While the current Hollywood trends of the moment seem to be focused more toward small-screen revivals of old hit TV series featuring one or more of the original stars (The X-Files, Fuller House, Twin Peaks), films like 21 and 22 Jump Street and the upcoming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-headlined Baywatch movie are doing their best to keep the tradition of porting TV shows to theaters alive. Soon to join the latter group may be Three’s Company, a feature film revival/reboot of the classic 1970s sitcom.
Airing from 1977 to 1984 and spawning two spin-offs, Three’s Company concerned single female roommates Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers), and their newly added male roommate Jack Tripper (John Ritter, in the role that launched his career). With such living arrangements between the unwed not necessarily seen as generally acceptable back in that era, the trio concoct the cover story that the very much straight Jack is in fact gay, and thus has no sexual intentions toward the girls. Thus began eight seasons of hijinks primarily revolving around keeping up this charade so that their strict landord didn’t find out and evict them all, although Somers would eventually depart the show and be replaced by Priscilla Barnes as new roommate Terri Alden.
According to THR, New Line has hired screenwriting duo Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (He’s Just Not That Into You) to pen the script for a Three’s Company film, and plans to set the story in the 1970s. That’s definitely a wise – and some might say obligatory – move for the studio to make, as singles of the opposite sex living together is hardly a big deal in the modern age, and trying to present it as such would likely draw derision from today’s audiences.
Setting the film in the 70s also presents an opportunity to try and duplicate the many wacky misunderstandings the series was often known for, but that would probably come off as false if set in the current era of instant mass communication. Plus, 2016 Jack would have to be extra careful about what he posted on his social media accounts, lest Mr. Roper see photo or video evidence of his womanizing nature. All in all, it’s just a lot simpler plot wise to retain the setting that fostered Three’s Company’s original great run.
At this early stage, no actors have signed on to star in the Three’s Company film, although getting the casting right – of Jack especially – will be key to replicating the TV series’ winning formula. Ritter deservedly won an Emmy for his work as Jack Tripper, and was arguably the glue that held the whole enterprise together. If New Line fumbles on the casting front, things are likely to spiral downward from there – but if they get it right, a whole new generation may discover that three is indeed company too.
The Three’s Company movie is in development, and has no current release date.