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Films where they got exactly the right actor

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Sordel, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident Thread Starter

    In response to the thread on miscast actors, how about we consider those films where the actor could not have been bettered in the role. Not just a role where the actor did what was needed or “made it their own” but one where the role seemed to answer something in their soul.

    One film per actor please and if you want to dethrone another poster's choice for that particular actor, be prepared to make your case why!

    Some that occur to me:
    • Tom Cruise in The Firm. From arrogant charmer to scared schoolboy to resolute hero, this was the character that had in spades everything that the Cruiser would rely on through the rest of his career, and it also inaugurated the “Tom Cruise Running” meme.
    • Peter Sellers in Being There. Most comedians can play the melancholy clown (& many do!) but the result would be a very downbeat film. As Chance The Gardener Sellars embodied a mixture of wisdom, innocence, sadness and purity unlike anything else on celluloid.
    • Al Pacino in The Godfather. Michael Corleone's journey from reserved, slightly shy war hero to secretive, vengeful don is at the heart of the first two movies and Pacino can't be bettered. I think he became a terrible ham in his later career, but Coppola harnessed his energy perfectly in this role.
    • Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In the West. This is an example that my mother likes to give. Fonda was known as a cool heroic type before this, but the role of merciless antagonist seemed to make a virtue out of his coldness. His entrance in the film is one of the great screen moments: even as a physical presence he embodied the role, despite being cast against type.
    • Peter Falk as Columbo. No explanation needed. The only actor I could even imagine taking over the role is Sam Rockwell, but in any case he is now too old to do so.
    • Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. When I saw Kate Hudson in the role of Penny Lane I thought that she was a wonderful actress who would have an amazing career, but it turned out that she was just perfectly cast for that one movie. The mixture of teenage grandiloquence, naivety, sexual magnetism and youthful selfishness were ideal for her, and the camera loved her in the role.
    hi_watt, carrick doone, Tanx and 7 others like this.
  2. Borgia

    Borgia Do not speak wisely of this night

    Martin Sheen as Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now. The roll was made for him, the detached observer, along for the ride of his life on a patrol boat to a mission he would never forget.
  3. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Forum Resident

    Fountain Inn, SC
    Joey King as Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus-- hers (IMO) was far better than that of Sarah Polley in the 1988 PBS series Ramona (which I saw bits and pieces of).
  4. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Seeker of Truth

    Old and new...

    John Wayne, The Searchers

    Keanu Reeves, John Wick
    davenav and Karnak like this.
  5. David Campbell

    David Campbell Forum Resident

    Luray, Virginia
    It may be cliched and too on the nose, but Christopher Reeve was the perfect choice to play Superman in the original 1978 film. Physically he was the Curt Swan/Neal Adams ideal of Superman as seen of the Superman comics of the era stepped off of the page. Even further he was the first live action actor to literally "transform" from nebbish mild mannered Clark Kent to Superman. Not only in terms of mannerisms and voice,but it's almost as if when he takes off the glasses and opens his shirt to reveal the suit he literally grows two or three inches in height. Its subtle but he's the first live action Supes from that I bought the whole secret ID conceit. His performance bolstered the first two films of that series and makes the later two films nearly bearable to watch. He was Richard Donner's secret weapon and Reeve was enough to sell that film.
    a customer, warren, Jamey K and 19 others like this.
  6. Jord

    Jord Forum Resident

    The Netherlands
    Elvis in Easy Come, Easy Go
    Damiano54 and Bingo Bongo like this.
  7. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Ottawa, Canada
    Bond, James Bond

    Sean Connery

    My dear girl there are some things that just aren't done such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
    That's just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs
    Uuan, a customer, Humbuster and 9 others like this.
  8. Bender Rodriguez

    Bender Rodriguez RIP Exene, best dog ever. 2005-2016

    Robert DeNiro as Travis Bickle
  9. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Ottawa, Canada
    Al Pacino in the remake of Scarface :cheers:
    rocnred, Szeppelin75, hi_watt and 4 others like this.
  10. Timeless Classics

    Timeless Classics Senior Member

    Michael J Fox as Marty McFly - tough enough to be adventurous, innocent looking enough for the sensitive/sweeter scenes, and fantastic at comedic timing and physical comedy. He had tremendous chemistry with all other cast members as well.
  11. agaraffa

    agaraffa Forum Resident

    River Phoenix as Mike Waters in My Own Private Idaho.
    ODIrony, hi_watt, Tanx and 1 other person like this.
  12. Scott222C

    Scott222C Loner, Rebel & Family Man

    River Phoenix (and everybody else) in "Stand by me"
    ODIrony, Klavier, hi_watt and 4 others like this.
  13. Big Jimbo

    Big Jimbo Forum Resident

    Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons”. He played the role on stage but the money men wanted a bigger name like Laurence Olivier or Richard Burton. But director Fred Zinnemann insisted on Scofield.

