Recast: X-Men


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!

Professor X

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.

Jean Grey

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.

Nuff said.

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…

  • On board for all of this, but didn’t they already re-cast everyone? McAvoy? Fassbender? Lawrence? And I think Jackman just gets better with age. I want to see him play wolverine until his in his 80’s (Old Man Logan anyone?)

    And Guy Pearce would be a great Cyclops, but I can’t help but feel bad for Marsden. I feel like he was in his prime years in the early 2000’s, and he was just passed up by everyone in the industry. He deserved to have some great roles (reminds me of a young, competent Tom Cruise)

  • MicHaeL H.

    Some are great, some are terrible.

    For example, I got here because I was JUST thinking of Gina Torres as Storm, because I think Halle Berry is too “compact” of a woman, too cutesy and short. She looks good and all, and she’s not a bad actress, but for a Goddess woman like Storm, come on, how miscast was that. And to then not even give her the big hair or anything… Fail, I’d say.
    So then I just thought of Gina Torres, probably being perfect for Storm, and I Googles it and ended up here. Good thing I’m not the only one who thought of it. 🙂

    Anyway, earlier I was thinking that even Famke Janssen, as a quick thought, would have been better as Storm than Halle Berry, just cause of her physical profile and all that. And then someone pointed out to me that she’s not even black. Well, it goes to show how much that physical appearance matters and the skincolor doesn’t even matter. (Besides, it was only to quickly think of someone else in the same cast who would already be better suited.)

    But this kind of brings me to this article and Naomi Harris as Jean. I think that would be a terrile idea cause I can’t see anything Jean in Naomi at all. I think she’s great and all, but even though Jean isn’t as “Goddess-like” as Storm, but more of a regular woman, I think it should still be somewhat of a large imposing woman. Black or white?… Not sure, for that character I, for some reason, prefer white. (Don’t give me any crap for this, I already pointed out I didn’t even realize that Famke Janssen was white. As weird as that might sound. lol)

    I guess this article is meant as hypothetical, right? Well, plenty of these might work, but like I said, some I really don’t think is a good idea. Also, some replacements seem to be based on the “original” actor, kind of as “Who looks alike enough to replace them?”, which isn’t the way to go about it either. You should just add the actual character-images next to them. Whether they are the comic-versions, the animated versions, or even alternate artistic impressions. It’s much better to see if certain actors would look the part that way.

  • Ross

    I know Angela Basset for Storm was based on looks, she or Iman have that angular look similar to the comics but, if it is going to be true to the character that was an African priestess/whatever I do not think Torres is the right choice. I have no idea if she can do an action film or the accent but Viola Davis is my choice for Storm, if she could get into the part. The character is the oldest of the group other than the Professor and around the same as Beast. As for Jean Grey, Famke was way too sultry for a character that is supposed to be more of a girl next door. If Katie Holmes and Zooey Deschanel were not horrible actresses I would lean that way but maybe Kristen Bell?

  • Bayo

    I think Micheal T. Weiss should have been wolverine. Patrick Stewart was born to play professor X. Sean bean, would have been another kind of magneto. In the early comics, magneto was way younger than the professor. I would have loved Anne Hathaway as mystique. Julia Stiles, gets my vote for rogue. Famke was a good choice for jean grey. I would go with Garcelle Beauvais as storm, with the big hair of course. Karl Urban could have been great as cyclops.