Here's Johnny (Voight)!
November 23, 2010 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Salon plays a game of recasting classic (and a few less-than-classic) movies with contemporary actors.
posted by Navelgazer (102 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
For the record, my own fantasy recast would be for the Star Wars prequels, removing Hayden Christensen and replacing him with Ryan Phillippe, who was also reportedly considered.

Which is strange, because if you've seen things like Shattered Glass, you know that Chistensen can be fantastic, and is probably a stronger actor than Phillippe overall, but I think Phillippe, though more limited in general, is more deeply suited to the particular arc that Anakin had to play - the kind of cocky, likable guy who you also don't quite trust for some reason which shows through later. (Which, strangely, is exactly the role Christensen played in Glass, but with a necessary element of an outsider's desperation for approval.)

We can't do anything about the writing, which would still suck, but Phillippe could have played Anakin on a path from naive and idealistic to relativistic and scary, whereas with Christensen the path ended at impotent and whiny.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:22 PM on November 23, 2010


I agree on Phillipe, Navelgazer. When you put it that way it makes you think of the similarities with the character he played in Cruel Intentions. Very similar.
posted by amethysts at 5:29 PM on November 23, 2010


I think Phillippe would have been just as wooden and unconvincing as Christensen in the role. The dialogue would have sunk anyone. On the other hand, when I saw X-Men 2, I couldn't help thinking how much better a job John Allerdyce (who played Pyro) would have done as Anakin.

As regards other films, I often wish I could see scenes from The Philadelphia Story with George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Nicolas Cage standing in for Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart (not because it would be better, but because it would be a lot of fun).
posted by wabbittwax at 5:36 PM on November 23, 2010


wait a minute, where it says John Allerdyce, that should say the actor's name Aaron Stanford.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:40 PM on November 23, 2010


Wickerman, replacing Nicholas Cage with Christopher Walken. You know you can hear those lines right now in your head, and they are glorious.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:40 PM on November 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


And another thing. All films featuring Keanu Reeves would be improved by replacing him with Johnny Depp. There are no exceptions... (but he was OK in the Matrix and Speed and Bill and Ted you say... well Depp would have been better than OK).
posted by wabbittwax at 5:42 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Salon plays a game of recasting classic (and a few less-than-classic) movies with contemporary actors.

You mean, with actors that are contemporary with the time the movie was made. Like their example of having 1975 Clint Eastwood play Kurtz in Apocolypse Now in stead of Brando.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:42 PM on November 23, 2010


Okay, wow. Admittedly the pictures aren't a large part of the content, but they should have spent more than two minutes in Photoshop.
posted by ODiV at 5:44 PM on November 23, 2010


On that note, the Something Awful Forums (standard disclaimer about the site being annoying or at times impossible to read without an account applies) had some great contributions in the Recast Classic Horror Movies thread not too long ago.
posted by ODiV at 5:49 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I disagree about The Godfather, Part III. The problem withThe Godfather, Part III is that it's completely unnecessary from a story perspective. Michael Corleone already lost his soul and destroyed his family in order to save it in the first two movies. Part III is just scenery-chewing from Pacino going through the motions and a recycled, redundant plot line.

I'm tired of people blaming Sophia Coppola for The Godfather, Part III. She's an awkward, coltish teenaged girl. She's playing an awkward, coltish teenaged girl. She is not the problem. Also, she's Italian. Winona Ryder is a better actress, but she looks like an Irish pixie and would've been unconvincing and distracting in the role.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:52 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think Phillippe would have been just as wooden and unconvincing as Christensen in the role. The dialogue would have sunk anyone.

Crispin Glover. It wouldn't have worked, but it would have not-worked in such a gloriously weird way that we'd all feel better about the whole thing. Especially if you pretend that the text itself was written by an appropriately-worried-about-rejection George McFly.
posted by cortex at 5:53 PM on November 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


I woulda cast Watchmen with Steve Buscemi as Rorschach, and John Cusack as Nite Owl.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:54 PM on November 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


cortex, it's interesting you mention Crispin Glover, because I was just thinking about Batman, and I think Glover woulda been a better Joker than Jack Nicholson in the 1989 Tim Burton version.

