If Classic Movies Were Cast Today

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 11th, 2013 at 12:09 pm,

Apocalypse Now


Apocalypse Now isn’t a film to take lightly in regards to casting. The script is complicated and intense. Disregard the ridiculous production led by Francis Ford Coppola; the physical and mental requirements of that set would merit some tough and dedicated actors. Just try to imagine this classic war film with no iconic faces (Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando) portraying these characters.

Brad Pitt’s recent performance in Inglourious Basterds makes him the perfect Lt. Col. Kilgore, but the rest is rather difficult to pin down. Emile Hirsch’s stellar turn as a bent soul on a journey in Into The Wild makes him the frontrunner for Apocalypse Now‘s main character. For the genius/crazy intensity of Kurtz, who else would you get other than Russel Crowe?

  • Colonel Walter E. Kurtz – Russell Crowe
  • Captain Benjamin L. Willard – Emile Hirsch
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore – Brad Pitt
  • Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks – Josh Holloway
  • Tyrone ‘Clean’ Miller – unknown
  • Chief Phillips – Denzel Washington
  • Photojournalist – James Franco


The Silence of the Lambs


Anthony Hopkins created one of cinema’s most chilling villains of all time. But if he never sported the slicked-back hair, who would best portray Dr. Hannibal Lecter in 2010? Our money is on Daniel Day-Lewis.

A talented actress would need to star opposite the brilliant Day-Lewis, and Julia Stiles is at the right moment in her career to play a tough but naive FBI agent-in-training – a character who is half-scared and half-in-control. As for the role of Buffalo Bill, well, let’s just say Jim Carrey would be an inspired (and horrifying) choice for the killer who, in one scene, dons makeup, a wig and dances to “Goodbye Horses” while doing the infamous “tuck.”

  • Clarice Starling – Julia Stiles
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter – Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Jack Crawford – Sharlto Copley
  • Buffalo Bill – Jim Carrey
  • Dr. Frederick Chilton – Karl Urban


Star Wars

Star Wars Recasting1 If Classic Movies Were Cast Today

Star Wars Episodes I-III are generally considered a missed opportunity to cast today’s actors in yesterday’s roles. Still, what the prequels did is different than what we are trying to accomplish here. For just a moment, try to imagine a world without Star Wars. George Lucas has revealed a script for a space opera and is in the casting process – who would play the now-legendary characters?

The hardest recasting of them all is Darth Vader because of the unforgettable link between the mask and the voice. There is no way to erase the sound of Darth Vader from your memory, but there are only a few voices today that transcend character. Who better to voice the fallen Jedi than the voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers – Peter Cullen.

  • Luke Skywalker – Jamie Bell
  • Princess Leia – Mary Elizabeth Winstead
  • Han Solo – Nathan Fillion
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi – Ian McKellen
  • Grand Moff Tarkin – Malcolm McDowell
  • Darth Vader – Peter Cullen (voice)
  • C-3PO – Doug Jones
  • R2-D2 – Warwick Davis
  • Chewbacca – Dalip Singh Rana, aka The Great Kahli


The Godfather

The problem with re-casting The Godfather is that many of the actors were relative unknowns at the time. Instead of following that strategy, let’s keep it blockbuster (just like Hollywood would if the movie were being made today). Still, the character of Michael Corleone can’t be a big name. Even more difficult is keeping the cast as Italian as possible.

The reputation James Gandolfini has built via The Sopranos and a bevvy of other roles has earned him the top spot of Don Vito. Frankly, his demeanor is intimidating even at its most relaxed. Our favorite casting is Jeremy Davies (Lost) as the frail and whiny Fredo Corleone. Although, those thin ties he wears in almost every role may not fly with his mafioso persona.

  • Don Vito Corleone – James Gandolfini
  • Michael Corleone – Milo Ventimiglia
  • Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone – Mark Ruffalo
  • Tom Hagen – Christian Bale
  • Kay Adams – Rachel McAdams
  • Fredo Corleone – Jeremy Davies
  • Apollonia Vitelli – unknown
  • Sal Tessio – John Turturro
  • Clemenza – Tom Sizemore


So there you have our “alternate universe” casting of classic films were they to be made for the first time today. Would you have done it differently?

Let us know who you would have cast.

