About The Production
"There are so few films with multiple female leads out there. I felt like
was a way to tell a story involving more than one female lead - three great,
women that have agency over their lives, and are the driving force behind the
says Elizabeth Banks, who helms the latest iteration of the iconic franchise.
actress/co-writer/director/producer and so many women, Charlie's Angels was a
beacon. "These characters were women who worked in a man's world and had to make
their own way. You just hadn't seen women kicking butt in any genre before - it
revolutionary. They really stood for something."
"Elizabeth was attracted to the idea of being able to do an action movie,"
Max Handelman. "The idea of being able to create a new world of spies and be
work on that canvas was exciting to her. She also felt at that point, and even
now, that it's the right time to be modernizing this global brand-creating a fun
has a great brand underlying it, but also to be able to talk about women
women and themes of female empowerment and positivity, beyond simply going on to
do a comic book movie or comedy."
Doug Belgrad and Elizabeth Cantillon join Banks and Handelman as producers of
film. Before Belgrad formed his company 2.0 Entertainment as an independent
producer, he was President of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group. "I had
the studio over 20 years, and I was around for the first series of films. I had
daughter at the time who became a big fan of Charlie's Angels, watching the
and over again, so I knew that Charlie's Angels was an important aspirational
for women. And I also felt, from conversations with many other female
executives, that it
was time to reinterpret these great characters for a new generation."
"Our first choice to do that was Elizabeth Banks," Belgrad continues. "She
had a proven
track record as a director and producer, launching the Pitch Perfect franchise
in a way
that was so entertaining and fresh. From that first meeting with Elizabeth in my
was clear that she was the absolute perfect person to bring the new chapter of
"Elizabeth Banks built a franchise for women and girls in Pitch Perfect - it
destination viewing for girls and women," says Cantillon. "It seemed organic to
that to Charlie's Angels - her voice is the perfect tenor for what the franchise
"Every generation should have their own Charlie's Angels," says Cantillon.
round was reflective of that era of women's liberation and unlocking the
women. The second, the earlier films, were a celebration of women and women
together. Liz Banks' version is building on both of those ideas - women can do
if given the opportunity, it's about women supporting women at work. It's a
it's inclusive, and it's something that all women dream of - to be part of
something - but
we don't see a lot of movies about. Expressing that was important to Elizabeth
and it was important to me."
As Banks took on helming responsibilities, she also signed on to write the
modernize the story, she first went back to the basics. On September 22 1976,
Angels aired for the first time on ABC in America. Created by Ivan Goff and Ben
Roberts and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, the show followed
crime fighting adventures of three beautiful women working for a private
agency, The Townsend Agency, headed and bankrolled by a mysterious millionaire,
Charlie, whose identity was never revealed.
The first episode was an instant hit, and the show ran for a total of 5
episodes and gave birth to two major feature films.
"Charlie's Angels was the beginning of female empowerment on TV," says Banks.
when we started the process of continuing Charlie's Angels, we wanted to
everything that had come before."
But relaunching the brand was not so much about reinventing as
starting point, and this lies at the heart of Banks' vision for Charlie's
Angels, was to
imagine where The Townsend Agency would be now, over 40 years later. In this new
era, the company has gone global, activating an international network of Angels
Bosleys-their handlers. "I wanted to answer the question: what had Charles
built over the past forty years?" "Elizabeth wanted to play the mythology
straight," says Handelman. "The idea being this
is the next chapter in the mythology of the Charles Townsend Agency. It's as
about the Charles Townsend Agency as it is Charlie's Angels. It's about
story." This connection to its heritage is an important point.
"Liz took this world that we've all gotten familiar with and just expanded
it," says Kristen
Stewart, who plays Sabina Wilson, one of the Angels. "She hit fast forward and
where would we be circa 2018, '19? There's more of us. We're louder. We are
in numbers. And that really goes along with this distinct sense of self that
developing in this particular generation. It's not always the people that are
assertive or physically strong. It's genuinely about how you work as individuals
and how you become a formidable unit as a group. We don't glorify our characters
they're heroes, as if you couldn't be one of them. The whole point is that if
how to approach something with compassion and intelligence, it's not about doing
bunch of pushups and pulling a gun on a bad guy. It's about outsmarting someone
doing it for a good reason, and that will genuinely be what prevails."
