Let's be honest here. I need a feature on my blog or it's just going to go to waste. So, ta da! Re-imagining Roles is born! The idea is that I'll pick a role that you couldn't possibly see any other actor playing, and then describe what would happen if someone else was afforded the chance. It might suck; it might be awesome. Only time will tell. So, for the first installment, I'm going to pick on one of my favorite punching bags: Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. How much better would it have been with someone else in the role?
Original casting: Keanu Reeves and his banana phone as Neo in The Matrix
Re-imagining Roles casts instead: Christian Bale (without a banana phone, sadly)
Keanu Reeves is a scientific puzzle worthy of decades of study. How can he play so many characters with the same blank stare like 800 times in a row? In The Matrix, it's no different. Neo moves along with the bewilderment of a 3-year-old that catches on a little too slowly, but I can't help but root for the guy. The role doesn't require that much acting ability, after all, and he's not horrible the whole time, so I'm not complaining too much. Still, how much better would lines like "I know kung-fu" or "There is no spoon" have been if they were spoken by Bale? He could have played it like a mix between his characters in The Machinist and The Dark Knight: A little weird and paranoid at first, but as he finds out more about himself and the world, he starts acting more like a confident bad ass. I think it would have worked.
Keanu could have bent himself a little more for the role if you ask me.
Most of you probably can't see Bale doing the kind of martial arts on display in The Matrix, but I never pictured Keanu doing any of that crap either. At least I never thought that the guy who was in The Devil's Advocate would be working with Yuen Woo-ping doing wire flips and shit. Speaking of The Devil's Advocate, Matthew McConaughey should have played Keanu's character. At least that way, he wouldn't have had that terrible, terrible southern accent. I'm assuming that's what it was supposed to be.
Anyways, I also think scenes like the one in the oracle's kitchen would have been a lot better with Bale. Not that I don't buy Keanu as a guy who just doesn't know anything about anything (Because I do. I really do.), but Bale would have been a stronger sell in the soul-searching department.
So, there you have it. Would you keep Keanu or dump him for Batman?