Reality Bites sums up everything I love about movies – angst, the 90s, Steve Zahn in a small but amusing role. It’s one of those movies that I will forever and ever be recommending to everyone I know (unless I hate them, because they don’t deserve joy in the form of watching a group of friends dance crazy to My Sharona in a gas station). But no matter how much I love the movie, I know a good script when I see one, and I can’t help but want to see how other actors would interpret the roles, especially in a different setting. If Reality Bites were made today (in my idealistic version of Hollywood that wouldn’t include the decline of the rom-com and everything being shot in 3-D), it might be set in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles and it might be a fictional HBO (instead of the MTV-esque “In Your Face” channel), attempting to turn Lelaina into another Lena Dunham.
Lelaina Pierce – Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick has proven that she can do smart, down-to-earth, and badass while still maintaining a really beautiful sense of vulnerability and idealism. Much like Winona Ryder, I’m still waiting for the day when she’ll play a snarky, badass princess. (Note to Misses Kendrick and Ryder: Maybe you should go make that movie instead of a remake. Thanks.) Watching her struggle with her career and her feelings for her asshole best friend wouldn’t just be relatable, it would be beautiful and inspiring and have I used the word ‘badass’ yet?
Other Considerations: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Shailene Woodley
Troy Dryer – Jonathan Groff
For this part more than any other, it was important to think of actors who wouldn’t rely on doing their best Ethan Hawke impersonation. Ethan Hawke is fucking awesome, but his personal brand of angst wouldn’t fit in a 2013 remake of this movie – he’s too grunge and cynical, too 90s, too much like an even more bitter version of Paul Rudd’s Josh in Clueless. Jonathan Groff isn’t known for his angst, but if I can infer one thing from listening to the Spring Awakening soundtrack a lot, it’s that he could definitely handle it. That being said, he’d be great at playing the cynical asshole who’s way too guarded for his own good.
Other Considerations: Hamish Linklater, Ezra Miller
Vickie Miner – Mae Whitman
Mae Whitman is adorable and sassy as hell. Her upbeat energy would be a perfect complement to Anna Kendrick’s sometimes more subdued manner, and she’d be particularly believable when standing up to Lelaina when she goes too far.
Other Considerations: Aubrey Plaza, Emma Stone
Sammy Gray – Anton Yelchin
While Troy struggles with his ambition, Vickie worries about her health, and Lelaina loses her job, Sammy’s dealing with who he is, plain and simple. Anton Yelchin is known for his introspective performances, but that wouldn’t stop him from getting along with the rest of this snarky cast.
Other Considerations: Dylan O’Brien
Michael Grates – Chris Pine
An older executive-type hits your car because he was on the phone and, from the car, out steps Chris Pine in a suit. Yeah, he ends up not being the right one for Lelaina, but Michael’s a good guy and doesn’t that first sentence just sound like a really beautiful thing?
“Grant Gubler” – Winona Ryder, Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert, Neil Patrick Harris
“Good Morning, Insert-Location-Name-Here-Exclamation-Point” talk shows are so 90s (think Danny Tanner from Full House). Instead, in the 2013 inconnu-produced remake of Reality Bites, Lelaina works as a production assistant at a co-ed version of The View. And of course, no remake is complete without a cameo from the original cast!