Everyone’s favorite non-Disney animated movie just hit Netflix this month, and twenty-somethings worldwide can be heard singing “Have you heard? / There’s a rumor in St. Petersburg!” at the top of their lungs while showering. So we got to thinking: If we had an unlimited budget and phone numbers to every actor’s agent in the history of the world, who would we pick to play our favorite “Anastasia” characters in a live-action version of the film? Managing editor Haley and entertainment editor Lindsey chose two celebs each, then took to the debate floor to hash out why they agreed or disagreed (or were just plain grossed-out by) each other’s picks. From Jennifer Lawrence to Hugh Jackman, here’s who we’d choose to play in a real-life version of “Anastasia.”
[column size=two_third position=first ]Lindsey: I absolutely love that you picked Sophia Bush. In fact, I am watching “Chicago PD” as we write this. I adore her, but as amazing as she is, I don’t see her as royalty. While JLaw has got the chops, honestly, I’m kinda tired of her in lead roles. The Emmas (Stone and Watson), however, I can totally see pulling off Anastasia’s signature sass, and they are both talented enough to do an accent if it pleased them, and ohmigosh the dresses!
Haley: I can see Emma Watson as Anastasia, for sure. She really proved she was worth her salt in “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” But I don’t know if Emma Stone has the range just yet—I think most people wouldn’t be able to take her seriously in a role like this one, since she usually does comedies.[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”1″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”1″][/column]
Both Sophia Bush and Jennifer Lawrence have played serious roles, but also got to show off their sass and style while doing it. Plus, they both have Anastasia’s signature cheekbones.
Haley: Every time I see Erik von Detten’s hair in “Brink” or “Princess Diaries,” all I can think about is Dimitri’s hair. He’s kind of got that surfer-dude look, so we’d have to clean him up a bit. But we might not need to, because honestly, I feel like Kevin Zegers is the cleaned-up version of Erik.[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”2″][/column]
He’s got kind of a bad-boy persona, which we saw come across on “Gossip Girl,” but Dimitri’s got that, too. Plus, the jawlines are very similar. To be fair, though, I did almost pick William Moseley for this. Had a photo ready and everything. I would have never picked Jensen Ackles, because I think he looks too… modern for the role. He doesn’t look like he could live in Bolshevik-era Russia.
Lindsey: OK, I’ll give you Jensen. He might be too old for this, but I just love to look at him, and if I’m casting this movie that means I’d get to meet him, and I think that’s worth losing a little story integrity, don’t you?
[column size=two_third position=first ]Haley: So my first pick for this would have been Robin Williams, and that makes me sad. But I still think RDJ or Seth Rogen would be a great Vladmir. Both are hilariously endearing and over-the-top, which is perfect for Vladmir’s big personality; we’ve seen RDJ in various costumes in movies like “Tropic Thunder” and “Sherlock Holmes,” and Rogan is just crazy enough to don a fat suit and a fur coat. I can see Gerard Butler in the role; when I saw you’d put that, I was disappointed I didn’t come up with it myself. He’s a perfect mix of fun and class. But Hugh Jackman? What? He’s way too sexy for the role, and is he really going to put on a Russian accent? I mean, what? No comment. [/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”3″][/column]
Lindsey: I honestly wasn’t thinking of the humor factor at all. I was thinking a very aristocratic con artist who believes he is super attractive, while actually he is just debonair. I am ashamed to say I forgot about Vlad being the comic relief. In that case I can get behind your RDJ pick. Since we are fantasy casting, I’m gonna say I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule saying Vlad HAS to be fat. I was also trying to find someone who can sing, which I think RDJ can do, but not Seth Rogen. Seth also has a serious gross factor. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.
Haley: You’re kind of right about Seth Rogen being gross. I’m cringing a bit.
[column size=two_third position=first ]Haley: Duuude, Rasputin is one of the creepiest villains of all time. And he has long hair. Guess who was another creepy villain with long hair? Saruman! Guess who played Saruman? Christopher Lee! Enough said. Just give the man a robe and some facial hair and let him do his thing. Colin Farrell has that kind of grungy, greasy look Rasputin rocked real hard, and could easily pull off the sallow skin and soulless-monster thing, too.
Lindsey: Agreed! Once you took Saruman I was pretty much out. Colin Farrell is good only because he always seems slimy and Rasputin is definitely that. I picked Donald Sutherland because with “The Hunger Games” he has proven he could be a villain. The only reason I out Christian[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”4″][/column]
Bale was because we know he can be dark, and no matter how many movies I see him in I always forget that I’ve seen him before. He submerges himself in his characters, and if we want to sex up the story he is definitely good for that.
