Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Re-casting The Shining. Yes, I went there.

As many know, I'm not a big fan of remakes.
But I thought it would be fun to recast The Shining with my dream cast.  Not that I would ever want to see a remake of that classic (and quite honestly I don't care for the Stephen King-endorsed TV version from 1997 - partially because I detest Steven Weber in nearly everything), but since nothing seems to be sacred I figured I may as well re-imagine it myself.

And since The Shining takes place during winter and showcases a pretty nasty snowstorm, it fits within the realm of winter horror.

So here goes:

Jack Torrance:  Paul Giamatti - It's only natural that I'd pick Giamatti for the main role, as he is one of my favorite actors and has the serious acting chops to take this role in the various directions that it wanders to. He can play a quirky writer, we've established that with both American Splendor and Sideways. And I know he can act like a total nut-job (see Shoot 'Em Up, John Dies at the End). So I can see him going from mild mannered father who likes a drink or two to crazed, off-the-wagon psychopath with murderous intent and a crazed look in his eyes.  Like so:

Moving on to the light of Jack's life, Wendy...
It was hard for me to decide just who looks pathetic enough to pull off the emotionally abused and wildly confused Wendy Torrance.  And then after this year's Golden Globes it came to me... Anne Hathaway!
She has just the right combination of frumpy and bewildered that this character dictates.  After all, Shelley Duvall owned that role. (You probably would too after working with Stanley Kubrick and his countless script changes and hundreds of re-takes.)  Anne Hathaway has kind of come into her own these last few years and she really says Wendy to me.  She can look disheveled, chaotic, and wracked with fear better than most.

Danny. Now this one was tough, because of course I'm not too familiar with child actors. But after perusing the internet a bit, this little guy (and his bright blue eyes) jumped out at me. Currently Benjamin Stockham is starring as one of the president's children on the television comedy 1600 Penn. I'm fairly certain he could pull off that 'deer in the headlights' gaze that Danny is so famous for.  Only this time around, the stare will come from blue, not brown eyes.  I can almost hear him now "Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!'...

Dick Halloran. I had a myriad of choices on this one.  Hard to nail down.  I thought....Denzel?   Sam Jackson?  Even Morgan Freeman?  But then I thought... Don Cheadle! Yes!  I love nearly everything Cheadle does and can definitely see him interacting with our Danny and discussing the SHINE over a bowl of ice cream (but we're making that ice cream strawberry in my movie because well....I like it better).
Sure, Freeman would have been closer in age to the original Scatman Crothers when he played the Overlook cook, but there's just something about Cheadle that says yes. And I can absolutely see him chilling out in his bedroom in Florida with perhaps a poster of Jackie Brown behind him. Oh yes, he'll even put up a good fight with our Jack....who knows how it will turn out.  Maybe I'll change the ending and have him driving Danny down the Sidewinder in the snowcat.  Witness the coolness:

When casting Delbert Grady, I had to choose someone whose demeanor is relatively humdrum and monotone.  The original caretaker, Grady's part in the film is to guide Jack to his inevitable poor decisions by relaying the history of the Overlook and placing those ideas oh-so-gently into Jack's head.  So I need someone who looks that part - unassuming yet determined to have things go according to plan.  Who better than Kevin Spacey?  He can play the restrained everyman next door pretty damn well (see: American Beauty), and yet has an edge that can be quietly horrifying (see: Seven).  I like him in this role. It suits him.

And who better than one of the best character actors in the biz' to play our loyal bartender, Lloyd. Yep, Steve Buscemi.  Lloyd is always at the ready with the Jack Daniels to help ol' Jack see the error of his ways and help him get drunk enough to take an ax and hunt down his wife and young son. Lloyd won't take money from Jack, we know that - and I can absolutely see Buscemi embodying the role of the laid-back barman - though I'm thinking he might have a touch more sass than Joe Turkel.  But that would make things more interesting, don't you think?

In the small role of Danny's doctor (who was literally nameless), I'm going to put Mary Steenburgen.  She always seems sincere yet she frightens me for some reason.  Maybe it's because she's married to Ted Danson - that would scare anyone.  Yet here she is - asking Danny just who the hell Tony is, perhaps even mimicking his finger acrobatics.

As for the Grady daughters (who weren't actually twins, which is a common misconception), I have no idea who would be creepy enough to play the girls....but here's a thought....

