Variety reports that Bette Midler has also joined the cast of the thriller, which features a new script by Jeffrey’s Paul Rudnick. Midler replaces Joan Cusack; both Cusacks left the project to “attend to a personal matter.” The cast to date features recent Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, Broadway favorites Glenn Close and Roger Bart as well as Christopher Walken, Mike White and Faith Hill. Frank Oz will direct the remake of the thriller, which concerns a group of men in the fictional town of Stepford who transform their wives into doting robots. The new version — produced by Scott Rudin and Donald DeLine — will be more of a black comedy than a straight thriller, and Kidman will take on the role originated by actress Katharine Ross. The industry paper also reports that the new version will "feature special effects involving the femme transformations."
Directed by Bryan Forbes and based on Ira Levin’s novel, the 1975 film "The Stepford Wives" starred Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Tina Louise, Carol Eve Rossen, William Prince, Carole Mallory, Toni Reid, Judith Baldwin, Barbara Rucker, George Coe, Franklin Cover, Robert Fields and Michael Higgins. Ross won the 1976 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films' Best Actress Award. The 1980 TV sequel, "Revenge of the Stepford Wives," featured Arthur Hill, Don Johnson, Sharon Gless, Julie Kavner, Mason Adams and Audra Lindley.