Movie/TV roles don’t always fit

Published 12:11 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

For some reason in the last few months, I’ve become the resident television critic. I’ve given you probably more information than you wanted on a variety of TV shows.

This week, I’m going to stay on the entertainment bandwagon. Instead of telling you about a particular show, I am going to share with you a list of what I think were bad casting decisions and give better options.

Before you go any further, let me state that my wife and friends freak out about many of these ideas and if you have a favorite star, you might want to just check out now.

I’ll start on the big screen with one of my favorite movies – Lean on Me. The movie starred Morgan Freeman as high school principal Joe Clark while Robert Guillaume played the schools’ superintendent.

Frankly, I think these roles were reversed. Guillaume would have been an even better Clark (Freeman, as always, was excellent) because he fit more into the physical role as well as being able to play a strong character.

Daphne Reid was the second woman to play Vivian Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and the casting was simply awful. To me, she was never the same character that was originally portrayed by Janet Hubert.

While my choice would have been for Hubert to have stayed, but in her absence, I would have chosen Telma Hopkins, who was exiting Family Matters by that time.

One of my favorite dramas was Criminal Minds. That was in the days when Mandy Patinkin was one of the stars of the show. Patinkin is a truly great actor who was surrounded by people who were good too.

Then he left the show and they replaced him with Joe Mantegna who plays a different character, but is basically his equal on the show. It’s bad casting and a truly horrible idea.

Were I to have chosen someone to take the role, I would have gone with someone who could have been strange, but would have added a better dimension to the show. I would have chosen either John Goodman or Ed Begley Jr. They are incredibly talented and each could have made the show a ton more interesting.

Back to the big screen, I think one of the worst castings of all time was Angelica Houston in the role of Morticia Adams. She was cast in that role in two 1990s movies and I have rarely seen a character cast as poorly.

I think Christie Brinkley or Bo Derek would have been a much better choice. They could have pulled off the strange character and still had a bit of sexiness, which Houston doesn’t have.

The one that nearly gets me bloodied every time I mention it among my friends is the casting of Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay on Friends. I know she is a star. I know people love her. I just don’t.

I think the character could have been played much more goofy and fun-loving and still retained a sexiness that Kudrow simply doesn’t have.

I would have chosen Soleil Moon Frye for the role. The funny and very sexy Frey would have been a welcome change to Kudrow for me. I catch flack if I ever bring it up, but there you have it just the same.

Well, there’s my fun list. Feel free to send me yours.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.