One of the best parts of watching older movies is seeing the performances of some of the greatest actors of all time. Although these actors are no longer around to grace the screen, their hard work and enduring performances are immortalized in the classic movies they helped create.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has cast some of the best actors in today’s film industry in key roles: actors like Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Hopkins, and Cate Blanchett. But fans of classic movies might wonder, what if Marvel Studios could go back in time, End of Game-style, and cast some of the finest performers in movie history in his films.
ten Vincent Price would play Doctor Strange
Vincent Price is a horror icon whose many roles in B-movies often overshadow his acting skills. Price committed to every role and brought gravity to his villainous characters, upping the low-budget fare like The house on the haunted hill, The Abominable Doctor Phibesand Edgar Allan Poe’s adaptations of Roger Corman to classic status.
When Stan Lee and Steve Ditko designed the Doctor Strange character in 1963, they based his appearance largely on Price. With that in mind, it would be impossible to justify casting someone else in the live-action role. Price’s sensibilities would fit perfectly with the colorful and campy aesthetic of Multiverse of Madness.
9 Myrna Loy Would Be A Wasp True To The Comics
Wasp in the comics is Janet Van Dyne, a wealthy socialite fashion designer and posh counterpart to Hank Pym’s gung ho personality. Where MCU Janet is more scientific than mundane, an Ant-Man and Wasp movie featuring classic Hollywood actors might have more fun portraying her as an upper-class archetype.
Few actors have embodied the character of “wealthy socialite with a heart of gold” better than Myrna Loy. Loy’s most famous character is Nora Charles, the debonair wife of Detective Nick Charles in the Thin man movies. She delivered sharp one-liners while drinking martinis and throwing elaborate parties, all while remaining empathetic, caring and adorable. Her version of Janet would charm even Paul Rudd.
8 Jimmy Stewart’s nervous energy would make Bruce Banner a ticking time bomb
James Stewart had the image of being a sane and clean man, thanks to roles in films like It’s a wonderful life and Harvey. However, Stewart had a darker, angrier side which he put to good use in movies like After the thin man and Philadelphia Historya repressed rage that Alfred Hitchcock would exploit in vertigo and other movies.
It’s that quivering energy that would make Stewart a great Bruce Banner. While coming across as a sweet, gentle scientist on the outside, audiences would be able to feel this monster inside of them, waiting to be unleashed.
seven Rita Hayworth had the athleticism and attitude of Black Widow
The term “femme fatale” has problematic origins, popularized in 1940s film noir to describe women who use their attractiveness to manipulate men. Many film noir of the 1940s were chilling responses to the growing number of women in the workforce. Still, the character type has inspired great female characters over the decades, including Black Widow.
Rita Hayworth was one of the great femme fatales, exemplifying the 1946s archetype Gilda while bringing rare depth and complexity to the character. Hayworth also had the athleticism required of a Black Widow; her roles in the early 1940s were largely musicals, requiring her to dance alongside Fred Astaire, while wearing heels.
6 Donald O’Connor was practically Spider-Man
Donald O’Connor’s career spanned over 60 years and countless film and television appearances. However, he is best known for Sing in the rain, in which he performs one of the most famous numbers in the history of music, “Make ‘Em Laugh”. O’Connor does backflips, spins, and leaps in ways that seem impossible, while singing, pulling faces, and doing Three Stooges-inspired routines.
Even without CGI, O’Connor’s dancing makes him look like an actual Spider-Man. Beyond that ability, his youthful looks, quick banter, and fun energy all feel tailor-made for the role of Peter Parker. It even somewhat resembles Steve Ditko’s early character designs.
5 Rocket Raccoon already looks like Groucho Marx
Rocket Raccoon was originally portrayed with a cockney British accent, but in the MCU he looks more like a New Yorker. He is a sarcastic and grumpy jokester, easily bored and likes to prank. His attitude, his New York accent and his recurring comments make him a perfect role for Groucho Marx.
The Marx Brothers are one of the most enduring comedy teams in history, and Groucho is probably the most recognizable Marx. Like Rocket, his character typically spent most Marx Brothers films sardonically commenting on what everyone else was doing, and occasionally pulling bizarre pranks (going so far as to start a war in duck soup).
4 Cary Grant and William Powell would fight to play Tony Stark
Robert Downey Jr.’s slimy manners and delivery are already reminiscent of several leading men of early Hollywood. Choosing an actor from the past to play Tony Stark offers many options. First, Cary Grant’s dignified and deadpan performances in classics like Philadelphia History and To catch a thief evoke Tony Stark at his most mannered, while his broader comedic skills (Arsenic and old lace) and action hero chops (from north to northwest) fulfill the remaining requirements for a great Iron Man.
For a more comic-accurate Tony Stark, William Powell is an ideal choice. Famous for playing private detective Nick Charles, Powell would play the version of Stark who struggled with a drinking problem while maintaining a professional appearance in the public eye.
3 Audrey Hepburn’s Scarlet Witch Would Break Hearts
Audrey Hepburn’s innocent features, soft voice and fashion icon status have landed her ingenue roles in novels like roman holidays and Gigi. Still, she demonstrated expert comedic timing in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and delicious accent work in my lovely lady. More importantly, for the role of Scarlet Witch, she could play terror, rage, and grief all the way, creating a terrifying contrast to her sweet personality. His skills are particularly evident in Charade, and the phenomenal 1967 horror film Wait until nightfall.
Like Hepburn at her best, much of Wanda Maximoff’s appeal comes from the contrast between her kind, loving nature and the horrible power she unleashes when she succumbs to anger and grief. Audrey Hepburn would have no trouble transitioning from the doting mother version of Wanda to the supervillain version taking on the world.
2 Paul Newman embodied everything Captain America stands for
As America became more divided and had to reckon with its dark past, comic book writers had to figure out how to keep Captain America ambitious. The MCU made Steve Rogers someone Americans could look up to, a man who overcame his humble beginnings and fought against evil and injustice, even if it meant fighting his own government.
Paul Newman was not just a great actor, but a philanthropist, civil rights activist and environmentalist. He joined the March on Washington led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 and the first Earth Day event in 1970. His real integrity and movie star looks make him an easy choice for Steve Rogers.
1 Lena Horne was a real Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel’s importance in the MCU can’t be understated, as she’s the first superhero to get her own movie. Even before the film was released, her revamped costume and popular comic book series inspired a fan group called the “Carol Corps”. Even in-universe, Carol Danvers is an inspiration, especially to Kamala Khan.
It’s fair to choose someone who has been an inspiration and a role model in real life, and Lena Horne is both. Although she only starred in two films, her disregard for the film industry‘s racist practices went down in history. she refused to play a maid, and she loudly refused to attempt to pass as any race other than black. Outside of entertainment, she was a civil rights activist who fought segregation and joined the March on Washington. This heritage, combined with his expressive performances and commanding presence, makes him an ideal Captain Marvel.
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