Twenty years on, “Showgirls” is something of a cult classic and still one of the most successful video releases in MGM’s history. Yet the often panned film left many bodies in the wake of its failure, including the acting career of its star Elizabeth Berkley.
Speaking with The New York Daily News about the film and its history, director Paul Verhoeven has no illusions about the project but does admit he deeply regrets how things panned out for Berkley. Even so, that hasn’t stopped him from daydreaming about a sequel appropriately called “Bimbos” and ruling out any chance of a reboot:
“I would not do a ‘Showgirls’ remake… one movie was definitely enough! But we had actually been working on the sequel to ‘Showgirls’ which was going to be called ‘Bimbos’ and was going to be ‘Nomi does Hollywood’, but after ‘Showgirls’ was released there was no way anyone was going to give me money for that. If we could just make Elizabeth Berkley 20 years younger now I would love to make ‘Bimbos’ today. Absolutely, absolutely. I think the world is ready for more.”
Verhoeven also admits that Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron was next in line behind Elizabeth Berkley for the role of Nomi Malone, but at the time she wasn’t as well known:
“Showgirls certainly ruined the career of Elizabeth Berkley in a major way. It made my life more difficult, but not to the degree it did Elizabeth’s. Hollywood turned their backs on her. If somebody has to be blamed, it should be me because I thought that it was interesting to portray somebody like that.
Charlize also auditioned, and I don’t recall her having any problem with the nudity at all. She was good and wanted the part, but basically she was not well known enough at the time and just did not fit the part, so we said no. I have full respect for Charlize, but if she had been offered the part then she would probably have been chewed up in the same way they treated Elizabeth. She was very lucky that she did not get the part. I wish Charlize congratulations for that because it would have have been a miserable 20 years for her!”
2013 saw the release of “Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven,” a low-budget parody sequel in which several supporting cast members from the first film skewer the original – but it is not considered a true sequel.