Staff picks: Go-to actors


Promo photo

Jack cries one tattooed tear of joy every time he sees Ryan Gosling in a movie.

Even the most casual of movie fans eventually notices one of film’s most amusing (though logical) trends: directors seem to work with the same actors – some more frequently than others. Tim Burton has Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, the Coen Brothers have John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and Frances McDormand (among others), and Wes Anderson has a whole slew of constant collaborators. In honor of the transition to Oscar Season – that magical time after Academy Awards nominations but before much new and worth seeing hits theaters, when every other breath concerning movies contains the word “Oscar” – we’re imagining that we’re high-profile directors and picking what actor/actress(es) we’d cast consistently in our movies.

If I were a director, my go-to actor would definitely be Tom Hanks. Not only is he one of the most talented and diverse actors I’ve seen, but he seems to be a great person behind the scenes as well… at least that is the conclusion I’ve drawn from watching countless hours of Tom Hanks interviews (I’m a little obsessed with him). Forrest Gump is a classic and Toy Story is one of my favorite animated films. You just can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks. [Caroline Rogers]

As a movie director, my go-to actor would be Bradley Cooper. He’s proven himself time after time in award-winning movies like American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. He can take on any role and is comedy gold. Alongside Cooper, I would cast a classic like Keira Knightley to bring a little British charm to my movies. The power duo would create romantic comedies adored by all. [Annie Smith]

If for some odd reason beyond my comprehension I was chosen to direct a movie, I would ruin the whole movie by choosing Nicolas Cage as my lead actor. However, Cage would not be aware that he was even in my film. This way I would not have to pay him (unless he filed a lawsuit). I would kidnap him and throw him into a cellar full of nothing but canned peanut butter. There he would attempt to find a way out of the cage using nothing other than the peanut butter and his dim wits. If he didn’t die by the end, it would turn out that the door to the cellar was never locked, Cage was just too dumb to try the door. Silly, Nick! [Graham Benefiel]

If I were to pick a go-to actor, I would definitely have to go with Darren Criss. Even though his acting could not be described as “Oscar worthy”, my absolute adoration requires that I get him some gigs. Criss, most known for his role in the musical comedy train wreck Glee, is a triple threat. He is also the star (and composer) of the Internet cult-classic A Very Potter Musical series, a secret obsession of mine. His musical talent, acting, and dancing would make me proud to call him the Johnny Depp to my Tim Burton. Plus, he is just so dang charming. [Tori Lafon]

Rachel McAdams has greatly developed since her Mean Girls days with more mature roles in films like The Notebook and The Vow. Romantic comedies are my domain, and I sometimes have a tendency to live vicariously through them. For that reason, if I were a director, I would cast her to fill all of my romantic comedies with her endearing charm. [Mackenzie Lee]

Supposing that someone would make me the director of a movie, my immediate go-to actress would be Angelina Jolie. Her ability to take on any role – and I do mean any – is nothing short of stupendous. Regardless of whether she’s a secret-spy agent or the voice of a silly fish, Jolie can play it all. She’s an independent, hardcore woman who does what she does confidently and beautifully. [Hailey Kraft]

If I really had to pick an actor to star in a film, (first shocker, me being the director) it would probably be someone unheard of. Perhaps an amateur (Ed Dudrick, his versatility), or maybe someone obscure like Ruth Wilson (Saving Mr. Banks, The Lone Ranger) because she is so striking and has a unique look that would probably attract viewers. I have often consulted with people on their opinion if I should make an indie film. After much enthusiasm, maybe this staff pick was the push I needed to start that journey. [Taylor A. Johnson]

Without a doubt, my go-to actor would be Harrison Ford. I’m pretty sure he could play any role perfectly. He could handle anything thrown at him (literally and figuratively I’m sure). He can have a rugged appearance, but he also manages to clean up nicely. All in all, I really just think he’s a great actor and does a fantastic job in whatever he’s a part of. [Zoey Line]

Do Nicolas Winding-Refn or Derek Cianfrance already have dibs on Ryan Gosling? He’s been in Winding-Refn’s last two films and both of Cianfrance’s features, but I’m considering that a small-enough body of work for each that I can claim Gosling as my go-to-guy. Over the past few years, Gosling’s established his ideal role as one of the quiet, brooding anti-hero (albeit, ones of varying moral codes), but let’s not forget that he established his stardom with a sense of versatility, tackling chick-flick leads (The Notebook) and winningly charming “romantic” comedy (Lars and the Real Girl) on his ascent to artsy-but-accessible cinema’s leading man. [Jack H. Evans]

If I were a director, my go-to actress would have to be Jennifer Lawrence. First of all, she’s absolutely stunning. Not only that, but she also has such a down-to-earth personality. I think she’s definitely proved herself to be a truly award-winning actress with her performances in The Hunger Games and The Silver Lining Playbook, and she’d definitely be my top pick for any movie. [Cameron Scott]

Making a movie is a lot of hard work, and in the end, all anybody ever sees and/or cares about are the pretty little actors that make it come to life before their eyes, so if I was a director, I would be furious if all of my hard work fell flat due to an actor’s poor portrayal of my storyline. To ensure that this tragedy wouldn’t befall my brilliant films (because you can be assured they would be brilliant), I would cast Meryl Streep in some role or another in every single one of my pieces of work. She has 18 Oscar nominations. Do I really need to explain this? She is INCREDIBLE, but still stays classy – a role model for us all. [Kelsey Kinzer]