It’s been awhile since I’ve recast any classics, the last one being about the Guys and Dolls remake. Interestingly, I’ve gotten quite a few comments about my Rebecca recast, and figured it might be time to dust off this feature! Veronica Lake’s birthday recently passed which gave me the perfect inspiration for our next bit of recasting. So, let’s explore who I believe could take on the mantle of my beloved Ronnie’s peekaboo hairstyle, and recast I Married a Witch!
The Plot: After being burned at the stake in the 1700s, Jennifer (Veronica Lake) seeks revenge against the descendents of the Wooley family (played by Frederic March) by having the latest Wooley fall in love with her.
I reviewed the movie, and its recent Criterion release, a few weeks ago as part of my Halloween feature. I love this movie, and find it’s mix of romance and playful witchcraft delightful. I doubt, if this were to be remade in the future, that a script would allow for the simple story to unfold. It would probably be modernized a la Nicole Kidan’s Bewitched, although really it could be remade with little change or effort.
Originally Played by: Veronica Lake
My Suggestion: Emma Stone
Emma Stone is compared to Lauren Bacall a lot, mainly because Stone has a similarly husky voice. For me, Stone also has a Lake vibe in terms of juggling comedy, romance, and drama within her work. Her work in Gangster Squad this year proves she can hearken back to an earlier time period, and look absolutely fabulous in 1940s clothes (although I’m not particular to any remake being set in the 1940s). She looks great as a blonde, and is small like Lake was so she’d be able to work with the various child-like jokes made about Jennifer within the film.
Other Possibility: Stone is the only choice I’d really consider. A possibility I’d entertain (but probably wouldn’t feel as strongly about) would be Jennifer Lawrence.
Originally Played by: Fredric March
My Suggestion: Tom Hiddleston
It was hard for me to find someone who perfectly encapsulated the Fredric March paradigm I was looking for, ie someone uptight who could be comedic. Hiddleston hasn’t done a straight comedy, but his work as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris showed he could certainly hearken back to an earlier era and would be a great pairing opposite Stone. I know there’s probably an actor who could do it better, but Hiddleston kept popping back in.
Other Possibility: A few other actors kept popping up, but they were more rugged and would have been purely straight men opposite Stone. Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck would be interesting, but I can’t see them doing the subtle comedy needed.
Originally Played by: Cecil Kellaway
My Suggestion: John Goodman
I had another actor in consideration and then a clip from The Big Lebowski caught my eye and John Goodman seemed like the best possibility! He’s great as the loveable guy everyone wants to be their dad, and the role of Daniel requires a father figure who enjoys getting drunk and playing pranks; the perfect Goodman role to me!
Other Possibility: I originally put Michael Caine down here, mainly because he’s English and vaguely resembled Kellaway. Not to mention he can do drunken fun in his sleep.
Originally Played by: Susan Hayward
My Suggestion: Rachel McAdams
McAdams as a brunette reminds me a great deal of Susan Hayward so that’s a start. The role of Estelle is minor, so for McAdams it would be a role where she could relax and just play a snob a la Mean Girls. A potential politician’s wife also suits her look, and it would be fun to watch her spar with Stone.
Other Possibility: Not too many other choices spring to mind. Maybe, Bryce Dallas Howard?
Any better casting possibilities out there? Do you want to see a remake of I Married a Witch (I don’t)? Leave it in the comments!
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.