Remember that scene at the end of the revamped ‘Return of the Jedi’ where George Lucas used his CGI trickery to erase original actor Sebastian Shaw and replace him with Hayden Christensen? Yes, most of us will probably agree that was a horrible cinematic travesty. However, let’s pretend for a moment that this technology could be used for good rather than evil. Isn’t there some movie out there that you’d love to retroactively recast one of the important roles? For this week’s Roundtable, let’s indulge in some fantasy wish fulfillment.
We’re joined this week by David Vaughn from Ultimate AV. We’ll even let him start things off.
For the purposes of this exercise, I’ll leave it up to each person to decide whether the role should be recast with a modern actor stepping into the old movie, or whether some other actor at the time should have taken the job.
David Vaughn (Ultimate AV)
With the theatrical conclusion of the ‘Harry Potter’ series arriving this summer, I think I would recast Albus Dumbledore. While Richard Harris was a great casting decision in the first two movies, his untimely passing left a vacancy that was ultimately filled by Michael Gambon. But in my mind, Gambon isn’t the ideal steward of Hogwarts. I would recast the role with Ian McKellen, who fits the description of J.K. Rowling’s powerful wizard to a tee. For all we know, he was a candidate but had a scheduling conflict playing another wizard – Gandalf the Gray.
Personally, I’d like to replace Jennifer Lopez in ‘Out of Sight‘ with Carla Gugino. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love ‘Out of Sight’ just as it is, and J.Lo is actually fairly good in it. (It’s one of her few sympathetic screen roles). However, a few years after the movie came out, Gugino starred as the same character in a spin-off TV series called ‘Karen Sisco’ that was tragically short-lived on the ABC network. The show was really entertaining, and Gugino was just fantastic as the character. She was sexy and tough and sassy, and took command of the screen in an effortless way that Lopez has never been able to achieve. As soon as I saw the pilot episode, I immediately started wishing that Steven Soderbergh would reshoot all of the character’s scenes, and digitally swap out Lopez for Gugino. I’ve never stopped wishing that.
This is a simple one for me. I’d love to have Jack Ryan recast in ‘The Hunt for the Red October‘ with Harrison Ford. I like Alec Baldwin, but Ford is THE Jack Ryan. Thanks to Baldwin not accepting the subsequent movies, Ford came on board and made the role his own. When you think of Jack Ryan, you automatically think of Harrison Ford, even though Baldwin was the original. Having Ford in ‘The Hunt for the Red October’ would make the Jack Ryan franchise seem more complete. Don’t even get me started on Ben Affleck, sheesh!
I’d replace Seth Rogen in ‘Paul’ with… anyone else. Being a huge fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, I wanted to love ‘Paul’. But just like the rest of the world, I’m exhausted from seeing so much Seth Rogen. He usually plays the same character – himself – in everything. So, to see him taint a Pegg/Frost screenplay drove me bonkers. Had the character Paul been less like Rogen and more like anyone else in the world, I truly believe that ‘Paul’ would have been more comically refreshing. Instead, our little green man was just annoying.
I’m struggling to come up with one movie in particular. I’d like to say Rene Russo in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair‘, but she was good in the scenes where she kept her clothes on. So, I guess I’ll just say anything Ashton Kutcher has ever appeared in. Man, is that guy terrible. Oaf-like. Wooden. Smug.
‘Killers‘ had Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara, who can basically do no wrong, but it was also had Katherine Heigl (another box office terror) and Mr. Kutcher, so I will never, ever, ever see it. Same goes for ‘The Guardian‘. Yes, I enjoy a bit of Costner movie magic from time to time, but Kutcher… Kutcher… I don’t think I can stomach him, so I’m afraid to watch the movie. ‘Spread‘, ‘My Boss’ Daughter’, ‘No Strings Attached’. Dear God! How does this man get so much work? And if I needed further proof that this guy is a cancer on cinema, I submit his next collaboration with Garry Marshall, ‘New Year’s Eve’, the apparent unofficial follow-up to ‘Valentine’s Day‘. Not since Hector Elizondo has a mediocre to bad actor received so much inexplicable screen time (much of it thanks to Garry Marshall, the DGA’s Ashton Kutcher, but I digress). Recast every movie he’s been in and watch them improve. Instantly.
When I saw the 1998 Roland Emmerich disaster ‘Godzilla‘, there was one big casting decision that I disagreed with – that of the monster known as Godzilla. Instead of using a man in a suit as is tradition for the series, the director and producer decided that a crummy CG velociraptor was the way to go. Rather than the digital effects group that created the dinosaur-like Godzilla, I’d cast Tsutomu Kitagawa, who played the titular monster in ‘Godzilla 2000’ and the more recent ‘Godzilla: Final Wars’. Would it require an entirely different approach to the movie? Sure it would, but that’s the point.
OK, now it’s your turn to go to town with this nutty concept. Tell us in the Comments which actor in which movie you most wish you could replace with someone better.