Friday, 29 July 2011

If I recast Gone With the Wind Today...

Gone With the Wind is often mentioned as one of the top movies ever made. Obviously this kind of film shouldn't be "messed with", HOWEVER,.... (grin!) on one of my social network groups someone posed the question, if you recast Gone With the Wind, whom would you cast?

This got me to thinking. Who could forget all the buzz about casting Scarlett the first time? Bette Davis (one of the front runners and someone who desperately wanted the role) would have made a great Scarlett O'Hara, but a very different one from the one we got of course. She made a terrific Jezebel.

Naturally, I just adore Vivien Leigh's Scarlett, and truly have difficulty imagining any one else for the role.

Since the original cast was so good, I decided to change the question to - if we were casting Gone With the Wind with living stars who would we cast, (because I don't think anyone will ever be as good as the actors chosen by Selznick.) My cast turns out to be mostly a 1980s-1990s production - since most of the stars I decided on are now too old for the roles.

For Rhett Butler, I think Val Kilmer would have done a fantastic. He has that sneer of cold command and his Doc Holiday shows he can fit the period well. George Clooney could also probably carry it off nicely. He certainly has the looks and the heart throb factor.
We all know that the role of Scarlett O'Hara is THE pivotal role. I don't know if she could have handled the accent, but I think Demi Moore has that same dark-eyed willful quality that Vivien Leigh emoted so well.

For Mammy, Queen Latifah could do a super job. Obviously we would want to update the film to be less racist and give more space and dimension to the African American characters.

Ashley Wilkes would be portrayed in my version by James Spader. He would have been fabulous, especially in his younger glam days.

Then there is Melanie Hamilton. I hated sickly sweet, generous, kind Melanie! Kate Winslett could have done it, but I think I gravitate towards Lili Taylor. Her role in Six Feet Under shows she can do that meek and kind type, although I prefer seeing her in roles with a little more umph. Her Valerie Solanas is one of the all time great performances in a film!

You'll probably laugh at this, but I bet Winona Ryder could do a great Belle Watling, She has the maturity and sex-appeal. You just feel like she has seen the seamy side and still has a heart of gold! Julianne Moore could akso do it and play a very complex and interesting Melanie, I bet!!)

Robert De Niro would be a great Gerald O'Hara. (I wonder if he can do an Irish accent.) Any movie I cast would have to have Steve Buscemi in it too - I had to think about this a bit, but definitiely could see him doing the wicked overseer Jonas Wilkerson, that everyone loves to hate. Of course we would have to be sure and kill him off, since it seems to be a requirement that Buscemi dies in 80% of his films.

Here's the old cast:

and here's a modified version instead with Spader, Kilmer and Staite (from my younger cast below).

If I were casting it with today's young crop then. I'd use James Ford (Sawyer from Lost) as Rhett, Mila Kunis (from The Black Swan and That 70s show) for Scarlett (or maybe Eliza Dushku), Queen Latifah would still be a great Mammy, and Ashley would have to be portrayed by someone like Stephen Moyer (the kindly vampire Bill from True Blood). Belle would be done well by Morena Baccarin (from V). I can envision Claire Danes or Maybe Jewel Staite (Kaylee from Firefly) playing unalterably saccharine Melanie.

Somehow Ford just doesn't have that Butler look when you try to put him in period costume. Here he is with Kunis in the big kiss scene:

How do you feel about Clooney and Moore?

Yeah, a classic is such for a reason!

No comments: