I almost considered doing a post for Luke Perry. But then, he was never really “mine”. I am about ten years to young for his peak years, but I still really really love him from one role, Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the movie). So I won’t do a full tribute post for him, but I will do a quick silly rewrite of my favorite Luke Perry movie for him.
Now, Buffy! The movie! I am fairly sure the TV show made it’s way to India, but I don’t know about the movie. I’ve seen the TV show, but (and I know this puts me in a very small minority) I like the movie better. It’s a simple idea, Vampires (a monster designed to deal with the horror of rape and sexually transmitted diseases) are defeated by a strong trained superhero young woman. The victim figure becomes the savior. And in a little modern twist, the strong trained superhero young woman is a wealthy California teenager nicknamed “Buffy”.
The movie kept the story and characters much simpler than the TV show (because it all had to happen within 90 minutes or so). Buffy starts out completely buying into gender roles, obsessed with her boyfriend and the big dance, and uninterested in fighting Vampires. She is convinced by snarky old British Donald Sutherland who is part of an ancient secret society that identifies “slayers” and trains them to at least give it a chance, and comes to enjoy being powerful and in control. And she still maintains her own identity, insisting on attending a dance and continuing with her same interests, not giving over her entire life to Donald Sutherland. The whole thing builds to her confrontation with the local head Vampire, at the big high school dance.
And then there’s Luke Perry! He’s a drifter passing through town, not dangerous but just different. He makes fun of Buffy when he first meets her and she makes fun right back, he hates her for being a superficial spoiled teen and she hates him for being poor and undirected and lame. But then they meet again when she saves him from a Vampire, and he gets interested in her. He supports her in every way, he thinks her being a Vampire fighter is awesome, even makes weapons for her. And he shows up at the dance for her too, he doesn’t understand why she cares, but knows that she does care, so he will be there. And at the end, they share a dance, she asks if he wants to lead, he asks if she does, and they decide that neither of them will lead, they will just dance together.
See? He’s the perfect man. He just wants to make her weapons and surprise her at the high school dance so she doesn’t feel lonely. And I think we can adjust this a bit and make it work in India. Especially now that Stree already exists in a similar space of light horror comedy being used for social commentary.
I guess we can keep the Vampire thing? Unless there is a “metaphor for rape” monster I don’t know about from India. Oh wait, there is! Those ghosts that are always possessing women. Okay, we will use that instead. We can have a flashback explaining that Priests use to take and train little girls (following the Temple Dancer tradition kind of idea) and use them to go in and fight off all the ghosts. But in modern times, it’s harder to convince parents to send their daughters off to be trained by a temple instead of to go to med school.
Our heroine is a spoiled Bombay rich girl. She is approached by a weird old priest and at first ignores him as “icky”, but when he helps her fight off her first ghost (a friend is possessed), she is willing to listen. They go back and forth, she refuses to follow the traditional training and just go off to a temple but agrees to meet him after school, she starts fighting more and more ghosts but is still planning on going to the big dance and still agonizing over her big dumb rich handsome boyfriend.
Meanwhile, our hero is an average middle class kid who dropped out of college to get a job. His parents are angry at him, even though he tries to explain to them that a college degree won’t guarantee anything and just cost them a lot of money. He works at a pizza place as a delivery guy and that’s how he meets our heroine, when he delivers her a pizza. They hate each other at first sight, she looks down on him for being a poor rude pizza guy, and he looks down on her for being spoiled and stupid. But then he comes back for another delivery and sees her in action during her first exorcism, even helps a little, and they form a weird bond. INTERVAL
While she lives her double life, he is always popping up, volunteers to be a test subject for her training, helps her with research, tracks down some of the weapons she needs. She comes to appreciate him more and more, but is still holding on to the idea that she is going to get married to her rich appropriate boyfriend and have a perfect life and the whole “exorcism” thing is just temporary until she gets through the current storm of ghosts in Bombay (as described in ancient texts that the Priest shows her). And then everything starts happening very fast, her boyfriend breaks up with her because she is never around, the hero comforts her, she is still planning to go to the big dance all alone because she wants to have a normal life, the hero surprises her at the dance because he is sensitive enough to know she will need a friend with her.
Just as they are about to kiss, Ghost Attack! She fights them, with the help of the hero, her mentor Priest dies (awww! sad!), and she is inspired to finally do a big thingy and forever vanquish the ghosts. When it’s all over, the hero asks her what she wants to do next, she says she has to find another Priest, he asks “why? Who says you need some Priest to guide you? The old system doesn’t work any more, you said it all along”. And then they share a dance, and over the end credits ride off on his motorcycle and then go around India fighting ghosts everywhere with a cool song.
Buffy: Alia? Sara? Who can do vapid and young but also strong and confident? I would LOVE Katrina in this role, but she might be too old. Taapsee maybe?
Luke Perry: Rajkummar if we want to do a full Stree? Kartik Aaryan for the snark? Dulquer? Tovino? Vijay Deveronkonda? I really don’t know.
Shallow Boyfriend: Varun. I am very excited about this casting
Wise old Mentor Priest: Amitabh, obviously