The important thing about this film, says Banks, is how grounded it is. "It's
women doing extraordinary things. There are extraordinary women around me every
day, and that's what this movie is about, the everyday heroics of women who
women, who believe them and who want them to succeed in life."
At the same time, the movie is still Charlie's Angels: It's action-packed and
full of the
disguises, levity, and ass-kicking fans have come to know and love. "I wanted to
movie that didn't take itself too seriously," she says. "I think having fun at
is the most important aspect of Charlie's Angels. We want to make sure audiences
enjoy themselves the entire time."
"What Drew Barrymore did, bringing together that incredible cast and McG to
first movies-she inspires me so much. She's one of the women that I look to when
think about how I want to conduct my career," Banks continues. "She just really
it. And they had so much fun together. You really felt a sense of sisterhood.
And even in
the original TV show too, that's what mattered the most to me, the idea that
women do it
together. There are so many heroes out there, whether it's Jason Bourne or James
Bond, who are very singular, you know: they've got it handled. Charlie's Angels
opportunity to work together as a team, and I think that is really how women
work. We're very collaborative, and so that speaks to me. I love being able to
the different skills together, the different women together, put them on a team
send them off to be successful."
21st Century Angels (and Bosleys)
As the Angels have evolved, so too have their missions. In this movie, we
Houghlin (Naomi Scott), a brilliant scientist and engineer who has created
sustainable energy source designed to revolutionize the way we power things.
her bosses rush her invention to market, she warns them there is a flaw in the
in the wrong hands, it can be used as a deadly weapon. Unfortunately, her bosses
out to be The Wrong Hands, so Elena turns to The Townsend Agency for help. A
contemporary whistleblower story worthy of the 21st Century Angels, Elena's
justice ignites a globe-trotting adventure to get the device back before
But espionage is espionage, so when we first meet our Angels, they're
naturally in the
midst of a mission on a glamorous roof-top terrace in Rio de Janeiro. Sabina,
Angel in a sultry disguise, is making sure that her mark is wrapped up in her
ultimately in the curtains in a very Cirque du Soleil moment.
As the free-wheeling, free-spirited hot shot of the team, Sabina is a total
wild card. "I
feel like if Sabina was a dog, she would be the mutt at the shelter that was
going to take a bullet for you, and I wanted to bring this levity to the
character. In the
beginning of the movie, Sabina seems the most social, outgoing... like she has all
friends in the world," says Stewart. "But really, she's just trying to find her
would do anything to have friends, and she just wants her family."
Kristen was Banks's idea from the very beginning, says Handelman. "Both Liz
and I and
Elizabeth Cantillon always loved the idea of Kristen Stewart as an Angel. It's
unexpected for her, and that for us really stamped that idea that this is
than any Charlie's Angels you've seen before."
"We always wanted Kristen Stewart," says Cantillon. "If you've seen her in
on 'Saturday Night Live,' you know there's something subversive about her sense
humor. She's a little sneaky. And on top of it all, Kristen is the actress of
- she's accomplished so much and she's not even 30 years old.
Stewart was immediately taken with the project-and her character, a real
the actress who's known for more dramatic turns. "The dopest people you meet in
usually see aspects of yourself that you don't, and Liz was so convinced that I
Sabina," she says.
"Kristen will be the biggest surprise for audiences in that I don't think
expecting how funny she is or how incredible she is as an action heroine," says
"She kicks ass and does it with a huge smile on her face. She really is like the
roll of the movie and the heart and soul of it too, and she ends up being team
that she's like the sister that wants everybody to be together all the time, and
enjoying their life the most."
