Kristen ReCasts the Classics: Gidget
Readers of the site know my love for the ’50s tale of spunky girl surfer, Gidget. The movie saw two sequels as well as a TV-series and TV-movies, but no one’s talked about remaking it, which is pretty shocking in the world of “everything old is new again.” Or maybe Hollywood is just waiting to hear what my casting choices? With summer right around the corner I figured it was time to give this feature its recast due. Here are the three casting choices I’d make a Gidget remake because, no matter what, “Gidget is the one for me!”
The Plot: A young girl discovers surfing and love (in that order) during one transitive summer.
Francie Lawrence, aka “Gidget”
Originally played by Sandra Dee
My Suggestion: Angourie Rice
In this world of actors in their early ’20s playing teenagers you have to get someone who is actually a teen. People forget Sandra Dee was just 17 when she played the part, and what makes Gidget such a great film is her “bizarre” desire to learn to surf in comparison to her boy-crazy friends. Angourie Rice made her mark in The Nice Guys, a ’70s-set throwback film where she played the adult in her family next to her man-child father, played by Ryan Gosling. Rice has that worldly-wise mien you need for Gidget; she won’t be out looking for a guy in the surf. She’s not impossibly beautiful in a way that’s relatable to young girls, yet bears a slight resemblance to Dee herself.
Other Possibilities: Amandla Stenberg would also be fantastic, as would Saorise Ronan.
Jeffrey Matthews, aka “Moondoggie”
Originally played by James Darren
My Suggestion: Timothée Chalamet
Chalamet is the bright young thing at the moment after his should-have-been Academy Award-winning performance in last year’s Call Me By Your Name. Since Chalamet has predominately worked in serious features up to this point wouldn’t it be great to see him play a character named “Moondoggie?” After all, much like his character in Lady Bird, Moondoggie doesn’t exactly start out as the romantic leading man, despite Gidget wishing he was. The two have a contentious relationship leading up to their eventual reunion and it’d be great to see them sparring. Not to mention Chalamet’s hair would be perfectly suited for the water, a prime “shoot the curl” coif.
Other Possibilities: He’s too old but Zac Efron would have been great a a few years ago.
Burt Vail, aka “Kahuna”
Originally played by Cliff Robertson
My Suggestion: Edgar Ramirez
Long-time readers of the site know my devout love for Cliff Robertson, so you really need an actor who can be utterly gorgeous but also command respect. Kahuna isn’t just an unemployed former army vet who lives in a hut on the beach – he’s a sexy unemployed former army vet who lives in a hut on the beach! Ramirez has played his fair share of freewheeling guys who spend a lot of time near the ocean, and he’s got leadership capabilities that could certainly situate him as the leader of a ragtag group of surfers. I mean, the entire third act of this movie would probably be rewritten anyway, but I can certainly dream of those scenes with Ramirez in mind.
Other Possiblities: Colin Farrell, or maybe Armie Hammer to keep the whole Call Me By Your Name thing going.
Have other suggestions? Feel free to leave yours in the comments below!
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.
I saw Timothee Chalamet and clicked on this post SO FAST! Haha!
I’ve only ever seen bits and pieces of Gidget before, never the whole movie. My Mom is a big fan, though. She remembers watching the Gidget movies when she was growing up 🙂
I personally think that no one can replace Sandra Dee or the georgeous James Darren. Deborah Walley was close and I did enjoy her, but Cindy Carol was absolutely the worse pick for playing Gidget ever. I’m surprised that anyone could put together James Darren and Cindy Carol. As I understand, James really didn’t want to do Gidget goes to Rome.
That’s just my opinion.