Recasting Your Favourite Movies

I laboured long and hard over the intro, trying to figure out a way to best present this little idea of mine. They were all way too long, and I realized people would stop reading before they got to the point of the the blog entry. They included examples and shit and I kinda wrote circles around myself. So instead of a long diatribe, I’ll just keep it concise, any questions or comments, just send them to me and I’ll do my best to respond in due time.

This whole thing is a little project of mine. For the record I’m not advocating remakes of these films or film versions of these TV Shows. I enjoy speculating what it would be if the original had never been made, and it was being produced now, in 2007. Who would they cast? Scratch that, who would I cast?

Yes I do use the original as a point of reference on characterization only. Beyond that, I operate under the notion that the original was never made.

Just to restate, I am NOT advocating remakes for these flicks. This is just a fun game of speculation. I welcome comments, suggestions and criticism.

Without further ado… I present just a few of my favourite films, recast with today’s talent.

The Godfather

Michael Corleone- Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints)
Fredo Corleone- Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
Sonny Corleone- Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs)
Tom Hagan- Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Don Vito Corleone- Christopher Walken (Poolhall Junkies)
Kay Adams- Naomi Watts (King Kong)
Pete Clemenza- James Gandolfini (The Sopranos)
Cpt. McCluskey- Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
Virgil Solozzo- Gary Oldman (Leon)
Connie Corleone- Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Carlo Rizzi- Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream)
Jack Woltz- Al Pacino (Heat)
Johnny Fontaine- John Travolta (Pulp Fiction)

I realize Flannery is Irish, but a good accent would hide it. The casting of Pacino as Woltz is not meant as some sly wink and a nod to the original. If you look at John Marley’s performance in the original, it’s similar to Pacino’s in films like Glengarry Glen Ross, Heat and Any Given Sunday. I think this would be a good project for Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) or Joe Carnahan (Narc).

It’s A Wonderful Life

George Bailey- Jim Carrey (The Truman Show)
Mary Hatch Bailey- Hope Davis (The Matador)
Mr. Potter- Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity)
Uncle Billy- Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future)
Clarence- Ian Holm (Lord of the Rings)
Violet Bick- Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers)
Harry Bailey- Sean Patrick Flannery (Boondock Saints)
Pa Bailey- Alan Alda (M*A*S*H*)
Ma Bailey- Dianne Weist (Edward Scissorhands)
Mr. Gower- Bill Nighy (Love Actually)
Mr. Martini- Chazz Palmentari (The Usual Suspects)
Nick- Nicky Katt (Boston Public)
Officer Bert- Greg Kinnear (The Matador)
Ernie- Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Sam Wainwright- Steve Carrell (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
Marty Hatch- Paul Rudd (Knocked Up)

I know I reused Flannery. And you know what? That will happen. He’s a decent enough actor. And I thought he’d fit this role really well. I went with taller, lankier actors in Carrey, Flannery, Alda and Lloyd for the Bailey boys. There’s a 10 year spread on the younger generation, mainly because they’d be playing characters from the age of 18 to mid 40’s. Some of the smaller roles (Bert, Ernie, Nick) I thought it would interesting to use as cameos for certain actors. I could offer speculation on the kids, but really, kid actors are everywhere, and unknowns would be the way to go. Though I would imagine they’d go for Elle Fanning for ZuZu. Richard Curtis (Love Actually) would be perfect to direct this.

Taxi Driver

Travis Bickle- Clive Owen (Inside Man)
Iris Steensma- Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen)
“Sport” Matthew- Heath Ledger (Lords of Dogtown)
Betsy- Hope Davis (The Matador)
Tom- Robert Downey, Jr. (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Smaller cast than my previous two. Clive Owen has that look about him, and the way he carries himself. He’s quiet, but definitely got a crazy streak to him. It was easy to cast the three leads. It was Sport and Tom that gave me trouble. Ledger really impressed me with his turn in Lords of Dogtown. He was playing a real person with a real character quirk, but he never seemed to be mimicking or imitating. So that proved to me that he actually can act. And Downey is just a fantastic actor in the midst of a career rebirth, following Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Zodiac. I think Christopher Nolan should take this.

The Dick Van Dyke Show
They’d have to change the title, cause it wouldn’t involve Dick Van Dyke, but it’s that show that I’m using.

Rob Petrie- Matthew Perry (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
Laura Petrie- Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives)
Buddy Sorrell- Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Sally Rogers- Jane Lynch (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
Richie- Go with an unknown here, says I
Alan Brady- William H. Macy (The Cooler)
Mel Cooley- George Carlin (Dogma)
Jerry Helper- Josh Charles (Sports Night)
Millie Helper- Jenna Fischer (The Office)

See, I’m using the TV show, as it’s such a great show that would translate well to modern times (Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a good comparable show, hence I use Matthew Perry). It’s tough to use the title, as if it never happened, it wouldn’t be “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. But to use it as a point of reference, we’d have refer to it as “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. But the actual title could be one of the shows original working titles: “Head of the Family” or “All In A Day’s Work”, or you could come up with a new, original title. Aaron Sorkin could write the script. Stephen Soderbergh would be interesting in the director’s chair.

That’s it for now. Keep an eye out for more recasts (I have more ready to go) and more posts, as I do plan to use this blog more often now, for more than just reviews.


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