(My ideal Batman is young Martin Sheen, but okay, no time travelling allowed, fine)
posted by Greg Nog at 5:55 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a big Golden Age cinema fan, this is how just about every screening of an old film ends in my house. "That was great! Now, if they made this today, who would play X, Y, and Z?"

The game is more important than the answers.
posted by Miko at 6:01 PM on November 23, 2010


jabberjaw, that is, of course, exactly what I meant, with the idea of "contemporary" meaning "of the same time."
posted by Navelgazer at 6:01 PM on November 23, 2010


Miko, in film school that was one of our favorite pub games as well. Ghostbusters was notoriously the most impossible to recast.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:02 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


or Keanu Reeves in almost anything

Aww come on now.
posted by hopeless romantique at 6:02 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception. Some of it may have been the direction but he plays emotive scenes like someone's driving across his face, and when he's trying to keep a poker face he looks like a cat who got into the milk. I don't know who else was considered for the role but it seems like it was written for Matt Damon (which is probably why Nolan didn't cast him...)
posted by muddgirl at 6:03 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


jabberjaw, that is, of course, exactly what I meant, with the idea of "contemporary" meaning "of the same time."

I know - just wanted to clarify just in case people thought it meant contemporary to 2010.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:19 PM on November 23, 2010


Guys and Dolls always bothered the crap out of me. Brando and Sinatra were both horribly miscast. Sadly, if they would have just switched them around it would have been near perfect.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 6:21 PM on November 23, 2010


I'm not stoned enough to play this game, gimmie a second.
posted by The Whelk at 6:25 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


wabbitwax: All films featuring Keanu Reeves would be improved by replacing him with Johnny Depp. There are no exceptions...

Johnny Mnemonic?

(Would it hurt my remaining anti-Keanu cred to mention that I kinda liked him in Chain Reaction?)
posted by Pinback at 6:38 PM on November 23, 2010


I thought all of Salon's ideas were stupid. It's like asking "What if Napoleon had nukes?" Casting is alchemy + deals. Actors aren't paper dolls.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:45 PM on November 23, 2010


I dunno, Ideefixe. I imagine that Coppola and anyone else with hindsight wishes that they had ponied up the dough for Duvall for Godfather Part III
posted by Navelgazer at 6:53 PM on November 23, 2010


"What if Napoleon had nukes?"

London has Napoleon's Column and The Empire Of Louisiana is a big competitor to the Conical States. Also, Moscow doesn't, strictly speaking, exist.
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am intrigued by Eastwood as Kurtz. I do agree that Brando brought something to that role, but credibility as the character wasn't really part of it.
posted by maxwelton at 6:54 PM on November 23, 2010


The Driver: Bruce Dern does double duty as the Detective and the Driver.

Barry Lyndon: Bruce Dern picks up an Oscar nod for his nasal, ambiguously psychotic Redmond Barry.

Paper Moon: It's Bring-Your-Daughter-to-Work Day! Bruce Dern and Laura Dern star as partners in fraud.

The Great Gatsby: Ryan O'Neal makes for a surprisingly decent Tom Buchanan.
posted by Iridic at 6:57 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to see that Bonfire of the Vanities miniseries.
posted by padraigin at 7:01 PM on November 23, 2010


Put me down as also quite intrigued by the idea of Eastwood as Kurtz.
posted by davebush at 7:16 PM on November 23, 2010


Regarding The Shining . . . for the most part, it seems to me that the dramatic tension in Kubrik's films is about things changing around the characters while the characters stay the same. The changing surroundings just reveal different sides of the characters that inhabit them. In that sense, Nicholson's performance couldn't have been more perfect and, well, horrifying. Being truer to King's vision -- that it's the change in character that should be the dramatic focus -- would have required a different director.
posted by treepour at 7:17 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sadly, if they would have just switched them around it would have been near perfect.
Brando and Sinatra had 'conflicts' on the set of Guys and Dolls about the casting.

