Last night I was awoken as if from a dream by artist Patience Lekien’s reimagining of the cast of The Disney Channel’s Proud Family as young adults. I shook off the fog of slumber and became my true self once more. Of course this needs to happen.
You remember the show, of course; remember Wizard Kelly (I don’t know whose idea it was to combine R. Kelly and Magic Johnson into a single character, but I hope they are eating mangoes on a beach somewhere next to their rose-gold castle) and the occasional musical interludes and LaCienega Boulevardez and the theme song sung by Destiny’s Child and Solange. Had you forgotten? Allow yourself to remember:
Let us come together as one and cast the live-action Proud Family film the world so desperately needs in these dark times (the animated movie in 2005 was great, but it was not enough). If they can reboot Boy Meets World, they can reboot Proud Family.
N.B.: If Paula Patton gets within casting distance of this movie, I will set myself on fire. Musical cameos by Raven-Symoné or Janelle Monáe will be perfectly acceptable.
Penny Proud — Solange Knowles, Kyla Pratt, Adepero Oduye, Keke Palmer
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I love Kyla Pratt. I think she’s the cutest thing on two legs, and she’s one of the only femme women in the world I’d even consider leaving my longtime girlfriend Brittney Griner for. She is Penny Proud, so obviously she’d be perfect for this movie.
But there are so many other amazing directions Penny could go in, if Kyla’s too busy or too much of a TV actress to make the leap (Kyla, I’m so sorry, I don’t mean a word of this, you’re the only Penny in the world to me).
Honestly, the only problem I can see with Solange’s Penny is the fact that Solange so perfectly radiates confidence and serenity that it might be hard for the movie to have a conflict.
I KNOW. I KNOW. How could anyone who brings the kind of butch perfection to a role that Adepero did in 2011’s Pariah play someone as femme as Penny Proud? But I think she can do it, guys. Remember how ace she was as the Darryl Hannah character in the remake of Steel Magnolias? She can out-sunny Anne of Green Gables when she turns it on.
Maybe we’ll just have to make four different movies, sort of like how they made all those different endings to Clue, because I don’t think I have the strength to say no to Keke Palmer. She was Akeelah in Akeelah and the Bee! She is a precious little flower, goddammit, and I want her to step into Penny’s penny loafers.
Oscar Proud — Tommy Davidson or Kevin Hart
I don’t want Kevin Hart — he’d be too distracting — but I can see the suits (damn those suits!) calling for A Name in one or two of the supporting roles, since Proud Family‘s not exactly a blockbuster franchise, and Kevin Hart is A Name, and has that same manic energy. But I’d like to keep Tommy, because he originated the role and a sense of continuity would be nice. Although if we are heading in A Name direction, why not reach for the stars and try for Taye Diggs? Aside from the fact that Taye Diggs can’t really do comedy, as we learned from watching Baggage Claim. He can do romantic comedy just fine, but he can’t mug, and Oscar’s a big mugger, so best to stick with Tommy altogether.
Trudy Proud — Nia Long, Gina Torres or Sanaa Lathan
If you want a more centered Trudy, you want Gina.
Nia Long looks and sounds the most like the original Trudy, for what that’s worth, although if you can believe someone as impossibly beautiful and regal as Nia Long is a suburban veterinarian, your sense of disbelief is capable of suspending a bit longer than mine.
Sanaa would be perfect; Sanaa is always perfect, but I worry that she’s played a lot of moms already and doesn’t want to get typecast. There’s not a lot for Trudy to do, frankly, except react to Oscar and Penny, so maybe give the part to Gina, who’s hardly in danger of getting sidelined into Generic Mom roles anytime soon.
Dijonay — La La Anthony, Meagan Good, Amber Riley
Dijonay is, I will freely admit, one of the more polarizing characters in the Proud fandom. Casting La La Anthony or Meagan Goode would neatly sidestep the accusations of colorism that plagued her original characterization, but who am I to keep Amber Riley from doing whatever it is that Amber Riley wants? I cannot decide.
La La Anthony was the only good thing about Baggage Claim and is scientifically funny as hell. She’d have to de-glam a bit, lest she outshine Penny and steal the entire film, but I have faith in her.
I love Meagan Good; Meagan Good was in D.E.B.S. She might be — and I hate myself for saying it, but I am committed to the integrity of this project that does not currently exist, so say it I must — a trifle old at 32 (I’M SO SORRY).
LaCienega Boulevardez — Naya Rivera
It is her I will have and no other. She is perfect. Haughty and brittle and impeccably dressed, yet desperate for affection surges just below the surface. The sexual tension between Penny and LaCienega was (for a Disney cartoon set in junior high, anyhow) raw as hell, and Naya would maintain that tension admirably.
Sticky — Tristan Wilds
No one’s going to see The Proud Family Movie to see Sticky, but he might as well grow up cute, and Tristan Wilds fits the bill nicely. (I love Michael B. Jordan as much as you do, but let’s be honest, he’s going to be the next Human Torch and hopefully the first black Spiderman; he’s way beyond childhood best friend roles now.)
Zoey Howzer — Emma Stone or Anna Kendrick
Anna has the voice and the personality, Emma has the hair. Let’s give the edge to Anna. She could bring a little much-needed life and edge to a character whose entire personality is “smiling, but with glasses.”
Suga Mama — Jo Marie Payton
The original Suga Mama stays. When one has Mrs. Winslow from Family Matters, one does not cast her aside in favor of lesser women. Jo Marie stays.
Bobby Proud — Terrence Howard
It has to be Terrence. Search within your heart; you know it to be true. Terrence was born to play roguish uncles. It is an undeniable part of his makeup. Pretend he never said those awful things about wet wipes. The key to loving Terrence Howard is pretending that he is not Terrence Howard in his real life. Expunge his unsavory personal history from your mind. Think only of The Best Man. Imagine that in his spare time he rescues abused and neglected horses and donates to abortion advocates, if that helps. It’s what I do whenever I rewatch The Best Man Holiday, which is often.
Go now, and make disciples of all the nations.
[Proud Family Grown via Sinuous Mag]
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.