The title for this blog post should be fairly self-explanatory, but to clarify, I’m talking specifically about directors and actors that (to the best of my knowledge) haven’t worked with one another before on film. I’m also limiting myself to pairings that could happen today, i.e. no dead or retired persons.
Woody Allen + Rosario Dawson
Considering the sheer volume of Allen’s cinematic output, it’s no surprise that he has crossed paths with tons of actors over the years. But not Rosario Dawson, which is a shame. Allen’s trademark humor would be a good fit for the actress. Remember Clerks II, another talky comedy? She was so great and charming in that one! Allen could get something even better out of her, I’m sure.
David Fincher + Viola Davis
I believe it was In Contention‘s Kristopher Tapley who mentioned in a podcast that he would love to see Viola Davis as the star of an action franchise. I can only agree. Fincher may lean closer to the thriller-side of things in general, but he has a good track record with female characters, from Alien 3 to Panic Room and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (not that I love all those films, but at least the protagonists are strong). This needs to happen sooner rather than later, as Davis’ star is currently brighter than ever.
Werner Herzog + Al Pacino
Herzog has always seen the value in stylized big acting over naturalism. There’s of course his oft-discussed series of films with brilliant nut-case Klaus Kinski, and also later efforts like Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans where he and Nicolas Cage proved to be a match made in heaven. Enter Al Pacino, whose star may have faded in recent years but who has never been a stranger to chewing the scenery in the best of ways. Hell, just make it a sequel to Bad Lieutenant with Pacino and Cage as buddy cops. Make the film nothing but the two actors screaming at each other for 90 minutes. I’d so be there.
Mike Leigh + Ethan Hawke
A sharp contrast to the previous pairing, this one would be all about down-to-earth realism. I’ve always thought that Ethan Hawke shines brighter the more grounded the character he plays is. Consider his turns in Richard Linklater‘s films, from Before Sunrise/Sunset to Fast Food Nation. He’s great when he just has to be a regular guy, and nobody captures everyday-ness better than Mike Leigh. He tends to work primarily with British actors, but Hawke would fit right in regardless. Just let him play an American. No fake British accent, please.
Rob Marshall + Kevin Spacey
I’ve been clamoring for Spacey as Oscars host for a few years now. The guy is an entertainer from head to toe, and he showed that he could sing in Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea. So why not put him in a musical? Rob Marshall could use a good bouncing-back to critical acclaim after the mostly lambasted Nine and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. There’s another Chicago-level movie left in him, I’m sure.
Jason Reitman + Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen is one of those comedians where I get the feeling that there is a really great performance bubbling just under the surface, and the right director needs to come along to bring it forth. Jason Reitman always brings out the best in his actors, from Aaron Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking to George Clooney in Up in the Air and, well, everyone in Juno. Reitman and Rogen could be golden, and a big jolt to the actor’s future career.
Todd Solondz + Sacha Baron Cohen
While I’m no big fan of Solondz’ later efforts, his first two films – Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness – are powerful pieces of black comedy that shows the filmmaker’s ability to examine the darker and uglier sides of life. He’s also more than happy to include controversial scenes in his films, something that should be right up Sacha Baron Cohen’s alley. I may not be 100% convinced that the comedic sensibilities of the two will gel completely, but I would definitely be interested in seeing the results anyway.
Lars Von Trier + Maggie Gyllenhaal
I actually tweeted a while ago that I wouldn’t want to see this one happen. Von Trier has a track record of putting his female characters through all kinds of hardships and turmoil (see: Emily Watson, Björk, etc.), and Maggie Gyllenhaal possesses that combination of vulnerability and stoicness that would be catnip to the mad Dane. And she’s one of my favorite actors, so seeing her getting fucked up emotionally could be a rough ride indeed. But it would be worth it.
John Woo + Jason Statham
And we end this with a no-brainer. John Woo may have returned to Hong Kong in recent years, but if he ever ventures westward again, he needs to team up with the badassest action star we have going today: Mr. Statham. Just thinking about it makes me all giddy.