As I reported last week, James Ellroy (author of L.A. Confidential) is penning a remake of the classic Otto Preminger tale, Laura. As much as it pains me to do this, I figured I’d throw out a few casting suggestions although it’s doubtful this’ll ever come to fruition. (Remember when they were talking about doing It’s a Wonderful Life 2?) As always, feel free to give your thoughts on a remake, what you think of my casting, and your own suggestions, in the comments below.
The Plot: Police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the disappearance, and possible murder, of the beautiful Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). As he uncovers the motives for why the various men in her life would want to kill her, he slowly starts to fall in love with her by proxy.
There’s little a remake could do to improve on the original; it’s not like the film requires advanced technology or a less restrictive ratings system. You could say this with all remakes, but Laura is a movie where audiences who’ve seen it will always compare the new with the older performances.
Originally Played By: Gene Tierney
My Suggestion: Elizabeth Olsen
Honestly, no actress today will capture the sheer beauty of Gene Tierney. It’s as hard as casting Helen of Troy – and Hollywood’s tried to do that several times. With that being said, Olsen is a beauty and has proven her ability to work in serious dramas. Were this to be a period piece, possibly set in the original 1944 time period of the original, she’d certainly look good in the clothes.
Other Possibilities: I contemplated changing our Laura’s ethnicity and if so Freida Pinto would have that innocent luminosity Tierney possessed.
Detective Mark McPherson
Originally Played By: Dana Andrews
My Suggestion: Idris Elba
Mark is a determined character, slowly realizing he’s immersed in this case more than is healthy. His love for Laura borders on the fanatical, and theories abound that Laura’s return is really Mark’s hallucination! With that, Idris Elba can certainly pull off determined and obsessive.
Other Possibility: My original Mark appears later in this post. After that the only person I saw was Mark Ruffalo. He could certainly play Mark as an everyman in way over his head.
Originally Played By: Clifton Webb
My Suggestion: Victor Garber
I’m sorry, but when I think of acerbic, quick-witted, and sly I see Victor Garber; that could be because I loved Alias and Garber exhibited all those traits on a weekly basis. Like with Laura herself, no one can replace the acid-tongued Clifton Webb, but Garber’s certainly proven with roles like Legally Blonde that he can play slimy without being outright reprehensible.
Other Possibility: Michael Caine although the role might draw too many comparisons to Miss Congeniality.
Originally Played By: Vincent Price
My Suggestion: Colin Farrell
Vincent Price’s Shelby was manipulative and deceitful. Does he really love Laura or is he an opportunist? It really didn’t matter at the end of the day because Vincent Price suckered you in with his poise. Colin Farrell is the actor, for me at least, who could sell subpar ice to an Eskimo and you’d thank him for overcharging you. I originally envisioned him as Mark, but think he’d be a far better seducer in the role of Shelby.
Other Possibility: Insert any hot guy that can play a cad.
Originally Played By: Judith Anderson
My Suggestion: Sarah Paulson
I know Paulson and Olsen have already starred in a film together, but they worked so well already that pairing them up in this would be great. Ann realizes she’s second-best to Laura, in every respect. Where Judith Anderson is meant to be less attractive, I thought it would be fun for a remake to have the two women be evenly matched in beauty, but play on the age-old stereotype of…well, age.
Other Possibility: Cate Blanchett would be an interesting one, and she has similar sharp features to Anderson.
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.