As Sabina continues enjoying her life by keeping her villainous dining
up, the doors open to reveal Jane Kano (Ella Balinska), an Angel with the heart
soldier. And we watch as the two of them destroy a room full of criminals.
A former MI-6 Agent, Jane is everything Sabina is not: "Straight-laced,
focused," says Balinska of her breakout role. "She finds her strength in
she's very disciplined, and never fails to get the job done."
For Banks, casting newcomer Balinska was exciting. Not only was the actress
everything from weapons to hand-to-hand combat, she was also a perfect match for
role. "Jane is just like a get after it, do what needs to be done kind of
character, and Ella
is exactly that as an actress, especially as a physical person," says Banks. "I
like the perfect meld of actress and character when Ella took on the role of
Stewart agrees. "Ella is one of the most pragmatic people I've ever met.
type A and to get from Point A to Point B is one direct line. To squiggle would
ridiculous, and I'm literally dancing all over the place to get to B and that's
what I love.
What she brings other than just her energy, which is adorable, she would do
for this movie. She worked harder on the stunts than anyone. She's just
sincere. She's so face value, sweet and present, and a very good friend".
While Sabina is a lone wolf looking for a family, Jane is determined to prove
independence. She doesn't need anyone and she certainly doesn't want anyone to
"None of the elements of our group work well together in the beginning,
so individual and we've just developed independence in the way that women have
but almost to a fault," says Stewart. "You think, I can do it myself. I'm fine
on my own.
As the movie goes on, my energy is like, I think we could do so many crazy
things if we
just never separate and become a very solid unit."
Enter Elena, the brilliant scientist the women are charged with protecting.
audiences have come to know Naomi Scott as Jasmine in the live-action Aladdin,
role is a whole new world.
"Naomi is such a perfect blend of brains and ebullience-she's got just a
her all the time," says Banks. "You really feel her having a lot of fun, and
finally does get to fight in the film, she's very clever about it. She's kind of
the brains of
the operation, and the things she does to fight off a guy twice her size
provides one of
the most fun set pieces in the whole movie."
Elena is an expression of the potential that every woman carries inside of
her, a key
theme in the film. "Elena represents the type of girl that may not be someone
would think would necessarily be an angel-the idea being that anyone can be an
angel," says Scott. "It's about honing your own skills and being the best you
actually do good."
As powerful as each of the Angels are, they wouldn't be a cohesive team
Bosley-the conduit between the trio and their mysterious employer, Charlie. For
globalized Townsend Agency, Bosley has become a rank. Angels have their own
Bosleys in cities all over the world. When we first meet Sabina and Jane, we
the original John Bosley, played by Sir Patrick Stewart, who represents the
old world, old school iteration of the role.
"We had some fun considering who would play his character, and Patrick was
our first choice," says Handelman. "Bosley is such an iconic role and I think he
excited by that, and stepping into a film that felt a little more playful and
Stewart was happy to be part of this adventure, especially under the watchful
Banks. "Elizabeth is very prepared to begin with, but then really free," he
says. "So there
are always moments for improvisation and a little bit of invention."
As Stewart's Bosley reluctantly retires, we meet Djimon Hounsou's Edgar
Bosley, as he
listens to Elena's predicament in a Berlin coffee shop. After a frantic and
sequence with our villain's sociopathic muscle Hodak (Jonathan Tucker) that
Bosley, the Angels, and a shaken Elena on a wild car chase, Hounsou's Bosley is
tragically killed. Hodak, however, is just getting started.
"The movie has the humor and the hard action that previous stories told. So
update, but it also is an homage with nods and winks and quite a few fists in
says Tucker, who was excited to build his character with Banks, the ultimate
collaborator. He also got to show off his real-life MMA skills. "Getting to find
tattoos, picking out the jewelry, seeing how this character is going to move and
and stalk, how he sees the world.... Actors find this to be a meaty meal to eat."
