Greetings my fellow movie goers from across the globe. Today, I proudly present my personal Top 12 Fan Casting Choices for actors I want to see in a Christopher Nolan. (my all time favorite filmmaker) Before we go into The Top 12, I want to state my reason why I’m doing this editorial blog related to one of the best directors in cinema. Here is my reason, Chris went to The Cannes Film Festival to restore Stanley Kubrick’s filmprint of 2001: A Space Odyssey (also one of Chris’ favorite movies) to honor the 50th anniversary of Stanley’s influential movie.
Here are the grounds rules on why it needs to suit Chris’ signature style or parallel connections to other filmmakers and his influences from his favorite films/directors responsible for his perception on The Film Industry.
1. The Top 12 List featuring an individual actor is handpicked by me based on his filmography, iconic status, awards, box office etc.
2. Anyone who has worked with Chris’s favorite filmmakers including Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott & his late brother Tony are added to the list.
3. Darren Aronofsky is gonna be mentioned. What do he & Chris both have in common? They began their careers in 1998 starting with Pi & Following shot in black & white format. Made their second feature film in 2000 titled Requiem For A Dream & Memento shot in color format. Darren’s themes are arguably similar to Chris’ distinctive tropes. They also have a connection to Batman. Darren was nearly hired by Warner Bros. until Chris beat him.
4. Anybody connected to Darren Aronofsky is gonna be included. Think of Chris & Darren as Coca-Cola & Pepsi who are very similar. Cue the line, “We’re not so different you and I.”
5. Actors who were originally handpicked by Chris, dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, are also gonna be featured.
6. Notable actors who already starred in a Nolan related project like Russell Crowe in Man Of Steel or Anthony Hopkins in HBO’s Westworld will not be on this list.
If you’re a Nolanite like me, (fan name for Nolan) now’s a good time to read. This is just my personal picks and I want to retain Nolan’s style that fits in this Top 12 article.
Top 12 Fan Casting Choices
12. Bob Odenkirk
We’re all familiar with Bob’s signature role as Walter White/Heisenberg’s criminal lawyer Jimmy “Slippin’ Jimmy” McGill/Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad and its prequel spin-off Better Call Saul. As a result of his Emmy nominated breakout role, he went on to participate in films such as Nebraska, The Post and the upcoming sequel to The Incredibles with fellow Breaking Bad co-star Jonathan Banks.
If Chris selects Bob in a specific film, I would envision him as The Comic Relief mixed with a Brilliant Mastermind who gives The Protagonist the right equipment as well as organizing a certain mission or evil plan. If Bob isn’t available for a big role, perhaps a small role or cameo appearance can effect the story’s dramatic structure.
Bob has a connection to Mark Magolis, (Hector) who often works with Darren Aronofsky.
11. Mads Mikkelsen
This Danish born actor gained international recognition for his role as Le Chiffre in the James Bond reboot, Casino Royale. Primarily typecasted as a villain in NBC’s Hannibal, Dr. Strange & the upcoming video game Death Stranding, Madds played againist type in a non-villainous role as Jyn Erso’s father, Galen in Star Wars: Rogue One.
Chris is a lifelong fan of the James Bond franchise, there’s a possible chance that he might recruit Madds in a role similar to Gary Oldman’s portrayal as Commissioner Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy. I think the reason why Chris hired Gary to play Jim, is because he watched his performance as Sirius Black in Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban. Perhaps he might do the same by hiring Madds to play a sympathetic character.
10. Javier Bardem
After winning an Academy Award for his performance as Anton Chigurh in The Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men, Javier gained notable roles as Raul Silvia, a James Bond villain in Skyfall, Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales & played Jennifer Lawrence’s onscreen husband in Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! Javier has yet to begin working on a modern interpretation of The Bride Of Frankenstein as part of a cinematic universe focusing on Universal Monsters.
I can picture Chris selecting Javier as a good guy who slowly becomes a bad guy in a psychological horror film similar to Jack Nicholson’s iconic portrayal as Jack Torrence in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The main focus should eye on Javier’s character slowly becoming insane as result of a traumatic event related to a loved one, he meets a demon like creature who gives him a chance to save his wife or child, but the main side effect will mentally transformed him into a psychotic maniac. Think of it as a “Deal With The Devil” complex. At first, Javier made a heroic act, as the film progresses, he transforms into The Main Antagonist.
9. Sean Penn
Back in The 80’s, Sean begin his career as stoner, Jeff Spicoli in Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Over the years, he earned critical acclaim in dramatic films including At Close Range, Carlito’s Way, Dead Man Walking & Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line. Sean earned two Academy Awards for Best Actor in Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River & Milk.
Here’s an interesting fact, did you know that he was Chris & Warner Bros. first pick to play The Joker in The Dark Knight? Sean however, turned down the role, because he didn’t want play a role that his good friend, Jack Nicholson already did in Tim Burton’s Batman and it would be difficult to top his Oscar nominated performance.
