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‘Dear White People’ Writer-Director Justin Simien Puts Modern Spin on ‘Flashdance’ with Paramount+ Series

Simien is also helming the "Star Wars: Lando" series and Disney's "Haunted Mansion" film, starring Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, and Tiffany Haddish.

FLASHDANCE, Jennifer Beals, 1983, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Jennifer Beals, “Flashdance”

©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Justin Simien is officially taking on a 1980s classic.

The “Dear White People” creator is set to adapt and direct a modern retelling of 1983 Paramount Pictures film “Flashdance,” which originally starred Jennifer Beals as a steel mill worker with ballerina dreams.

“Bad Hair” director Simien signed an overall deal with Paramount Television Studios in August 2021 after adapting his own Lionsgate film “Dear White People” for Netflix. The TV series concluded last September after four seasons.

The Paramount+ series was announced on February 1, following the project’s first stab at development at CBS All Access in October 2020 with Tracy McMillan writing and Angela Robinson directing, as Deadline reported. The former CBS project was slated to center on a young Black dancer who worked at a strip club while “struggling to find her place in the world while navigating romance, money, art, friendship, and how to love herself” on the road to becoming a ballet star.

Paramount+ is working to adapt a series of Paramount Pictures film titles, including “Fatal Attraction” with Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan playing ill-fated lovers and “The Offer,” centered on the real-life story behind “The Godfather.” Miles Teller stars a producer Albert S. Ruddy, who curbed mob threats and production disagreements to adapt the novels by Mario Puzo for the big screen.

Dan Fogler plays director Francis Ford Coppola, Matthew Goode portrays Paramount Studios chief Robert Evans, and Juno Temple acts as Ruddy’s secretary, Bettye McCartt. Giovanni Ribisi plays mobster Joe Colombo, who campaigned to get “The Godfather” shutdown.

Paramount+ TV takes on “The Italian Job,” “Love Story,” and “The Parallax View” are also in the works for the streaming service.

In addition to “Flashdance,” Simien is busy directing Disney+ series “Star Wars: Lando,” as well as “Haunted Mansion” starring Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, and Tiffany Haddish. The film is based on the Disneyland theme park ride.

Reportedly, the film focuses on single mother Gabbie (Dawson) who hires a tour guide (Stanfield), a psychic (Haddish), a priest (Wilson), and a historian to help rid her mansion of ghosts. There is not a set release date for the “Haunted Mansion” movie.

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