts of any woman. He initially uses this gift to his personal advantage, but eventually falls for co-worker Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt), and learns to be a better person. Fairly standard stuff for a romantic comedy – outside of the fantastical central conceit – but Gibson and Hunt do their best with what they’re given.
Now, Deadline reports that Paramount Players is fast tracking the aforementioned gender-flipped remake, simply titled What Men Want. Where Gibson played an ad exec, Taraji P. Henson is set to play a sports agent who is having trouble getting ahead in such a male-dominated world. Once she’s acquired the ability to hear the thoughts of men, she uses it to try and level the playing field, and sign the next big NBA superstar. What Men Want is targeting a January 11, 2019 theatrical release date.
This actually isn’t the first time What Men Want looked like it might be made. Back in 2009, rumors spread that the film was in the works, and would supposedly star Cameron Diaz. If those rumors were true, nothing ever came of them, and no further details on the potential project were released.
While she’s been acting in Hollywood since the 90s, Taraji P. Henson has seen her profile within the industry explode in the last few years, mostly thanks to the hit FOX drama Empire. She also played Detective Joss Carter on CBS’ Person of Interest, and was nominated for multiple awards for her work in the acclaimed film Hidden Figures. She’ll next be seen on the big screen in Proud Mary, an action-thriller that serves as a throwback to the classic Blaxploitation era.
What Men Want hits theaters on January 11, 2019.