- Published on Saturday, February 02 2013
- Written by Greg McIver
As a confirmed film buff, I am sad to say that the genre known as "The Western" has never been the closest to my heart. I didn't grow up watching them and really only came to appreciate them fairly late in life. They're just so… so… dusty? Every time I watch one, I feel the need to either clean my apartment or to rustle cattle… one of which is kind of hard do here in New York City (I'll let you decide which).
But as I said, over the years, I did come to gain an appreciation for these rough-and tumble-movies. The one in particular that always comes to my mind is the 1952 classic High Noon, which tells the story of the aging Marshall Will Kane (played by an aging Gary Cooper) and how he is called to defend his sleepy little town one last time when he hears that a killer with a grudge against him is riding into town with his gang. Marshall Kane isn't looking for trouble. In fact, he was hoping to put the lawmaking business behind him in order to make a fresh start with his new wife Amy (Grace Kelly). But he knows that he can't in good conscience abandon his town, so he attempts to put a posse together in order to face down the looming threat. The only problem is, no one in the town wants any part of the impending mayhem. People that he thought were his friends suddenly turn their backs on him, and before he knows it, he is the only one left standing in the way of the Frank Miller Gang.
Today, High Noon is considered one of the greatest westerns of all time, but when it was first released, many people actually scoffed at it. John Wayne, in particular, blasted the character of Will Kane as being cowardly. In pretty much every western that proceeded High Noon, the hero would normally face down multiple adversaries without ever thinking twice, both barrells blazin'. This was really the first time a leading character in one of these films actually showed vulnerability by contemplating his own mortality and daring to ask for help. It's a great western and a great movie all around. So, saddle up as I attempt to assemble my own contemporary posse of actors and actresses to replace the four leading roles.
Marshall Will Kane: MEL GIBSON
By the time we get to the climax of the movie, Kane is physically and emotionally drained. Everyone that he thought was his friend has abandoned him. Some had some valid reasons for doing so, but it doesn't change the fact that he's in this fight alone. Gary Cooper played this part the way he played most of his characters throughout his career -- very quiet, subtle, and stoic. So… you know… Mel Gibson! If you really stop to think about it, though, you'll eventually come to see that Gibson is actually perfect for this role. Over they years, he has played various heroic figures that are able to get the job done, but underneath all the bravery, determination, and (in some cases) madness, there has always been a sense of sadness and vulnerability. I'm not saying that Gibson is the only actor to ever play a role that's heroic yet sad at the same time. I am saying, however, that his way of playing it suits the character of Marshall Kane pretty damn well, and I can think of nobody else better for the role. At least until this is posted… then I'll probably think of at least two more perfectly good choices.
Deputy Marshall Harvey Pell: CHRIS PINE
Deputy Marshall Harvey Pell should've been the obvious choice to take over as Marshall after Kane retired, but he was passed over. Kane felt that he was too arrogant and hot-headed for the job... and boy was he right. Harvey views Kane's troubles with either indifference or with an almost sadistic sense of humor. At one point, he tries to bully Kane into giving him the job as Marshall by refusing to help him if he doesn't. Chris Pine first came to people's attention in the movie Bottle Rocket, where he played a long-haired slacker who helped revolutionize the American Wine Industry. Then, he played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, and a lot more people noticed him. There has always been a sense of arrogance that has gone along with many of Pine's characters. I can easily see him taking that arrogance one step further so that it almost borders on villainy. He's proven he can be the hero in past films such as Star Trek and Unstoppable, and I'd love to see him lead audiences on with that possibility again right before pulling the rug right out from under them.
Helen Ramirez: SALMA HAYEK
I thought about this role for a good few seconds before I settled on Salma Hayek. But why not her? The character of Helen Ramirez is a seasoned veteran when it comes to business affairs and dealing with men. She does not see her gender and ethnicit, (which was a big deal back in the dusty days of the Old West) as obstacles, or if she does, then she certainly doesn't let anybody else know that. She is a woman ahead of her time, and it's easy to see why Kane used to fancy her and why Harvey Pell currently pines for her (no pun intended). Salma Hayek has more than proven that she is capable of paying such a role. Check out her performances in Desperado, Savages, and Puss & Boots and you'll see why she is a great fit for this role.
Amy Fowler Kane: MICHELLE WILLIAMS
Amy is a Quaker, and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. She abhors violence and doesn't want her new husband anywhere near the impending shootout. Religious reasons aside, she's already lost loved ones to due to gunplay, and she's not looking to add Kane to that list. She is as sweet, beautiful, gentle, and stubborn as they come, and Kane comes very close to losing her by the end of the film. It's bad enough that Kane has to face down four gunmen all by himself -- now he's got to worry about a potential date in divorce court if he survives. This time around, I am tasked with recasting Grace Kelly. This means that, no matter whom I choose, I am going to piss somebody off. Oh well, such is the life of a man who dabbles in film hypotheticals that will never come to pass. Anywho, Michelle Williams is a stunning actress who has wowed audiences across the land in such films as My Week With Marilyn, Blue Valentine, and Brokeback Mountain. She is a delicate flower with a backbone of adamantium. Is she the new Grace Kelly? Well, that's hard to say, but I am sure she could take the role of Amy Fowler Kane and do wonders with it.
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.
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