9 Classic Movie Musicals That Could Benefit From Black Actor Remakes
The updated version of Annie starring critical darling Quvenzhané Wallis is a good start. But we can do better, Hollywood.
Long live Danny Zuko (John Travolta), but imagine a world where the leader of the T-Birds is played by Trey Songz? He's got the singing chops, is starting to act, and can pull off the whole sexy bad boy you may not want to bring home to mom and dad vibe.
2. Hello Dolly!
Barbara Streisand nailed it as widower Dolly Levi in this 1969 musical, but can you picture Sanaa Lathan stepping into those fancy-schamancy shoes?
3. Jesus Christ Superstar
The film version of this musical earned two Golden Globe nominations and starred Carl Anderson and Ted Neeley as Judas and Jesus. But how about Jesse Williams taking on the role as the son of God?
4. Victor Victoria
Julie Andrews delivered an inspired performance as a woman who passes as a female impersonator in 1934 Paris. (She's a woman pretending to be a man who is pretending to be a woman. Get it?) Why not consider redoing this film and casting breakout Orange Is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba — a trained opera singer — in the lead role? It's not the craziest thing imaginable!
5. Funny Girl
Once again, Streisand shines in a lead musical role, but if Hollywood should ever consider remaking this classic, which is loosely based on the career of Broadway star Fanny Brice, Janelle Monae should get a shot.
6. Grease 2
In the follow-up to the period classic (see above), Michelle Pfeiffer pulled off a pouty-lipped portrayal of Pink Ladies leader Stephanie Zinone with perfection; perhaps Rihanna can follow suit should Hollywood continue its love affair with sequels?
7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This cult classic musical comedy is ripe for a remix. How about having Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor fill in for Tim Curry's Dr. Frank N. Furter? Ejiofor pulled off that level of fierceness — and then some — in 2005's Kinky Boots, where he portrayed Lola, a drag queen who forms an unlikely partnership with a shoe factory owner. Now imagine Ejiofor taking on "Sweet Transvestite." Done.
Not that we all didn't love Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart in the 2002 film version of this popular Broadway musical (we did!), but could British stunner Gugu Mbatha-Raw pull this off? After seeing her in Beyond the Lights, the answer is a resounding yes.
9. My Fair Lady
Audrey Hepburn as the Cockney-voiced Eliza Doolittle was masterful in the 1964 film, but in a modern world where you could combine class and race... and have it star Broadway superstar Audra McDonald in the lead role? We'd drop the mic on that too.