Marlene talked to Entertainment Weekly about the making of the film, including how Leonardo DiCaprio was originally cast in the Vietnam vet role that went to Brendan Fraser -- and discussed what went wrong with the TV series that was in development at one point.
Here's what she had to say about that:
Yes, we talked about that. It was on ABC Family but they wanted to change it so the "now" was present day and the "then" would be the '90s. I didn't want to do that — I felt that kind of ruins how special the movie is. The movie still is so special to so many people, I didn't want to take a chance on changing the time period. To me, there will never be a 1970s again, so to try to set it in the '90s when we had cell phones and things like that, I don't think it would work.
EW asked if Marlene thought about where the characters would be now, if she did return to the "Now and Then" world.
I thought about it a lot when we were starting to do the TV show. I'd love to see them four years later when they're 16, and where they would be as teen girls during the second most important year – 12, that's coming of age, and 16, that's like when you're starting to date and see the world in that way. I'd love to explore that.
It sounds like she's happy to revisit these characters, she just wants it to stay in the '70s, or at least in a world before texting and the Internet and all that. As she put it:
It was before cell phones – like the girls communicating with flashlights out their windows, and the rope and the string. Now you would just text your friend; there's no romanticism to that. It was a very special time to grow up. And there's a hint of how the world is changing when the girls meet the Vietnam vet played by Brendan Fraser on the road, and they think that everything is all hunky-dory but he sort of opens the window to the fact that things are changing. And I think that's something that's still a great era for people to look back at. And great music, too.
Do you think "Now and Then" would be good to revisit as a TV series? If so, should they stick to the '70s for the "then" part or would it be all right for '90s kids to relive their own childhoods? ABC Family is definitely aiming young (see their whole name change) so we can't see them ever focusing on the '70s, but maybe another network would pick up the idea.
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