    George C Scott as Général George S. Patton. The voice is off as Patton had a squeaky voice. But Scott captured the man’s virtues and faults.
    Uuan, a customer, Greg Gee and 5 others like this.
  14. '05Train

    '05Train Crashin' & Flyin' & Livin' & Dyin'

    Roanoke, Virginia
    Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky. Through three films he lived in the role with very little dialog. No one else can play that role.
  15. MPLRecords

    MPLRecords Owner of nine copies of Tug of War

    Anywhere but here
    James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd.
    Uuan, formbypc, kw21925 and 2 others like this.
  16. MrCJF

    MrCJF Best served with coffee and cake.

    United Kingdom
    Against the well trodden arguments about Alec Guiness in the TV version, Gary Oldman as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

    At the time of filming, no one could have brought the gravitas, the repression and the ability to occasionally let menace rise to the surface like Oldman. Compare him to Rupert Davies in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold to see how much better Oldman is. (But to be fair to Davies it was a much smaller part in that movie).

    The TV series is still better, simply down to screen time.
    jwoverho, polchik and rikki nadir like this.
  17. MrCJF

    MrCJF Best served with coffee and cake.

    United Kingdom
    Absolutely right - the ability to get Clark Kent right is key to the role, and Reeve was perfect.
    hi_watt likes this.
  18. MrCJF

    MrCJF Best served with coffee and cake.

    United Kingdom
    Sigourney Weaver as Ripley - it's something we can appreciate in hindsight, but I haven't seen any of her peers that could have done it better.

    Apparently Ian Holm encouraged her to refuse a nude scene as he said it would define the type of roles she would be offered in future. Good man!
    Uuan, hi_watt, Greg Gee and 14 others like this.
  19. Onrd

    Onrd I am not a number

    Jack Nance in Eraserhead
    bloodisthin, hi_watt, polchik and 9 others like this.
  20. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

  21. CraigBic

    CraigBic Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    I think because the UHD came out recently the one that comes to mind for me is Claudia Wells as Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future. It's not to say that Elizabeth Shue is a bad actor but I think Claudia brings so much character to such a small role it's not to miss her in the sequels even though the role isn't much bigger in those films. Claudia does a more sort of reserved, girl next door performance for Jennifer, and Elizabeth I think plays the role more for comedy.
    hi_watt likes this.
  22. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Daddyland, CA
    Jack Nicholson in Chinatown
    Christian Bale in The Prestige
    Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man
    Harvey Keitel in Smoke
    Steve Buscemi in Fargo
    Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men

    and need it be said: Jeff Bridges in Big Lebowski
  23. onionmaster

    onionmaster Tropical new waver from the future

    Jackie Chan in the first two Police Story movies. He so effortlessly goes between hapless comedy and impressive action sequences.
    hi_watt likes this.
  24. Timeless Classics

    Timeless Classics Senior Member

    Russell Crowe - Maximus in Gladiator

    On the surface, it would seem there could be many actors who could play this role. However, the "Maximus" role was more than a "action hero" as the film is often portrayed/marketed to the masses. His character was not easy to pull off and thinking about it, I cannot envision anyone else pulling off the "believability" of the Maximus Roman General/Gladiator character. He is not some giant mythical character that is unrelatable, but is rather small compared to the other larger gladiators. But he is still believable - his intensity, his charisma, his physical strength, yet also his warmth and gentleness to galvanize troops, young kids, etc. Mel Gibson was considered for the role, but he was 43 years old at the time (about 5 years post Braveheart, and would not have been believable at this point). This was also peak stardom for Crowe as well.
  25. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Forum Resident

    Fountain Inn, SC
    Jane Fonda as Kimberly Wells in The China Syndrome (the only thing I've ever liked her in)

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