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Less than a month after Robert Rodriguez announced his relationship with space siren Barbarella was over, EW are reporting that she’s already found her new man. According to them, Legally Blonde and 21 director Robert Luketic is the lucky fella up for the job. The original big screen Barbarella was Jane Fonda, who Luketic directed in the execrable Monster in Law. Is there some kind of six degrees of Dino de Laurentiis at work here?

With a director already reported to be in the loop all attention will once again shift, I have no doubt, to speculative casting of the lead role. Rose McGowan was set up with Rodriguez at the helm, and one might assume she’s now completely out of the running. How likely is it she’d be cast, cold, with no relationship to the director? Not very, I feel. Sorry Rose, but that’s not my prejudice, its the industry’s.

So who are the candidates? I guess the most likely to be touted as a fanboy favourite would be Jessica Alba. That doesn’t quite sit right with me, I’m afraid. It’s possible I’m just having difficulty shaking the 60s vibe from my mind, but Alba doesn’t match my perception of a Barbarella at all. I’m sure plenty of you will chime in with your ideas for other leading ladies in the comments below.

Luketic is a pretty true example of a workaday hack director, and for once I don’t really mean that in the best possible sense. 21 stands up fairly well because the cast are good and the script has some great material in it. Legally Blonde ended up a rather mediocre piece; while the script is quite drab, many of the cast are fantastic and they created, at least, some kind of charm and energy. Monster in Law suffers from a truly dreadful script and a cast that, it looks to me, just weren’t “feeling it.” Luketic films seem to attain their quality, whatever quality that might be, almost irrespective of his efforts – that is to say, when his collaborators can take care of themselves, we’re fine.

Barbarella really wants, I feel, somebody with a bit more brio and a more ambitious vision. It definitely needs somebody with the correct sensitivities to navigate what could be a gender-politics minefield, though perhaps that’s one respect where Luketic has shown his colours more clearly than Rodriguez ever did.

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