They Couldn't Have Picked A Better Actor/Actress For That Role

As much as I love Alan Rickman, and think he does a great job as Snape, he’s not really perfect for the part, mainly because he’s too old! Snape is supposed to be 30-something–the same age as Harry’s parents and Lupin and Sirius. Rickman is over 60.

He’s great, but he’s not what I had in mind.

I think Lou Diamond Philips did a production of it at one point but I can’t confirm on google. It wasn’t on Broadway but perhaps in an L.A. production. (Today of course it would be almost inconceivable not to cast an American or South American Indian actor [which is roughly synonymous with ‘Graham Greene, Wes Studi, or Augustus Schellenberg’- roughly to Amerindian actors what Pavarotti, Domingo & Carreras are to tenors [i.e. the famous ones who make good livings]- about time for a new one).
Anyway, the main surprise in the movie was that Christopher Plummer was buff. (I have a Playbill for the Broadway production- Plummer made a great looking Pizarro [though too young for the role of course, but then accuracy wasn’t Shaffer’s intent].)

He was way better than the original choices.

Fried Green Tomatoes had perfect casting all around including supporting roles such as Gailard Sartain as Evelyn (Kathy Bates)'s husband, though I’d have made Idgie a lot more butch (as she was in the book) which may have required differnt casting (though as she was written in the screenplay MSM was fine). My main complaint with the casting was that Cicely Tyson was completely wasted; pretty much any black actress of even moderate talent could have played that part (but at least it got her a nice paycheck I suppose).
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling. (Hard to compare Julianne Moore since the script was so different, but she did well with what she had.) Anthony Hopkins was great as Hannibal Lecter, but Brian Cox was great in a very different take on the character and the other actors who were considered (Derek Jacobi, Michael “Dumbledore” Gambon, and Robert Duvall among others) would probably also have been good- it’s a meaty part (no pun intended). I’ve also read DeNiro was considered, which would have wrecked it since he’d probably have played DeNiro as Hannibal Lecter.

The Godfather I & II were great talent and exceptional casting all around of course, but I think a standout was John Cazale as Fredo. Major kudos to Coppola not just for Brando of course but for using Abe Vigoda (completely unknown) as Tessio and Richard Castellano (relatively unknown) as Clemenza as each really made their role pop; poorly cast you wouldn’t have remembered either character.
Michael V. Gazzo was of course a last minute addition to G2 when Castellano played the drama queen, but he was great at playing “Don Pentangeli, the Substitute Clemenza” and yet giving the character a completely different personality and characterization even though he was mostly using the script written for Castellano.\

PS- IIRC, Alan Rickman was, along with Robbie Coltrane, one of the only two actors specifically requested by Rowling for the HP movies.

Marilyn Monroe as ‘The Girl’ in the film version of The Seven Year Itch.

Walter Matthau as ‘Walter Burns’ in The Front Page.

Barbara Stanwyck as ‘Jean Harrington’ in The Lady Eve.

Rita Hayworth as ‘Gilda Mundson Farrell’ in Gilda.

Jill Scott as ‘Mma Ramotswe’ in the recent TV adaptation of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Anthony Perkins as ‘Norman Bates’ in Psycho.

Well, he is 63, but looks about 43, which could easily be explained by him having a very hard life.

The Harry Potter films have totally messed with the ages of the adults, anyway - Harry’s parents appear at the age they would have been if they lived, rather than the youngsters they actually were when they died. Maybe they continue aging beyond the grave, which is a bit mean of wizarding afterlife.

David Thewlis (Lupin) is 46, and Gary Oldman (Sirius) is 51, so they’re not age-appropriate either.

Rickman fits the part completely, IMO, but then Rowling’s said that she had him in mind when creating Snape, so that’s not surprising.

Ron and Harry seem perfectly cast to me, too.

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. NAILED him- I’ve heard actual speeches of Malcolm X that I initially thought were clips from the movie. (Of course MX and DW have similar voices anyway which helps.)

Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple. PERFECTION. I’m so glad they didn’t go with someone more attractive, plus she did things with little mannerisms or expressions that played the character so beautifully. I can’t believe she didn’t win an Oscar. (She was good in Ghost but I can think of other actors who could have done as well; I think that was mostly an apology Oscar.) Oprah was also great as Sophia, but Celie was of course the vital role without which everything else flopped. (I’ve read that Tina Turner was offered the role of Shug Avery but didn’t want to play it because- and she was probably right- she was afraid the lesbianism may harm her comeback which she’d worked so hard for; the same source said Nichelle Nichols was also considered but dismissed as too old [shame] and Jennifer Lewis was seen as too ‘cold’.)

William Daniels in 1776, though of course he’d had years of experience playing the character on and off Broadway by then. Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins of course, but then the role was largely [re]written for him (the dialogue was fairly close to Shaw but the songs were specifically written for his limited singing ability).

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Another perfect casting. (Bad casting: Julie Andrews in anything in which she doesn’t play an English woman; she’s apparently the one English actress who can’t go American with the accent as evidenced in Hawaii, On Golden Pond (the remake) and other movies.)

Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and also in Carrie. I don’t think anyone among known actresses could have been as convincing in either role. For that matter Beverly D’Angelo’s Patsy Cline steamrolled over the other actresses I’ve seen play her in film and on stage (and that was doing her own singing).

Being a werewolf and being in Azkaban will do that to you.

Don’t forget that Moaning Myrtle aged also after not aging for fifty years.

And as Captain Picard.

Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.

Yup - it does make sense that those characters would look older than their real age.

The actress who played Moaning Myrtle was in a Tv mini-series recently, where she played a mother who was so anxious to get her daughter into private school that she disguised herself as a child to take the entrance exam. Eventually she and her husband realised that there was no way she could pass, despite being extremely short and waifish in shape, but she could pass as an extremely ugly 11-year-old.

Put me in mind of the somewhat older Moaning Myrtle. :smiley: She could actually pass for one of those unfortunate teenage girls who look middle-aged the instant puberty hits.


Oscar Wilde isn’t a made-up character, but having Stephen Fry play him in the film Wilde was pretty brilliant. I think he does help sell it by having a similar-looking face shape, being of similar height, being gay and also being a Wilde scholar.

Back to “The Stand” miniseries, Stuart Redman is now and forever Gary Sinise in my head after watching that. To go along with Gary Sinise’s note-perfect Stu they had a very weak Molly Ringwald as Franny, unfortunately.

Right, to the point where I mentally correct Rowling when she describes him differently.

Again, I allow it all to go and picture him in the books differently because of how good Rickman is in the role.

Hugh Laurie as Dr. House.

And second both Alan Rickman as Snape and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

Also Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Humphrey Bogart as Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep.

Elisha Cook as Harry Jones in the same movie. He was also the gunsel in The Maltese Falcon, Stonewall, the guy killed by Jack Palance in Shane, and Captain Kirk’s lawyer in the Star Trek episode Court Martial.

The Simpsons cast. Without any one of those voice actors, the Simpsons never would have developed into the institution that it is today.

I haven’t heard that Philip Pullman had Sam Elliottin mind when he created the character of Lee Scoresby in The Golden Compass, but I’m pretty sure I was visualizing him when I read the book.

I’ve always thought that Jimmy Stewart was perfect as Elwood P. Dowd in the 1950 Harvey, a notion that was heartily reinforced when I recently watched the abominable 1998 television version with Harry Anderson as Dowd. (But frankly, I’m hard pressed to think of any Jimmy Stewart role for which he was not perfect, or nearly so.)

I’ll pose a personal experience of the converse of the OP: a role that I have never found satisfactorily portrayed (to my own taste, of course), despite many attempts: Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. It’s been done more than a dozen times and I’ve seen at least half of them, but I’ve never seen an Elizabeth who lived up to my expectations. Most people like the 1995 BBC miniseries with Jennifer Ehle, but she doesn’t quite do it for me.

BTW, posters might to well to recall that the OP asked only for characters who existed in books or other works prior to the film version, not merely well-played characters originally created for the film in question.

Robert Duvall as Gus in Lonesome Dove

Ed Harris as John Glenn in The Right Stuff

Mickey Rourke as Marv in Sin City

Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey in The Green Mile

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

I’d be the third to say that, but like Gone With The Wind, I may be confusing the literary characters witht the actors. For example, the book says, “Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful…”