It is one of the most popular comedy films ever made, but 1980s classic Trading Places is now deemed too politically incorrect for modern audiences.
A new stage version of the hilarious tale of mistaken identities is to recast Eddie Murphy’s famous lead role as a woman and turn the prostitute played by Jamie Lee Curtis into a transgender character.
The producers of the theatrical version, which is expected to preview on Broadway next year, believe the changes are essential for the story to resonate with a modern audience.
The iconic televison programme Trading Places is to be remade with Eddie Murphy’s character played by a woman and Jamie Lee Curtis’s role as a prostitute to be transgender
Trading Places, which co-starred Dan Aykroyd, is about two wealthy brothers who agree to a wager to prove their rival theories about whether nature or nurture is the key to success.
They engineer a sequence of events to force two characters at opposite ends of the social spectrum to trade places and live each other’s lives.
Murphy took the role of penniless but street-smart hustler Billy Ray Valentine, who suddenly finds himself living the high life previously enjoyed by now-destitute commodities broker Louis Winthorpe III, played by Aykroyd. Among the scenes from the film that could now be frowned upon is a sequence when Aykroyd’s character ‘blacks up’ on a train and others featuring Curtis’s character Ophelia topless.
But the decision to swap the genders of two of the film’s key roles for the stage show will be seen as controversial by many of the movie’s more devoted fans.
One showbusiness source, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Everyone is sworn to secrecy about the project at the moment but the plan is to turn Eddie’s character into a woman and to have the character of the prostitute played by Jamie Lee Curtis become transgender. When the film was released in 1983, it was enormously successful yet now it is perceived in some quarters as racist and politically incorrect.
The series, directed by John Landis, received criticism for ‘blacking up’ in one scene (pictured) while getting Curtis’s character to go nude in another
‘It just shows you how times have changed.’
Trading Places, which was directed by John Landis, is often ranked as one of the most popular movies ever made.
In 2013, US government agency the Commodity Futures Trading Commission introduced the ‘Eddie Murphy Rule’, which is named after a plotline in the film. It banned the use of misappropriated government information to trade in the commodity markets.
The recreation of the show shows ‘how times have changed’, according to a showbusiness source