Kevin Costner out of 'Django Unchained.' Whose career should Tarantino resurrect instead?

Django-Unchained

Image Credit: Avik Gilboa/WireImage.com; Chris Pizzello/AP Images

Any fan of Quentin Tarantino’s body of work knows that the guy loves to spice his movies with actors whose careers could really, really use a shot in the arm (metaphorically speaking). And it looked like for Tarantino’s next film — the period-slave-picture-slash-spaghetti-Western Django Unchained — he’d smiled upon the dimming star of a man who was once the Biggest Movie Star in the World: Kevin Costner. But then, yesterday, Costner dropped out of the film due to an over-crowded schedule (playing Pa Kent in Man of Steel may be enough of a career boost, I suppose).

The role was especially juicy, too: Ace Woody, the merciless trainer of male slaves forced to battle to the death for the amusement of ranch owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his patrons. (Calvin is also imprisoning the wife of our titular hero Django — to be played by Jamie Foxx — so you know some righteous Tarantino-esque retribution is close at hand.)

So which actor with a woebegone IMDb page should take Costner’s place? I break down the options:

THE FORGOTTEN CHARACTER ACTOR
Past examples: Robert Forster in Jackie Brown; Michael Parks in Kill Bill

Tom Hulce: An Oscar nominee for Amadeus, Hulce has been virtually MIA from movie screens since the 1990s, although he did win a Tony for producing Spring Awakening. He’s the kind of wily, verbal actor that thrives on Tarantino’s pulpy dialogue.

Robert Loggia: There are few journeyman actors who know how to pull off gruff and scabrous better than this Big and Independence Day star. Actors like him have been Tarantino mainstays.

Michael O’Keefe: Most audiences know him best as Jackie’s boyfriend Fred on Roseanne, but O’Keefe has built a solid-if-quiet career as an semi-anonymous supporting actor. It’s time for him to have his Margo Martindale-in-Justified moment.

THE BYGONE GENRE PIC ICON
Past examples: Pam Grier in Jackie Brown; David Carradine in Kill Bill

Ralph-Macchio

Image Credit: Tina Gill/PR Photos

Ralph Macchio: The former Karate Kid and recent Dancing With the Stars contestant still looks like he just graduated college but is, in fact, 49 years old. Casting that baby face to do unspeakable acts of evil is exactly up Tarantino’s alley.

Steven Seagal: Once synonymous with Jean-Claude Van Damme (when Jean-Claude Van Damme was synonymous with The Poor Man’s Arnold Schwarzenegger), Seagal hasn’t had a genuine hit since 1996’s Executive Decision. Casting him could be just crazy enough to be brilliant.

Michael Biehn: He already popped up in Grindhouse, but the ’80s action star (The Terminator, Aliens) still seems ripe for a major comeback.

THE FADED MOVIE STAR
Past examples: John Travolta in Pulp Fiction; Kurt Russell in Death Proof

Warren Beatty: He’s currently mounting his own biopic of Howard Hughes, but the guy hasn’t acted in front of a motion picture camera in 10 years. Plus, he was initially going to play Bill in Kill Bill before he bowed out and Carradine stepped in, so the guy owes QT one.

Richard Dreyfuss: He’s already had a half-dozen career comebacks at this point, but he’s never been afraid to play a raging a-hole, which is just what Tarantino could need for this part.

Gene Hackman: It isn’t really fair to call Hackman a “faded” movie star, since he’s made clear he’s happily retired from acting while he writes his novels. But Welcome to Mooseport simply should not be this man’s final feature film.

Mel Gibson: Just kidding.

So, which actor do you think Tarantino should bequeath a career resurgence with this role, PopWatchers?

UPDATE: Kurt Russell is in talks to take on the role.

Follow Adam on Twitter @adambvary

Read more:
Kevin Costner drops out of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’
Quentin Tarantino signs Samuel L. Jackson for ‘Django Unchained’
‘Django Unchained’ gets Christmas 2012 release date

Comments (79 total) Add your comment
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  • DD

    Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Robert Forster would all be awesome……

  • Mr. Come and GetIt Ladies

    Michael Keaton. Micheal Douglas. Willem Dafoe.

    • Adam B. Vary

      I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of Michael Keaton for this. Brilliant.

      • pastafarian

        Hey now, dont go chasing waterfalls.

      • Shannon

        He might Creep.