When our first female Bosley "Boz" -an ex-Angel, played by Banks-steps in,
begins to lasso the Angels into a cohesive unit. As the Bosley responsible for
this new team, Banks embodies the modern take on female empowerment and strength
"I wanted to make something that felt important to women and girls that was a
celebration of their potential in the world today-and what women can accomplish,
especially when they work together," says Banks. "That these women work
complement each other, that they cry on each other's shoulders, have each
backs, that's the thing that I think is most appealing."
Saint (Luis Gerardo Mendez) is quite literally worthy of sainthood. He's
their guru, their
nutritionist, their healer... and their Jewish mother. "Saint is who you want to
and just be like, "Look after me, too," says Banks. "He takes care of our health
probably does our taxes. He helps us with our training, our diet plans-and
lot of therapy after a hard day's work."
As Elena's assistant Langston, Noah Centineo was already the internet's
(thanks to rom-com To All the Boys I've Loved Before) when he signed on to the
project. So it's fitting that he and Jane awkwardly hit it off. "People were all
Noah, sighing and stuff," says Kristen Stewart. "And I was like, he's cool but
who is this
kid? They had to tell me. An oh man, he is seriously charming. It's no joke."
The joke, it turns out, is on Elena who finds out that her bosses Peter
Faxon) and tech-bro CEO Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), backed by a mysterious
partner, do plan to use Calisto for evil. Faxon and Claflin had fun satirizing
industry stereotypes, but also recognized the importance of their storyline.
"Peter is a chauvinistic executive, someone very identifiable for a lot of
women who will
say, I deal with that jerk on a daily basis. At work, in their community-
someone who is
constantly belittling or patronizing them," says Faxon. "As an actor, I will say
something fun about playing a despicable character and pushing the boundaries in
ways that are grounded enough that they feel relatable. This is fun because it
finger at guys like this."
THE LOOK OF THE ANGELS
From the beginning, it was important to Elizabeth Banks to keep these Angels
in reality. Sure they could beat up the bad guys, but really, given the right
tools - brains
or Krav Maga training or a rocket launcher - couldn't any woman?
"Elizabeth's version of Charlie's Angels definitely has all of these women
incredible feats and overcoming difficult odds in normal, but very fashionable
clothes that all girls want to wear and can relate to," says Costume Designer
Barrett. "I think it's important that the costumes have a kind of levity;
they're not too
serious but not too jokey. We definitely walked a balance to try and keep the
other Charlie's Angels girls alive."
"We love fashion," agrees Banks. "We felt like the Angels would have the most
beautiful, cutting-edge clothes, and they do."
Creating the angel look of 2019 was much less of inventing the next great
the glitziest make-up but diving into the characters first. Rather than
looks, the team thought about the characters' individual traits and their arcs.
focused on how the Angels looked when they came together as a team.
"They used to just mostly only be in high heels and a lot of lashes, and
beyond that," says Makeup Department Head Melanie Hughes-Weaver. "It's about
seeing women, broadening who they are and what they look like, that there can
strength in their appearance. I think that that's really important when you
action movie for women like this. It's changed a lot. There's times when there's
be some really great beauty and some kick-ass fighting looks that are strong and
Our new Angels are from different backgrounds, so they bring different looks,
and experiences to that table. For the creative team, this lent itself to a lot
of fun in
designing their characters.
Sabina, a chameleon who's always game for everything, much like Stewart
more rebellious and shows off a lot of leg, a lot of clavicle, says Banks.
Kristen- have fun playing with how they can be a really different version of
themselves," says Barrett. "She definitely gets a chance to show that she can
into all kinds of versions of herself."
Jane, on the other hand, is more buttoned up-literally. She wears a lot of
structured clothing. For Jane, Key Makeup Artist Maha Lessner created a warrior
that Hughes-Weaver thinks is, "an incredible statement: The warrior look is
smart, sleek and powerful, but not overdone. At the same time, we have beauty
and soft looks."
For Naomi Scott, the team created an arc that develops from softer looks into
looks, reflecting the development of her character Elena. "At times she is soft
business-like and later she is tough and fighting and her make-up is broken
Hughes-Weaver. Banks agrees: "Elena has the biggest transformation because, of
course, she starts out not as an Angel, just a science nerd basically. And we
under our wing, give her the whole closet to choose from, and upgrade her look
But Charlie's Angels wouldn't be sartorially complete without the disguises
wear when they go undercover. And this modern take tackles them with aplomb.
everyone knows that a woman's hair is the most important thing that's going on
woman. Hillary Clinton will tell you that," says Banks. "You can't make
without wigs and disguises."
Hair Department Head Camille Friend had a field day with the various wigs and
hairstyles-including one stunningly clever scene in which all three women dress
same character. While Barrett really dove into the challenge of creating
fun disguises that weren't too outrageous and left the actresses free to handle
their own stunts.
The opening scene was everyone's particular favorite. "I wanted Kristen to
feel like a
chameleon in the movie, that she could be anyone, do anything, which I actually
about her as an actress anyway," says Banks. "But more importantly, I wanted to
with her image a lot in the film. I felt like starting the movie in a blonde
wig-I said I want
her to look like Barbie, in a pink dress, pink lips, pink nails, everything. I
want her to look
like the girliest girl in the world, so that when she transforms we really see
distinction and we understand that she's been playing this character the entire
Female empowerment? Check. Clever disguises? Check. Fashion-Forward costumes?
Check. State of the art weaponry, aerial moves and acrobatic fight scenes, high
car chases, high impact action sequences that puts the Angels head to head with
equipped assassins, throwing their enemies off balconies, into rock
we're talking the full 360 Charlie's Angels. The team responsible for creating
the look for
the fight sequences have experience of working on combat styles from around the
so the intention from the get-go was to create something that was cinematically
It's a highly physical role for all the actors involved.
For the three leads, it was crucial that they perform as many of their own
possible-which meant a lot of training. "I was very impressed with how fast they
things up. It's unbelievable," says Stunt Coordinator Florian Hotz. "We had them
couple of weeks before prep, and they never forget one part of choreography."
Early on, Banks and Hotz agreed that character development would drive every
the actors in the movie perform. "Sabina is the raging bull; she's wild. She's
before attacking. So it's like a boxer meets a bar fighter," says Hotz. "Jane is
precise, you know, it looks effortless. She's trained, she is skilled in various
So that's a whole different technique that comes with her. Elena is developing
story. She's very intelligent, so she can pick up fast and she's just a quick
that means she has basic fight skills. But during the story, she's growing. At
she is not a Jane and she is not a Sabina, but she can keep up. So she's not
one they have to protect, she is all over the bad guys and attacking them too."
Though everyone - from the Angels to our villains - really brought it, Ella
was a little more prepared than her co-stars.
"I come from a massive [performance] combat background, which was an amazing
foundation for me to build on to really get into the character of Jane,"
"Jane is ex-MI6, she knows her stuff-you see her fighting with a tranquilizer
with firearms, I do a massive knife fight as well. We spent a lot of time in the
with the amazing stunt team and stunt coordinator and fight choreographer."
It may come as a surprise to learn that the team took inspiration from many
quarters of choreographed movement, including Cirque du Soleil and ballet. "We
ballet sort of movement where you see a lot of dance movement. It's intimate,
watching two dance partners. We even played Fred Astaire when we were working on
the movements and then we would update it, getting closer to modern day
says Hotz. "We were trying to feel like this is a dance between two wonderful
except I'm getting my ass kicked! The idea is the stronger my character is, the
and stronger she looks as it's a stronger adversary. Ultimately, what's really
about contemporizing the Angels is that these women are singularly strong
more than they were 20 years ago. They are the true physical heroines."