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  1. While I appreciate the concept, this is not a game I’d be up for participating in. True, it sounds fun and interesting for movie buffs to imagine, but in this day and age of remakes, reboots, and unnecessary sequels that bank off of the decent name of original films and bastardize them into something unrecognizable, I can’t toss my hat in the ring for this. What would happen if a movie exec gets their hands on these ideas? Meanwhile, I have a game that my friends and I play which is basically the same but in reverse. Imagining films that could’ve been. One of our favorites was X-men circa 1985. The majority were relative unknowns at the time, whose stars were shortly to be on the rise, with a few names in there to even it out. Cast as follows:

    Professor X: Anthony Hopkins
    Cyclops: Rob Lowe
    Jean Grey: Kathy Ireland
    Beast: Kelsey Grammar
    Angel: Val Kilmer
    Iceman: Tom Cruise
    Nightcrawler: Robert Downey Jr.
    Colossus: Dolph Lundgren
    Wolverine: Sylvester Stallone
    Storm: Iman
    Magneto: Malcom McDowell
    Mr. Sinister: Tim Curry
    Mystique: Brigitte Nielsen
    Juggernaut: John Matuszak
    Sabretooth: Vincent D’Onofrio
    Apocalypse: James Earl Jones


    • if i’m not mistaken, wasnt Val Kilmer already Iceman?

      • ROFLOL! Somebody made a Top Gun ref. Awesome!

  2. In The Graduate, replace Angelina Jolie with Diane Lane.

    • OMG yes to Diane Lane instead of Jolie for the Graduate. With those 3, I’d definitely watch it. Perfect casting of JLG and Emily Blunt!!!

  3. I also like the cast idea for the graduate :)

  4. Man, these were terrible. Absolutely terrible. The only one that was pretty okay was Taxi Driver but the rest… ugh.

    • love to see YOU do better… though i agree with great khali for chewi is terrible lol

  5. Bonnie and Clyde – Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt! Perfect match just like what we’ve seen on Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Oh, Angelina was “Bonnie” on the movie “The Original Sin” cause she was like Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde. With Holywood’s hottest couple on that movie, it’ll totally rock!

  6. Kinda sounds like if the question is, What if these classics were remade into remakes? With today’s celebs that is. Well my opinion would be to simply leave the classics alone. This news makes me wonder if studios are planning to remake all those films like everything else. Comes to no surprise since im losing count to how many franchies are getting the reboot treatment or films being remade.

  7. What about Ice-T or Mark Hamil for Darth Vader’s voice? Both have a certain gravitas in their VO work.

  8. cool that pic of gary oldman is of him as Sirius Black :D

  9. How about Isaiah Mustafa, a.k.a. “The Old Spice Guy”, as Lando Calrissian?

    Picture it:

    “Hello, Leia, look at Han Solo, now back to me, now back at Han, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using Chewbacca’s flea shampoo and switched to Colt .45 Malt Liquor, he could smell like he’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on the Milennium Falcon with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s an mini-droid with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Colt .45 Malt Liquor and not a Wookiee…I’m also a Jedi.”

    • Alternate dialogue:

      “Hello, Leia, look at Han Solo, now back to me, now back at Han, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using Chewbacca’s flea shampoo and switched to Colt .45 Malt Liquor, he could smell like he’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on the Milennium Falcon with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s an mini-droid with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Colt .45 Malt Liquor and not a Wookiee…I’m on a Tauntaun.”

      • Dude, he would rock that–in a completely distracting, scene-stealing way!
        Much like Robot Chicken’s Boba Fett, you have now destroyed Lando for me–love it!
        (Seriously not a complaint. I think RC is the only reason I can sit through Star Wars anymore)

        • This made me really happy. Much more so than the overall article. I like the idea, but for most of the choices 2 thumbs down.

        • Which version did you prefer…the “also a Jedi” or the “I’m on a Tauntaun”?

          • Both. Either one would be amazing

        • “You liked that didn’t you? You dirty little smuggler.”

    • I love this…what a great idea for Lando. I’m also a Jedi is my favorite. Kudos danlister.

  10. I can accept the choices for Bonnie and Clyde but the others…..I do not like Al Pacino and Mickey Rourke, so would not see that version of The Wizard of Oz.

    • lol LisaM :)

  11. Nathan Fillion as Hans Solo? Hell yes.

    • Love Nathan Fillion – he has the perfect personality to portray Han’s cocky character plus he’s nice to look at for an entire saga of films. :)

  12. Hugh Jackman and Natalie Portman to star in GONE WITH THE WIND. Keira Knightley to star in “A STAR IS BORN”

  13. Mickey rourke and Al pacino are bad ass! :D

  14. What about a remake of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” with Madonna as Bette Davis and Cher as Joan Crawford?

    • better yet: Glenn Close & Meryl Streep reprising this flic would be a knockout. Get an independent director to handle it.. ah.. THAT I’d pay to see.

  15. does the television/film industry need affirmative action too ? how about casting some more minorities.

    • Will Smith was the Wild Wild West remake and failed, although I do love Will Smith.

