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Our 'Casablanca' reboot

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  December 10, 2010 07:21 AM

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Earlier this week, I asked readers to cast a fictional remake of "Casablanca" to win tickets to tonight's screening. Oddly enough, a number of readers had similar ideas about who should play Rick, Victor, etc. in 2010.

Here are some of the entries for your board-at-work reading. Only a few won, but these are all pretty interesting. Jennifer Aniston? Katy Perry? Sean Penn? Hmmm.

1. This is a team effort from my boyfriend and I -- we'll actually be in Casablanca on New Years Day… Rick’s Café does exist (well, a version of it opened a few years ago) and I can’t think of a more romantic place to start another year together!
Rick Blaine: George Clooney
Ilsa Lund: Cate Blanchett
Victor Laszlo: Ralph Feinnes
Capt. Renault: Steve Buscemi
Maj. Stasser: Sergi Lopez (evil stepfather in Pan's Labyrinth) or Christian Bale
Signor Ferrari: John Cleese
Carl: Ricky Gervais
Ugarte: Mark Ruffalo
Sam: Morgan Freeman (His choice), Chris Rock (my choice)
Annina Brandel: Rachel Weiss
Yvonne: Katy Perry (I know, I know… but it’s about time for a film debut)

2. Hi Meredith,
I have never seen Casablanca and neither has my boyfriend. My best guess for modern day remake would be Dermot Mulroney (only because I love him) and Scarlet Johannson (because men love her).
I hope we win because we just spent all our money at the Nantucket Christmas stroll and this would be an awesome way to do another romantic pre holiday weekend. Also because although I'm am avid reader, I hope to never need your advice. After a failed marriage and broken heart I found (running the 2009 Chicago marathon) the man of my dreams.
Ran towards a new life and into my dreams

3. Rick: Ralph Fiennes
Ilsa: Kate Winslet
Lazlo: Daniel Day Lewis
Cpt. Renault Sean Penn
Strasser: Daniel Craig
Signor Ferrari: Anthony Hopkins
Ugarte: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Sam: Wynton Marsalis

Director: Clint Eastwood (only director who could get all above to act in this without being the star)

4. Casablanca is my all-time favorite film. Hands down. And yes, recasting is blasphemous, but also kind of fun.

* Rick - Robert Downey Jr. (The all-American tough guy, rough around the edges but a decent and brave man at heart. Does the right thing in the end. I went with Clooney at first, but felt he was a bit too obvious and too obviously Clooney on screen. RDJ can bring the star power without reminding the audience they're watching a celebrity.)
* Victor Laszlo - Daniel Craig (The sexy, stoic foreigner with something to hide, whose personality is a little too cold to have the same chemistry with Ilsa that Rick does.)
* Isla - Natalie Portman (The toughest decision to come to - but I think she can achieve that onscreen presence of being fragile yet determined that Ingrid mastered.)
* Captain Renault - Steve Martin (Random, yes - but think of Claude Rains and tell me you don't see it!)
Let's hope this remake never happens! :)

5. Rick David Duchovny

Ilsa Kate Winslet

Victor Viggo Morgenson

Capt. Renault Donal Logue

6. One of my earliest memories is watching Casablanca & the Maltese Falcon with my dad! The love story line is stuff that a good letter to LL is made of... As soon as I read your challenge to cast today's re-make of it (blasphemy aside!) I was excited because I know exactly who I would want to see: Daniel Craig would be the ultimate Rick Blaine, hands down. Cate Blanchett as Ilsa would be a lovely complement to his Rick. I envision Andy Garcia as Victor Laszlo in that conversation between Rick & Victor discussing Ilsa coming for the papers. Jaime Fox would be a great addition as Sam. And who else can play Ugarte but Steve Buscemi?! I thought of Brad Pitt for Capt. Renault, hesitant but I think he can pull it off. Mads Mikkelsen would make a good Major Stasser. And Giancarlo Giannini could easily be Senor Ferrari.
Thanks for this opportunity - I had fun doing it!

7. Hi Meredith,

I have never seen Casablanca, but I have heard many times that I need to see this movie. I guess it is one of those classics that everybody has seen. Except me. So my best guesses of who should be recast, based on my limited knowledge of the film, are Jennifer Aniston as the leading lady and Matthew McConaughey. Jen because she is immensely likable but doesn't get her way. And Matthew because he is a strong man who will tell it like it is while still being sensitive to the woman.

Thank you!!

8. George Clooney as Rick Blaine - seriously, who else could pull it off but George!
Scarlett Johansson as Ilsa Lund - she can pull off that Hollywood glamour!
Jude Law as Viktor Laszlo
Bob Hoskins as Capt. Renault
Idris Elba as Sam - what can I say, I just love him!
John Goodman as Signor Ferrari
Stellan Skarsgard as Maj. Strasser
Steve Buscemi as Ugarte - personally I think this is brilliant casting on my part!

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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