My nomination for switching: Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in Lonesome Dove.
posted by ovvl at 7:23 PM on November 23, 2010


Yeah, wasn't Ryan O'Neal really awful as Barry Lyndon? That always annoyed me.
posted by ovvl at 7:24 PM on November 23, 2010


And now I'm once again obsessed with how one would cast a current version of Ghostbusters. Bizarrely, I think Peter Venkman would be the easiest character. Vince Vaughn could handle it. Maybe even a highly reined-in Jack Black. Joan Cusack could hit the receptionist's notes possibly even better than in the original. Sigourney Weaver's character was written almost as a blank slate, so substitute anyone you like, though I picture Cameron Diaz having a ball with it. Jack McBrayer could fill in for Rick Moranis admirably.

But what do you do with Ray, Egon and Winston?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:25 PM on November 23, 2010


Why Ghostbusters? It wasn't a great film , and I can't picture a need for a remake, so there's no casting problem to solve, really.
posted by Miko at 7:28 PM on November 23, 2010


Regarding The Shining . . . for the most part, it seems to me that the dramatic tension in Kubrik's films is about things changing around the characters while the characters stay the same... Being truer to King's vision -- that it's the change in character that should be the dramatic focus -- would have required a different director.

Yeah treepour, exactly. Initially I was a bit intrigued but in the end I have to agree. It's a powerful movie because Jack Torrance isn't changed by his surroundings (as much as the viewer roots for him and wants him to be 'the good guy').
posted by muddgirl at 7:37 PM on November 23, 2010


Ah, now we're just shootin' the shit, saying things bound to stir controversy.

So:

But what do you do with Ray, Egon and Winston?

Zach Galifianakis, Nick Offerman, and Craig Robinson.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:37 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


The early drafts of the screenplay for Blade Runner were written by Hampton Fancher. His girlfriend at the time was Barabara Hershey. It was her dream of the mother spider eaten by its children that is mentioned in the film.

She was not seriously considered for the role of Rachael because at age 34 she no longer had the "factory fresh" look deemed appropriate for the character. (Though as this photo from the period shows, I don't think it would have been an impossible stretch.) But when I think how much more haunting than Sean Young's her reading of "I am the business" would have been, I mourn the lost opportunity.

And even if she hadn't gotten along better with Harrison Ford, she could hardly have gotten along any worse.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:37 PM on November 23, 2010


Dear Lord Craig Robinson would make a great Winston.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:41 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


And Miko, Ghostbusters really is a great film, and recasting great comedies is the toughest challenge, because you have to fill more specific roles while maintaining the balance of comedic chemistry between the actors.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:44 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


> (but he was OK in the Matrix and Speed and Bill and Ted you say... well Depp would have been better than OK).

I dunno...seems to me that if there was one role Keanu Reeves was born to play, it was Ted Logan.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:45 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, here's a tough one: who would best replace John Wayne as Genghis Khan in 1956's The Conqueror? (Keep in mind that the film was shot downwind of an atomic testing range; whomever you choose would likely perish before 1980.)
posted by Iridic at 7:52 PM on November 23, 2010


Ronald Reagan as Temujin, then?
posted by Earthtopus at 7:57 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh Christ, another moan about how Stanley Kubrick screwed up The Shining and how it would have been better if it was more like the book? Can the people who push that shit not take their mediocre TV movie and go home with it?
posted by Artw at 8:01 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ghostbusters really is a great film

Well...I see your point about comedies but reserve my opinion on Ghostbusters.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on November 23, 2010


Craig Robinson would make a great Winston.

You'd need to beef up the role, though; it's nakedly token-ish as written. Maybe combine Winston and Ray into a single part?