Someday in the future, I believe that Chris will personally meet Sean to work on a film inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey about an existential crisis involving humanity being replaced by genetically engineered versions of humans or a highly advanced civilization from another universe. I would envisioned Sean as a combination of Matthew Pocelot in Dead Man Walking & Harvey Milk in Milk as a heroic public figure who slowly succumbs to losing his humanity by becoming an android with a Hal 9000 personality from 2001.
8. Mark Wahlberg
We’re all familiar with his early career as Marky Mark, after his days of rapping were over, Mark earned critical acclaim for his performance as Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, proving himself to be a gifted actor. He started in notable films such as The Italian Job, Ted, Deepwater Horizon, The Fighter & the Oscar winning film The Departed. Besides acting, he’s produced TV shows such as Entourage, Ballers, Boardwalk Empire & Wahlburgers.
If Mark met Chris to discuss an epic film as a love letter to iconic historical epics made in The Golden Age Of Hollywood most notably Spartacus, Lawrence Of Arabia, The Ten Commandments & Ben-Hur. Ridley Scott made Gladiator as a tribute to classic epic movies from his childhood. Mark work with Ridley in All The Money In The World, with their connections, I believe a possible collaboration might work between him and Chris. Mark can play a historical or biblical figure who paved a movement that changed history forever.
7. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Back in his early years, Dwayne made a name for himself as a wrestler under the stage name, The Rock,” winning many WWE events. Who can’t forget his trademark eyebrow expression and of course, his catchphrase, “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?!” During his time in WWE, Dwayne made his film debut as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. After semi-retiring, he went on to work as an actor in his first starring role in The Scorpion King, a spin-off to The Mummy, The Rundown, Get Smart, The Fast & Furious sequels, Moana & Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
Dwayne confirmed he will star in a spin-off movie to The Fast & The Furious series focusing on his character Luke Hobbs with his co-star Jason Statham. Don’t forget that The Rock is gonna produce and star in a film set in the DC Extended Universe called, Black Adam. Which centers on Shazam’s archenemy, this’ll be the first time since The Mummy Returns that he will play a villain other than being typecasted as a charismatic hero.
Dwayne is one of the busiest highest paid actors in Hollywood. He will accept any project that interests him. If Chris managed to persuade Dwayne as an ordinary man who discovers that he’s a cyborg gifted with abilities no human can possess. I can envision Dwayne in a movie as a cross between Robocop and Unbreakable. Chris’ brother Jonathan Nolan developed HBO’s Westworld centered on androids. All he has to do is take notes from his brother.
6. Brad Pitt
Wanna know how Brad got his start in show biz? He started his career in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise. It wasn’t until he earned his status as a leading man in films such as Interview With A Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Seven, 12 Monkeys and his role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club. Over the course of his career, he managed to prove himself to be a capable actor playing a likable hero or calculative villain. He’s known for his frequent collaboration with David Fincher. (Fight Club, Seven, Benjamin Button)
If Christopher casted him in a movie, he would specifically cast Brad in a spy film after seeing him in action films such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Inglorious Basterds & World War Z. Unlike Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Chris’s take on the spy genre can match the gritty tone on the same aspect much like Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies. Maybe the story should be about Brad as a seasoned veteran who realizes that his body can no longer be capable for going on missions and he must find a young recruit to train and assist him for one last mission. If a spy film doesn’t work out, perhaps a mystery western picture might work, similar to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
5. Will Smith
We all know how Will made it big on television as The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, when his show ended, he went on to star in successful box office films as an A-List action star including Bad Boys, Independence Day, Men In Black and its sequels. It wasn’t until Will managed to prove himself to be a dramatic actor portraying boxer Muhammad Ali in the biographical film, Ali & Chris Gardner in The Pursuit Of Happyness. Both movies earned him a Best Actor nomination at The Adacemy Awards.
Over the course of his career, he was everywhere during The 90’s & The 2000’s, his image earned him the nickname, “Mr. July.” He primarily stars in genres featuring action, comedy, sci-fi, crime, drama and thriller. He also has connections to the Batman franchise when he made a cameo in Jersey Girl with future Batman actor Ben Affleck. Will also played a Batman villain named, Deadshot in Suicide Squad.
If Chris is eager to have Mr. July in a motion picture, perhaps a dystopian survival film with Tom Cruise. Now picture Cast Away mixed with Gravity, what do you get? A movie about two life long friends who become stranded in the middle of an exotic world after their jet or submarine enters a portal resulting in countless casualties and they must use their skills and abilities to make it back home to see their families again while enduring obstacles in their way. Will has done a post-apocalyptic survival film known as I Am Legend, shifting between action and drama and his friend Tom, is also an action star and he’s known for doing dangerous stunts.
4. Tom Cruise
Speaking of Tom Cruise, this A-List action star has been around since Francis Ford Coppola recruited him in a film adaptation of The Outsiders. During his early days, Tom became a household name when he starred in a comedy, dancing to Bob Segar’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” in Risky Business. Three Years Later, his popularity gained further attention in Tony Scott’s (Ridley Scott’s late younger brother) Top Gun. In his prime, he starred in notable movies such as Born On The Fourth Of July, A Few Good Men, Interview With A Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, the Mission Impossible series, Jerry Maguire, Magnolia & Stanley Kubrick’s last film Eyes Wise Shut.
