Hello all, and welcome to a brand new edition of Recast. Today we will be looking at a movie that, in my opinion, deserves credit for the emergence of comic book movies as a mainstream genre. At the time of its release, it was inescapably popular, so much so that it spawned not only two sequels, but a prequel and a spin-off/prequel.
I’m talking, of course, about Bryan Singer’s 2000 blockbuster, X-Men. I won’t insult you by rehashing the plot. If, after 13 years, you don’t remember it, go watch it again. Or go watch the prequel, X-Men: First Class. It’s essentially the same plot.
Anyway, let’s get to it!
Original: Sir Patrick Stewart
Recast: Ralph Fiennes
Making a good Recast list is a lot like putting together a mix tape. Anyone who has read High Fidelity knows this. So, to quote Rob Fleming, we’ve ‘got to kick off with a corker.’ Which is why I chose Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, Skyfall) as Professor Charles Xavier. In my experience, recasting any role that Patrick Stewart has played is harder than twelve-week-old bread. Thankfully, this is a role that would be perfect for Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes is an immensely talented actor who can sink himself into any role. After thinking about it, there is no other choice.
Original: Sir Ian McKellan
Recast: Daniel Day Lewis
Unfortunately, he would NEVER take this role if offered, but think of the possibilities if it were to happen. Daniel Day Lewis is among the top five greatest living actors. If you were to debate me on this, you would be wrong. Just watch Lincoln. My brain forgot it was watching a movie and slipped into ‘documentary viewing’ mode. The man simply BECAME Abraham Lincoln. It was amazing. If he were to apply those skills to Magneto, it would be a sight to behold. Although…if he did, being a method actor, I’m convinced he would develop the ability to control magnetic fields. And then I’d be afraid of him.
Original: Hugh Jackman
Recast: Gerard Butler
If I were putting this list together ten years ago, there would be no one I’d rather see take on this role than Russell Crowe. He was Singer’s first choice for the role, and it would have been awesome. But this is 2013, and we need a slightly updated take on Wolverine. That’s why I chose 300‘s Gerard Butler. I know I’m gonna catch flack for his accent. But think about it. Wolverine was almost always depicted with different accents and vocal mannerisms. This would just be one of them. Not to mention, Butler is more like comic book Wolvie than Hugh Jackman is. This should balance that out. The only problem I see is that he may not have any good “This Is Sparta” moments in such a movie.
Original: Halle Berry
Recast: Gina Torres
Halle Berry sucked. Let’s just get that out of the way. She was, without question, the worst part of the original X-Men movies. Her portrayal of Ororo Munroe left a bad taste in my mouth with regards to her acting that has yet to go away. For years now, people have championed Angela Bassett for Storm. I used to be one of them. Until someone mentioned Gina Torres for the part. Can you imagine anyone else doing it now? I certainly can’t. She is tough, sexy, and clearly better suited for the role than any other actress on the market. Her Firefly character, Zoe Washburne, is basically Storm with no powers or accent. And, well, with guns. I challenge you to come up with a better choice. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Original: Famke Janssen
Recast: Naomie Harris
How pissed off are you right now? But think about it. In the rules of making a mixtape, there comes a time where you have shake things up a bit to keep people interested. Welcome. I fear that someone is going to have my head for this. I thought about all of the actresses that fit the physical requirements to play Jean Grey and had a hell of a time coming up with someone who could do the character justice. I explained this to my girlfriend and she suggested that I throw out the physical requirements. I’d like to go on record saying that my girlfriend very much “resembles an individual in a management position.” She’s like a boss. Because that suggestion worked out splendidly. Though I hesitate to grab another Skyfall actor, Naomie Harris is a great actress who could pull off the banter with Wolverine. Better yet, she could do it with a cool naturalism that is definitely needed for the role.
Original: Anna Paquin
Recast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
This choice was hard for me to make. Not because the character is too hard to pin down, or anything like that. But because, firstly, the character doesn’t require a lot of skill in order to perform. But also because I only care about Rogue enough to not hate her.
Actually, that’s not fair. I simply don’t have anything invested in her, so her story arcs don’t move me like some of the others do. However, I will say that Winstead is one of the few actresses who would be able to take the best of both worlds for this type of movie. One of the sins of X-Men is that it changed everything about Rogue save for her mutation. Choosing Mary Elizabeth Winstead would get an actress who is a little bit older (while still being young, which was a choice I liked in the movies) and able to look and play the part of a feisty southern belle. As much as I hate to bring it up, watching her in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (another Lincoln reference in this article!) sealed that for me.
Original: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Recast: Jessica Biel
One of the problems with the depiction of Mystique in the movies (First Class not included) is that she was a mostly silent side character. And she deserves better than that. I believe that Jessica Biel would deliver that. Also, I think she is adorable. I may be basing this choice purely on the fact that I happen to like Biel as an actress, but I think I can get away with a biased choice. If not, well, you’ll love the next one.
Original: James Marsden
Recast: Guy Pearce
I go back and forth about Guy Pearce. He just seems to choose the roles that are really hit or miss. Memento was amazing, but then he headlined The Time Machine just two years later. So his film choices are really all over the place. That being said, he is a great actor and tailor made for Scott Summers. Just look at him.
Well, that takes care of another amazing Recast. This one was fun for me because it’s an old stand-by. Whenever my friends and I want to play Recast, but can’t think of something could, someone inevitably says “let’s do X-Men.” And now I have a definitive list. Until next week. As always, throw some suggestions our way. I only have one more suggested movie to get to (Citizen Kane), so as soon as I find a widescreen copy of it, I’ll be all out of suggestions. Then I’ll have to just start raiding my sister’s movie collection. She likes the Twilight Series, just as a heads up. So get those suggestions in, so I don’t have to put you through that. Till next time, readers.
Recast will return…