And Martin Starr is Egon.
posted by Iridic at 8:03 PM on November 23, 2010


Wikpedia has this to say about the immportal Ghostbusters:
Ghostbusters was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984. It currently holds a 93% "Certified Fresh" rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 45 reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "This movie is an exception to the general rule that big special effects can wreck a comedy ... Rarely has a movie this expensive provided so many quotable lines"...Pauline Kael had problems with the chemistry between the three lead actors: "Murray is the film's comic mechanism ... But nobody else has much in the way of material, and since there's almost no give-and-take among the three men, Murray's lines fall on dead air".In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Its jokes, characters and story line are as wispy as the ghosts themselves, and a good deal less substantial".

Recognition

In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted Ghostbusters the 44th greatest comedy film of all time. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time (in their 100 Years... 100 Laughs list). In 2005, IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever.[29] In 2006, Bravo ranked Ghostbusters 76 on their 100 Funniest Movies list.Entertainment Weekly ranked it as the Funniest Movie of the Past 25 Years. In 2008, Empire magazine ranked the film #189 on its list of The 500 Greatest Movie of All Time.[ In 2009, National Review magazine ranked Ghostbusters number 10 on its 25 Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years list.

...and, so, yeah, back to the 1930s/40s for me.
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So here;s a question: Given that Danny Trejo has now been recognised as awesome, what movies that he's a thug in would be massively improved by him being the lead?
posted by Artw at 8:05 PM on November 23, 2010


Also, no, fucking with Ghostbusters would not be a good idea.
posted by Artw at 8:06 PM on November 23, 2010


Zach G. does Venkmen. Steve Carrell for Ray. Forrest Whitaker as Winston. David Duchovney in a stunt-casting return to the big screen as Egon Spangler.
posted by cortex at 8:21 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


...what movies that he's a thug in would be massively improved by him being the lead?

That would be Marked for Death, Con Air, Delta Farce, and arguably Six Days, Seven Nights.
posted by Iridic at 8:32 PM on November 23, 2010


You can't replace Keanu Reeves in most anything he's done, because the reasons some people hate him is the same reasons other people remember him. Same with Nic Cage.

"Let's go see that new film about the diamond thief."
"Who's in it, John Malkovich?"
"No, Keanu Reeves."
"Oh, yeah. He's in a lot of good movies. Let's go."
posted by P.o.B. at 8:35 PM on November 23, 2010


Metafilter: Not fucking with Ghostbusters
posted by P.o.B. at 8:36 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zach G. does Venkmen. Steve Carrell for Ray. Forrest Whitaker as Winston. David Duchovney in a stunt-casting return to the big screen as Egon Spangler.

I woulda never thunk it, but by god, you're onto something. Duchovny as Spengler just might be downright genius.
posted by chimaera at 8:43 PM on November 23, 2010


Steve Carrell almost works as Ray, but not quite. He could pull off a guy who's thoughts brought the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man into existence, but not a formerly respected Columbia researcher so much. Will Forte might be able to do it, but his style is probably too broad to mix with the rest of the cast well.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:48 PM on November 23, 2010


Oh, yes, agreed, Duchovny as Egon in a walk.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:49 PM on November 23, 2010


Most of these seemed not that interesting to me, either unnecessarily futzing with what the movie was (The Shining) or rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (Godfather III). I like the Eastwood idea though.

Mostly I'm just surprised that were 55+ comments in and no smart aleck has yet suggested Eric Stoltz for the role of Marty McFly.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:07 PM on November 23, 2010


OK first, the salon selections were mostly lame and not very thought provoking.

