William Wyler's 1939 version of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights was not the best translation of a book to a movie. The writers got the story wrong, and I honestly feel that casting a remake would a great idea… so long as the movie script is rewritten, and they use the book as a reference for more than character names. The focus of this recasting is on main characters (Catherine, Heathcliff, Linton, and Hindley) and very supportive characters (Ellen, Isabella, and Joseph).
If one were given the choice to recast the movie, several suggestions can be made as to who could best play the part. Of course to be fair, it seems now days there are a lot more options/choices for not only main characters, but also not so important ones. For the role of Heathcliff there are two actors who deserve the most consideration: Daniel Baldwin and Alan Rickman. They both have that brooding look that Heathcliff is truly characterized by. No offense to Laurence Olivier, the original Heathcliff, but he was just too pretty to be Heathcliff. However both Baldwin and Rickman have proved themselves as more versatile actors, meaning they can play this brooding personality and also be clean cut.
The second main character that is very important to cast is Catherine Earnshaw-Linton. The best choice for this role is Catherine Zeta Jones, rather than Merle Oberon for several reasons. She has the acting ability to truly pull off all the attitudes one expects Catherine Earnshaw-Linton to have. Jones also has that natural dark beauty that Catherine is described by Brontë to possess.
Hindley is a character that is a little harder to cast because he is so dynamic. He changes so much through out the book. However, instead of Hugh Williams, Brad Pitt is the actor to consider, based solely on his performance in the 1994 film Legends of the Fall. He is another actor that is very versatile and could easily play both sides of Hindley. He can be sophisticated yet cruel man and the drunk.
As for the part of Edgar Linton, this part requires someone who can play the gentleman, being graceful, well mannered and is instilled with civilized virtues. The best choice for this character is Matt Damon, rather than David Niven, because he fits the image set up by Brontë in her 1847 novel. He has also played parts in the past that have been very dignified in the past. He is the last of the main characters one might consider to be a main character. But it is well known that supportive roles/characters are not only needed but also present in almost all movies.
The three main supportive roles that should be cast with great consideration are Ellen Dean, Joseph, and Isabella Linton. These characters will be discussed very briefly. The part of Ellen Dean, originally depicted by Flora Robson, should be played by Glenn Close. Kate Hudson, not Geraldine Fitzgerald would make a wonderful Isabella and the part of Joseph, instead of Leo G. Carroll, should be played by Michael Caine.
The 1939 cast members were not bad actors; I just do not believe they were cast correctly. Plus film making has come a long way since then, and it feels as though there are more options open with not only casting, but also with techniques. Actors and actresses have a lot more chances now days to improve their talent, and that is what makes the choices for parts more plentiful.