There are always going to be remakes of beloved classics it seems. It’s an unfortunate truth of filmmaking over the last thirty years that, despite a few original stories and ideas being lucky enough to get funded and procured, most films that aren’t a sequel, prequel, or a remake often get left in the dust. Hollywood is more than content to recycle what’s worked in the past, but with a few inert changes to the core of what came before. Thus, while I have no interest in a remake of one of my favorite films of all time- there may well come a time when Universal Studios decides to forge ahead on a remake of “Jaws”, so it got me thinking; who would I cast in a remake of one of the most beloved movies of the last forty-five years? I believe there are four major players of the story that would need the most focus, obviously competent and well considered actors would fill out the sides of this ensemble cast, but I am mostly concerned with the Mayor of Amity Island, Chief Brody, Hooper the Oceanographer, and the old man of the sea himself, Quint.
Brody- Jason Bateman
Over the last decade Jason Bateman has turned his cheeky everyman persona into a more beaten down everyman who’s willing to break the rules, like the one he’s recently portrayed in Netflix’s crime drama series, “The Ozarks”. Bateman’s dramatic chops have evolved a bit since his more comedic turns in shows and movies like “Game Night”, “Arrested Development”, and the two “Horrible Bosses” flicks. I think he has the potential to portray newly appointed Police Chief Brody with the pathos and empathy required to establish Brody as a man trying to keep his community, and new home, safe and free from harm. Besides, I think Bateman would work well between the opposing forces of ocean nerd Hooper, and the old sea-dog Quint.
Hooper- LaKeith Stanfield
LaKeith Stanfield has just the right amount of fire to bring Hooper’s upper middle class antics and scientific sarcasm to the team. My choice stems mostly from his performance in “Sorry to Bother You” in which LaKeith portrays Cassius Green, a young phone bank caller who rides the corporate escalator after using his ‘white voice’ to soothe potential white customers on the other end of the line. That performance, particularly the latter half, has the ingredients that could fuel a fiery Hooper that argues with every character at some point about the science at hand. I believe LaKeith could bring a unique perspective to the character while staying true to the core of who Hooper is.
Quint- Willem Dafoe
Maybe it’s just because I love “The Lighthouse” by Robert Eggers, or purely out of adoration for the old Wickie in that wild ride of a movie, but I believe Willem Dafoe could steal every scene of a “Jaws” remake with him as Quint. Dafoe’s ability to chew scenery and deliver monologue like there’s no tomorrow would be absolutely perfect for this role. The man can contort his expressive face in a myriad of ways, and I’ve seen Dafoe portray admirable characters, heinous villains, charismatic hams, and inquisitive detectives. There’s no question (in my mind at least) that if a remake were to happen anytime in the near future, Willem Dafoe would be the perfect Quint for the job. I can practically hear him singing now… “Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain…”
Mayor Vaughn- Alec Baldwin
I can’t think of anyone better to portray a local politician that denies reality for monetary gain more so than Alec Baldwin. Just a quick note, this is not due to his recent portrayals of Donald Trump who also chose to deny reality to keep money flowing over the health of his constituents- that improv character is simply too silly for a role like this. No, Alec Baldwin’s inclusion here is due to character work like his C.I.A. and I.M.F. chief Alan Hunley in the two most recent Mission Impossible movies, or his role as Captain Ellerby in “The Departed” as two examples. More over, Baldwin has the arrogant bravado and overly confident nature that a character like the Mayor of Amity Island needs. Besides, he would get to deliver the line “Martin, it’s all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, ‘Huh? What?’ You yell shark, well, then we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.” Personally, I can think of no actor that could embody this role more snugly than Alec Baldwin.
There you have it! There’s a lot of consideration that would have to go into a proper remake of “Jaws” if there was ever going to be one, but those four characters are the most important part of the film if you ask me. Of course who’s directing the remake, who the cinematographer will be, who’s scoring it if John Williams isn’t available or uninterested in the project- all of these aspects and more would weigh heavily on the production and the quality of this theoretical film if it came to pass. I sincerely hope no one attempts to remake this film however, I highly encourage new creative endeavors instead. If “Jaws” has inspired you, take that inspiration and use it to fuel your new project. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up writing the next big creature feature that someone else will be writing about twenty years from now. The future is out there.