"Come and play with us, Danny......."
Now here's where it gets interesting. I decided to put a little cameo in here.  We're going to have Jack Nicholson as Stuart Ullman, the manager of the Overlook and the bearer of bad news as far as the hotel's menacing history. Wouldn't that be the bomb - to get Nicholson to do just a cameo would be extremely difficult anyway as I'm sure he pretty much sees himself as a leading man - even at his age.  But let's just go there for shits & giggles.  I'd love it. It would certainly be the best part of the movie for us hard-core Shining aficionados!

So there you have it.  I know there are a few other very minor roles (like a few other Overlook employees and the ranger at the station) but for the most part, I think we got the major ones covered.
What do you think?  Yay or Nay?  Who would you cast?


Anonymous said...

What about the lady in Rm 237?

Dr Blood said...

I think it should be remade with Muppets. Miss Piggy as Wendy, Kermit as Halloran, and Animal as Jack,

DrunkethWizerd said...

Your choices for Dick, Grady and Lloyd are absolutely perfect.

Jason said...

I think Paul Giamatti is a bit old for that role especially next to Anne Hathaway. I can really see Bradely Cooper in that role.

For Wendy I can see Zoe Deschanel, I am just picturing her eyes bugging out even bigger.

Sam Jackson would make a great Halloron, espeically you have seen 1408. Spacey as Grady is a great idea.

Unknown said...

Wow, I don't think I could've picked 'em any better.

Christine Hadden said...

Horrorstruck: The creepy lady or the beautiful woman she "started out" as? Maybe Gisele Bündchen morphs into Cloris Leachman?? Hmm...?

Dr. Blood: Only if Dr.Bunsen Honeydew can be Grady.

Drunk W: Thanks!

Jason: Jack Nicholson was 43 when he played Jack Torrance, Paul Giamatti is 45. Duvall was 31, Hathaway is 30. I rest my case. Besides, Bradley Cooper is too good looking for that role, and I wouldn't pick him because I actually am not too fond of him. Double that for Zooey Deschanel. I like her acting even less than Cooper - though she definitely has the googly eyes to play it.
And for the record, Sam Jackson was my second choice for Dick.
Thanks for reading!

JP: Thank you!

Karu said...

You did make your case regarding age, but Anne Hathaway vs. Shelly Duval at that age..I think it would look exceptionally creepy. I assume you were joking about the Olsen twins since they're in their mid twenties, but maybe that doesn't matter. Most of your choices, esp. Giammatti are spot on.

Unknown said...

I know i am a bit late on this post. I think your casting choices are good. I am currently doing my first read through of the novel and in comparison, Kubricks Shining is terrible. It lacks depth compared to the book. The original cast was one dimensional and boring. Thats mostly due to the script not the cast. In the novel, Wendy is strong but apprehensive. Hathaway can do both. Good pick. Danny, I have no opinion, but the kid needs to be able to pull off intelligence beyond his years with a hint of fear that he can bury and not express all the time. The pick I disagree with the most is Giamatti. Great actor, too old and a bad fit. The Bradley Cooper idea was a great suggestion, I could buy into that. He could help that line between sanity and psychosis blur slowly and convincingly and we know he can act. I love the rest of your choices. Even the cameo by Nicholson is genius. Good picks

Christine Hadden said...

Jimmy: Thanks for stopping by!!

Regarding the ages: Jack Nicholson was 43 when he played Jack Torrance, Paul Giamatti is 45. Duvall was 31, Hathaway is 30. I don't think that's too far off the mark.
I know others have mentioned Bradley Cooper. Gah. Not a fan.
But that's why this is so fun. Everyone has an opinion! :)

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas! But I think there is some room for improvement. If you've read the book, you know that Stephen King describes Wendy as a blond, ex-cheerleader. Because of this I have cast Shelley Duvall aside and gotten myself hooked on the idea of Kaley Cuoco. Don't hate me, just a thought. I also think your Halloran's all wrong. He needs to be older. Go with Morgan Freeman. However, Jack Nicholson as Ullman is genius!!

Christine Hadden said...

Anon: Well, I have read the book (many times over, actually), but wanted to recast closer to the film. I could go with the Morgan Freeman as Halloran, definitely. But the Kaley Cuoco, nah. Not on a bet. Just can't see it. I'm not much for blondes so finding the right one would be hard for me. Kate Hudson?? I don't know.
Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the ideas!