Those of you who have been around long enough will remember this indulgent little feature I used to do where I’d pick my personal list of 10 films (from the previous year or so) that I wish Natalie had been in. The reasons would be different for each choice but the unifying idea was my ability and desire to imagine Natalie in the film in place of someone else. Things got busy and I haven’t done it for awhile, but I have some time now so let’s have another go at it.
Today is 6-10 and part 2 will be in a few days. This is covering probably the last 2 years of films, and I’ll maybe do another shorter list of 5 around Oscar time to cover all the great new films that I haven’t seen yet.
10 – Smashed/Drinking Buddies
Starting off with a cheat by going with two films. They are vaguely connected, via booze, but I just couldn’t decide which one to leave off. Drinking Buddies was definitely more enjoyable for me but Smashed has the stronger part. Both have characters that feel achingly real, and that’s a rare thing.
Replacing – Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed) and Anna Kendrick (Drinking Buddies)
Why? – Smashed, because it’s a juicy part. A beautiful young teacher with a drinking problem. What was so great was how genuine it felt. These parts can often descend into familiar break downs and cliches, but the writing and performance is so fresh. Winstead is kind of a revelation here so I almost feel bad about snatching the role from her.
Drinking Buddies, because I just kinda love this film. Olivia Wilde is so perfect for the main part (never thought those words would exit my body in any form) and besides, I struggle to see Natalie doing that ‘just one of the guys’ part. However the supporting Anna Kendrick part…that fits for me. It’s a supporting role, which is something I can’t see Natalie taking right now, but screw it, this is my list! Plus I can’t stand Anna Kendrick so I’d always vote to swap her out of any film I love.
9 – Side Effects
Hot damn I loved the first act of this film. Sad and creepy and really not knowing where the film is taking me, a feeling that I rarely get these days. The rest of the film is a lot more conventional and subsequently not as interesting to me, but it’s solid enough and doesn’t take away from that high wire act of an opening half hour.
Replacing – Rooney Mara
Why? – Because Natalie has proven she can do a bang up job with darker disturbed characters and I think the role would have fit her like a glove. And I’d like to see Rachel’s face when Natalie showed up as Channing Tatum’s on screen wife.
8 – Frances Ha
Frances Ha is a short length for a feature film, but I could have honestly watched another hour and a half of Greta Gerwig’s Frances stumbling her way through life. Really one of the most memorable on screen characters of the year.
Replacing – Mickey Sumner
Why? Gerwig was made to play Frances. I can’t imagine anyone else in the part. So I turned my shoe horning to the role of her best friend, Sophie. It’s a sweet friendship that has it’s ups and downs, and since Gerwig supported Natalie in No Strings Attached, I think it’s only fair that she could return the favour. They’re friends in real life so I would have liked to see that depicted on screen…in a film that actually has something to say. No offense, Kutcherheads!
7 – The Dark Knight Rises
Quite an easy one really. Even though the 3rd film of the trilogy was probably my least favourite, even average Nolan runs rings around most other superhero fare. Natalie was tentatively linked to the part of Catwoman/Selina, but there probably wasn’t much in it.
Replacing – Anne Hathaway
Why? – Selina was one of the better aspects of the film, despite some really lazy writing towards the end of the film. Those early scenes, however, are so mysterious and captivating. Natalie’s tiny frame might have required a bit more movie magic but seeing her on the bike with that leather outfit and goggle cat ears…come on, what Natalie fan wouldn’t have killed to see that?
6 – Prometheus
Getting ready for a lot of pushback on this one. I know the film had a lot of faults (actually think TDKR has a lot more plot holes and structural issues) but I genuinely loved the mood that this film created. I was thrilled to spend time in the world they created, even if the magic wore off as soon as one stepped out of the cinema.
Replacing – Noomi Rapace
Why? – Two big reasons. Firstly, Natalie was heavily considered for the part, as this concept art confirms. Secondly, Noomi is one of the biggest problems of the film. Every time the script calls for her to hit an emotional mark she swings and misses.
Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below and stay tuned for the top 5.