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If you could completely recast any movie--how would you do it?

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I was thinking of Dangerous Liaisons earlier today, and I was wondering who would be the ideal people to play Merteuil (Glenn Close in the 1988 version) and Valmont (John Malkovich).  Although I have good memories of both characters, in the movie and the book Merteuil has to be stronger and more ruthless than Valmont and that is not the first response one has comparing Malkovich to Close.  I wonder how one might recast it.  One might think that George Sanders would play a perfect Valmont, but where would one find the vulnerability?  Perhaps James Mason would be a better choice.  And as for Merteuil, one thinks of Jodie Foster, or Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn or maybe Joan Crawford. 

 

With that I mind if one could recast any movie, with actors not having to be alive at the same time, how would you do it?

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I would re-cast the role of Dorothy in 1978's The Wiz either with a completely unknown juvenile actress/singer (like Aileen Quinn in 1982's Annie or Nikki Blonsky in 2007's Hairspray) or with Stephanie Mills, who played the role on Broadway.

 

It's not just that Diana Ross was too old for the role (she was 33-34 during production), but her Dorothy was so neurotic and depressing that the last scene should have shown Richard Pryor's Wiz handing out brains to the Scarecrow, a heart to the Tin Man, courage for the Lion, ". . . and for you, Dorothy, electroshock therapy!"

 

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Since this discussion has so far covered more contemporary films, I'll reiterate with one I've mentioned before in these forums, although within the confines of a different topic.

 

 

I would attempt to remake the '70's film AMERICAN HOT WAX casting GARY SINISE as Alan Freed since Sinise resembles Freed to a certain degree both in looks and physical stature due to the original film's casting of a bloated and too tall TIM McINTIRE struck me as being the wrong choice.

 

I know this isn't neccesarily a discussion of "remakes", but if it came to that, I'd remake ON THE WATERFRONT (and I thought of this LONG ago) with  NICOLAS CAGE as Terry, VIC TAYBACK as Johnny Friendly, JAMES CAAN as Charlie the Gent, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Edie Doyle, TOM SIZEMORE as Father Barry, and even JOHN CANDY as Big Mac.

 

But, I DID think of this casting back in about 1989, so sadly, they're all too old, or dead now.....

 

 

Sepiatone

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On a non-time travel basis:

 

I would make sure Peter Sellers does not have a heart attack during the making of Kiss Me Stupid. The film comes so close to being a classic --  Ray Walston just couldn't replace him.

 

Boris Karloff would be in Arsenic And Old Lace. It isn't simply that Boris is missed; Raymond Massey has the light comic touch of a cholera epidemic.

 

Somehow, I'd like to see Robert Mitchum as Hud. I am convinced Mitchum's persona was as in fact a major influence on the character as created by Larry McMurtry. You can kinda see Mitchum as a sort of Hud in married middle age in Home From The Hill.

 

Revving up my time machine:

 

David Niven as Flashman. Although George MacDonald Fraser claimed Errol Flynn would have been his choice to portray his Victorian cad-hero, I've always pictured Flynn's chum Niven in the role. His adventures from public schoolboy to itinerant adventurer in The Moon's A Balloon have a definite Flashmanesque air about them. Niven was in fact a fan of the Flashman novels, and said he would have loved to play the role when younger.

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I'd remake all the flop movie musicals with actors who can "really" sing and note all the negative criticisms and redo them right  like Chorus Line, Man of La Mancha, A Little Night Music. Paint Your Wagon, and Mame.

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While reading The Bridges of Madison County in the early 1990's I sat there reading it as if I had already cast the film.

 

The more I read the more I got used to seeing Robert Redford as Photographer Robert Kincaid and Angelica Huston as Francesca Johnson. Unfortunately the film starred Eastwood and Streep.

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I would recast any version of The Great Gatsby:

 

Nick Carraway- William Holden.  He'd do well as the WWI veteran who is sarcastic, easy going and optimistic.  Carraway's optimism disappears later in the novel, and Holden played cynics well.

 

Gatsby- Errol Flynn.  I think he'd be great as the young handsome millionaire with questionable business connections.  While I don't know if it'd be the most believable that he's from North Dakota, he's played General Custer, so I think it'd work.  His charm and charisma would make it believable that he'd have these wild parties and I think he could do the mysterious angle well.

 

Daisy Buchanan- Jean Harlow.  I think she'd be excellent as the attractive, vivacious but shallow flapper who's caught in a love triangle between herself, her husband and Gatsby. 

 

Tom Buchanan- Fred MacMurray.  Kind of an unconventional choice, but he'd have the right intimidating build and I believe would be capable of playing an arrogant jerk.  He'd have to be attractive in order for it to be believable that Daisy would be married to him, but enough of a sleaze that you hate him.

 

Jordan Baker- Ann Sheridan.  She's supposed to be Daisy's friend who is somewhat aloof and is involved with Nick most of the time. I think Sheridan could do aloof well and she'd pair well with Holden.

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One film that drives me crazy is GUYS AND DOLLS. The stage version is perfect and the film messes with it in weird ways. The mis-casting is something I always wished I could fix. Although I never thought of fixing it with people who weren't alive at the time. That changes a lot:

 

Nathan Detroit: Nathan Lane

Adelaide: Judy Holliday

Sky Masterson: Dean Martin (Frank is fine too, Dean's just hotter)

Miss Sarah: Kelli O'Hara

 

And btw I wish someone could invent a time machine so I could see Errol Flynn as Gatsby! YES!

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One film that drives me crazy is GUYS AND DOLLS. The stage version is perfect and the film messes with it in weird ways. The mis-casting is something I always wished I could fix. Although I never thought of fixing it with people who weren't alive at the time. That changes a lot:

 

Nathan Detroit: Nathan Lane

Adelaide: Judy Holliday

Sky Masterson: Dean Martin (Frank is fine too, Dean's just hotter)

Miss Sarah: Kelli O'Hara

 

And btw I wish someone could invent a time machine so I could see Errol Flynn as Gatsby! YES!

Guys and Dolls drives me crazy too.  Marlon Brando doesn't work for me as Skye.  I didn't have any issues with Sinatra.  My biggest problem was Brando singing "Luck Be a Lady," Sinatra was right there! He sings it so much better.  I like the Dean Martin as Skye idea.  Although, in my version it'd be Frank and Dino... so Guys and Dolls would end up being a very early Rat Pack (before there was a Rat Pack) film.  Lol.

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For my money, Albert Finney should have won the Oscar for his portrayal of Geoffrey Firmin in John Huston's 1984, Under the Volcano.  He was absolutely brilliant.

That said, I would also liked to have seen Richard Burton in the part.  The Malcolm Lowry story of the alcoholic British Consul in Cuernavaca, Mexico during the day of the dead was a project dear to Burton's heart.

Thankfully we are left with his narration in the very good documentary by the NFB's Donald Britain, Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry (1976).

Like Lowry, Huston and Burton, Donald Brittain was also an alcoholic.

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I was thinking of Dangerous Liaisons earlier today, and I was wondering who would be the ideal people to play Merteuil (Glenn Close in the 1988 version) and Valmont (John Malkovich).  Although I have good memories of both characters, in the movie and the book Merteuil has to be stronger and more ruthless than Valmont and that is not the first response one has comparing Malkovich to Close.  I wonder how one might recast it.  One might think that George Sanders would play a perfect Valmont, but where would one find the vulnerability?  Perhaps James Mason would be a better choice.  And as for Merteuil, one thinks of Jodie Foster, or Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn or maybe Joan Crawford. 

 

With that I mind if one could recast any movie, with actors not having to be alive at the same time, how would you do it?

I saw it on stage, in London (1986), with Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan in those roles (which they reprised on Broadway). They would have been great in the film.

 

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While reading The Bridges of Madison County in the early 1990's I sat there reading it as if I had already cast the film.

 

The more I read the more I got used to seeing Robert Redford as Photographer Robert Kincaid and Angelica Huston as Francesca Johnson. Unfortunately the film starred Eastwood and Streep.

B)

I do that too!  Kinda makes for more fun reading, don't it?

 

I'll put a mental image of some actor or actress in key character parts and while reading, imagine it as an already made movie!

 

On to the main thing---I once reimagined a more contemporay recasting of "Liberty Valance" with Christopher Walken in the Jimmy Stewart role,  Tommy Lee Jones in Duke's role, and WOODY HARRELSON as Liberty Valance.

 

Just remembered---while watching "Of Mice And Men" yesterday, I thought of how...and I think Charles Bickford was SUPERB as SLIM, but I also thought JOEL McCREA would have been good, too!

