I keep being pulled to the 1960s with this column between this and my last post on Sunday in New York. There’s just something about the period that makes it ripe for recasting. Possibly since acting styles around this decade are changing and falling more in-line with what we’re used to now. Or it might be that with the recent passing of actress Carol Lynley it gave me a chance to revisit this underseen Otto Preminger classic and it’s been in my brain for a bit. Either way, we’re looking at its remake potential.
The Plot: A young woman frantically searches for her missing daughter that no one believes actually exists.
Originally played by Carol Lynley
My Suggestion: Samara Weaving
Samara Weaving burst into audiences’ minds with the wondrous horror throwback Ready or Not a few months ago. In that film Weaving not only showed her ability to keep it together as terrifying things are happening to her, but to create a woman you empathize with and want to see succeed. The entire weight of Bunny Lake is Missing rests on the shoulders of Ann Lake. The audience has to believe she’s not crazy and that she isn’t just desperate to prove she’s right, but to find her child. Watching Weaving in Ready or Not is the perfect proof of her strength as a performer.
Other Possibilities: Reese Witherspoon tried to get a remake of this off the ground for years and could still pull off playing Ann.
Originally played by Keir Dullea
My Suggestion: Richard Madden
If you watched Rocketman earlier this year than you know how much of a smarmy schemer Richard Madden can play. And not to spoil anything, but Steven Lake is more than he appears. I could have gone for an older actor but part of what makes Bunny Lake so creepy is the close age of Steven and Ann, so that when you first meet them you get the weird “are they lovers? Nope, they’re brother and sister” trope I love so much (also from Sunday in New York!). Madden definitely has that same mien that Keir Dullea has, looking unassuming and safe until everything changes.
Other Possibilities: I had a few choices that I didn’t use purely because I’d already included them in previous Kristen Recasts – Sebastian Stan and Dan Stevens.
Originally played by Laurence Olivier
My Suggestion: Toni Collette
Who has the same gravitas as Laurence Olivier with a career as prolific, nuanced, and amazing? Toni freaking Collette. I watched her latest Netflix series, Unbelievable, this week and after watching her play a badass cop sensitive to a woman’s plight I immediately saw her as Newhouse. The thing that people remember about Olivier is that he’s not a supercop; he wants to think like a child, though he is dubious about Ann. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a woman cop sensitive to the leading lady first and foremost? One who can maybe put the pieces together quickly and be closer to solving things than Newhouse is in the original?
Other Possibilities: I could also see Helen Mirren taking on this role or Jeremy Irons.
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.