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Casting Call: It's a Wonderful Life

All we know about George Bailey's grandson (who we've named George Bailey, the younger) is that he's meant to be "unlikeable." James Stewart, the actor who played the original George Bailey, was probably the most likable actor of all time. We imagine this version will be a bit edgier than the Capra original, so we nominate the talented but not exactly cuddly Michael Shannon. We think he can pull off desperation and despair, and if you've seen Boardwalk Empire, you know he doesn't care about being likable. 



Every antihero needs a long-suffering wife. We're imagining her as Carolyn, a woman who loves George even though he doesn't always make her feel appreciated. Amy Adams would be perfect. She can act, she can go from doe-eyed innocent (Doubt) to fierce bitch (The Fighter); and we think for this role, she'd have to do a bit of both. 



All good holiday movies need flashbacks, and this one especially is going to need to explain George's relationship to his grandfather, the elder George Bailey. Also, audiences are not going to let It's a Wonderful Life get touched without at least a nod to good ol' GB. The only actor we can think of who could fill Jimmy Stewart's shoes without inciting fury and possibly mob riots? Tom Hanks.

In the original, George Bailey's more successful, younger sibling was his brother, Harry, a businessman and war hero to boot. Because it's the 21st century, we'd like to see the younger GB outshined by a sister. Vera Farmiga is simply not in enough movies. She's also a multi-hyphenate overachiever herself—in addition to acting, she directs as well as writes—so playing a jealousy-inducing sibling shouldn't be too much of a stretch. In this version, we imagine she's not a war hero but a successful political blogger (the 2013 equivalent, right?), named Marsha. Because that's what enviable siblings are called.



Obviously, we'll need a villain. In the original, Harry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) does the honors, playing a slumlord, crook, and sleazy finance guy. It won't be too difficult to update this one. We're thinking a Madoff-like character, blended with a politically confused yet nonetheless influential character sort of like Ted Cruz. We like him, but let's be honest, Tobey Maguire has a face asking for a punch.

The original George Bailey had four kids. In this economy, though, we'll give him one struggling teenager, Alora. Saoirse Ronan is on a roll lately, and we finally saw that she can be moody as well as otherworldly in How I Live Now. Modern George Bailey needs a tough daughter who can talk some sense into him.