      • Josie

        What’s with the TLC puns? .. Waterfalls and Creep, am I missing something? lol

      • Darrell

        Josie, watch The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg…Michael Keaton is hilarious as a police captain who’s always quoting TLC lines, even though he has no clue who TLC is…very funny.

    • jesse

      yes micheal keaton!

    • Pam

      Michael Keaton was in Jackie Brown. And thinking off the top of my head, but I don’t recall QT using the same actor twice, with Samuel Jackson being the exception.

      • Pam

        Okay, maybe too many exceptions to use that as a rule because I just remembered Tim Roth as well.

      • Lyle

        Also: Michael Bowen, Steve Buscemi, Omar Doom, Julie Dreyfus, Kathy Griffin, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Michael Parks, Eli Roth, Uma Thurman, Christoph Waltz, and Bruce Willis. (But other than those exceptions, you’re right!)

    • Justin Poppiti

      Keaton. Definitely.

  • Max

    I second, third & fourth Michael Keaton. How about Remo Williams himself, Fred Ward. Maybe Dennis Quad

    • Lyle

      I’m still waiting for the adventure to continue…

  • Stacie

    Going to go with Biehn here. Probably an easy transition for Tarantino, but I do like the Hulce angle. It’s going to be fun no matter what.

    • nodnarb

      I like the Michael Biehn pick too. I could also go for some Rutger Hauer

      • Swerds

        LOVE the idea of Rutger Hauer!

      • Kevin

        Rutger Hauer should be in everything.

  • Edward Morton

    I wish Kevin Costner would do more movies. We see too little of him now.
    Quentin should relaunch the career of one of the following straight to DVD kings:
    Michael Madsen, Ron Perlman, Eric Roberts, Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Ray Liotta, Ving Rhames, Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Cuba Gooding Jr, Wesley Snipes, Danny Trejo, Armand Assante, Michael Biehn, Cary Elwes, Vinnie Jones, Andy Garcia, Tom Sizemore, Gary Daniels, Steve Austin, Michael Jai White, Dean Cain, Christopher Walken, Curtis Jackson, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Robert Patrick, Brandon Routh, Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, Christopher Lloyd, Forest Whitaker, etc.

    • pastafarian

      Half those guys will get a boost from The Expendables Im sure. Sons of Anarchy will prolly help the other half.

    • ally

      hey no fair naming every forgotton actor. just pick on already

    • Vlad

      I’d like to see more from Ron Perlman, Andy Garcia, Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger, Willem Defoe, Robert Patrick and Chevy Chase, although they’re all respectable actors. The rest of the people who Edward Morton mentioned aren’t actors at all.

  • ajy

    Michael Keaton!

  • pie thrower

    Harrison Ford who did not get a good product served well to him with “Cowboys & Aliens.”

    • Kvivik

      What??? I thought he was gret in Cowboys & Aliens, though I think they cut too much of the character interplay out of the film.

  • JLC

    He already gave Kurt Russell a role in Death Proof. Warren Beatty doesn’t get to play, since he turned down Bill. How about putting Nicholas Cage in something good for once?

  • Mike Tank

    “Michael Biehn: He already popped up in both Grindhouse films (in the same role, no less)…”

    Just to clarify: Biehn only appeared in PLANET TERROR. It was Michael Parks who popped up in both TERROR and DEATH PROOF as Sheriff Earl MacGraw, a character that originally appeared in FROM DUSK ‘TIL DAWN and then briefly in KILL BILL VOL. 1.

    Also, I think Michael O’Keefe is more familair to audiences as Noonan in the classic CADDYSHACK. But that’s just me.

    • Ed

      Mike Tank, you slipped in a minute before me (see below)!

  • Ed

    “Michael O’Keefe: Most audiences know him best as Jackie’s boyfriend Fred on Roseanne”…don’t forget that he was Noonan in Caddyshack! He would be great in a QT film.

  • JDD

    I say Kurt Russell even though he was in Death Proof.

    • pastafarian

      Agreed. I’d like to see him do well again. If not in this, then maybe QT can pen a Big Trouble in Little China sequel.

  • gretab

    Val Kilmer. I loved him in Tombstone and I think it would be awesome to see him back in a western.

  • ragu

    Michael Biehn please!

  • Miss M.

    Michael Keaton, pretty please!!!

  • rick

    one man. HARRISON FORD

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