Secondly... I've always always thought that Mandy Patinkin would have been miles better as Otto in A Fish Called Wanda. In fact, I kinda picture him in every role that I see Kevin Kline in and like it better my way.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:12 PM on November 23, 2010


Keanu Reeves does a particular kind of burnt-out inscrutable that, if used right, can be perfect. Vis Point Break. He almost saves A Scanner Darkly, though even a plainly addled Robert Downey wasn't enough for that. He's a johnny one-note sure, but sometimes the triangle is just the right thing.
posted by bonehead at 9:26 PM on November 23, 2010


Lest we forget, this was tangentially imagined by Mark Leyner as Schwarzeneggerization.
posted by maxwelton at 9:27 PM on November 23, 2010


A Scanner Darkly is actually totally saved by Reeves.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The shelves yielded miracle after miracle. Here was The Death of Superman, directed by Tim Burton, starring Nicolas Cage; in Pete’s universe, Burton and Cage had both dropped the project early on. Here was Total Recall, but directed and written by David Cronenberg, not Paul Verhoeven. Here was The Terminator, but starring O.J. Simpson rather than Arnold Schwarzenegger—though Schwarzenegger was still in the film, as Kyle Reese. Here was Raiders of the Lost Ark, but starring Tom Selleck instead of Harrison Ford—and there was no sign of any later Indiana Jones films, which was sad. Pete’s hands were already full of DVDs, and he juggled them awkwardly while pulling more movies from the shelves. Here was Casablanca starring George Raft instead of Bogart, and maybe it had one of the alternate endings, too!
from Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt
posted by NoraReed at 9:33 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about Duchovny as Spengler, but he's DEFINITELY got the dry chops for it.

Honestly, Duchovny could play Venkman pretty well, too. He's got better comedic timing than he gets credit for.

Someone mentioned Will Forte. I'd head down that road but pick Bill Heder as Stantz. Or Spengler. Any of em' could do it.

And finally, Downey could play Venkman. Actually, the more I think of it, Downey would be a great Venkman.
posted by Thistledown at 9:38 PM on November 23, 2010


Keanu Reeves does a particular kind of burnt-out inscrutable that, if used right, can be perfect. Vis Point Break. He almost saves A Scanner Darkly, though even a plainly addled Robert Downey wasn't enough for that. He's a johnny one-note sure, but sometimes the triangle is just the right thing.

I believe the now-defunct Fametracker claimed, quite reasonably, that Keanu Reeves was really bad at doing most of the thing that young actors do well like anger and despair but was uncommonly good at portraying things like confusion, learning, and disaffection. It does explain why he works The Matrix and Bill and Ted but is terrible when he has to play a romantic lead or a typical action hero.
posted by Copronymus at 10:00 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am not sure they watched either The Shining or One Flew Over the Cooko's Nest.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:22 PM on November 23, 2010


The Ninth Gate. I love this movie, but Johnny Depp is miscast as Corso.

I've read rumors of Polanski and Depp having creative differences on set, and I think it comes through in the final product. Polanski is a huge fan of "weak" main characters - physically weak and, sometimes, morally weak. Think about Adrien Brody in The Pianist - lucky, crafty, and starving. Think about Jake in Chinatown - a sleazy private eye who winds up fucking everything up. Think about Hugh Grant in Bitter Moon - stammering, leering, and clueless.

Depp's much too suave and rakish to be a Polanski hero. Depp tries to make him mousy and disheveled, but it's not convincing. He still comes off as a handsome, magnetic guy, like someone who has all the answers. It's also profoundly unclear how amoral Corso truly is - we hear from other characters that he's not remotely trustworthy, that he has a bad reputation, but he's too likable, or at least he's too likable for the wrong reasons.

The mix-up is especially clear when you read the book. The Corso of the book is often described as a "cartoon rabbit", on the shortish side, who gets his way by playing dumb or helpless and letting others underestimate him. As a matter of fact, it sounds like the sort of role that Polanski himself would have played when he was much younger.

But, barring time travel, we can't do that, so instead I present to you: The Ninth Gate, starring Steve Buscemi.

Buscemi is charismatic, but funny-looking enough so that we know he should be suspicious when a femme fatale tries to seduce him. He could play charmingly devious and wholly amoral, holding the audience's attention without making him think he's a nice guy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:33 PM on November 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Robert Downey Jr as Venkman, Scott Adsit as Ray, Duchovny as Egon, and Craig Robinson as Winston. What do I win?
posted by minifigs at 12:43 AM on November 24, 2010


And another thing. All films featuring Keanu Reeves would be improved by replacing him with Johnny Depp. There are no exceptions.

