What Do Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Page, and Anne Hathaway Have in Common? They Were All Little Red Riding Hoods.

Slate's Culture Blog
March 9 2011 5:46 PM

What Do Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Page, and Anne Hathaway Have in Common? They Were All Little Red Riding Hoods.

The Twilight films have proven that audiences go crazy over hot,supernatural, cross-species action. This Friday, the doe-eyed Amanda Seyfried will attempt to graba piece of that box office gold with her starring role in Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood , a dark,sexy take on the classic fairy tale.

Seyfried is hardly the firststarlet to have played a version of Little Red. In fact, several of Hollywood'sbiggest young actresses have used the role as a stepping stone in their careers.Here are five who've donned the iconic crimson cape.

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In 1996, Reese Witherspoon was still best known as the sweet girl who'd beenin The Man in the Moon and Jack the Bear. A few years before shewould hit her dark, twisted stride with CruelIntentions and Election , she made Freeway . In this cult favorite, Witherspoonplays Vanessa, a prostitute's daughter who gets picked up by a serial killerand rapist on her way to her grandmother's trailer park. The psychopath's name?Bob Wolverton. Best part of the trailer: Watching Witherspoon pretend to beilliterate, and then hearing her ask Kiefer Sutherland, "Are you going to dosex to me now?"

 

In 2007 the year before shebecame the belle of Bon Temps on TrueBlood Anna Paquin starred in adirect-to-video horror-comedy called Trick'r Treat . In one of the film's four Halloween-set storylines, Paquinplays a virgin who gets lost in the woods while costumed as Little Red RidingHood. But spoiler alert this damsel has a secret .

 

Unless you happened to catch herin I Downloaded a Ghost or Homeless to Harvard (okay, I saw thatlast one), 2005's HardCandy was essentially Ellen Page 'sdebut. Two years before Juno , sheplayed a 14-year-old girl who goes all vigilante against a man whom she'sconvinced is a pedophile. Her character wears a red hoodie ,but the filmmakers claimed that any resemblance to the fairy tale was strictlycoincidental. ("The hood was red," said Page ,"and I like to put my hood up.") Still, like Freeway , Hard Candy fitsneatly into the Little Red-Strikes-Back school of revisionist fantasy.

 

In 2005, the year before she madeher breakout hit The Devil Wears Prada (asanother girl who makes some striking fashion choices), Anne Hathaway provided the voice of Amanda "Red" Puckett in Hoodwinked ,an animated whodunit inspired by Charles Perrault, Rashomon , and The UsualSuspects .

 

Remember when Christina Ricci was a weird littlemoon-faced Goth girl? In 1997, she starred in an 12-minute black-and-white adaptationof Little Red Riding Hood. (Actually, it owes more to the version known as " TheTale of the Grandmother .") In director David Kaplan's ode to the silentfilm era, Wednesday Addams engages in cannibalism, performs a way-too-knowingstriptease, and outwits the wolf who bears a striking resemblance to Magical Mr. Mistoffelees bytelling him she has to go outside to "make caca." Oh, and the whole thing hasno dialogue and is narrated by Quentin Crisp . (Youhaven't lived until you've heard the Naked Civil Servant ask, "Are you pinchingoff a big loaf out there? Are you dropping a big load?") The film was releasedon DVD in 2009; you can also get it on iTunes.


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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.