Recast-athon: Up in the Air, Black Swan, and Silver Linings Playbook

While I enjoy the occasional Recast Edition post here at AEOS, I was super excited when I noticed that Ruth over at Flixchatter took part in this new blogathon that she found from Andrew, who started/is hosting it over at his blog, A Fistful of Films.

Picture Film StripHere are the rules:

1)  Pick an OSCAR NOMINATED performance given by a white actress that didn’t require a white actress (no biopics here, even though Todd Haynes taught us that you don’t need to be the same race or gender to play a real life person). This performance can come from ANY film year.

2)  Pick an actress of color who could have been a great fit for the role instead of the one cast.  Keep in mind the time of release and chose actresses who were working at that time. So, in other words, don’t select the role of Calla Mackie in 1968’s Rachel, Rachel (played by Estelle Parsons) and suggest it be a great fit for Naomie Harris, because, well, she wasn’t born for another eight years.

3)  Explain WHY that actress would have made a great fit. Plead her case. Let’s tell those Hollywood casting directors what they’re missing.

Here are my picks:

Tao Okamoto or Jamie Chung as Natalie Keener in Up in the Air (2009)

I’m unknown, but I look important here.

I know most people would probably find Tao Okamoto to be an odd choice, considering how unknown she is. The only major acting credit she has was as Mariko, Wolverine’s love interest in last year’s The Wolverine. Okamoto is slender, and she seems like she could pull off an awkward and shy role such as Natalie Keener in Up in the Air. She’s also the same age as Anna Kendrick, and she shares similar physical features. Kendrick was relatively unknown until she portrayed Keener in the Oscar-nominated film, so I imagined the role would be one to jumpstart an unknown actress’s film career.

I can play tough AND vulnerable.

Jamie Chung has yet to reach a higher level of fame in Hollywood as well since most of her acting credits include guest and background roles, lower budget films, TV movies, and video game voicework. Her recurring role as Mulan on the show Once Upon a Time (2011-) proves that she can hold her own, putting her dramatic and action chops on display. Only two years older than Kendrick, she’s right around the same age, and she has a likable quality and youthful appearance that makes her seem approachable, a characteristic she’d need to pull off the role.

Saldana participated in a photoshoot inspired by the styles of Black Swan in InStyle.

Zoe Saldana as Nina Sayers in Black Swan (2010)

While Natalie Portman is very beautiful, and certainly convincing enough as Nina Sayers in Black Swan, I never thought the role needed to be filled by a white actress. The first actress who came to my mind was Zoe Saldana. She’s certainly more established than the other actresses I’ve listed, appearing in a variety of films that include physical action, dramatic acting, and suspenseful situations, all qualities needed to play the role of Sayers. Not only does Saldana has a svelte figure that would help her portray a ballerina, but she also is an accomplished dancer who cites ballet as one of her first passions. While she’s three years older than Portman, she’s still right within that age bracket that would work for the role.

Zoe Kravitz as Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

“Don’t make me throw this knife at you!”

I imagine this recast could be considered a stretch when you compare Jennifer Lawrence’s filmography and experience to Zoe Kravitz’s. When one hears the name “Kravitz,” they think of Lenny, not Zoe. But from the few films the younger Kravitz has taken part in, I think she’s been waiting for her big break. Silver Linings Playbook is a character-driven film, and I could easily see Zoe Kravitz filling the role of Tiffany Maxwell. She’s able to say a lot with just her facial expressions, and no doubt she could use that skill to play Tiffany. Since she’s a couple years older than Lawrence, in some ways, I think her age would make her more appropriate for the role than Lawrence was, despite how much I loved her in it.

It’s your turn now. What do you think of my choices? Who would you recast in this roles? Head over to Andrew’s page, Fistful of Films, to read about why he chose to start this recast-athon, and feel free to join in and write your own post if you’d like!

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13 thoughts on “Recast-athon: Up in the Air, Black Swan, and Silver Linings Playbook

  1. I thought Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-winning performance in SLP was extremely overrated, so the thought of anyone other than her playing Tiffany is fine by me. I’m not familiar with Zoe’s work but from your description she sounds better suited for SLP.

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    • Hi there! Thanks so much for visiting the site – I appreciate your comment. I actually really enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence in that role, although you haven’t been the first (and no doubt the last) to think that her performance was overrated. Personally, I thought she was awesome; however, I didn’t think it was necessarily an Oscar- WINNING (vs. nominated) performance. I thought Bradley Cooper’s performance was more worthy of an award. Zoe Kravitz is still really young, and I’ve seen her only in major franchises as more minor characters (X-Men and Divergent), but I think given the right opportunity, she could really do something in that role.

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  2. Zoe Saldana is so freakishly beautiful in that pic. I wonder what the role would have been like with her in it! Although I do think she is too busy playing blue, green, or animated characters to even be considered for a human role in a main-steam flick haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more – she’s gorgeous! Haha, yeah, she has played her share of sci-fi and animated characters, but I could TOTALLY see her in it. And I’m pretty sure she’s played at least a few dramatic roles, although I know she’s not known primarily for those. Glad you think she’d be great in that role too!

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  3. Very nice casting with Zoe Kravitz for Silver Linings Playbook! As a big fan of the book, I’m always on the fences about Jennifer Lawrence. Sometimes I see her as Tiffany, other times I don’t. Kravitz is definitely ready for a break-in and it would’ve been an interesting choice for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooo, that is one book I haven’t read, but I’d really like to. I appreciate that! Kravitz just seems like she has the emotional gravitas to capture the role of Tiffany, IMO. I have a lot of love for Lawrence, but I don’t necessary think she’s head and shoulders above other actresses in her age bracket. I think she’s just gotten more opportunities than most.

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