Sandra Bullock takes over George Clooney's role in Our Brand Is Crisis
The Hollywood A-lister isn't the first female actress to do a gender switch by taking on a role originally written for a man.
Trust Hollywood bigwigs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to tackle the issue of sexism in Hollywood head-on.
The power duo revealed at the Toronto Film Festival on Sunday (Sept 13) how they took the step to make Bullock the lead in a film written for a man.
Our Brand Is Crisis, opening here Oct 29, is a fictionalised take on the true story of the fiery political strategist behind a 2002 presidential election upset in Bolivia.
Based on Rachel Boynton's 2005 documentary, Bullock plays "Calamity" Jane Bodine, a jaded political campaign consultant brought in to engineer a turnaround.
The lead role was originally written for Clooney but due to his busy schedule, the screenplay sat around for eight years. Then Bullock asked Clooney — who's also wearing the producer's hat for this project — to consider switching the lead role's gender.
“Sandy called and said she wanted to do the role that was originally developed for a man to do,” Clooney told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival, according to Variety.
“And once we realised that you could change it really easily, it made you realise that there are an awful lot of women’s roles that could be out there if people just started thinking in this way.”
Bullock isn't the first actress to do a gender switch in major Hollywood films. Here are other ladies who stole the show in roles originally meant for men.
Angelina Jolie in Salt (2010)
Like Bullock, Angelina Jolie is more than capable to take on any roles.
Tom Cruise was originally attached to star in this action thriller about a spy named Edwin. But when Cruise walked away before production started, Jolie convinced the producers to change the lead character from Edwin to Evelyn, and Cruise's loss is our gain.
In a time when movie-goers were inundated with male spy flicks like Jason Bourne and James Bond, the female-centric Salt was a breath of fresh air.
Not only did it become a global hit (taking US$293.5 million).
While it is the last action role Jolie has taken, Salt 2 is in the works.
Sigourney Weaver in Alien (1979)
Sigourney Weaver so owns the role of Ellen Ripley in Alien and the subsequent sequels that it unbelievable that Ripley wasn't specifically female from the first.
When the then unknown Weaver auditioned for a part in Alien, her performance was so strong that the film-makers decided to take a chance and make her not just a crew member but the lead.
The gamble certainly paid off.
Director Ridley Scott once said that "the idea of making the hero a heroine was a masterstroke".
Jodie Foster in Flightplan (2005)
Foster plays a mother who frantically searches for her missing daughter on a transatlantic flight.
Sean Penn was originally attached to play the lead, but when he bailed, director Robert Schwentke realised a "mother" would deliver much more of an emotional impact, thus re-written the part for a woman.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Foster has always asked her agent to look for leading-man scripts that could be made into leading-lady ones.
Foster's role in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium (2013) was also originally meant to be male.
Helen Mirren in Arthur (2011)
In the original 1981 Arthur, the character of Hobson was played by John Gielgud and earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
In the 2011 remake, Hobson was reimagined from a valet to a nanny, and was wonderfully played by Helen Mirren.
Needless to say, the great Dame more than owned the role, outshining everyone in the process.
Sadly, the rest of the film does not reach Mirren's heights.
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