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 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 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.