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Kristen Recasts the Classics: Forbidden Planet

Back in 2011 and still navigating the waters of having the highest grossing picture of all time with Avatar, Titanic director James Cameron announced he was actively involved in a remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet. Doing a cursory search for updates on the project this week yielded zero movement from seven years back, and with Cameron entrenched in Avatar sequels I doubt he’ll be getting to it anytime soon. Maybe that’s a good thing because as beloved as Forbidden Planet’s blend of schlock and Shakespeare is, it’s gonna be a hard sell for audiences used to CGI marvels overwhelming the narrative. But, this is why you have me and Kristen Recasts the Classics. Were James Cameron ever to get to remaking this, here’s who I recommend he cast. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

The Plot: A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.

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Dr. Morbius

Originally played by Walter Pidgeon

My suggestion: Tilda Swinton

Part of why I started Kristen Recasts the Classics was to open up classic films to modern casting choices, and I don’t see any reason why Dr. Morbius couldn’t be played by a woman. Swinton, for her part, has the androgynous look that would be perfectly suited for the future. Pidgeon’s character is meant to perpetuate an air of comradeship with the men, thus making the twist all the more surprising. Swinton can play sweet, caring, and evil all in one.

Other possibilities: My original thought was Jared Harris who could easily conjure up Pidgeon’s ambiguity.

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Altaira Morbius

Originally played by Anne Francis

My Suggestion: Lily James

Altaira is meant to be this innocent babe in the woods, the result of living on a lonely planet with just her father for company. Having Altaira as the only female on a planet full of men always felt creepy to me, so if we got a female Morbius it would do a lot towards balancing the genders as well as give us an interesting mother/daughter dynamic. James has played sweet young women, but she’s also skilled at holding her own. If you look at her work in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies she’s proven she can take a prim character and infuse her with inner strength. I would hope any remake of Forbidden Planet would make Altaira more than a prize or a sex object swimming in a pool.

Other Possibilities: I kept thinking of Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart in this role, strange because I’ve only seen her in one episode of the series. Saorise Ronan would also be intriguing.

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Commander Adams

Originally played by Leslie Nielsen

My Suggestion: Liam Hemsworth

Look, I love young Leslie Nielsen, but he was never anything more than a solid “guy” in movies. He played countless boyfriends and other examples of solid, dependable guys who were good-looking, but non-threatening. Essentially, you need Liam Hemsworth. Hemsworth is just good looking enough to sweep Altaira off her feet (hell, I’d leave my planet for him), yet he wouldn’t overshadow the more interesting characters of Dr. Morbius and Altaira. I mean, let’s face it, who really watches Forbidden Planet for the all-American astronauts?

Other Possibilities: I considered Channing Tatum, Michael B. Jordan and Jared Padalecki.

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

12 thoughts on “Kristen Recasts the Classics: Forbidden Planet Leave a comment

  1. Swinton is an inspired choice for Morbius. My first thought was Christopher Walken, with Andy Serkis (of course) as the embodiment of the Monster from the Id.

  2. I like the idea of Lily James as Altaira, Tilda Swinton is an interesting choice, she would have to be her mother of course or would she have cloned herself using Krell technology?

  3. Your choice of Swinton is very intriguing n interesting she would give a innocent but darker look as well. And lilly james has potential for her character n does Liam hemsworth. But I thought for Dr. Mobius it should be played by the actor name Cumcubend not sure if I spelked his name correctly. Either way he played Dr. Strange on the avengers n he looked very similar to walter pigeon. As for Artiara I pick Scarlet Johansson even though she’s a kick ass actress she still has that innocent beauty. As for nielson character I see Chris Pine playing the role he’s strong n can have a sense of humor. Those are my choices hope for the movie to get done n I like the idea of Cameron doing it in a 3 part series. 1st telkung the story of the Krulls on who they were 2nd story what happen to them then 3rd the forbiden planet story. Looking forward to it.

  4. I loath remakes that cast original characters as the opposite sex than they were originally. It sucked with Starbuck in the Galactica remake, the female gost busters sucked even worse and it would suck casting Morbius as a woman too. If you want woman in prominent roles, do it with new movies, don’t ruin classic characters. I pray the movie will never get remade as long as PC idiots feel the need to do role reversals with the characters.

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