Mae West was an unconventional movie star respected for her intelligence and witty one liners. On entering her twilight years she became equally famous for plastic surgery, young boyfriends and dressing outrageously. I mention Mae West because stars never truly die – they are recreated in the mind and bodies of contemporary stars. If I were to recast a Mae West movie, Madonna would be the logical choice. An ageing, surgically enhanced rock star whose past achievements are now overshadowed by an unending supply of young men, dressing inappropriately and denial that pop stardom is best left to the young.
However, it is not just deceased stars that are replaceable. Most contemporary actors could easily be swapped for another. For example, Daniel Craig and Jeremy Renner are perfectly interchangeable. Craig is best known for his role as James Bond in the last three 007 movies. Blonde, blue eyed and buffed, Craig is an aloof and emotionally scared Bond. If for some reason he became unavailable, then blonde, blue eyed and buffed Renner could easily fill his shoes.
The same goes for the following list of actors and actresses:
Brad Pitt and Chris Pine; Athletic, blonde, jock types equally good at comedy, action and drama. In Star Trek, Pine played Captain Kirk as a funny, intelligent, offbeat loner destined to become the captain of a star ship. Similarly, Pitt plays quirky characters who range from funny, intelligent, misguided, deluded or just plain nasty. Both actors, despite their good looks, have avoided the Hollywood pretty boy roles.
Will Pine follow Pitt and procreate with a gorgeous superstar in his personal life? Angelina Jolie is, of course, taken but I believe Jennifer Anniston might still be available.
Speaking of Brad Pitt, the next pairing would have to be:
Bridget Bardot and Angelina Jolie; French bombshell and the American goddess. Both uniquely beautiful and exuding sex appeal whilst using their fame as a platform to promote worthwhile causes. Bardot has spent her life fighting for animal rights whilst Jolie is spending hers on the rights of children. Both actresses are also associated with locations. Bardot and the beaches of Southern France and Angelina with geographic body tattooes.
Sandra Bullock and Michelle Moynahan; Cute, all American brunettes. Moynahan would have driven the explosive packed bus with Keanu Reeves in Speed, with the same sassy approach as Bullock. Similarly, Bullock would have perfected the role of the revenge seeking sister to Robert Downey Jnr’s incompetent Hollywood ‘wannabe’ in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Their height, looks, smile and vocal tones make both these ladies Miss Congeniality.
Winona Ryder and Natalie Portman; Child actors with comparable looks and ability. Portman has, however, won an Academy Award whilst Ryder only ever received a nomination. Nonetheless, Portman would be equally irritating as the teen rebel in Heathers as Ryder would be playing a bald prisoner inV for Vendetta, a psychotic ballerina in Black Swan and the love interest in Thor.
Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson; Like mother, like daughter. Hudson has the same goofy looks as her mother, an identical laugh and style. Goldie Hawn is the better comic actress but Hudson does a pretty good job when she’s given the right role.
Chris Klien and Channing Tatum; Square jawed, beefy looking actors convincing as American football quarterbacks. Klein was poised to enter the Hollywood A list but disappeared from the big screen, his place now occupied by Channing Tatum. Would Klein have played an undercover cop in 21 Jump Street? Would Tatum have been a good side kick as Stifler’s friend in American Pie? I don’t doubt it.
Russell Crowe and Sam Worthington; Somewhat surly looking actors, Worthington is from Australia and Crowe is originally from New Zealand. Can’t say I can imagine Russell Crowe as Jake Sullen in Avatar but I can certainly picture Worthington in a tunic as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator.
Oliver Reed and Joaquin Phoenix; Speaking of Gladiator, who can forget the CGI deployed to finish Reed’s scenes because he drank himself to death before completing the film. Whilst Phoenix is no match in the drinking stakes, he certainly makes up for it in looks and temperament. Anyone seen the mock documentary I’m Still Here? Joaquin plays a bloated, bearded, mess of an actor trying to become a rapper much like Reed in reality (except the rapper bit). If Phoenix had a British accent he could certainly play Reed’s infamous character Bill Sikes in the musical version of Oliver.
Sigourney Weaver and Charlize Theron; These tall, thin beauties pop up in the same movie franchises these days. Theron is a perfect alien butt kicking predecessor to Weaver’s alien butt kicking Ellen Ripley. Not as attractive as Theron but Weaver could certainly pull off a role like Monster and behave just as badly in Young Adult. Would Theron be able to kick some Ghostbuster butt? You can bet on it.
Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor; Lohan has received a lot of criticism for taking on the role of Taylor in the upcoming biography of the famously intoxicated, violet eyed beauty. However, Lohan is perfectly cast in the role. She has the acting range, feisty temper and edgy superstar quality that defined Taylor. Whilst Taylor was restricted by a youth spent in the conservative 1950s, given the opportunity I’ve no doubt she would have partied like Lohan.
As for Madonna? Some believe that Lady Ga Ga is her replacement but I think Ga Ga is more in tune with Cher’s style and personality.
The list is not exhaustive and indeed I have only just got started. There is a galaxy of stars out there and a long line of entertainers waiting in the wings ready to shine in their place.
Related Post: Johnny Depp – What Goes Around, Comes Around
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.