 

 

Sepiatone

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I'd replace Audrey Hepburn with Julie Andrews so the film version of MY FAIR LADY could be done correctly. I feel Audrey is quite unremarkable in this production. 

 

With modern technology, I'd settle with them going in and redubbing all of Audrey's lines with Julie (while she's still alive to do it). And then I'd substitute the music from the original Broadway show (which must exist somewhere) so we can hear Julie on the soundtrack.

 

Then we would have a vastly superior film.  

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While Luchino Visconti had the cast of Rocco and His Brothers together, I wish they could have made an Italian version of Written on the Wind. This might have been as good as the original.

 

Rock Hudson - Alain Delon

Lauren Bacall - Claudia Cardinale

Robert Stack - Renato Salvatore

Dorothy Malone - Annie Girardot

Robert Keith - Katina Paxinou

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Guys and Dolls drives me crazy too.  Marlon Brando doesn't work for me as Skye.  I didn't have any issues with Sinatra.  My biggest problem was Brando singing "Luck Be a Lady," Sinatra was right there! He sings it so much better.  I like the Dean Martin as Skye idea.  Although, in my version it'd be Frank and Dino... so Guys and Dolls would end up being a very early Rat Pack (before there was a Rat Pack) film.  Lol.

My main objections are the two non-singers. The only problem with Sinatra is that Nathan is supposed to be The Funny Lead, and it's a problem when your Funny Lead is way more suave than your Suave Lead. So Frank and Dino would be fine with me, and probably with them, too. I also would recast the director-- Stanley Donen would be a great fit, I think :)

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I've said the following around here more than a few times, but exchange Bogie with Robert Taylor in the role of Linus Larrabee in "Sabrina", and THEN I could believe him and Audrey Hepburn boarding that Europe-bound ship together at the end of the movie.

 

(...sorry, didn't think this needed a "Spoiler Alert", but I guess ya never know, huh!) ;)

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I've said the following around here more than a few times, but exchange Bogie with Robert Taylor in the role of Linus Larrabee in "Sabrina", and THEN I could believe him and Audrey Hepburn boarding that ship together for Europe at the end.

Even though I love "Sabrina," I've always thought they should have put Holden in the Linus role and someone younger in the David role--not sure who though.  I suppose if Taylor were cast, then Holden would work in the David role. 

 

Both actors seem slightly too old for their respective parts.

 

How old are Linus and David supposed to be anyway?

 

Sabrina is early twenties, like 21-22 I believe.  She mentions David having kissed her while he was teaching her how to roller skate backwards, which makes me suspect he's supposed to be close to her age-- maybe late 20s?

 

Sabrina mentions having watched Linus going to work with a briefcase.  Judging from his collegiate outfit, I'm assuming that Linus was probably in college during the 1930s... I'm supposing that he's quite a bit older than David, so maybe Linus is supposed to be late 30s? early 40s? 

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Even though I love "Sabrina," I've always thought they should have put Holden in the Linus role and someone younger in the David role--not sure who though.  I suppose if Taylor were cast, then Holden would work in the David role. 

 

Both actors seem slightly too old for their respective parts.

 

How old are Linus and David supposed to be anyway?

 

Sabrina is early twenties, like 21-22 I believe.  She mentions David having kissed her while he was teaching her how to roller skate backwards, which makes me suspect he's supposed to be close to her age-- maybe late 20s?

 

Sabrina mentions having watched Linus going to work with a briefcase.  Judging from his collegiate outfit, I'm assuming that Linus was probably in college during the 1930s... I'm supposing that he's quite a bit older than David, so maybe Linus is supposed to be late 30s? early 40s? 

 

Good points, Speedy. Besides Holden perhaps being slightly too old for the part of David, by 1954, Holden had pretty much moved on from playing the glib playboy types and to the more worldly and often cynical types. However, because I do feel Holden is still pretty good in this film anyway, this is the reason I think just the one change to Robert Taylor playing the older and more reserved and "staid" Linus would have improved this film considerably.

 

And, because Taylor as an actor is often thought of by some as perhaps a little "staid"(some might say "stiff"), I believe this very aspect to his acting helps work in the favor of this. And, being only 43 years of age at the time this movie was being filmed, the suspension of belief required to think the then 54 year old Bogart(who looks even older than his years at that time) is somehow the older brother of the then 36 year old Holden isn't necessary.

