Recasting The Shawshank Redemption

Image retrieved from TMDb

The Shawshank Redemption is my seventh favorite movie of all time. Not only does it have a compelling story with human characters, but it dives deep into themes of friendship, hope, corruption, hypocrisy, and of course redemption. It does all of this without wasting a second of runtime. The film is perfect and airtight. There is a reason it is the top movie on IMDb!

Perhaps it’s sacrilege to recast a movie which is already perfectly casted, but I’m going to do it anyway. Since I have a new podcast episode today where I dive deep into the movie, there isn’t much more I can say. Either it’s covered in the episode or it’s been covered in the large realm of online film discussion.

So with recognition that this cast is inherently imperfect simply because the real-life cast is perfect, I’ll be recasting one of the greatest films ever made.

Andy Dufresne – Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio is at the point in his career where he is fairly picky about the roles he takes. But Andy Dufresne is one that he could play very well. He could bring the gentleness and unrelentingly hopeful spirit that is required of Andy and he is about the right age. He could also be someone who’s experienced the loss of his wife, as he did in Inception. The only difference is that he needs the gentleness, instead of intensity. I’d be casting the role a bit older, but I think that would add to the film’s appeal.

Red – Liam Neeson

Not only is Red the demanding presence and safe place for Andy, but he needs that voice that the audience will hear narrating for the entire movie. That’s how I settled on Neeson. He has a voice that is soothing (when he isn’t threatening to kill you) and good for voiceover, like in The Grey. Based of Schindler’s List, though, he can be a gentle spirit, which makes him perfect. Plus, he actually is Irish, which is faithful to the character of Red.

Warden Norton – Kenneth Branagh

Based on his recent work in Tenet, we’ve seen that Branagh can be tough and menacing, which is required of the character. But also based off Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets of all things, he can pull off a two-faced character.

Heywood – Jamie Foxx

Foxx can do comedy, drama, and a villain character. With Heywood, he can use his comedic and dramatic chops with the smallest bit of villain sprinkled in. He’d bring the fun spirit needed for this character.

Floyd – Colin Farrell

Simply because you need an actor you can like but still stay in the sidelines. Farrell is perfect.

Hadley – Henry Cavill

I’ve had this casting in my head for a long time. Hadley is basically evil to his core and Cavill showed he can pull off a villain in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He is physically imposing, like Hadley needs to be, and can play the tough guy who is basically an antagonist.

Tommy – Zac Efron

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and honestly, Neighbors cemented this casting choice. We all know Efron is extremely handsome and charming. But he he has the necessary acting chops to play a role with this much weight.

Brooks – Morgan Freeman

Yes, I’m casting the star of the original movie in a supporting role. But the role is small enough with enough weight to warrant an actor of this caliber stepping in.

Bogs – Jon Bernthal

At this point in his career, I think it’s pretty obvious that Bernthal can play the character that you love to hate. I think he would slide into this role perfectly without a second thought.

All images retrieved from TMDb

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