It is an almost impossible task to properly remake a classic film, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying. So we started thinking, what if instead of copying the classics with a new spin, the original films had never been made? What if cinematic classics like The Godfather were casting right now, for the first time – in 2010?
Before you light the torches and break out the pitchforks, understand that this is hypothetical fun. There are countless options for many of these characters, but we’ve picked the actors and actresses we feel best fit the profile of each – and the ones we would most like to see if these iconic roles were being filled for the first time.
The main problem with coming up with something like this is distinguishing a character from the actor. Sometimes actors create a character by bringing a distinct personality to the role. Others would argue that happens with every performance. For instance, how can you ever imagine Don Vito Corleone played by anyone other than Marlon Brando?
Some of the actors that follow could even outperform the original if given the opportunity. But don’t forget, these casting calls are being treated as if there is no knowledge of the original film’s existence. As difficult as it sounds, release your grasp on these memorable movies and tell us what you think of these modern day re-casts.
Revenge of the Nerds
There is no better time to bring up Revenge of the Nerds than 2010. In the era of “geek chic” dorky, scratchy-voice actors are today’s big thing and if Nerds had never been made, it could very likely happen today.
The only person missing is Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but there just wasn’t a spot for him. The following is the best collection of dorks and nerds that Hollywood has to offer. On the other side of things, Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy) seems perfect for the jock character, Stan Gable.
You may also think Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is too old to portray Booger, but Curtis Armstrong made the character legendary and he was already 31 years old.
- Lewis Skolnick – Jay Baruchel
- Gilbert Lowell – Michael Cera
- Arnold Poindexter – Jesse Eisenberg
- Lamar Latrelle – Donald Glover
- Dudley ‘Booger’ Dawson – Charlie Day
- Stan Gable – Garrett Hedlund
- Betty Childs – Blake Lively
- Coach Harris – Seth Rogen
Bonnie and Clyde
The two toughest actors in Hollywood would fit perfectly together as the titular pair of criminals. Tom Hardy’s rugged charm and Evangeline Lilly’s down-home toughness would provide the bang needed to bring Bonnie and Clyde to life.
The age range is the most important part of this casting process and these two are the best fit for a romantic tangle in the middle of gunfire and excitement. Based on their prior acting credits, you know they’ll bring solid acting to the roles as well.
- Clyde Barrow – Tom Hardy
- Bonnie Parker – Evangeline Lilly
Anne Bancroft, the actress who played Mrs. Robinson, was only 36 years old at the time of The Graduate‘s release. It played into the storyline of the character regarding her relationship with her daughter and Ben Braddock. It may seem like Braddock and Elaine Robinson are the main characters, but the headliner was Anne Bancroft.
Angelina Jolie is 35 years old now and in the perfect form to portray a young mother who seduces her daughter’s new love interest. But starring opposite her need to be the brightest stars in Hollywood and there are plenty right now.
- Ben Braddock – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- Elaine Robinson – Emily Blunt
- Mrs. Robinson – Angelina Jolie
The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a story that has been told in a number of ways, from the original book to the classic film, remakes and multiple musicals. Even Michael Jackson sported the Scarecrow outfit in The Wiz. But if none of this existed and the original story had never been made into a major motion picture, how would it all shake down?
The story focuses on Dorothy’s adventure, and she is the most difficult to cast. Imagine crazy Al Pacino as the strange Wizard of Oz or Jim Carrey’s physical comedy in the role of The Scarecrow. But a beautiful, young girl that exudes innocence and intrigue must be cast as Dorothy. While her upcoming role in Sucker Punch might change that image of her, Emily Browning fits the bill.
- Dorothy – Emily Browning
- The Wizard of Oz – Al Pacino
- The Scarecrow – Jim Carrey
- The Cowardly Lion – Mickey Rourke
- The Tin Man – Sharlto Copley
- The Wicked Witch of the West – Keira Knightley
It’s almost too easy casting Iris in a 2010 Taxi Driver. There is only one young actress in Hollywood that seems willing to tackle the controversial roles and blow people away: Chloe Moretz.
As for one of the more difficult roles of all time, Travis Bickle, it seems there is only one man for the job. Sam Rockwell is a perfect choice for blending melancholic sarcasm with an ability to physically decay on film.
As for the pimp, Matthew ‘Sport’ Higgins, Oldman’s performance in True Romance proves he can become anybody he wants. A simple reprisal of that character would make an intriguing turn as the disgusting pimp who controls Iris and clashes with Travis.
- Travis Bickle – Sam Rockwell
- Iris – Chloe Moretz
- Matthew ‘Sport’ Higgins – Gary Oldman
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.