Similar to Jackie Chan, Tom has a reputation for doing fatal stunts without relying on a body double. For a man who’s born in 1962, he’s still got it for a person who looks like a 40-year-old dude. He married two out of three actresses who played Batman’s love interests. If that doesn’t ring a bell, Nicole Kidman was in Batman Forever & Katie Holmes was in Batman Begins. He and Nicole worked together in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. On an interview, Chris said if Stanley were alive today, he would’ve questioned him about the ending of his final movie.
If Tom’s buddy Will Smith isn’t available for a dystopian survival film, how about a movie starring Tom in a western as throwback to Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name Trilogy or possibly play an antagonist inspired by Henry Fonda’s performance in Once Upon A Time In The West. (his brother Jonathan claimed this is both their favorite western) Tom played Vincent in Collateral & Barry Seal in American Made. Chances are, Tom might be available to work with Chris in the future.
3. Jim Carrey
Ok guys and gals hear me out on this.
Jim was a household name dating back to In Living Color, before he transitioned into motion pictures beginning in 1994 with three movies which made him legit ranging from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and the cult classic Dumb & Dumber. As a result of his growing popularity, he was the class clown of Hollywood with big hits like Batman Forever, The Cable Guy (becoming the first actor to earn a big fat paycheck worth $20 million) & Liar Liar which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actor In A Musical Or Comedy.” You think he’s just a funny wacko, he transitioned to dramatic roles in The Truman Show, Man On The Moon & Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
Before Martin Scorsese made The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio about the life and career of Howard Hughes, Chris was originally gonna direct the movie with Jim Carrey in mind to play Hughes. Plans were cancelled as Jim was busy filming Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events while Chris was working on Batman Begins.
Jim hasn’t been doing anything other than painting during his spare time. If Chris is trying to enlist an actor in a spiritual successor to The Shining, Jim’s got the acting chops to portray a bloodthirsty psychotic character with a dark sense of humor. Jack Nicholson once said that Jim is the next Jack Nicholson.
2. Denzel Washington
This two time Oscar winning actor is known for his collaboration with Tony Scott in films such as Crimson Tide, Man On Fire, Dèjà Vu, The Taking Of Pelham 123 and their last ever pairing is Unstoppable. Besides working with his late friend, he worked with Ridley Scott in American Gangster. Denzel is a talented actor with the ability to portray a good guy and bad guy in a specific movie. He played a former slave turned Union Soldier in Glory which earned him an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor.” Then, he transitioned to The Dark Side as a crooked cop in Training Day which ultimately earned him his second Academy Award, this time the category is labeled “Best Actor.”
Besides being a dramatic actor, Denzel is also an action hero in films like Man On Fire, The Equalizer, The Magnificent Seven, (2016) Crimson Tide, just to name a few. Chris stated that Ridley Scott is one of his biggest inspirations as a film director. I believe he might recruit Denzel in a mind bending sci-fi crime thriller as a throwback to A Clockwork Orange and the works of Phillip K. Dick. Instead of one role, perhaps a dual role as a human and a genetically engineered clone who frames him and the good Denzel most clear his name from the evil Denzel. The theme is obviously a Jekyll & Hyde scenario instead of a split personality, how about a clone who represents the hero’s inner demons from his past and must redeem himself in order to destroy his own worst enemy.
Wouldn’t it be sweet to see two Denzels for the price of one? Hollywood if you’re reading my article, hire Mr. Nolan and craft an intelligent script.
Robert De Niro
1. Adam Sandler
Say what you will about him, even though Adam is primarily known for comedies, he proved himself to star in dramatic roles starting with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, Spanglish, Reign Over Me, Funny People & The Meyerowitz Stories.
What do Robin Williams, Heath Ledger & Harry Styles all have in common? They played against type in roles Chris specifically handpicked for them. If Adam is capable of playing a villainous role or a father who wants to see his children again after a tragic incident forced them to become separated, Adam is the right man to tackle a serious subject whether doing it as a hero or villain. Maybe shifting between a complex character study as in Bryan Cranston’s role as Walter White/Heisenberg in Breaking Bad. If not, try studying Robin Williams’ villainous performance as Walter Finch in Insomnia.
Adam has gone through a few stinkers of his career, as long as someone is easily persuasive as Paul Thomas Anderson to have Adam onboard. If Chris wants to take a big gamble, he would definitely pick Adam in a gritty mystery crime drama or an epic film set in the present or near future. Please Mr. Nolan make this happen! This’ll change the critics and movie goers’ attitude towards Adam. Bill Murray managed to make a comeback in Wes Anderson’s movies and Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation. The chances are very low when it comes to hitting a bullseye with a blindfold. As a fan of your work, I’m counting on you.
Well folks, that was my Top 12 Fan Casting. Which actor do you think should work with Christopher Nolan? Please leave a comment.