Friday, April 08, 2011

FILM TOPIC: Who Should Play Tomb Raider in the Remake?

For whatever reason—other than money—the studio Gods have decided they're going to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise. I, like many people who saw the movie, never really got into the video game. All I knew was that she was a British adventurer, who wore a t-shirt and shorts, strapped guns to her thighs, braided her long, beautiful hair, and stole ancient artifacts. She was like the female Indiana Jones with weapons training. That was all I really needed to know to get hooked, especially since back in 2000 Angelina Jolie had only just begun appealing to a younger audience in blockbuster films. Two films and eight years later, Jolie has a new husband, a busload of children, and a hefty asking price. Studios are looking for a cheaper, younger cash cow that can squeeze out a trilogy on their schedule and not her own. Many have suggested that Megan Fox, Jolie's supposed doppleganger, is a shoe-in, but they've failed to acknowledge the other requirements for the role.

Producers are looking for someone with an athletic build (read: busty and curvy), who is coordinated enough for combat training, has an outdoorsy look (read: not dainty or angelic), is known for being a bit of a rebel, and, most importantly, has the ability to do a British accent. Technically, Fox scores 4/5, since we've yet to see her range with accents. But who else in young Hollywood fits that description? Here are my Top 10 picks:

Jessica Biel - The Athlete
Why: She's proven that she can kick ass in Blade: Trinity, Stealth, and The A-Team. We've seen from her numerous Maxim, GQ, and Esquire spreads that she has a beautifully fit and voluptuous body. And she's done a light British accent in The Illusionist, which she could recreate.
Why not: She's never lead a film all on her own before. And some industry insiders might say that her recent breakup with the rising double-threat star Justin Timberlake may have delivered a heavy blow to her marketability.

Michelle Rodriguez - The Bad Girl
Why: She's been synonymous with every bad girl adjective you can think of ever since she gave a knockout performance in 2000's Girlfight. Subsequent roles as a tough car thief in The Fast and the Furious, a tough surfer in Blue Crush, a tough cop in S.W.A.T., a tough castaway on "Lost," a tough fighter pilot in Avatar, and a tough soldier in this year's Battle: Los Angeles have pretty much pigeon-holed her as a feisty badass who isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone—man, woman, or alien.
Why not: The only accent she's ever been known for sounds like a ghetto Latina, and she isn't really one for submitting to sex symbol roles. She might be hot, but she sways more towards being one-of-the-guys.

Jessica Alba - The Comeback
Why: I have been sporadically campaigning for Alba to return to her "Dark Angel" glory. It was like a lifetime ago when she made the transition from teen sexpot (Never Been Kissed and Idle Hands) to a genetically-enhanced super soldier in 2000. Her badass rep only lasted two years and soon she transitioned back into lighter gigs, where she danced (Honey and Sin City), pantomimed (Fantastic Four), fell in love (Good Luck Chuck), or just looked hot (Into the Blue). Regardless, I know she could pull off a little gun play and adventure.
Why not: She's currently pregnant with her second child and nothing she's signed up for in the last five years, aside from the little-seen, kitschy Machete, has suggested that she's interested in getting back into full-fledged action adventure. Plus, James Cameron has said multiple times that he'd love to revisit the "Dark Angel" character in film format and since he's now a bazillionaire, I'm sure as soon as he's done with the Avatar trilogy he'd be happy to create a franchise around her. She could be the female Bourne...if she wanted.
Gemma Arterton - The Newbie
Why: Ever since she played exotic beauties in last year's Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia, Arterton has been climbing up the Hollywood ranks, but always in a supporting role to a male lead. Next Spring's Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters will actually be her first costarring role, alongside Oscar nominated Jeremy Renner. And I'm sure it won't be long before she's chosen to headline her own film. It's the eyes. She has a mesmerizing screen presence. Oh and did I mention that her British accent is au naturel?
Why not: The closest the married 25-year-old has come to having a bad girl rep was playing a defiant princess. The way she fought in Prince of Persia was the way a dainty royal would fight. I'm not really sure how comfortable she would look in a gun fight.

