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The Golden Girls (2018)
More Information
Director: Paul Feig
Producer(s): Susan Harris

Paul Junger Witt Tony Thomas

Paul Feig

Writer(s): Susan Harris

Paul Feig

Composer: Theodore Shapiro
Release: September 14th 2018 (USA)
Running Time: 110 minutes
Budget: 32 Million USD
Box Office: 300 Million USD
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The Golden Palace

The Golden Girls is a 2018 movie remake of the 1980s NBC situation comedy of the same name. Directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, Feig co-wrote the film with the original show's creator Susan Harris.

Background

Rumours of a movie adaptation of The Golden Girls surfaced shortly after the show's 30th anniversary in 2015 and ABC Studios officially announced the film in July 2016. Paul Feig was announced as the director,co-producer and co-writer alongside Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas and series creator Susan Harris.

Feig revealed casting had begun prior to the film's official announcement and he had an all-star cast of A-List Golden Girls fans lined up. Sigourney Weaver was announced as Dorothy Zbornak in September 2016 alongside Michelle Pfeiffer as Blanche Devereaux, Rhea Perlman as Sophia Petrillo and Meryl Streep completing the original line-up as Rose Nylund.

Soon after, the four male leads were announced, Pierce Brosnan cast as original character Marvin, Michael Douglas as Blanche's uncle Lucas, Steve Buscemi as Stan Zbornak, Dorothy's ex-husband and Ernie Hudson as Dr Harry Weston. Bryce Dallas Howard was then cast as Blanche's daughter Becky.

The final casting announcements were made on a 2017 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Betty White. White revealed she'd portray the role of Blanche's aunt in the film and would be joined by SNL cast members Kate McKinnon and Sasheer Zamata. Production began in the summer of 2017, filming on location in Miami and in studio in Los Angeles. It was confirmed by Paul Feig that the film would be set in 1988. He posted a picture of Rhea Perlman in full ageing makeup during filming.

Production ended in September 10th 2017 and the first trailer premiered on January 17th 2018, Betty White's 96th birthday. The trailer included a new version of the original theme song, performed by Fifth Harmony.

Cast

Sigourney Weaver as Dorothy Zbornak, a divorced substitute high-school teacher portrayed by Bea Arthur in the original series.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Blanche Devereaux, a flirty southern belle who rushes into an engagement, portrayed by Rue McClanahan in the original series.

Meryl Streep as Rose Nylund, a ditsy grief counsellor from Minnesota, portrayed by Betty White in the original series.

Rhea Perlman as Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy's straight talking elderly mother who lives with the girls after her retirement home burns down, portrayed by Estelle Getty in the original series.

Pierce Brosnan as Marvin, Blanche's new boyfriend who unexpectedly proposes to her, leading to Blanche rushing a plan for the wedding. Loosely based on Harry from the Pilot episode of the original series.

Michael Douglas as Lucas Hollingsworth, Blanche's recently divorced uncle who reluctantly agrees to go on a date with Dorothy and ends up falling for her. Portrayed by Leslie Nielsen in the original series finale.

Steve Buscemi as Stan Zbornak, Dorothy's down-in-luck ex husband who turns up unannounced at Blanche's engagement party. Portrayed by Herb Edelman in the original series.

Betty White as Great Aunt Patricia, Blanche's mother's sister and the oldest living member of her family, only original cast member to appear in the film.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Rebecca Devereaux, one of blanche's daughters who arrives for the wedding with severe reservations.

Kate McKinnon as Lucy Warren, Blanche's niece who attempts to seduce Marvin to prove his mischievous past.

Ernie Hudson as Dr Harry Weston, the girl's physician and next door neighbour who has a clear crush on Rose, but she is completely oblivious to it. Portrayed by Richard Mulligan in the original series and on Empty Nest.

Sasheer Zamata as Barbara Weston, Harry's daughter and a police officer. Portrayed by Kristy McNichol in the original series and on Empty Nest.

Plot

50-something Blanche Devereaux (Michelle Pfeiffer) lives with her best friends Dorothy Zbornak (Sigourney Weaver) and Rose Nylund (Meryl Streep) in Miami, Florida in 1989. She returns home with her date Marvin (Pierce Brosnan) one night with news for her friends - She's engaged to Marvin, who she's only been dating for 2 weeks, and the wedding is set from a month to the day. Dorothy is delighted but Rose is suspicious and weary of her friend's news.

Dr Harry Weston (Ernie Hudson) and his daughter Barbara pay the girls a visit after hearing the good news and Harry, who clearly has a crush on Rose, invites her to dinner that evening. Rose agrees at Blanche and Dorothy's push. That evening, as Rose prepares to leave, Dorothy's mother Sophia (Rhea Perlman), who had moved out the week earlier to live in a retirement home returns and reveals she's moving back in after her home has burnt down. Shocked and taken aback, Dorothy and Blanche agree and send Rose on her way. While at dinner and oblivious to Harry's advances, Rose confides in Barbara about Marvin, much to Barbara's amusement. Barbara quashes Rose's fears and tells her she's being overprotective of her friend.

The next morning at breakfast, Blanche is surprised when four of her family members show up at the house, her daughter Becky (Bryce Dallas Howard), her niece Lucy (Kate McKinnon), her great aunt Patricia (Betty White) and her uncle Lucas. Busy planning her wedding, she sends her daughter and niece to the mall with Sophia to shop for the wedding, she pairs Patricia up with Rose and organises a date between Lucas and Dorothy, much to both's annoyance after a previous encounter left a sour taste in both of their mouths.

