The attempt to fashion a new incarnation of cult camp classic sci-fi pic Barbarella has been going for some time. There was a long-gestating but ultimately abandoned film remake that attracted the likes of Roberts Rodriguez and Luketic. Then came the TV version, with Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn aboard as producer and Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on script duty. Today brings a new twist, because Amazon Studios has picked up the pilot.
Amazon, which has been pushing its way into the original streaming content waters first charted by Netflix, has had some success with the likes of Alpha House and Betas. Now Barbarella will be among the next wave of pilots vying for the attention of Amazon Prime members, who will score the results and decide the fate of any potential show.
Barbarella will adapt the characters and ideas created first in Jean-Claude Forest’s graphic novel, made famous by Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s 1968 film. Who is Barbarella? Well, basically she's a really hot babe who travels the galaxy in the cause of truth, justice and all that, frequently encountering aliens who try to seduce her, terrifying machines like the "orgasmatron" (no fair guessing how she defeats that) and occasionally stripping in zero-G.
Gaumont International Television has the rights and is looking to find a show-runner to handle the series should the pilot succeed. Refn was attached to direct that first episode, but it appears he’s currently just producing for now. Amazon, which has fewer restrictions on content than the networks (much like Netflix and cable channels such as HBO) seems a much more natural fit for a show which will no doubt aim to channel the same sultry sex appeal as the film. Question is, will it also be as loopy?