- Published on Saturday, November 17 2012
- Written by Greg McIver
Welcome to another edition of Recasting The Classics. Have you ever tried to imagine what Rebel Without A Cause would have been like if it starred Rupert Grint? Me neither. The point is that you no longer have to spend hours out of your day trying to figure out who would make a good Rhett Butler or Mary Poppins, because this series will do it for you. You're welcome!
In this latest entry, I have decided to take on one of my favorite movies that features my absolute favorite Hollywood Legend. Angels with Dirty Faces is one of the quintessential gangster films of all time and space. James Cagney stars as Rocky Sullivan, and his performance in that movie defined, for better or worse, how Cagney would be remembered by movie fans for generations to come. The movie itself is a classic morality tale about good overcoming evil in order to protect the innocent. It’s a great movie filled with great performances, and I cannot imagine another cast of actors getting the job done. Well, actually I can...
Rocky Sullivan: JEREMY RENNER
Rocky Sullivan made poor decisions in his childhood, and, as a result, he has spent his adulthood living a life of crime. Yet he is not 100% rotten either. The character of Rocky is not willing to give up his criminal ways, but he does care about his friends and the people in the neighborhood he grew up with. He is the thief with the heart of gold that you can't help but root for even when he is engaging in unsavory activities. Jeremy Renner has proven himself to be a very strong actor in the past few years. If you’re unsure that he can handle the role of Rocky, then I suggest that you take a look at his performance in The Town. His performance in that movie shows that he can be crooked, loyal to his loved ones, and absolutely compelling. If Rocky Sullivan was ever to grace the silver screen again, then you could do no better than Jeremy Renner.
Father Jerry Connolly: LIEV SCHREIBER
Father Jerry was Rocky’s best friend growing up, and he could easily have gone down the same dangerous path that Rocky did. Ultimately, he was able to break free from the viscous cycle of crime at an early enough age and went on to become a beloved priest. I’ve been a big fan of Liev Schreiber for quite some time. If you have any doubts about his acting ability, then check out The Manchurian Candidate and RKO 281. While he is excellent at playing sly, mischievous, and damaged characters, he is also capable of showing great warmth, compassion, and determination. Father Jerry treasures his friendship with Rocky, but when Rocky’s dealings threaten the future of some neighborhood children, he is willing to sacrifice his friendship in order to do what is right. Mr. Schreiber would excel in the role of Father Jerry and compliment Jeremy Renner perfectly.
Mac Keefer: JEFF DANIELS
Mac Keefer is an organized crime boss that Rocky ends up working for. He respects Rocky but doesn’t outright trust him. Mac is the kind of guy that will keep you around as long as you’re useful, but when you become a burden, he’ll send you on a one way trip to sleep with the fishes. I know it’s hard to think of Jeff Daniels without thinking of Dumb and Dumber, but check out his performance in Looper and you’ll see why I like him for this role. Mr. Daniels has been somewhat typecast as a lovable figure, but he can easily play a heel and would be very good for this part.
James Frazier: SAM ROCKWELL
Before Humphrey Bogart blew up with Casablanca, he spent most of his movie career playing sniveling rats with no courage or just straight-up bad guys. James Frazier started off as Rocky’s business partner, but when Rocky was sent to prison, Frazier simply wrote him off and took his money. Now that Rocky is out of jail, Frazier must put on his best fake smile while attempting to figure out how to get rid of his old partner once and for all. Sam Rockwell has made a career out of playing men with questionable moral values. He’s shown in movies like Moon that he can do more than just play scumbags, but when you’re recasting a film like Angels With Dirt Faces, you want nothing but the absolute best scumbag, and Mr. Rockwell has shown that he nearly second-to-none.
Laury Ferguson: NAOMI WATTS
The character of Laury is that of a strong-willed woman who ends up being powerless to stop the chaos that ultimately ensues around her. She loves Rocky Sullivan and doesn't want to see him hurt, yet she can’t deny the harm he is inadvertently causing. This might be the laziest choice on the list, but Naomi Watts is a fantastic actress that has proven her capabilities time and time again with roles in 21 Grams, Eastern Promises, The Ring, and Tank Girl. She also has a classic beauty about her which would be fitting for the time period featured in the story. If she was able to tame the heart of King Kong, then she should easily be up to the task of winning over Rocky Sullivan.
Greg McIver currently resides in New York City. Check out his other reviews and articles at www.nerdtopiacast.com, and be sure to tune in to his weekly podcast Filmtopiacast 3000 which is currently available on YouTube, iTunes, and Stitcher.