This is manifestly not true. I am far from a Reeves apologist, but he was absolutely fucking PERFECT in his role in River's Edge. ("Mother fucker! Food eater!"). It's basically the role he was born to play. Replacing him with 21 Jump Street-era Johnny Depp would simply not have worked as well.
posted by dersins at 1:17 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Note as well that River's Edge also features Crispin Glover in the role he was born to play.
posted by dersins at 1:21 AM on November 24, 2010


hey jabberjaw and Navelgazer: I think the correct term is actually "contemporaneous" rather than "Contemporary".
posted by mary8nne at 2:46 AM on November 24, 2010


OK, last night I realized that I was wrong about Matt Damon. Instead, swap DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard.
posted by muddgirl at 5:38 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Ninth Gate. I love this movie, but Johnny Depp is miscast as Corso.
I have to disagree with this. I, too, love this film, and find Depp completely convincing as a rather disaffected and self-absorbed bottom-feeder who is utterly unaware of just how far down the rabbit hole he has fallen until it's too late.

Buscemi would have been a disaster in the role, imho. As much as I like Buscemi, I also approach any film in which he appears fully aware that he will be playing, well, The Buscemi Character™. Perhaps that's the eventuality of carrying such an enigmatic face? I far prefer the more nuanced and quiet performance Depp brings to Corso. It really works with the quiet, ominous tone of the film.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:10 AM on November 24, 2010


Yeah, wasn't Ryan O'Neal really awful as Barry Lyndon? That always annoyed me.

I've heard this for years, and I don't get it. I realize that opinions about actors and performances are subjective, but it's weird to me that my opinion is so skewed away from many other people's: I really like O'Neal in "Barry Lyndon." I don't detect any false notes (he doesn't seem like he's acting to me) and I find his performance nuanced and interesting (I both like and hate his character -- and yet the negative and positive traits seem integrated into a single, believable personality.) Though the makeup job isn't always convincing, from the perspective of his acting, I'm really impressed how he takes the character from being really young to being middle-aged. He does it in an understated but believable way.

His whole performance is understated and subtle in a way I really like. As they're both Kubrick films, I like comparing O'Neal's quiet performance in "Barry Lyndon" with Jack Nicholson's loud one in "The Shining."

I am a director and I work with actors every day, so it's especially weird to me that I'm so skewed in this case.

My baggage (or lack of it, I guess) is that I've never read Thackery's novel. Also, I've never seen O'Neal in anything else (except "Paper Moon" so long ago, I don't remember it). I am vaguely aware that O'Neal has been in the gossip columns, and that he was married to Farah Fawcet (or dated her or whatever), but I didn't pay attention to that. I bring this up, because I know that sometimes stuff that's external to a movie can color one's perception of what goes on in the movie, though I'm not assuming that's what's happening to people who dislike O'Neal's performance in "Barry Lyndon."

Can someone who dislikes O'Neil in that movie explain what he or she dislikes about him? Even if you can only do it in vague terms ("he makes me feel uneasy" or "there's just something off about his performance"), that might help me understand.
posted by grumblebee at 7:00 AM on November 24, 2010


I think a big part of it is that it's Ryan O'Neil and nobody likes Ryan O'Neil and you pretty much just constantly want to punch Ryan O'Neil in his wooden goddam Ryan O'Neiling face oh man oh god oh man oh god OH MAN OH GOD
posted by cortex at 7:09 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, so it's stuff that one would only (or mostly) think about if one knows stuff about O'Neil's life offscreen? Like knowing that Travolta is a Scientologist?
posted by grumblebee at 7:35 AM on November 24, 2010


No, no, it's Ryan O'Neil when he's on screen because oh god it's Ryan O'Neil and he's on screen again ruining the screen that he's on WHY DOES HE DO THAT WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE RYAN O'NEIL etc.

