Five Movie Roles I Wish I Could Go Back and Recast

Sometimes when you’re watching a movie, a thought pops into your mind. “Why is (insert actor) IN this?” It’s a casting decision that seems out of whack with either the character, everything else around them, or both. If I had a time machine, one thing I’d do after killing Hitler would be to recast some of these roles.

I tried to match it up with someone who would have been the appropriate age and look at the time. For example, if I wanted to recast Indiana Jones, I wouldn’t pick Chris Hemsworth. The mere writing of that sentence was blasphemy, and I promise I’ll never do it again.

Check out the list below, and suggest your own picks in the comments.

Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith

To be replaced by: Heath Ledger

I’ll start with one that’s probably the most obvious. Yes, Lucas’s scripts for the new Star Wars films were pretty bad and could make even Oscar worthy actors look foolish (Neeson, Portman, McGregor), but Hayden Christensen was horribly cast as Anakin Skywalker, and managed to make nearly all of his scenes borderline unwatchable as he attempted to project “angst” as violently as he could.

Who to replace him with? Heath Ledger was just two years older than Christensen and by 2002 had appeared in 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, Monster’s Ball and A Knight’s Tale. If Lucas could have recognized talent, he could have scooped him up back then, and we’d have very different movies today.

Kevin Bacon in X-Men: First Class 

To be replaced by: Jason Isaacs

I thought that X-Men: First Class and actually ALL the other X-Men films have been very well cast in nearly every single role, a tall order for such an ensemble cast. But when it was announced Kevin Bacon would be the Hellfire Club’s Sebastian Shaw, the collective reaction was “Kevin Bacon??” And it didn’t go away while you were watching the movie either.

Jason Isaacs might be too much of a “traditional villain,” as he’s played the role countless times from Harry Potter to Peter Pan, but he would have been great in this role and not a jarring figure the way Bacon was. Incidentally, I’d probably swap out January Jones for Alice Eve for the Emma Frost part, but I’ll say despite her rather terrible performance, she did look the part.

Halle Berry in Die Another Day

To be replaced by: Thandie Newton

I appreciated the Brosnan 007 films after Goldeneye even if they were a bit goofy. Die Another Day ended up being Brosnan’s last attempt at a Bond film, and unfortunately, it was a terrible note to go out on largely based on one character, Halle Berry’s “Jinx.” She had terrible line after terrible line and made Denise Richard’s lambasted Christmas Jones look like the best Bond girl since Pussy Galore.

I probably would have replaced the too-sassy-for-her-own-good Jinx character with someone else entirely, but if anyone could tone it down while still being gorgeous from that time period, I think it’s Thandie Newton. If I was recasting the film today, I’d probably say someone like Zoe Saldana, but I won’t as I’m attempting to stick to my own rules here.

Ben Affleck in Daredevil 

To be replaced by: Timothy Olyphant

Ben Affleck is many things. A good writer (Good Will Hunting), a director (The Town) and a good actor (citation needed), but he’s not a superhero, and he’s certainly not Daredevil. That film may have suffered from a number of issues, but his casting was mistake number one, and might be rectified in an upcoming reboot.

The original Daredevil was released before Timothy Olyphant was as beloved as he is now, but I think it could have been a pretty big break for the actor who would have made a better Matt Murdoch than Affleck without question. As for whether he could have saved the entire film, that’s unclear, but it would have been a more promising start.

Will Smith in I Am Legend

To be replaced by: Denzel Washington

Will Smith is almost always likable in every role we see him. Chances are if he’s cast, the movie is good or at least he’ll be good in it. But there are some parts he should stay away from altogether, and his casting in I Am Legend completely changed the tone of the movie from what it should have been. His appearance, the CGI vampires and a radically altered ending are what made the film bad, and at least one of those could have been fixed.

Denzel would have been great here. With a better adapted screenplay and an R-rating, this could have been on hell of a feature. It’s most unfortunate that when he did decide to do something post-apocalyptic, it was The Book of Eli instead of this.