Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Great (film) Debates vol. 10

Being a bad guy isn’t all squishin’ puppies. You’ve got to keep your lair maintained and licensed, your staff of power needs to be charged, and you gotta clean and wax the old suit. But cleaner’s aren’t always reliable. In fact, let’s assume Darth Vader’s suit got lost at the cleaners.

What actor should have played Darth Vader if he had to go without the mask?


Panelist: ScottDS

I'm going to steal my friend's answer and say Max von Sydow. If he could play Ming the Merciless in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, he could play Darth Vader! Bonus answer: Speaking of Flash Gordon, assuming Jabba the Hutt was simply a large human and not an alien slug, he would have to be played by von Sydow's Flash Gordon co-star: Brian "Gordon's alive!" Blessed.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I'd probably cast Ted Cassidy as Lord Vader. He has the size and menace, especially if we overdub the original voice.

Panelist: T-Rav

This may be a little out of left field, but I could see Yul Brynner in the role. He commands everyone's attention when he's on the screen, and he can play a real jackass when necessary--which are the traits you really want when casting Vader. Doesn't bear much resemblance to Mark Hamill (Luke), but neither would you if you'd gotten burned in a river of lava.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

Laurence Fishburne. . . Morpheus. The dude is cool and menacing, and Mr. Fishburne finds your lack of faith disturbing!


Comments? Thoughts? Who would you choose and why?

75 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

wow panel - all over the lot on that one. Yul Brynner is a very courageous choice, particularly being dead and all (l.o.l.) Seriously, all of these guys could work assuming we could get them at the tight age.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - sorry algore the magnidicant is the ONLY guy to play Jabba. The bags of flesh hanging from his wattle . . . .

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - we would need a younger Fischburne; say pre-CSI, pre-gut.

ScottDS said...

To be fair, my original choice was Robert Shaw, who's more or less my standard go-to villain for any movie made in the 70s. My friend mentioned von Sydow but I would've felt guilty if I didn't give him the credit. (Of course, if you like the idea, it was mine!)

Yul Brynner - great choice! Would he have a cowboy hat? :-)

And I agree with Jed... a slightly younger Fishburne. Honestly, I know he's played all kinds but I actually have trouble seeing him as a villain nowadays. Everything I've seen him in over the last decade features him in a heroic role.

Good call on Ted Cassidy. I wonder who would dub him...?

Tennessee Jed said...

well, clearly James Earl Jones owns the VOICE. If we makes the premise "other than" . . . we need to find a deep rich voice of authority. Stretching the bounds of fantasy, I would suggest the voice be that of long time Philadelphia news anchor, the late, great John Facenda. You and others would only recognize his voice from his long time original stint as the narrator for Cherry Hills based "NFL Films." In other words, when Chris Berman talks about the "frozen tundra" of Lambeau field in Green Bay, he is actually imitating Facenda's voice. Facenda had the commanding voice of a mafia don.

tryanmax said...

Let me preface my nomination by saying that even before Hayden Christensen donned the suit, I always figured it was the outfit that cut the imposing figure more than Vader himself.

I would slide Peter Cushing into the role. The Empire always had a sort-of Third Reich feel to it, and Cushing as Tarkin was a natural fit in the first place. Of course, the promotion opens a new can of worms, but I think replacing a Grand Moff is an easier task.

tryanmax said...

Jed, that last comment caused me to consider Brando as Vader. It maybe coulda worked. ???

LawHawkRFD said...

Benicio del Toro. Just as in The Wolfman, del Toro wouldn't have to wear makeup.

ScottDS said...

If we can use other cast members from the films (like Cushing), then Christopher Lee would be a great choice as well. (I'm sure many of the Hammer horror actors would do a great job.)

Jed -

I'm not a sports guy but I know of NFL Films and I looked up some John Facenda clips on YouTube... good choice!

tryanmax said...

Oops. Did I break the rules? Then I nominate Tim Curry because it seems ridiculous.