I think what I'm trying to say here is that Ryan O'Neil is not so great and also I enjoy making fun of Ryan O'Neil and refusing to use pronouns.
posted by cortex at 7:47 AM on November 24, 2010


Well, now that you explain the pronouns thing, it's all clear.
posted by grumblebee at 8:01 AM on November 24, 2010


Okay, an opportunity to trot out my go-to dream recasting. Batman (1989), Jim Carrey as the Joker. Batman Forever (1995), Jack Nicholson as the Riddler.

Their respective levels of popularity peaked at the wrong times to make this casting feasible for big-budget summer tentpole movies. Which sucks, because I NEVER bought Nicholson as an insane clown - he's just never manic enough. I don't think he can GET manic enough. Playing the Joker is starring in the best comedy ever, in your head, all the time - and I just don't think Nicholson is a comic lead.

The Riddler, on the other hand, is always believing you're the smartest guy in the room. Nicholson would have been dead-on. Even his face looks like the classic Riddler sort-of-triangular. And he could have rocked the hell out of a green tuxedo.

And oh, the opportunity for In-Living-Color-era Carrey to play the Joker! Fire Marshall Bill, but raised to supervillain level. Seriously, just let him off the chain. I can't honestly believe that Carrey could outthink Batman, but he can out-crazy ANYONE.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sadly Paul Giamatti was born way, way to early to star in A Charlie Brown Christmas, which would of course be live action in any version staring him.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joan Cusack could hit the receptionist's notes possibly even better than in the original . . .
posted by Navelgazer at 10:25 PM on November 23 [+] [!]


Better than the original?! Better than perhaps the most exquisitely crafted portrait of impossible to realize desire in the history of film? BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL!?!?!?! Broadswords in a pit my good sir.
posted by ND¢ at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2010


I believe the now-defunct Fametracker claimed, quite reasonably, that Keanu Reeves was really bad at doing most of the thing that young actors do well like anger and despair but was uncommonly good at portraying things like confusion, learning, and disaffection. It does explain why he works The Matrix and Bill and Ted but is terrible when he has to play a romantic lead or a typical action hero.

Fametracker is not precisely defunct but itr no longer especially, er, funct. It has not been updated in almost four years, what with Wing Chun having abandoned it to go and write a piece for the National Post so infrequently that they appear around every lunar eclipse, so far as I can tell. Still, their Two Stars, One Slot page is ideal for this: really, what performance has George Segal turned in since 1980 or so that would not have been the same if Elliot Gould had been cast instead? Likewise, if you are casting a role for a chameleonic hipster goof, either Sam Rockwell or Justin Theroux will suit your purpose.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:08 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Robert Downey Jr as Venkman

The problem with recasting Venkmen is that the character is so much a bullshit artist, salesman, schmoozer, that it's hard to find someone who can also plausibly be-the-guy-of-the-moment when the moment comes.

Like Vince Vaughn I can buy for the first half, but not as much the second, Chris Evans could maybe be the second, but I don't find him seedy or weathered enough to play the first.

But Downey Jr? Yeah. I could see that. That could be pretty brilliant in fact.
posted by quin at 9:45 AM on November 24, 2010


To return to the opening comments - my understanding is that Hayden Christensen was chosen primarily for his height, not his acting chops. Ryan Phillipe is ~5'9" to Christensen's 6' plus. What with Darth Vader being "a bit tall" it would be important to have an actor that is actually taller than Ewan McGregor at 5'10" otherwise it makes more of a mockery (should such a thing be possible) of the original trilogy.
posted by longbaugh at 10:11 AM on November 24, 2010


Basically I would replace every leading man, ever, with Robert Downey, Jr.
posted by muddgirl at 10:14 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Variant: what movies would Robert Downey, Jr. be the worst possible replacement lead for?