Becky and Lucy go the the mall with Sophia and they bump in Stan Zbornak (Steve Buscemi), Sophia's ex son-in-law. Sophia tells him that Dorothy is going on a date, fearing she's getting over him, he plots to stop the date. Sophia and the girls then eat at an Italian restaurant and she is disgusted, prompting her to insisting on showing the chef to cook a proper Italian meal, with the help of Becky and Lucy.

Rose tells Patricia about her suspicions about Marvin and then tells a story about a similar experience back in her hometown of St. Olaf. Patricia quickly hits her over the head with a paper and tells her to shut up, they should do research of their own into Marvin.

Lucas and Dorothy reluctantly go on a lunch date and talk about their annoyance with both Blanche and one another. Stan, who learned where their date was from Sophia, arrives and confronts Dorothy about her date. Annoyed, Dorothy acts as if she's having the time of her life and kisses Lucas passionately. A sad Stan leaves, but Dorothy does not apologise for kissing Lucas, Lucas reveals he liked it and asks Dorothy if she'd be his wedding date, she happily agrees.

Patricia enlists the help of Barbara to help Rose find out details about Marvin and the trio discover that Marvin is dating other women.

Lucy and Becky decide to throw Blanche a bachelorette party, at the party in the midst of fun, Patricia, Barbara and Rose tell Blanche, but she refuses to believe it and she bans the three of them from the wedding, Rose devastated, Barbara annoyed and Patricia amused.

The wedding day has arrived and Lucy, Becky and Sophia are preparing the catered meals, with the wedding to occur on the Lanai. Rose has locked herself in her room and Patricia has stayed in her hotel room, letting Lucas leave without her. Lucas arrives and reveals to Blanche that he's now dating Dorothy, to Blanche's shock. Stan arrives and begs Dorothy to take him back, but Sophia distracts him with some Lasagne.

A devastated Rose gets an unexpected phone call from Barbara, who reveals she's uncovered another shocking secret about Marvin. Rose quickly leaves and rushes to pick Patricia up and meet Barbara at the police station.

As the wedding guests sit down for the wedding, Marvin arrives, out of breath and rugged. Blanche asks where he's been but Marvin quickly shakes her off and goes to get ready. As he heads out on the Lanai with Blanche, Rose, Patricia and Barbara rush in and reveal that Marvin has wives in 5 other states, he's a bigamist. Marvin attempts to run but Barbara grabs him and arrests him, he tells a tearful Blanche that she loves him and Barbara drags him away. Harry, Dorothy and Lucas come and see what's happened and Rose explains, Harry hugs her and realises that he has feelings for her, she kisses him and smiles. Shocked, Lucas turns to Dorothy and asks her to marry him, she surprisingly agrees and Blanche almost faints, but gives her blessings. The pair get married and celebrations follow, Stan gives in and congratulates Dorothy, leaving arm-in-arm with a young blonde named Bea.

One week later, its revealed that Becky and Lucy have decided to move from Atlanta to Miami to open an Italian restaurant, Patricia has decided to move into the newly refurbished Shady Pines Retirement Home, Rose and Harry are in a relationship and Dorothy is moving to Atlanta with her new husband Lucas. As the newly-weds prepare to leave, Lucas hands Blanche a cheque for the wedding, she quickly dismisses it since Marvin paid for everything, Lucas tells her to consider it a thank you for pairing him with Dorothy. She graciously accepts and says her goodbyes, Dorothy and Lucas prepare to take Sophia's things to the car as she's moving with them, but she changes her mind and tells Lucy and Becky that she'll go into business with them. Upset but happy for her mother, Dorothy kisses Sophia goodbye and leaves Miami, leaving a room at the house vacant. Rose turns to Blanche and asks if Patricia should live with them instead of the rest home, the girls like the idea and Patricia takes Dorothy's room, but the plans are soon halted when Blanche flicks through the local paper's classifieds and finds a hotel for sale at a very cheap price, just the amount Lucas just handed her. The hotel is called "The Golden Palace" and Blanche smiles, looks up at the girls and says, "I think we've found our next adventure".

The film fades to black and a dedication to Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan appears.

Sequel

Soon after the film's release Universal Pictures and ABC Studios confirmed a sequel entitled The Golden Palace would be released in 2020 and would star most of the original cast. The film would be loosely based on CBS' short-lived spin-off of the same name based in a hotel in Miami referenced at the end of the first film. It will be released on September 16th 2020, the 35th anniversary of the original series.

Trivia

  • The film's script is based on 2 stories and 3 episodes of The Golden Girls, the Pilot episode and the 2-part finale One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • Tributes to all four original leads are made in the film, the waitress that serves Sophia, Becky and Lucy at the Italian restaurant is named 'Estelle', Blanche gets her hair done at a salon called 'Rue's' and Stan leaves the wedding with a young girl named 'Bea'. Betty White also plays a big part in the film as Aunt Patricia, an original character.
  • Ernie Hudson and Sasheer Zamata play Harry and Barbara Weston in the film, roles originally played by white actors on The Golden Girls and Empty Nest.
  • This is the second time Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver have featured in a Paul Feig film together, the pair featured in cameo roles in Ghostbusters together but didn't share scenes like they do in The Golden Girls. They previously starred alongside one another in the original Ghostbusters film.
  • This is the second time Kate McKinnon features in a Paul Feig remake.
  • Like Estelle Getty, Rhea Perlman plays a character much older than herself using makeup.
  • Rhea Perlman is only 1 year older than Sigourney Weaver who plays Dorothy, her daughter.

Broadway Adaptation

Main Article: Golden Girls: The Musical

A Broadway adaptation of the film was announced shortly before Christmas 2018, confirmed to open in October 2019. Susan Harris would once again adapt the script, this time without Feig. In March 2019, Lin-Manuel Miranda was cast as Dr Harry Weston and also as the leading lyricist on the project.

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