Many of us love Quentin Tarantino films for a multitude of reasons; the story, his use of popular music, his dialogue, and especially his casting. He resurrected the careers of John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, David Carradine and introduced Michael Fassebender, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman into the mainstream of cinema. Along the way he has also brilliantly used Kurt Russell, Michael Parks, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Michael Madsen, and many other great actors that have given some of their best performances in a Tarantino film. There are so many actors that Tarantino should work with, so making a list of just ten is nearly impossible. But this is my dream list. Some are more realistic than others.
Most recently, Bisset gave a show-stopping performance in Abel Ferrara’s WELCOME TO NEW YORK. Not only was it great to see her work with such compelling material, but it was also incredible to see her work with Abel Ferrara, a director that’s transgressive works wouldn’t normally attract an actress of that clout and cinematic reputation. She gives a fierce performance in the film, and I could only imagine what she would be capable of in a Tarantino film.
Russell Crowe is in prime career transition. His days of the young, muscular cinematic asskicker are long gone. He’s currently floating between the mentor, the heavy, and the middle-aged leading man. His performance in THE NICE GUYS is one of his best in recent memory, and his turn in LES MISERABLE is one of the most underrated performances within the last ten years. He’s more than suited to headline or sidestep back into a Max Cherry-esque role.
Daniel Day- Lewis
It’s widely noted that one of the only roles that Day-Lewis has ever sought out was the role of Vincent Vega in PULP FICTION. First of all, I can’t imagine what DDL would have done with that role, and secondly, I can’t imagine Tarantino, hot off his indie hit of RESERVOIR DOGS telling the studio and DDL no, I’m going with John Travolta. Day-Lewis can take a role, even in some of his more mediocre films, and knock that role out of the park. He’s showy when he needs to be, and knows when to reign in a performance to make it so slight and subtle. Imagine what he could do with the colorfulness of Tarantino’s dialogue.
Whatever is left of cinematic royalty, it’s Jane Fonda. Throughout the years, she has continued to stay relevant in both film and not television with Netflix’s GRACE AND FRANKIE. Recently, she gave a briefly pulverizing performance in Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH. Casing Fonda would not only be a callback to some her earlier performances, but she would also bring an air of golden movie star cache that we rarely see on film anymore.
Let’s face it, Harrison Ford is one of the biggest movie stars of all time. He is Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard, Jack Ryan – yet for the past twenty years or so, he hasn’t been as compelling as he used to be. Yet, his return as Han Solo in THE FORCE AWAKENS is one of the best things he’s ever done. The return was phenomenal, thrilling, and heartfelt. His performance was organic, and there wasn’t one moment in the film where it felt as if he were phoning in the performance. Ford has had quite the ride as a movie star, and his persona would go a hell of a long way inside of a Tarantino film.
If there is any actor at this moment in time who is due to make a cinematic resurrection, it is Mel Gibson. His most recent leading turn in BLOOD FATHER shows, without a doubt, that his screen presence is still an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. His smaller roles in MACHETE KILLS and THE EXPENDABLES 3 further prove that he and Tarantino are a perfect match. Regardless of how outlandish or low key that theoretical role would be, Gibson would absolutely kill it.
Stephen Lang is much like Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s a cinematic chameleon. Decade after decade the guy has disappeared into so many memorable roles in so many memorable films. Most recently, Lang has taken a career transition as a muscular badass in James Cameron’s AVATAR and this year his gives a tour de force performance in Fede Alvarez’s DON’T BREATHE. He owns Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES, outshining both Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Mann knew exactly what he was doing casting Lang, bringing in a skilled actor to bring the film to an absolute stop during the final moments of his epic gangster saga. The merging of Tarantino and Lang is a cinematic match made in heaven.
I can’t think of many current actors who has been in so many great films in such a short time span. KILLING THEM SOFTLY, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, ANIMAL KINGDOM, SLOW WEST, and his next two films are polar opposites: UNA based off of the transgressive and acclaimed Broadway play, BLACKBIRD and ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY where he is cast as the evil Imperial Director Orson Krenick, the man in charge of the Empire’s military. A lot of Tarantino’s work is cast in moral ambiguity, and there isn’t anyone better at playing that, than Ben Mendelsohn.
Thankfully, Vince Vaughn has successfully shaken off his prolific comedic career and has heavily vested himself back into dramatic works. The amazing second season of TRUE DETECTIVE reset Vaughn’s path as an actor. His next film is Mel Gibson’s long anticipated World War II film, HACKSAW RIDGE where Vaughn plays a rough and tough commanding officer. After that, Vaughn is going to be in BONE TOMAHAWK director S. Craig Zahler’s BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 that sounds as dark and gruesome as BONE TOMAHAWK did. Vaughn, who can play both humor and drama would be an excellent mesh with Tarantino’s words and look of his films.
Whether she’s killing aliens or emotionally breaking Kevin Kline, or romancing Bill Murray; Weaver has always had a unique and powerful presence on screen. Her work is always solid, regardless of the end result of whatever project she is working on. She belongs to the same class of actresses like Pam Grier, Daryl Hannah, and Jennifer Jason Leigh – those actors who had at one point were A list actors due to not only their sex appeal, but also their carefully crafted performances. Whether she’d be a femme fatal, or a badass hero – she would fit perfectly into Tarantino film.