‘The Usual Suspects’ All-Female Remake: Film Pitch

The TMI Crew are big fans of The Usual Suspects, the classic 1995 noir crime thriller, and since remakes and reboots continue to dominate the box office, we thought we’d pitch a reboot of this classic, complete with not one, but two amazing dream casts.

 

If you aren’t familiar with this acclaimed film, it’s about a line-up of thieves who are investigated by a hard-nosed detective seeking the whereabouts of a most wanted man known only as Keyser Söze. A 90s indie hidden gem is a bonafide cult classic, debuting in the era of Quentin Tarantino’s explosive game-changing movies, it starred Gabriel Byrne and made a star out Kevin Spacey, not to mention featuring Benecio Del Toro in a scene-stealing role. Directed by Bryan Singer, the movie is considered one of the best in the genre and created a trend in twist endings and still has audiences searching every frame for clues. While we are generally against remaking great films, this one is ripe for a reboot, and better yet, one with women in the leads. Listen up, Hollywood. Here are two pitches we think will make The Usual Suspects as an amazing remake.

PITCH NUMBER ONE (Dan):  “Let’s Go Indie”

First up, let’s emphasize the film noir aspect by setting this remake on the rainy streets of Seattle. Atmosphere is a hallmark of the sub-genre, with foggy nights and slick streets, Roger Deakins would have a field day with this one. Next up, aside from the cinematography, Seattle also has a grimy crime and drugs element. By not only setting this on the Pacific Coast, but also switching up the era to the 70s, I feel the remake will have an even more Scorsese-like vibe and bleak outlook. Rather than aiming for Hollywood elite, I’m approaching this casting call with the indie style in mind. The original didn’t have any A-list actors, so neither will my pitch for casting.

Original: Benicio Del Toro  Remake: Sarah Silverman

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The most eccentric character of the bunch. Del Toro delivered each line an unexpected way, infamously mumbling his way through the role. However, there was something about the performance that made it hard to look away. Silverman has stretched her acting muscles lately, getting Oscar snubbed for her starring role in the emotional drama I SMILE BACK. A stand-up comedian and writer, she is primed to improvise and leave us with a memorable impression in this scene-stealing role.

Original: Pete Postlewaithe   Remake: Michelle Yeoh

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The older hitman was one of the best characters in a movie dominated by outstanding performances. This character has to be imposing on sight, with little words. Yeoh can do that. She also brings the ability for some close quarter combat. Plus, she was pretty stealthy in CROUCHING TIGER. Over the years, Yeoh has established herself as a more dramatic presence. I’d be interested to see her in a more villainous role like this one.

Orignal: Kevin Pollack  Remake: Lizzy Caplan

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Essentially, Pollack acted as the comedic relief in a dark story. Caplan has shown both comedic and dramatic abilities, ranging from Seth Rogen’s THE INTERVIEW to TV’s MASTER OF SEX. She draws my attention every time she’s on screen, no matter how limited her time is. I think she could make me laugh, while forcing me to take her seriously as a thief. I’d also like to see her style in the 70s – Disco, Punk, or Glam? For more alteration to the original, perhaps she’s in an intimate relationship with our next character…

Original: Stephen Baldwin  Remake: Morena Baccarin

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Baldwin had the smallest role, serving as the young eye candy, I suppose. While Baccarin can fulfill that (and then some), she’s also proven in the recent DEADPOOL that she can portray a darker character with sass. I could imagine her conducting a heist, as easily as I could see her as a film noir femme fatale.

Original: Chaz Palmenteri  Remake: Pam Grier

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Palmenteri played the detective who tries to put together the jumbled puzzle pieces of this dense mystery. The character not only needed to be smart, but also needed to be a strong enough presence to intimidate the seemingly weak Verbal Kint (and believe they actually are). Pam Grier was one of the best parts of Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN, in the titular role. I could believe her as an experienced cop interrogating our prime suspect. Grier was also a star of several Blaxpoitation films back in the 70s, like COFFY and FOXY BROWN, so it adds another (nerdy) layer to the new setting of this proposed remake. She would essentially be playing the cop, whereas in her younger days she’d be playing one of the thieves. I also love the way Grier delivers dialogue, which is an important element for this tete-a-tete.

Original: Gabriel Byrne  Remake: Michelle Williams

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Upon first viewing, USUAL SUSPECTS is Byrne’s story (and one could argue it still is), but it’s really an entirely different entity in itself. This is Keyser Soze’s movie. That said, we need to believe this character is the star. Williams is one of the best leading ladies in Hollywood, despite not basking in the limelight. I would love to see her rein in this cast of characters as their leader. Williams can also command the screen with subtlety, which is essential for a few pivotal moments.

