Have you ever found yourself watching a really bad romantic comedy, deciding that some other mixture of a lead and co-star would be far more interesting than the two actors you had paid to see get together?
Focusing on the word “chemistry,” this February 14 got us thinking about perfect movie pairings. If you just put these stars in the same room, the dopamine would start to flow. Heck, we wouldn’t even mind seeing a few of these couples in the tabloids with a real romance. So, in the timeless words of Sam Cooke: Cupid, draw back your bow — and let your arrow flow.
Angelina Jolie and George Clooney
There are people who are cool. There are people who are really cool, and there are even people who are transcendently cool. Then there’s Angelina Jolie and George Clooney. These two are so hip, it’s a wonder their butts don’t fall off.
We’re imagining a movie like “Intolerable Cruelty” — but with a better script — that has the two titans squaring off in a fast-talking battle of wits. We wonder who’s out to con who, and which one will finally kick the other out of the bedroom.
An onscreen pairing of the two Oscar winners would be Alpha Male vs. Alpha Female, both fiercely intelligent and unnaturally attractive. We’ll concede the war of the sexes to whichever one wins.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman
Pity poor Jake Gyllenhaal. Boyishly handsome, he’s played opposite a dead fiancee (“Moonlight Mile”), a 6-foot rabbit (“Donnie Darko”) and Jamie Foxx (“Jarhead”). Come to think of it, the most action this fast-rising actor has gotten has been from Heath Ledger.
Pity poor Natalie Portman. Girlishly beautiful, she’s played opposite a middle-age hitman (“The Professional”), a masked hero with a penchant for smiling (“V for Vendetta”) and a “Star Wars” leading man nicknamed “Mannequin Skywalker.” In fact, the most action this fast-rising actress has ever gotten was from a stripper’s pole.
Both under 27, Portman and Gyllenhaal would make the perfect young couple, and they both have the range to pull it off in virtually any kind of movie we could think of. So let’s put their double-Oscar pedigrees to the test, shall we? We’re talking a full-on remake of “Gone With the Wind” here, people. OK, maybe not.
Cameron Diaz and Owen Wilson
In a season in which so many films make acting look like hard work, it’s refreshing to remember that Cameron Diaz and Owen Wilson always look like they’re having fun onscreen. In fact, unending exuberance isn’t just a calling card for these two, it’s seemingly a way of life. Sometimes the attitude can come back to bite them (“You, Me and Dupree,” “The Sweetest Thing”), but imagine how much fun it could be to see all that dirty-blond hair coupled with a few crooked smiles onscreen.
We’d like to see Diaz and Wilson teaming up for a romantic version of “Dude, Where’s My Car?”— finally taking the Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott roles to their next logical level. Just imagine the scene where these two stare lovingly into each other’s eyes and whisper, “Dude … sweet … dude … sweet … Dude! Sweet!” It would also give Diaz a rare double play, since she romanced Owen’s Zeppo-esque brother Luke in the “Charlie’s Angels” films.
Christian Bale and Emily Blunt
Depending on who you ask, Katie Holmes either left or was fired from “The Dark Knight,” next year’s monster sequel to “Batman Begins.” Believe whichever rumor you choose, but the bottom line is we’ll need another actress to fill the role of Rachel Dawes, Gotham City’s assistant district attorney and Bruce Wayne’s wide-eyed love interest.
We’d like to be blunt about who should fill those shoes. Actually, no, we want her to be Blunt — as in Emily Blunt, the Golden Globe-winning actress best known for her biting performance as Emily in “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Unlike Holmes, Blunt looks like she actually could be a lawyer, which is to say that she projects a bubbling intelligence underneath her sassy exterior. The real-life Blunt possesses a fierce independence and a no-nonsense attitude. Put up the signal: She’d be perfect for Batman.
Jennifer Aniston and Ryan Reynolds
Just savor it for a moment: they’re both funny, good-looking and smart. Both have been known to get into acting ruts, and a solid romantic movie could set them free from fans’ perceptions. These are two great tastes that would go great together. Seriously, can’t you already picture them kissing?
We’re imagining these two fast-talking charmers in some kind of a modern-day retelling of a Preston Sturges film. Perhaps “The Palm Beach Story,” which portrayed what exactly happens in the days after a whirlwind romance.
Denzel Washington and Halle Berry
Seriously? Have these two never, ever done a film together? We’ve checked our memory banks (and IMDb) several times, and somehow these two Oscar-winning stars have never crossed paths.
True, part of this match made in heaven is due to the fact that Hollywood is still painfully unwilling to let either of them get romantic with white actors — but the fact remains that Denzel and Halle would make a fine-looking couple.
We’re imagining a sweaty, Southern story along the lines of Berry’s “Monster’s Ball” and Washington’s “Out of Time,” with their storied physiques going at it while a ceiling fan keeps pace with the soundtrack. OK, we’ll stop now.
Edward Norton and Rachel McAdams
It’s sure to be our most controversial choice, but we assure you: We love “The Notebook” like McAdams loves Gosling. Still, it’s been three years now, and it’s time for both halves of this Hollywood super-couple to start mixing themselves up with other talents. Sorry, Ryan!
One of the things that separates McAdams from so many of her contemporaries is that she actually can act, and would be the perfect fit to play opposite Norton, who seems to overshadow so many of his leading ladies. Norton’s weakness, meanwhile, is his inability to loosen up when roles demand it — and McAdams’ natural charm could thaw out even his most intense line readings.
Imagine these two in some kind of Charlie Kaufman-esque script, playing quirky, conflicted and passionate. Even Mr. Gosling might pay money to see that.
Johnny Depp and Renée Zellweger
There’s nothing particularly normal about either Johnny Depp or Renée Zellweger — they both boast an eccentricity that makes their choices and performances all the more riveting.
Depp, especially, has earned recent kudos for his offbeat, colorful portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” a performance so original it shocked and tickled audiences to the tune of over $1 billion worldwide. But Zellweger’s choices are no less stark. Consider that after the comedy “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (for which she received her first Oscar nomination) Zellweger went on to star in a musical (“Chicago”), an ode to ’60s romantic comedies (“Down With Love”), two period films (“Cinderella Man” and “Cold Mountain”) and an animated fish story (“Shark Tale”).
We’d love to see the two of them in some kind of true-life tale of oddity and obsession. Imagine if Andy Kaufman or Hunter S. Thompson had a girlfriend equally as nuts, and they were out on the road together, and you’re beginning to get the idea.
Christopher Walken and Dakota Fanning
Yeah, it’s a weird one, but just keep your mind open for a minute. Dakota was recently at Sundance peddling the adult-themed movie that was supposed to bring her an Oscar, and is clearly in the market for older leading men (see “Timberlake, Lohan And That Dakota Fanning Flick: Sundance 2007 Preview” ). Walken, meanwhile, has never been able to fully unleash the smooth-talking gifts he has displayed in “The Continental” sketches on “Saturday Night Live.” But the best reason? It would just be really, really strange.
Here’s our setup: A dramatic look at the concept of reincarnation, casting Fanning and Walken as two people living on the same street. He’s out mowing his lawn one day, she’s playing with her Slip ‘N Slide — and when their eyes lock, they realize that in a past life they were once king and queen of some far-away land. No, we don’t need consummation of any kind, just lots of bizarre dialogue and maybe a few heavily costumed flashbacks to their past existence.
Hey, at least it wouldn’t be another cookie-cutter movie involving Matthew McConaughey, Drew Barrymore and a plot that has them deceiving each other for 10 wacky days.
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