Elizabeth Banks' Charlie's Angels is a celebration of the original brand,
with nods to the
film's heritage throughout, that the more keenly eyed will see in the gadget
closet and in Townsend Agency offices. As The Townsend Agency has gone global,
too have the locations in the film. When it came to shooting, the team did not
around, traveling around the world-shooting in exotic locales like Istanbul and
"One of the themes of the film that we talked about from the very beginning
was the old
world meets the new - the idea that the women of the Townsend Agency are
a new world within the context of the old," says Production Designer Aaron Haye,
recently helped to create the acclaimed looks of Blade Runner 2049 and Bohemian
Rhapsody. As the cornerstone of the film, the Berlin office of The Townsend
particularly important. "We found a location that was an old power plant in
modernized it, going for a contemporary loft living look, and referencing
architecture as well as some of the older '70's ideas," says Haye. "This very
represents the modern extension of the Angels. This particular set and location
indicative of how they have expanded and set up outposts around the world."
His team had five days to build the Townsend Agency Berlin outpost set, a
undertaking considering its size, and for Aaron and his team certainly not a one
Charlie's Angels is filled with big set pieces that kept them busy. The spectrum
from the interior Berlin Agency, filmed in the former power plant in Berlin,
Kraftwerk, to the grandeur of Moritzburg Castle near Dresden, to the dusty
a rock quarry located somewhere in the outskirts of Istanbul.
The creative team succeeded in bringing a fresh look to Charlie's Angels, not
terms of the brand, but also cinematically. "We shot at some places that either
never been seen on camera, or have not seen in many years," says Haye.
Castle, for example, was last used as a location in the 1970's for a
production of Cinderella, but is being morphed into a state-of-the-art home of a
billionaire. "We've transformed it into a haute couture vision party. Brok is a
billionaire that surrounds himself with beautiful people, so we got to have a
lot of fun
with his environment." The castle plays host to one of the more spectacular
scenes, the Angels dressed in light catching, eye dazzling party outfits ready
the party and save the day.
One of the hallmarks of Charlie's Angels is that each film has featured a
contemporary sound on the soundtrack, including Destiny's Child on the original
and Pink on the sequel. It was important to Elizabeth Banks to continue and
this legacy, which is why she tapped superstar Ariana Grande to provide five
the all-female soundtrack of the film, including the lead single, "Don't Call Me
(Charlie's Angels)," for which Grande teamed up with Miley Cyrus and Lana Del
"As a huge fan of the original Charlie's Angels, the idea of an all-female
this new film was so exciting to me," says Grande. "I'm so proud to have been
work with so many amazing women on it. It's a great opportunity for me to
with and support and empower my fellow female artists in a new, unexplored way."
In her five songs, and while serving as an executive soundtrack producer for
Grande worked with Banks to find the songs that would underscore the key moments
the movie. "Elizabeth has been super supportive and extremely influential
the process. She helped pick all of the songs, and was very vocal about pairing
records with specific scenes in the movie," says Grande. Though this was the
that Grande was writing for a film, she says that she found the experience
and artistically invigorating, largely because of Banks' open and welcoming
"I was honored that she trusted me to help provide the soundtrack to support her
It has been such a different experience as an artist to tell someone else's
than my own and serve someone else's needs musically."
Banks also called on composer Brian Tyler to compose the film's score.
we endeavored to create a score that enhanced the mystery, action, fun, and
the movie while giving a nod to the movie's 70s roots," says Tyler. "I composed
themes for the film that would feel nostalgic yet fresh and also work playing
alongside the theme from the original TV series. The sonic elements of the score
conjure up a variety of musical styles: symphonic, hip-hop, and 70s groove."
Tyler performed many instruments on the score himself, including guitar,
Rhodes piano, vibes, and electric bass, then recorded and mixed those elements
way that would sound like they were sampled off vintage albums - "it's a
often employed in hip-hop," he says. Tyler also provided two nu-disco songs,
and "Neon Sky," under his electronic music moniker Madsonik.
For Grande, the songs provide the perfect backdrop for the movie. "The energy
songs showcase is exactly on par with the energy of the film - they are so
the scenes and of the cast," she says. "I love the way so many different female
came together to tell a strong, female-driven story."
Home | Theaters | Video | TV
Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
© 2020 4®, All Rights Reserved.