35 Contemporary Actors Who Could Reboot Iconic Film Roles


These modern performers would be sensational substitutes for these instantly recognizable roles…

Last week, Twitter exploded with reports that Chris Pratt was personally dissuaded from taking on the role of Indiana Jones in a potential franchise reboot by Harrison Ford himself.

Paramount Pictures

With that in mind, the discourse eventually turned into other sacred and iconic roles, and since this writer is always game for a challenge, I’ve put together a list of 35 contemporary performers who could shine in potentially rebooted noteworthy roles.


Ben Mendelsohn as Quint from Jaws

The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

With a quiet resolve and understated intimidation factor exuding in most of his roles, Ben Mendelsohn would make for a perfect substitute for Robert Shaw’s rugged shark hunter.


Donald Glover as Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop

NBC / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

For a great match to embody Eddie Murphy’s beloved cop with a con man’s wit, who else could expertly balance the comedic and dramatic requirements of the role as well as Atlanta mastermind Donald Glover?


Maya Hawke as Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction

Netflix / Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Though she is best known for her roles in Stranger Things and Fear Street, her role in Gia Coppola’s Mainstream was a further testament to the emotional versatility necessary to fill her mother Uma Thurman’s (dancing) shoes. 


Kieran Culkin as Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Matt Crossick/Empics/Alamy Live News / Summit Entertainment / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Kieran Culkin’s chaotic energy and dark humor chops so often on display in Succession would pay dividends as Hunter S. Thompson’s unpredictable and under-the-influence alter ego in a role previously made iconic by Johnny Depp.


David Castañeda as El Mariachi from Desperado

Netflix / Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

The Umbrella Academy actor has showcased his ability to handle badass action and witty physical humor, which would be qualities instrumental to reviving the guitar-playing gunslinger.


Sebastian Maniscalco as Vinny Gambini in My Cousin Vinny

20th Century Fox Film Corp / Courtesy Everett Collection / Netflix / TCD / Prod DB / Alamy

This stand-up sensation displayed a natural screen presence in The Irishman, and while Joe Pesci will always own this role, there’s no one more suited to bring a unique contemporary spin to this fast-talking big city lawyer stuck in the deep south.


Miles Teller as John Rambo from First Blood

Paramount Pictures / Orion / Courtesy Everett Collection

Miles Teller has proven himself effective as an action and dramatic lead, and his breakout performance in Whiplash hinted at a stoic and unwavering constitution that are akin to the trademark qualities of John Rambo.


Sam Richardson as Bob Wiley from What About Bob?

Comedy Central / Touchstone Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

With incredible comic timing and the pitch perfect embodiment of “I hate to be a bother BUT…” energy in his roles in Veep and Werewolves Within, Sam Richardson could make for a top tier new version of the famously destructive hypochondriac.


Ryan Gosling as James Dalton from Road House

FilmDistrict / United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

Just as Patrick Swayze brought his unconventional physicality and dance background toward creating a surprisingly different breed of action hero in Road House, many of those same qualities can be seen in Gosling, who previously got to show off his badass side in Drive, The Gray Man, and Only God Forgives.


Ariana DeBose as Rachel Marron from The Bodyguard

20th Century Studios / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Ariana DeBose has quickly become one of the top stars to watch with her memorable turns in West Side Story and Schmigadoon!, and given her phenomenal musical talents as well, she could easily handle Whitney Houston’s signature role.


Antony Starr as Snake Plissken from Escape from New York

Cinemax / Embassy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Despite becoming the most reprehensible supervillain ever on The Boys, Antony Starr’s amazing turn as an anti-hero on Banshee is more than enough evidence to prove he could make an awesome Snake Plissken for a new generation.


Cooper Hoffman as Marty McFly from Back to the Future

MGM / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

The blend of nervous energy and go-for-broke confidence oozing from every frame of Licorice Pizza feels like the perfect primer that could usher Cooper Hoffman into such a beloved pop culture institution as Marty McFly.


Taron Egerton as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn from Major League

Paramount / 20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Taron Egerton has the look, the athletic build, and the temper necessary to don the thick-rimmed glasses and #99 jersey of the fan favorite pitcher from the Major League franchise.


Ana de Armas as Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality

MGM / Danjaq / Courtesy Everett Collection / Warner Brothers

The undeniably charismatic Cuban-Spanish actress has re-established herself as a stone cold badass following her physically demanding turns in The Gray Man and No Time to Die, which would make her a more-than-viable option to headline this long-dormant franchise.


Andrea Riseborough as Marge Gunderson from Fargo

Saban Films / Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Andrea Riseborough has cemented herself as a powerful performer capable of all sorts of emotionally versatile roles, so why not give her the chance for something more lighthearted while utilizing the subtlety and subtext needed to bring Marge Gunderson to life once more?


Adam Driver as Frankenstein’s Monster from Frankenstein

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Lucasfilm / Abramorama / Courtesy Everett Collection

We’ve never quite received the on-screen version of Frankenstein’s Monster initially envisioned by Mary Shelley, one that’s as poetic and acerbic as he is conflicted and volatile of which the Cumberbatch/Miller Frankenstein stage production from several years back serves as a prime example. For this undertaking, few modern performers have the potential to take this role to the next level, with Adam Driver perhaps being the best possibility to do so.