  16. The one I’m not impressed with is Daniel-Day Lewis as Hannibal Lecter. Anthony Hopkins was very subtle in his performance… I think you have to be to play Hannibal and I’ve never seen Daniel-Day Lewis in a subtle performance. He is constantly over-the-top.

    That being said, I can’t think of anybody I’d rather see in the role. So I can complain but not give you an alternative. Sorry Mike.

    I love Milo as Michael Corleone and the cast of “The Graduate” and “Taxi Driver.” I’d love to see a whole movie based solely on Oldman’s character from “True Romance” but feel it would be too much of a good thing (like “Hannibal”).

    • I GOT IT! I GOT IT! Ian McShane would make a superb Hannibal Lecter. That’s who I would cast instead of Daniel-Day Lewis.

      • Liam Neeson I think would do a good job as Hannibal Lector also.

  17. Favorites: Bonnie and Clyde, Wizard of Oz and Taxi Driver. You chose excellent actors. If you switched out Diane Lane for Angelina Jolie for the Graduate then it would be absolutely perfect.

    I have never seen the Godfather (I know, I know. I’ll watch it someday) but I have to say that any movie which includes John Turturro, Milo Ventimiglia, Christian Bale AND Rachel McAdams is a must-see.

    I liked this article more than I thought I would. :)

  18. Only real casting on this I 100% agree with is Fillion as Han Solo and Rockwell in Taxi Driver. Rest is pretty meh/ew

  19. Swap Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo in the Godfather remake. Who else should play the incendiary Sonny Corleone than Christian Bale? Mark Ruffalo can play Tom Hagen.

    • I disagree, Bale as Hagan was a PERFECT choice.

      • Mark Ruffalo’s a bad choice for Sonny, though.

  20. Jenn…if you haven’t seen The Godfather films, you’re cheating yourself.

    • Not really. I was never able to sit through the first one. I don’t know how people raved about Brando when you couldn’t understand a word he said. One of the most OVERRATED movies I have ever (almost) seen.

  21. I think Michael Cera would be perfect for Revenge of the Nerds!

  22. Daniel Day-Lewis as Hannibal Lecter? Sold, big time. Looking forward to the TV series with Mads Mikkelsen. I’d actually like to see a continuation Lecter novel, since Harris has appeared to have ceased writing them.

    Carrey as Buffalo Bill is somewhat iffy to me.

  23. My Apocalypse Now cast:

    Colonel Walter E. Kurtz – Bryan Cranston
    Captain Benjamin L. Willard – Colin Farrell
    Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore – Matthew McConoughey
    Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    Private Lance – Jesse Plemons
    Tyrone ‘Clean’ Miller – ‘Lil Wayne
    Chief Phillips – Michael Wright
    Photojournalist – Aaron Paul

  24. James Purefoy as Lecter, anyone? I don’ think he would accept it, though, after doing The Following…

  25. Taxi Driver FTW!

    While I could see Angelina in the Graduate role, she really is too hot. Bancroft was definitely an attractive mom, but not so much so that Benjamin’s coupling with her was wholly understandable (in fact, the first time he sees her nude, it is shocking and unsettling. Seeing Jolie nude would not be shocking and unsettling). I would go with Demi Moore, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Virginia Madsen, or my top choice, Nicole Kidman. They are all attractive enough but still look their age (and Nicole can certainly do the ice stare that Bancroft did so well).

    I think JGL has too much charm for Braddock too. The Graduate can’t come off as so confident and cocky (which Robert Redford who was initially given the role recognized when he declined to play the part). How about Elijah Wood (he is old, but looks to be in his early 20s) or Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul? Also, I love the idea of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mrs. Robinson’s daughter for more than as Princess Leia.

  26. Have added a few other casting options for THE GODFATHER. Ever since Gandolfini passed away a year ago, I’ve been racking my brain like mad trying to find another actor who could properly play a modern version of Vito. The only person I can think of is Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Here is my revised cast:

    Don Vito Corleone – Leonardo DiCaprio
    Michael Corleone – Milo Ventimiglia
    Santino “Sonny” Corleone – Mark Ruffalo
    Tom Hagen – Christian Bale
    Kay Adams – Rachel McAdams
    Fredo Corleone – Jeremy Davies
    Apollonia Vitelli – Unknown
    Sal Tessio – John Turturro
    Clemenza – Tom Sizemore
    Luca Brasi – Bobby Cannavale
    Virgil Sollozzo – Steve Buscemi

  27. I love this game! I play Hollywood Movie Studio for PC and do this all the time. Liam Hemsworth was Jack Bauer in my 24 Movie :)