IF you were planning to remake film classics, the first thing you’d do is make sure none of these ‘What the f**k were they thinking?’ casting choices were repeated.
Mickey Rooney, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
If your child ever asks you to explain the term ‘offensive racial stereotype’, simply pop on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and wait for Mickey Rooney to appear as Mr Yunioshi. Dressed as something resembling a hate crime, his round-spectacled, buck-toothed character is as unexpected and needless as a grotesque gollywog suddenly appearing in an episode of Peppa Pig.
Ben Kingsley, Gandhi
Who else would you cast to play the leader of the pacifist Indian independence movement than a man from Yorkshire? Though Kingsley has an Indian father and thus some connection to the role, the amount of fake tan he was slathered in would do the cast of Love Island for a week. Nowadays, it’s genuinely harrowing viewing. And not just the suffering of the Indian people.
Jim Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ
It’s impossible to say exactly what Jesus H. Christ, born approximately 2000 years ago in modern day Palestine, would’ve looked like. What we can say however is that he absolutely would not have looked like 6’2” Caucasian lunatic Jim Cavaziel. Will that encourage Mel Gibson to recast the role in the upcoming sequel? Of course not. Mel knows better than God on biblical matters.
Al Pacino, Scarface
Al Pacino is indelibly Italian-American, both in real life (his actual name is Alfredo) and due to obscure little arthouse films like The Godfather. He has never had anything to do with the island of Cuba. But in the 80s, American casting directors decided he was broadly foreign enough to be a Cuban drug lord. More recently they thought he was Jewish enough to be a Holocaust survivor in Hunters. He’s very versatile.
Alec Guinness, Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. This is in spite of the bizarre decision to have Alec Guinness play an Arabian prince. Wearing a disconcerting amount of mascara and using an ambiguously ‘ethnic’ accent, your eyes are drawn to Guinness in all his scenes, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.