I think he would have been kinda lousy as Christ in Last Temptation.
posted by cortex at 10:16 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


He'd make a horrible Kermit in The Muppet Movie. I'm not even sure he can sing. Miss Piggy, on the other had, I could totally see.
posted by bonehead at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2010


Oh what I would pay to see a remake of The Muppet Movie starring human actors.
posted by cortex at 10:24 AM on November 24, 2010


Crispin Glover. It wouldn't have worked, but it would have not-worked in such a gloriously weird way that we'd all feel better about the whole thing. Especially if you pretend that the text itself was written by an appropriately-worried-about-rejection George McFly.

"MY NAME IS DARTH VADER"

Anyway, my recasting fantasy:
William Hurt in everything he's ever been in -> John Heard.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:53 AM on November 24, 2010


John Heard -> John Hurt
posted by Iridic at 10:58 AM on November 24, 2010


Robert Downey, Jr stars in:

Ong Bak
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The Nanny Diaries
Babe
Pretty in Pink


Yeah, ok. Those were kind of gimmies.
posted by ODiV at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2010


Home Alone: replace Macaulay Culkin with Ned Beatty dressed as a child. Slick back his hair, spray him with a fine mist of glycerine, and fit him with Coke bottle glasses. At the beginning or ending of a few scenes, insert uncomfortably long, gratuitous shots of Beatty grimacing in pain, hunched over, clutching his stomach, emitting sounds of intestinal discomfort, staring hatefully at an, unseen off-camera figure, only to finally catch his breath after a few seconds and then resume the movie as normal.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sticherbeast, I think I saw that on Tim & Eric.
posted by AugieAugustus at 11:28 AM on November 24, 2010


Variant: what movies would Robert Downey, Jr. be the worst possible replacement lead for?
He'd make a horrible Kermit in The Muppet Movie. I'm not even sure he can sing.


He most certainly can.
posted by dersins at 11:53 AM on November 24, 2010


I hate Tim Burton movies (with the exception of "Ed Wood"), but I was momentarily excited when I found out he was making "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," because I assumed that he'd make the only logical casting choice for Willy Wonka: Christopher Walken.
posted by grumblebee at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh what I would pay to see a remake of The Muppet Movie starring human actors.

Christina Hendricks should play Miss Piggy.
posted by smartyboots at 12:30 PM on November 24, 2010


But but but Hollywood already does this.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2010


Please stop with the Ghostbusters recasting. You're making me sad.
posted by bpm140 at 5:27 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Basically I would replace every leading man, ever, with Robert Downey, Jr.

Yeah okay, get out of my head.

Also, Chiwetel Ejiofor should be in every movie. Yes, every movie. (Yes, even that one)
posted by biscotti at 7:10 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, in Kinky Boots he should be replaced by Danny Trejo.
posted by Artw at 8:26 PM on November 24, 2010


what movies would Robert Downey, Jr. be the worst possible replacement lead for?

Willie Aames in Bibleman.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:34 PM on November 24, 2010


Matthew Gray Gubler is the one true recast Willy Wonka. So saith the Fairytale household.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:06 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Jude Law ought to have been the fully finished, understated Tom Ripley and Matt Damon should have been the American trust-fund idiot, Dickey Greenleaf. I suspect that Anthony Minghella was having a bit of a lark there because it so clear to anyone who has ever read the book that they should have been cast the other way around.

Also, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Reeve and PAtrick Swayze were considered for Quaid in Total Recall, before Dino De Laurentiis' company went bankrupt and Carolco bought the script for Schwarzenegger. I'd like to see that movie and a nepotism-free Winona Ryder/Robert Duvall Godfather, Part III.
posted by vhsiv at 1:51 AM on November 25, 2010


I hate Tim Burton movies (with the exception of "Ed Wood"), but I was momentarily excited when I found out he was making "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," because I assumed that he'd make the only logical casting choice for Willy Wonka: Christopher Walken.

I agree -- he'd be perfect. As well, Cronenberg may be about to redo The Fly again, which would be a fine role for the actor as well.

These reboots are made for Walken.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:03 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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