AndrewPrice said...

Interesting choices everyone!

Jed, Yes, we would need a younger Fisburne. I'm thinking from the time he starred in the Matrix.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Vader isn't that kind of villain though. He's not running around acting all maniacal -- which Fishburne can do by the way, check out Predators.

I like the von Sydow choice. Generally I love Shaw, but I don't think he had the right style for Vader -- he's not calm enough as a villain, he's too hyper.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Brando as Vader? Interesting. At his best, he probably could have pulled off anything.

I like the idea of Cushing. He would have worked too.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, If we used del Toro then we would definitely need to dub the voice because he mumbles every line he's ever given.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Like the Thunderdome, at Commentarama... there are no rules.

tryanmax said...

I thought it was "Two men enter, one man leaves."

Either way, it doesn't bode well for me.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, While I do like Christoper Lee (and Ian McKellen) I am honestly sick of Hollywood going to those two guys whenever they need an old, wise dude. It's become cliche and when I see them cast in that type of roll, I'm at the point I hold that against the film.


On the voices, I'm not sure who would be a great voice to replace J.E. Jones (who I would NOT replace). Really no one else comes to mind.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Well, there is that part. ;)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Christopher Lee would be my pick....

Though Peter Dinklage would be AWESOME.

AndrewPrice said...

Peter Dinklage?! LOL! I'm actually enjoying him a lot in Game of Thrones, but could you image the outrage of Star Wars fans if he was cast as Vader in the remake?

tryanmax said...

Turbo: LOL! That Dinklage would be awesome.

(BTW, is his name some kind of cruel joke?)

Tennessee Jed said...

tryanmax - "but if some accident should happen to my son . . . that I would not forgive . . . I would blame some of the people in this room."

Maybe, just maybe ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, According to the Wikipedia, which we know is never wrong, that's his real name.


Jed, I'm thinking more in his Mutiny on the Bounty Days.

tryanmax said...

Andrew: Oh, I know, but fate can be a cruel ß!+¢#!

Tennessee Jed said...

tryanmax - Brando could probably do it. The problem is he would have to do a different personna than "I could been a contender" or anything from Vito Corleone, because it would be impossible for us to disassociate.

I just thought of an interesting visual choice; a younger Jon Voight, perhaps using his "mission impossible" voice.

Andrew - I don't know, I think Robert Shaw in his Red Grant mode could have been interesting. From a galaxy long ago and far away, how about Woody Strode?

Tennessee Jed said...

first rule of fight club . . . .

tryanmax said...

I think only the seventh rule of Fight Club applies to Commentarama: Fights will go on as long as they have to.

Tennessee Jed said...

Dinklage name as a cruel joke? See the Wahlberg character in "Boogie Nights." Hawk- Del Torres could do it, but like some of the others, he would need a voice over.

tryanmax said...

I didn't mean to offer up Brando as a serious nomination. Good as he was, his type was pretty fixed. I don't think he could break out of it for something like Vader.

Another thought occured to me, though. What about Laurence Olivier?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, No!!! First rule of Commentarama is tell everyone about Commentarama.

.... the other rules are the same.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think Shaw could have done it at the point he played Grant -- great characters and great actor!


tryanmax, It would be interesting to see if Brando could do it. There are several interesting actors out there who might be able to do it if they played against their normal -- I'd like to see William Hurt try it.

I wonder if Lee Marvin or Steve McQueen could have done it?

AndrewPrice said...

Laurence Olivier strikes me as a better Tarkin, but he was a heck of an actor and he might be able to do it?

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew: "according to Wikpedia, which we know is never wrong, that is his real name." L.O.L. When I was researching for my review of In Bruges, there was a discrepency in the cast list between imbd and wikpedia regarding who played Jimmy the midget. Wiki had him (incorrectly) played by Dinklage, and imbd had him (correctly) as Jordan Prentice

Since I know all the followers of this site went back and saw that film (lol) one can see how they made the mistake. I'm not going un-pc and claiming all midgets look alike, only that those two could have been brothers in a "little people" kind of way.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Woody Strode would have been an interesting choice. I think he could have done it. I've been thinking about Tony Todd too. He's got the menace and the voice.