Olivia Munn - The Comedian
Why: True, she's never headlined a film before, let alone had a very large role in one. But she's beautiful, fit, and has a huge male fan club.
Why not: At the moment, she's best known for being hilarious, whether it's on her NBC series "Perfect Couples," as a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," or in her book Suck It Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek. So her fans might not find a dry Munn very appealing.

Natalie Portman - The Oscar winner
Why: She's been secretly badass since she was 13 (The Professional). Five years later, she played mama to the toughest chick in the galaxy and wife to one of the most iconic villains in film history (Star Wars: Episode I). She then went on to play a fearless, buzz-cut rocking activist in V for Vendetta. And this weekend she'll be playing a bow-and-arrow-toting warrior princess in Your Highness. But despite all of that, Hollywood still sees her as the elegant girl-next-door with the Harvard degree. Because of that she can play both refined and badass, which is the balance that Lara Croft possesses.
Why not: She's...kind of tiny, both vertically (5'3") and horizontally.
Mila Kunis - The Rising Star
Why: If you told anyone five years ago that one day Mila Kunis would be in an Oscar nominated film, they would've laughed harder than they did at a "That '70s Show" episode. But two years after the series ended, after we all tired of Ashton Kutcher, gave up on Topher Grace, and forgot about Wilmer Valderrama, she's manged to slowly make a name for herself. First she showed off her sex appeal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Extract, then she showed off her dark side in Max Payne and The Book of Eli, and then she showed off her comedic chops in Date Night and (believe it or not) Black Swan. So I think she's about ready for her own starring role.
Why not: She might look too young for the role, even though she's 28, and she has a very distinctive LA accent that might be hard to bury.

Emily Blunt - The Royal
Why: I know this seems out of left field, but hear me out. There have been a few roles where I've seen a different side to the British actress. She's not doing her usual uptight (The Jane Austen Book Club), bitchy (Devil Wears Prada), desperate (Dan in Real Life), distant (Sunshine Cleaning), refined (The Young Victoria), or delicate (The Wolfman) schtick. No, in Wild Target and The Adjustment Bureau there's a certain rebellious spark in Blunt that would suggest she has a dormant bad girl within.
Why not: There is just something about her bone structure and posture that just screams royalty. She might be a little too refined to be taken seriously with a gun in each hand.

Anne Hathaway - The Chameleon
Why: Come on! If the studio thinks she can play Catwoman, why not give her a shot of not just playing second fiddle to a superhero but the super-heroine for once? Sure, she has been previously associated with klutzy (Princess Diaries) and insecure (Bride Wars) roles, but her recent portrayal of the Parkinson-stricken, sex-crazed vixen in Love and Other Drugs has made audiences realize that she's actually quite versatile.
Why not: Even though she was technically a believable spy in Get Smart, seeing her shoot up a jungle might be laughable. Yes, possibly even more laughable than seeing her in a skin-tight pleather cat suit.

Rosario Dawson - The Discount
Why: I love her. I do. But she is honestly the cheapest option on this list. Even though she's been in supporting roles for Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, and Unstoppable, she has yet to make it to leading role status. So if the studio wants a beautiful, voluptuous, spunky actress who isn't afraid to get rough and dirty, this would probably be their cheapest and safest bet (next to Munn).
Why not: It might be hard to hide that Latin New York accent.

I must also point out that each Tomb Raider has been a springboard for discovering new hot guy talent. The first starred Daniel Craig three years before Guy Ritchie would cast him in Layer Cake and put him on the path to play James Bond, and the second starred Gerard Butler three years before he made jaws drop in 300. So I hope the producers are searching for someone equally revelatory. And, as for her assistant, I'll throw the name Ben Schwartz out there. He was in J.J. Abrams' short-lived FOX series "Undercovers." He has that geeky, tech assistant look and he has great comic timing.

Anne Hathaway
  1 (2%)
Emily Blunt
  2 (5%)
Gemma Arterton
  2 (5%)
Jessica Alba
  4 (11%)
Jessica Biel
  4 (11%)
Michelle Rodriguez
  3 (8%)
Mila Kunis
  9 (25%)
Natalie Portman
  1 (2%)
Olivia Munn
  2 (5%)
Rosario Dawson
  1 (2%)
Someone else...(comment)
  0 (0%)
No one. No remakes.
  6 (17%)

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