Orignal: Kevin Spacey  Remake: Jennifer Jason Leigh

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The star of the show was Spacey. His head-to-head battle of intellects with Palmenteri was a joy to watch unfold. The two characters trade upper-hands throughout the interrogation. Leigh is a perfect candidate for how unexpected her acting decisions are. She can play absolute crazy, alongside playful menace, and emotional drama. Her skills make her a perfect player for this complicated tale. Leigh would be totally captivating in this astounding role. Plus, how great would it be to continue her Tarantino induced renaissance with a fellow QT cohort with Grier. I would love to see these strong women bash wits.


PITCH NUMBER TWO (David): “Sci-Fi Thriller”

It’s all about atmosphere, as the original made famous, and for the reboot the same applies. Bear with me here, but I’m putting The Usual Suspects in space. That may sound contrived, but imagine this entire plot occurring when humans are populating other worlds. No aliens, no odd creatures and laser fights, just people, but the story centers on an interplanetary drug (some new chemical that has many addicted) trade and the crime in question takes place on an aged space station orbiting a mineral-rich moon that is home to a wretched hive of scum and villainy (thank you Obi Wan). The cast is diverse of course but a mix of younger and older, giving the setting a sense of longevity. Put your sci-fi noir hats on, this one’s gonna be dark and moody.

Original: Benicio Del Toro  Remake: Rosario Dawson

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While Del Toro made Fenster one of the more memorable characters by giving him such great eccentricities, Dawson would give Fenster a more mysterious allure, using her expressive and emotional face to draw us in with some wicked overtones. Just one look at her work in Sin City and the part is hers. Feisty, quick-witted, temperamental and enigmatic, this is tailor-made. Can’t you just see her in that famous line up smart-mouthing her way through that dialog?

Original: Pete Postlewaithe  Remake: Meryl Streep

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Who else but Streep to step into this important role, and even though it is supporting, it needs a huge presence, just like what Postlewaithe did. Streep could disappear into this effortlessly and bring the character a lot of sinister fun. There’s no comparing her with anyone else, and the way she transforms herself in each of her films has me thinking she could do wonders with this highly-charged role.

Original: Kevin Pollack  Remake: Emma Watson

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Going to go very young on this one and while Pollack was the crux of the comedy for the most part, Watson’s fresh-faced innocence could be flipped here, surprising audiences and fans with a more salty role. Brash and sassy, she could be naive but impactful as a motor-mouthed crook, and possibly be a scene stealer along the way.

Original: Stephen Baldwin  Remake: Melissa McCarthy

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McCarthy is known for her comedy, which she excels at, but she also has some serious acting chops and this would be the role to take her to the next level. She’s razor sharp, and though Baldwin had limited screen time, McCarthy could give it some real witty edge. It’d be great to see her get a chance at something different and this part has a lot of potential for something fresh.

Original: Chaz Palmenteri   Remake: Kim Yujin

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Having made a huge impression in the hit television series LOST, Kim Yujin is a powerful actress with the perfect blend of gloabl appeal and presence that would give the famously deceived detective role a more sympathetic edge. Her work on TV is well-documented but she is also a huge movie star in her home country of South Korea where films like Ode to my Father prove how much depth and emotion she can bring to a character. Languid and brimming with compassion, she might be a more worthy adversary and make for a totally different approach on questioning Verbal.

Original: Gabriel Byrne  Remake: Julianne Moore

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Keaton is a crucial character, the one the audience is meant to cling to most, and while the story hinges a lot on his point of view, he rightfully never comes across as the star. The role is subdued and dark, and Byrne was enormously successful in the part because of his his vulnerability. Moore has that and more. She’s physically commanding as a leader, just look at Children of Men, but also terrifically engaging as an emotionally embattled woman. This role needs an actor who can convince us, and the betrayal and revelation that the character goes through is something Moore would absolutely nail.

Original: Kevin Spacey  Remake: Helen Mirren

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The greatest trick Verbal ever pulled was convincing the world he wasn’t Keyser Söze. This role has come to define the film and as such, in a reboot would be the most important as it’s the one we’d all be watching most intently. The thing about Spacey that always (slightly) bothered me was his age. He seemed perfect as Verbal but too young as Söze. With Mirren, her age would be highly beneficial and lend a great deal of authenticity to both parts. She’s a magnificent actor and just think of the great contest of wits between her and Kim Yujin. This has to be made.


What do you think? Who is your dream cast in an all-female remake of The Usual Suspects? Let un know is the comments below.

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