I have to say I don't recall Voight's voice from Mission Impossible, so I can't say? But I'm still drawing a blank when it comes to good voice actors for this role.

They did a heck of a job casting Jones!

tryanmax said...

Grand Moff problem solved!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, There are times the Wikipedia is stunningly accurate and in-depth, but it's usually full of errors or uninformed opinions. I've been amazed how often I run across things that are just simply wrong. It's also crawling with public relations garbage designed to hide the truth.

That said, it's a good place to start for most pop culture issues.

Tennessee Jed said...

Ha - on fight club, I was not referring to commentarama, only as a reference to thunderdome; e.g. no rules, no fight club

Tennessee Jed said...

O.K. kids--admit it. You don't even know who Woody Strode is without looking him up, do you?

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - alright, you are off the hook. I was busy typing when your response came up. This is like some kind of lightning round today! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It's fast and furious today... but in a good way, not an Obama way.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Dinklage actually has the voice and presence... his physical size would be the kicker of course. No diss intended though... all hail Peter Dinklage -- an awesome actor.

Boris Karloff could've carried it out and a Lon Chaney, Sr. as a silent Vader or Max Schreck (Nosferatu) would be "bomb" as my kids say.

Star Wars could be an awesome silent movie.

AndrewPrice said...

Star Wars as a silent movie would be an interesting idea. It would never work today because I think modern audiences wouldn't accept it. But I'll bet it would have been huge in the 1920s!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Luke's quest in Empire and the battle with Vader in the hands of Murnau or Fritz Land would look incredible in black and white in the German Expressionist style...

That says more of modern audiences than it does about silent films. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I'm a big fan of black and white, I think it's much more dramatic. I'm not a huge fan of silent films though.

On Lang, if he did Star Wars, I'll bet it would have been 15 hours long! LOL!

ScottDS said...

You know someone's gonna experiment with a black and white Star Wars! I found this after ten seconds of searching.

I've often thought about what the reaction would be if I had a time machine and could go back in time to, say, 1957 and show the original Star Wars to a theater full of kids. At the end of the day, I'm sure the reaction would be similar to that of audiences in 1977. It's too bad movies don't pack that kind of punch anymore. We're cynical and jaded and even when we don't know how something is done, the answer usually comes back: "Eh, CGI."

Re: the original question, Olivier is a GREAT choice. What about George C. Scott? "No Imperial officer ever won a galactic war by dying for his planet. He let the poor dumb Rebel die for his!" :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Nice use of a Patton quote! "When we get to Alderaan I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch!"

Joel Farnham said...

Vinnie Jones. He is now typecast as a hard brute.

Marlon Brando as Jabba the Hut.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Interesting choice. Along similar lines, I think Tobin Bell (Saw) might be good too.

Ed said...

Clancy Brown!

T-Rav said...

Jed, remember that when Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, the man he used to be was destroyed forever. So Yul Brynner as Vader would be true--from a certain point of view.

As far as Christopher Lee goes, I could easily see him in the Vader role, except he was that one bad guy in the prequels and is therefore tainted forever.

Tink in Cali said...

What about Alan Rickman?

Tink in Cali said...

Oh, and I also thought that Mark Strong was a great villain in the 2009 version Sherlock Holmes. Taking into account, of course, that it would be for a more modern casting and not for the 70s original.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed -- I'm a big fan of Clancy Brown. He could do it! :)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have blanked the sequels out of my mind and so I'm not holding those against any of the actors... unless they mention it! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Tink, Welcome! :)

I love Rickman! And he has shown incredible versatility. He might be the most interesting choice yet!