Dan Stevens as Seth Brundle from The Fly

FX / 20TH CENTURY FOX / Ronald Grant / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dan Stevens has been largely dedicated to exploring roles beyond the limitations of the traditional leading man, and with his weird and wild turn in Legion, he showed off a lot of parallels to the curious performance of Jeff Goldblum’s brilliant yet doomed scientist in The Fly.


Sterling K. Brown as Principal Joe Clark from Lean on Me

FX / Warner Bros. Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

The intensity that he can command in any given scene and the ability to inject humanity even to the most hardened characters would put him at the top of the list to take over this unforgettable role.


Jamie Dornan as William Wallace in Braveheart

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

William Wallace may be a meaty role that requires just as much charm and charisma as it does stamina and physical presence, by Jamie Dornan has proven himself as a multi-tool player who could bring a modern sense of empathy to the character.


Keke Palmer as Oda Mae Brown from Ghost

Universal Pictures / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Offering amazing comedic timing as well as dramatic chops worth their weight in gold in Nope, there are few performers that would be better to bring this Oscar-winning role to a new generation than Keke Palmer.


Jason Sudeikis as Jack Torrance from The Shining

Neon / WARNER BROS / Ronald Grant / Courtesy Everett Collection

You may know him as the perpetually positive title character from Ted Lasso, but anyone who has seen Jason Sudeikis in his shockingly against-type casting in Colossal knows that he can embody menacing darkness quickly and believably, which would make him an inspired choice for Jack Torrance.


Jack Dylan Grazer as Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Warner Brothers / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

This scene-stealing acting wunderkind from It and Shazam! has the mischievous attitude and confidence it would take to create a new Ferris Bueller for the iPhone generation.


JD Pardo as Tony Montana from Scarface

Universal / FX / Courtesy Everett Collection

JD Pardo has delivered time and time again on Mayans M.C., and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks big on a major scale, which could be nothing short of good news for the long-gestating Scarface reboot.


Sam Rockwell as Frank Booth from Blue Velvet

STXfilms / De Laurentis Group / Courtesy Everett Collection

Frank Booth’s unrelenting in-your-face demeanor is one not many performers can mach, but if anyone can, the best case scenario would have to be Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell, who recently earned raves with another abrasive character via David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway.


Rami Malek as Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects

Bleecker Street Media / Gramercy / Courtesy Everett Collection

Rami Malek’s strange yet hypnotic on-screen talents would certainly qualify him to take on any new iteration of this iconic (and duplicitous) role.


Daisy Edgar-Jones as Ellen Ripley from Alien

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

With the one-two punch of Fresh and Where the Crawdads Sing firmly placing Daisy Edgar-Jones atop the “to-watch” list, there’s no denying she could make a compelling and engaging substitute for Sigourney Weaver should the Alien franchise decide to start from scratch once more.


Jeremy Allen White as John McClane from Die Hard

Collection Christophel / Alamy / Black Bear Pictures / Allyson Riggs / 20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection

With the determination, wit, and “it” factor all over his performance in The Bear, Jeremy Allen White is due for a chance at the big time and would be a fitting actor to revive cinema’s best “ordinary cop in extraordinary circumstances.”


LaKeith Stanfield as Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street

Lorimar Television / Courtesy Everett Collection / Lifestyle Pictures / Alamy

He may be an outside-of-the-box choice, but LaKeith Stanfield’s an outside-of-the-box performer who could genuinely bring something fresh and unexpected to such a legendary horror character.


Jenna Ortega as Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz

A24 / MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jenna Ortega is becoming one of the most intriguing young performers working today, and with her ability to capture myriad aesthetics on-screen, it would be a treat to see her put a new spin on The Wizard of Oz‘s heartfelt protagonist.


Chris Pine as Jake Gittes from Chinatown

Paramount / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Chris Pine has previously had many comparisons to Jack Nicholson in regards to blending charm and levity with pathos and gravitas, yet the Nicholson role he might best be suited for would be the unwavering smart-ass private investigator from Chinatown, Jake Gittes.


Samara Weaving as Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct

Hulu / TriStar / Courtesy Everett Collection

One of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood today, Samara Weaving has more than enough presence and talent to breathe new life into the ’90s’ most iconic femme fatale.


Kyle Mooney as Ace Ventura from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Sony Pictures Classics / Morgan Creek Productions / Ronald Grant / Courtesy Everett Collection

Frankly, I have no idea what Ace Ventura would look like through a modern lens, but if there’s any working comedian who could bring a new take to this manic animal-centric P.I., I’d trust in SNL‘s former most unpredictable performer.


Sope Dirisu as Alonzo Harris from Training Day

AMC+ / Sky / Warner Bros. Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

It’s hard to even imagining performing in the shadow of Denzel Washington’s Oscar-winning villain performance, though Sope Dirisu’s incredible work on Gangs of London, Silent Night, and His House are a solid testament to his immense talent, which could help him bring a contemporary twist to this character in today’s sociopolitical climate.


Robert Pattinson as Tyler Durden from Fight Club

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

It seems Robert Pattinson has dedicated his entire post-Twilight career to showing his versatility as a performer, a story oddly similar to that of Brad Pitt’s post-Legends of the Fall career and one that could be redefined by the film world’s most notable anarchist.


Angourie Rice as Cher Horowitz from Clueless

Netflix / Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Angourie Rice has long been touted as the next big name in Hollywood since her exceptional supporting turns in The Nice Guys and Jon Watts’ Spider-Man trilogy, and with Honor Society expected to be her breakout role, she could elevate her career to the stratosphere with the opportunity to become the modern Cher Horowitz.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here