 

(...not to mention that Taylor is "pretty enough" to actually be the brother of "pretty" Bill Holden...and sorry, but as much as I like Bogie, the guy just ain't "pretty"...especially by 1954!!!) LOL

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My favorite Meryl Streep movie is Out of Africa (1985). It's a big, classic-style movie with a great cast. Streep brilliant (complete with Danish accent); many wonderful English (particularly Michael Kitchen) and African actors. The fly in the ointment is Robert Redford as Denys Finch Hatton. He could have attempted an English accent. I would replace Redford with Ralph Fiennes, who would have been too young when the movie was made, but this exercise is of course fantasy.

 

Another film I love, made a few years (1990) after Out of Africa, is The Sheltering Sky. Debra Winger and John Malkovich are not bad in the film; they just don't seem of the period, which is supposed to be 1940s.  I would recast with Bette Davis (in her "nice" but strong mode -- maybe Charlotte Vale after the transformation) and John Howard (in his Lost Horizon mode).  I remember seeing Bette Davis on television many years ago. Asked whom she thought was among the best of the contemporary actresses, she said, "Debra Winger."

 

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You may recall they remade SABRINA in '95 with GREG KINNEAR as David, and HARRISON FORD as Linus.

 

You may wish to "recast" from that point.

 

And, In a TV interview, when asked which current (at that time) actress reminded her of herself, BETTE DAVIS replied "DEBRA WINGER".  And I believe it was a matter of in acting AND attitude, as Winger also had a rep as being "strong willed" in matters concerning film roles and method.

 

 

Sepiatone

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IMHO Bogart is the best thing in Sabrina (I'm not a big Audrey Hepburn fan). Although perhaps a bit too old for the role (though Wilder's first choice, Cary Grant, wasn't all that much younger), Bogie shows some nice comic timing in addition to the usual dramatic gravitas.

 

Sabrina is also interesting in that it's probably the closest preppie doctor's son Bogart ever came to playing himself on screen.

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Sabrina is also interesting in that it's probably the closest preppie doctor's son Bogart ever came to playing himself on screen.

I would amend that statement. It was probably the closest he came to playing his former self on screen. I think he changed quite a bit as an actor.

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I've said the following around here more than a few times, but exchange Bogie with Robert Taylor in the role of Linus Larrabee in "Sabrina", and THEN I could believe him and Audrey Hepburn boarding that Europe-bound ship together at the end of the movie.

 

(...sorry, didn't think this needed a "Spoiler Alert", but I guess ya never know, huh!) ;)

If we're gonna replace Bogart is SABRINA, then I would push for the actor originally offered the role.to change his mind. Yes, I think Cary Grant would be perfect as Linus.

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If we're gonna replace Bogart is SABRINA, then I would push for the actor originally offered the role.to change his mind. Yes, I think Cary Grant would be perfect as Linus.

Cary Grant would have rocked that part. Although then the story would have been over at the beginning-- who wouldn't pick Cary Grant first, at any age? :)

 

I must say, like some of you, I adore Bogie in that role and think it's the perfect "didn't see that coming", since Bogie seems like an old guy no one would fall for. In real life, though, of course, he DID win the heart of a very young very gorgeous lady, so it is a realistic ending, isn't it?

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Cary Grant would have rocked that part. Although then the story would have been over at the beginning-- who wouldn't pick Cary Grant first, at any age? :)

 

I must say, like some of you, I adore Bogie in that role and think it's the perfect "didn't see that coming", since Bogie seems like an old guy no one would fall for. In real life, though, of course, he DID win the heart of a very young very gorgeous lady, so it is a realistic ending, isn't it?

 

LP, I agree with your assessment about Grant perhaps being perfect for the Linus role, but most especially what you said about it being "over at the beginning" and for the very reason you gave. And thus the ending, and as you imply, would have been much less of an enjoyable surprise.

 

However, and yes, while Bogie "got the gorgeous lady" in real life, once again, let us not forget here that that had taken place 10 years prior to the film in question being made, and in those intervening years, he looked to have aged at least twice those number of years.

 

And so I still say, AND as much as I admire Bogart's mastery of the art of acting, the man in 1954 had little if any "sex appeal" left in him and especially enough to have realistically enticed the young and beautiful Miss Hepburn in that movie.

 

(...and especially in a light romantic comedy of a movie, and in which a genre I've always thought the main characters must project some "sex appeal" in order for the story to "work")

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