I liked Strong a lot as well. And mentioning Sherlock makes me wonder how Robert Downey Jr. would do?

Tink in Cali said...

Interesting idea about Robert Downey, Jr., has he ever played a villain? Based on his roles over the last several years, Vader would need to be a much bigger smart alec (another intriguing angle) if Downey were to play him.

AndrewPrice said...

Tink, I don't think he has been a villain in a long time, but he has played some characters with fairly sharp edges.

On being a smart alec, that's the question -- would we let the actor inject their own personality or try to play it like the Vader we know? I guess that's a matter of preference. But yeah, a Robert Downey version of Vader probably wouldn't fit with the feel of the movie -- though he might have done well in the prequels before he joined the dark side?

T-Rav said...

Hmmm. I can't really see Robert Downey Jr. as a villain. He could do it, I guess; I just can't picture him that way.

I bet Anthony Hopkins would do well as Vader.

AndrewPrice said...

You know, I've been debating that. On the one hand, Hopkins is a great actor. On the other, I'm not sure if he isn't too quiet to play Vader. Vader has a serious dark side that he lets out every once in a while and I don't recall Hopkins ever doing that?

Tink in Cali said...

I wondered about Hopkins myself. I just had another thought. What about Alec Baldwin? We know he can do rages (unfortunately), but I have a feeling he could also accurately portray the serious, sinister side as well.

AndrewPrice said...

I actually liked Baldwin a lot when he was in Red October -- and you're right, he can do rages. I would think he could do it because he does have the ability to project a sort of menacing evil.

ScottDS said...

SPOILERS

The only Robert Downey Jr. villain role I can think of is in U.S. Marshals, the poorly-written yet still kinda watchable "spinoff" of The Fugitive. He plays a DSS agent - everything's kosher at first but we find out some bad things about him as the story moves along and he pays the price for his misdeeds at the end.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's the only one I could think of as well.

Ed said...

I have to vote no on Hopkins too, though I like the idea of Rickman! Snape as Vader! I like it!

T-Rav said...

Boo. I like my idea. :-)

But I agree, Rickman might be a better fit.

rlaWTX said...

there is nothing that I can add to this conversation... y'all are awesome!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, It definitely was a good discussion!

kristina said...

psh, can't believe nobody said JACK ELAM

seriously, LOVE the lee marvin & Max von sydow tho.

AndrewPrice said...

kristina, I would love to see Lee Marvin give it a try. He and Steve McQueen are the two actors about whom I always say: "I wish they had done more films!"

EricP said...

Been awhile since Downey Jr.'s played a villain, but Weird Science. Though more an ass than villain, a slight nod to Less than Zero's Julian, too.

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Eric!

I'd forgotten about Weird Science! That was a fun movie and a heck of a creative idea!

mycrofth4 said...

Living actors:
Ron Perlman or Patrick Warburton

Legendary actors (in their prime):
Burt Lancaster or Robert Mitchum

And how about Edward G Robinson as the Emperor?

AndrewPrice said...

mycrofth4, Howdy! I love Perlman and think he would be great. In fact, I can't think of a role where I haven't like him. I especially liked him as Hellboy. I thought the movie was flat, but his acting made the film entertaining nevertheless!

Mitchum could definitely do it. I think he proved his ability to play a really evil bad guy in Cape Fear!

mycrofth4 said...

Yes, I loved Ron Perlman as Hellboy and he was the best part of Alien Resurrection.
Patrick Warburton has the best voice this side of James Earl Jones and I'd really like to see him play a serious villain.
And for Robert Mitchum, don't forget Night of the Hunter. He made an awesome villain.
Watch Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry, then imagine him bringing that intensity to Vader.

AndrewPrice said...

mycroft, He was definitely the best part of Alien Resurrection!

Elmer Gantry is an interesting film. Until I saw that, I wasn't actually a big fan of Lancaster because he always seemed to play the same guy in films. But Gantry really showed his range and changed my mind about him.

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