Haley: The fact that you said “sex up” in reference to Rasputin makes me want to die. That is all.
[column size=two_third position=first ]Lindsey: I am such a strange person, but I couldn’t think of any male actors to do the voice of Bartok, and then I thought, why does it have to be a guy? So I think Mila Kunis would be great. She is so funny, and quirky and would bring a little more girl power into this crazy story. I love NPH as well, if it has to be a dude, but I think Mila was inspired.
Haley: I pretty much want to go home and cry for not thinking of Mila first. She would be hilarious. Plus, everyone loves her. I am not too familiar with NPH’s work (I have never seen “How I Met Your Mother”, tbh), so I don’t know if I can talk about that. But what we can talk about is how hilarious Zooey Deschanel would be. Have you seen “New Girl?” That show is[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”6″][/column]
hysterical, and she anchors it. Also, Jim Parsons could nail the role, because he is kind of a weird dude, and Bartok reminds me a bit of Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory.”
Lindsey: I apologize for not commenting on your picks. I just got really excited about Mila. Yes I have seen “New Girl,” and quirky Zooey Deschanel would be a good pick for a kooky, weirdo like Bartok. I totally agree with you now that you bring it up about Bartok being like Sheldon.
[column size=two_third position=first ]Lindsey: Pooka is literally the cutest dog ever. All the dog people are gonna be mad, but dogs are dogs, and all of these dogs are freaking adorable. I don’t really feel there can be a wrong choice here. If it comes in puppy form, sign me up, ‘cause it’ll be adorable.
Haley: I think the Norwich terrier would be the best choice, BECAUSE PERFECT DOG IS PERFECT. I’m not really sure what kind of dog Pooka was supposed to be in the animated movie, but in the real movie, he should be a Norwich terrier. With the personality of a Jack Russell. And the coloring of a huskie. Sorry, beagle fans.[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”7″][/column]
[column size=two_third position=first ]Haley: To me, Sophie was the hardest character to think of casting in real life. Her character is so happy, flouncy, and fun, and it was hard to think of anyone who could do that justice. I think Karen Gillan could make it really funny, but I’m not sure that would exactly do the trick. Kaley, too. Even JLaw would probably make it too funny. Reese Witherspoon, though, could definitely lend that sweetness to the character, which we all remember and love from the original movie. So your pick is obviously better than mine.
Lindsey: I’m not sure about my pick being best, because I really love Karen Gillan for this. She’s quirky, funny, and gorgeous. I put JLaw on here only because she’s the “it” girl and I didn’t want her to be Anastasia so I tried to[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”8″][/column]
find another place for her. I love Reese for this because she embodies what I love most about Sophie: confidence. She’s sassy and has that Southern charm and she could do Sophie justice.
The Dowager Empress
[column size=two_third position=first ]Haley: OK, so Angela Lansbury is in my top 15 favorite people of all time, so I had to find someplace for her on this list. If I was casting a Chuck Norris karate movie, I’d find a place for her. I love her that much. That said, she was actually the voice of the original Dowager Empress, and I think they modeled her animation after what she actually looks like, so she’d be a perfect fit. She also did her own singing in the animated version, too. She’s basically perfect. Julie Andrews is obviously the best second choice, because she’s Julie freaking Andrews. I was going to choose her for this list, but you had already stolen her. So I’m considering her as both our picks. She’s done the princess-grandma thing in “Princess Diaries,” so we know[/column] [column size=one_third position=last ][yop_poll id=”-3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”9″][/column]
she won’t mess it up. And did I mention perfect? But… Kate Winslet seems a bit young for the role. She could rock the dresses, though. Were you thinking of having her in aging makeup?
Lindsey: Angela Lansbury is awesome, but literally the only choice is Julie Andrews. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the empress sings like one part of “Once Upon a December,” even with her messed up vocal cords Julie could pull that off. No one does queen like Julie Andrews. I mean there is nothing else to say about it. She exudes confidence with her regal posture and attitude. Kate was honestly a reach. I believe she could pull off queen, but I only put her on here to shake up the cast. When I was looking for “queenly” women it was Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep and they are in everything, so I looked younger, but give her 15 more years and she can do it.
We loved Anastasia growing up. A lot of girls like that idea of realizing they’re a lost princess. Every time our siblings were mean to us or our parents said no, we could always think, “That’s OK, because one day you’ll realize I’ve been a princess all this time, and you’ll be sorry.” We’re still waiting on that call, but getting to come back to a favorite story and reimagine it with a new cast has been awesome. We hope you like our banter. We tried to keep it to a minimum, but when it comes to defending our picks, we can’t hold back. Make sure to tell us your picks; tweet us @litdarling and share your favorites!
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