Recasting Michael Mann’s Collateral (2004) Decade by Decade
Having recently seen Michael Mann’s film Collateral for the first time I couldn’t help but think of taking the central plot and moving it through different eras of movie making. It’s a prime piece to pair up two actors in a dream match up.
If your not familiar with the story it’s basic premise has Tom Cruise as a hitman on a one night spree to take out 5 men. He hires a cab for the entire run piloted by Jamie Foxx. When Foxx realizes what Tom’s doing it becomes a battle of wills with plenty of action blended in.
Now let’s go back in time and recast the roles.
How about the 30’s meaning it would almost have to be a Warner Brothers production.
George Raft as the killer and James Cagney as the cabbie? Perhaps Paul Muni as the killer and keep Cagney behind the wheel.
We could throw Bogie in here but I think he’s best served as a candidate for a pick in the forties.
Bogie as the killer opposite any number of actors as the cabbie. How about Edmond O’Brien? Tyrone Power could have been a great choice.
Why not turn it in to a comedy and put Bogie opposite Bob Hope? How about a late forties Glenn Ford as a young cab driver. I can see that. But honestly I can’t get Bogie out of my mind as the hired killer. If Bogie was unavailable I do think we could cast John Garfield in the role which creates more dream match ups that we never had a chance to see. Garfield vs. Ty Power, Glenn Ford or Cornel Wilde could have been a wonderful viewing experience.
Garfield could easily have swapped seats and been a cab driver in the late forties picking up Richard Widmark as the hired killer. Works for me.
The fifties represents an abundance of emerging leading men who could have fit into this script based on their screen persona’s.
How about Robert Ryan as the killer riding in the back? If we are post Oscar season 1953 we could put Frank Sinatra in the drivers seat. If we stick to the early fifties I can see William Holden as our driver and how about Robert Mitchum or Jack Palance as our gun toting hitman.
Wouldn’t it have been great to see Monty Clift driving the cab pulling over to pick up a fare in the shape of Alan Ladd? Let’s shift Ladd to the front seat circa 1950 and put Dan Duryea in the back. Sounds like dynamite! Move to the late fifties and I can easily see Burt Lancaster holding the gun and how about Marlon Brando doing the driving.
Add some racial tension to the mix and have Brando in the back with Sidney Poitier in the front. I’d pay to see that match up circa 1958.
Really a great era of match ups.
1960’s & 70’s
The era of the not so good looking leading man was upon us. Plenty of long time actors were suddenly emerging as box office attractions.
Casting the role of the killer offers plenty of choices. Perhaps none better then Lee Marvin. How about an aging Lee Marvin in 1973 opposite either Robert Redford or an emerging Al Pacino. If Lee Marvin was unavailable then we could call up Charles Bronson or James Coburn. Both would easily fit the bill.
George C. Scott holding the gun to Ryan O”Neal’s ear as he is driven all over late night San Francisco. Going back to Lee Marvin, how about Lee having a young Dustin Hoffman doing the driving? The emergence of Sam Peckinpah films could have seen Warren Oates or Steve McQueen riding in the back seat with Dustin up front. Surely we can somehow squeeze Alain Delon into the proceedings.
Since Robert DeNiro is known to many as the Taxi Driver I have ignored him but jumping into the 80’s let’s cast him in the role of the killer.
1980’s & 90’s.
Let’s get a 1990(ish) Robert Downey Jr. driving DeNiro around while he goes on his killing spree. Leaving Downey in the driver seat we could reteam him with an emerging screen presence in James Woods as the killer.
The two had already appeared opposite each other in an above average court roomer, True Believer. If we stick with Woods as our killer how about Sean Penn or even Michael J. Fox doing our honors behind the wheel. Sub James Caan for Woods could make for some solid fireworks.
An aging Sly Stallone could easily have fit the role and why not move Tom Cruise from the backseat to the front? Al Pacino by this time had cemented his persona in gangland films and while he did star with Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco it’s not a stretch to see them do it all over again with this script. Not to your liking then let’s sub in Christopher Walken for Pacino. And wouldn’t Willem Dafoe opposite cab driver Tom Hanks in 1995 been an exciting match up.
The possibilities are really endless with this script of two men caught up in one frenzied night.
But that’s the fun of it. Conjuring up a perfect pairing of actors from the past that perhaps we never got a chance to see play opposite each other.
I never even bothered to get into the “against type casting” scenarios. I’ll leave you with this. A slicked up 1960 Tony Curtis as our killer opposite a straight Jerry Lewis driving our cab into the night. Dare we cast Dino opposite Jerry for old times sake?