The ’80s television renaissance has seemed to embrace Latinx actors, between the upcoming CW remake of Charmed to Jay Hernandez taking the lead in CBS’ Magnum P.I. series. But it isn’t often that these shows have translated to film, until now. The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Blumhouse is prepping to take audiences to Fantasy Island, with Mexican-American actor Michael Peña landing the lead role.
Based on the plot synopsis, the movie seems to follow the same trajectory as the ABC television series. In that incarnation, the shadowy Mr. Roarke (played by Mexican actor, Ricardo Montalbán) would grant the fantasies of visitors to his “fantasy island,” usually to teach them life lessons. He was accompanied, for the majority of the season, by his sidekick, Tattoo (Hervé Villechaize) whose declaration of “Zee plane! Zee plane!” became the show’s catchphrase. The original series aired from 1977 to 1984 and saw a brief revival for one year between 1998 and 1999.
Not much is known outside of Peña’s casting and that director Jeff Wadlow, who helmed Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare film, is taking the reins here. Though, considering this is being produced by Blumhouse it’s probably safe to assume Peña won’t come barring life lessons. As the original article states, the inhabitant’s fantasies “may not play out how they expect.”
The idea of remaking Fantasy Island, particularly for a film, is really weird. Peña is always great to see, and playing a kooky character in contrast to Montalbán’s more cultured and refined take on Roarke could be unique. But Fantasy Island was always perceived as a hokey show, despite its success. Even the series original creator, Aaron Spelling, pitched it as a joke. So it’ll be interesting to see how the Blumhouse crew think they can fix it for 2018.
There’s no current release date announced for Fantasy Island.