Imagine someone other than Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, or Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump. It’s impossible because those are two actors perfectly cast in movie roles. Can you see another actor besides Danny DeVito stepping into the role of Louie De Palma, or Jack Donaghy not being played by Alec Baldwin?
There are just a handful of movie and television roles so iconic that they could only be played by one person. Several actors have put on the Batsuit or donned Superman’s red cape, but no one could ever replace Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
Which performances are so perfect that it would be blasphemous if they were played by another actor? Vote up the most iconic roles that nobody else should ever play.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Bruce Willis played Detective John McClaine in five Die Hard movies, and for good reason. What makes Willis so appealing as the wise-cracking hero is his everyman quality. He makes saving the Nakatomi Plaza from the villainous likes of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) almost look fun. (If he only had a pair of shoes that fit, things would have gone a lot smoother.)
Willis may not look like the typical action hero, especially in contrast to other '80s action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, but that's exactly why he's perfect for the part of McClaine. His opponents underestimate his street smarts and penchant to never give up.Too good to beat?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Both Steven Weber and Henry Thomas took on the antagonist role of Jack Torrance in different versions of The Shining. However, neither came close to the iconic levels reached by Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick's vision of Stephen King's horror tale.
Nicholson played Torrance in the original adaptation of The Shining in 1980. There is a slow, simmering insanity that brews inside of Torrance as he and his family are cooped up at the Overlook Hotel, trapped in the snowy mountain hideaway during the heart of winter. There is tension building beneath the surface, threatening to destroy Jack's sanity. After months of cabin fever and a push over the edge by the ghosts of the Overlook, Jack explodes and tries to take out his wife and son.
The insanity and rage Nicholson bring to the role are totally believable. After watching him lurk the halls of the grand hotel after losing his grip on sanity, it is clear that Nicholson, and only Nicholson, can capture the heart of Torrance's delusion and destruction.Too good to beat?
- Photo: Walt Disney Pictures / Star Wars: The Empire Strikes BackToo good to beat?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Sigourney Weaver played Ellen Ripley in four Alien movies. And at the time of the first film in 1979, cinema audiences had never seen a heroine like Ripley in modern cinema: brilliant, brave, and able to outsmart a crafty Xenomorph when the rest of her crew failed.
Weaver's turn as Lieutenant Ripley changed the entire landscape of female characters on film. To even ponder another actress taking on the role of Ripley is inconceivable. Weaver went on to play other parts in other movies, but the science-fiction icon remains her most successful role to date.Too good to beat?