09/04/2012 02:49 pm ET Updated Nov 04, 2012

Movie Remakes: Recasting 7 Classic Films

One of the great pleasures of watching movies is seeing perfect casting in action--no one else could have played James Dean's part in Rebel Without a Cause, or Marilyn Monroe's in Some Like It Hot. Imagining another actress as Auntie Mame? Blasphemy! Casting, like any other part of the Hollywood system, seems equal parts magic and timing. This actress has just had a baby, and is therefore out of the running. This actor is filming something else in Dubai, and can't make the start date. These two have zero chemistry, and one of them needs to be replaced. (Actually, I wish that last caveat happened more often--I can think of a hundred movies where I would recast for inadequate chemistry.) Choosing the perfect actor for each role is an underappreciated feat, and I think that job is probably one of the trickiest in Hollywood. While I would never claim to be an expert, from time to time, I do like to entertain myself by recasting certain roles, if only in my head. If there are any producers reading who would like me to rewrite the following films in order to better suit my suggestions, I'm all ears.

There are some recasting choices that are automatic--Idris Elba could play any role that George Clooney has ever played, for example, and the cast of televison's Parenthood should remake the film version, and Judy Greer should be in every movie ever made. Here are some other choices that I think are just as good:

Emma Straub is the author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures [Riverhead, $26.95]

7 Classic Movies Recasted