Modern Day Heiress

         I have decided that I would like to recast the main characters in the 1949 movie The Heiress, directed by William Wyler, for a modern day remake, based on the 1880 novel Washington Square, by Henry James. I think that my version would attract to the current audiences by giving the movie a fresh look.

         I would cast Tom Cruise as Morris Townsend instead of Montgomery Clift. I feel that Cruise would do a good job as appearing to be a handsome character that is poor yet well-mannered. When Cruise played Maverick in Top Gun, directed in 1986 by Tony Scott, he did a great job playing the part of someone that was a bit rugged on the edges yet could sweep a girl off of her feet. This would be required in the part of Morris Townsend because he appears to be interested enough in Catherine to win her heart.

         I would cast Barbra Streisand as Dr. Sloper's sister, Aunt Lavina, instead of Miriam Hopkins. Aunt Lavina comes across as an individual that wants to live vicariously through Catherine. Aunt Lavina always has good intentions even with all of the reasons why Catherine and Morris should not be together. Streisand would play this part well because she depicted Dolly Levi in the 1969 movie of Hello Dolly, directed by Gene Kelly. In this movie, Streisand's character becomes a matchmaker, very similar to what Aunt Lavina tries to be for Catherine and Morris.

         I would cast Sandra Bullock as Catherine Sloper, instead of Olivia de Havilland. Catherine is a girl that is seen as unintelligent in her father's eyes. She is controlled completely by what her father tells her to do. She eventually learns that she is intelligent and is able to stand up to her father. In Miss Congeniality, directed by Donald Petri in 2000, Bullock plays the part of Special Agent Gracie Hart, who in the beginning is ditzy and a bit disorganized; however, by the end of the film, she is a very sophisticated woman with confidence much like Catherine.

         I would cast Richard Gere as her father, Dr. Sloper, instead of Ralph Richardson. Dr. Sloper is a wealthy man that firmly believes that Morris Townsend is not after his daughter but is after his daughter's inheritance. Gere's character is a millionaire that is very business focused very much like Dr. Sloper. Richard Gere convincingly played a millionaire, Edward Lewis, who became the employer then lover of Julia Robert's Vivian Ward in Garry Marshall's 1990 Pretty Woman.

         I think that this cast would create a box office hit. It is a well-put-together cast that has great potential to be better than the original 1949 movie The Heiress.

Susan Stinson

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