Adjusting for inflation, Victor Fleming’s Gone With The Wind is still the highest-grossing motion picture of all time, with box office receipts topping $3 billion. But with its nearly four-hour running time and romanticized view of slavery and the Old South, the 1939 film seems increasingly like a relic of Hollywood’s distant past. Perhaps it is time for a reboot. Recently, W‘s Lynn Hirschberg gathered 29 top actors and actresses to participate in a mock “audition” for a purely hypothetical new version of Gone With The Wind. The catch here? The men are reading for Scarlett O’Hara, and the women are reading for Rhett Butler. How’s that for a fresh, expectation-defying take on some old material?
The video, it must be said, boasts an impressive roster of names. Among the aspiring Rhetts and Scarletts: Bryan Cranston, Jane Fonda, Cate Blanchett, Carey Mulligan, Amy Schumer, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Gere, Kristen Wiig, and more. While the video promises that these stars will be offering “their best Gone With The Wind impressions,” very few of the participants actually impersonate Clark Gable or Vivien Leigh. Hirschberg has her stars say the same two iconic lines over and over and over: “If you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Generally, the actors treat this as a goof. Wiig, for instance, has some fun emphasizing the word “damn.” Most are rather casual in their approach, and it’s interesting to note how this essentially robs the dialogue of its former grandeur. Minus the Selznick splendor, these are just words.