OK, I have to talk about football for a second – just for a second! Tim Tebow is now a New York Jet. You guys know Tebow- he was the quarterback for the Broncos last year and became somewhat of a celebrity when the media latched onto his status as a religious figure, and football fans nationwide began dropping to their knees in what became known as Tebowing. Then there were the rumors that he started dating Katy Perry. Never the less, he is now coming to NY where he is supposedly going to give our starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez a bit of competition – something the coaches say he needs in order to improve. But this scenario could play out in many ways… he could be terrible and the Jets could be accused of blowing another large sum of money on a player that wasn’t very good to begin with (likely). Or, he could excel and ultimately replace Sanchez as the team leader (not likely). It’s this second scenario that got me thinking. In the entertainment industry, how often does a replacement actor come in and take over a role which is already synonymous with another actor? A bit of a stretch? Maybe- but it was the only way I could manage to get my two cents in about this Tebow debacle. Now, onto the replacements…
Not surprisingly, this situation happens often in movies. A studio wants to move forward with a sequel/prequel to a successful movie but the original cast isn’t all game. So, replacements are brought in. My first example is Julianne Moore who took over the role of Clarice Starling in “Hannibal” from Jodie Foster who so notoriously played her in “The Silence of the Lambs.” For me, this was a hard glitch to get over. When you have an actor who so exemplifies a character and plays it to perfection, it is hard to just pretend. No offense to Moore who is a talented actress herself… some roles just shouldn’t be touched.
Now, to play devil’s advocate for a second, if you asked me 10 years ago if anyone could ever play the role of The Joker as well as Jack Nicholson did, I would have said absolutely not – thinking again that this was a role not to be touched. But then came Heath, who took the character to a different place and completely blew me away. I am a better person for having been exposed to both of those performances and gives kudos to the casting directors and producers of both movies for taking the leap.
Movies are obviously not the only place where replacements make an appearance. I’ll never forget watching an episode of Rosanne back in 1993 when all of a sudden a new Becky walked into the room and an ominous voice informed me that her name was Sarah Chalke and she had taken over the role. WHAT?! I had never heard of such a thing. And, again, not to be mean to Ms. Chalke but something changed for me that day and Rosanne was never the same. I’m all for a new character coming onto the scenes to spice things up (thank you Tiffani Amber Thiessen) but it’s hard for me to accept the new when it doesn’t compete with the old.
Music is also a place where you can imagine tempers flaring, resulting in someone leaving or being forcibly kicked out of a band only to be replaced by someone else. The most famous example would have to be Sammy Hagar’s replacement of David Lee Roth in the hard rock band Van Halen. Boy, did that piss off a few fans. But when you are dealing with the egos of rock stars, the fans unfortunately suffer.
So which of these replacements is your favorite? Vote here and tell us on Facebook if you can think of any other notorious examples.
Heath Ledger for Jack Nicholson
Julianne Moore for Jodie Foster
Sammy Hagar for David Lee Roth
Sarah Chalke for Lecy Goranson