Now that Sandra Bullock is riding high as a Serious Actress, how can she maintain that momentum? By doing theater, of course! And we know just what role she, and four other currently popular but gravitas-needing actors, should play.
We're thinking mostly actors that need to prove themselves, ones who've never been taken very seriously, only been taken seriously for one role and want to keep it up, or have never played anyone but themselves. Some of these might be wildly unrealistic, but we think they'd be fun anyway.
The Role: Lil' Bit in How I Learned to Drive, by Paula Vogel
Why? Vogel's lovely 1997 memory play — about a woman recounting an instance of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her doting uncle — seems a perfect fit for Bullock, what with that sharp humor of hers that belie those lovely, sad brown cow eyes. Bullock also has the kind of elasticity that would serve her well in the childhood flashback scenes, sudden changes in the character's age that can fell more rigid actresses. And while she might lack Lil' Bit's signature honkin' big bosom, they've got costuming wizards to fix that.
The Role: Todd in Pterodactyls, by Nicky Silver
Why? A bleak, black family comedy from the pinnacle era of bleak, black family comedies, Silver's 1993 AIDS play has a perfect role for Krasinski's ordinary-guy shtick and his weary, sad smarts. Whenever he ventures out of The Office, Krasinski has seemed a bit flat and lost. Todd is, well, sort of flat and lost — he's returning home to tell his insane, drunken family that he has AIDS — but with just enough character heft to give Krasinkski the kind of quiet serious man stuff he'll need to do if he wants sweet, sweet Respect. Plus it'd hopefully get him out of the smug ghetto he's been relegated to on The Office and in movies like It's Complicated.
The Role: Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, by Duh.
Why? Krasinski's former Office girlfriend is very pretty. So picture her sailing out onto the stage on a summer night in Central Park, playing the Bard's best comedic heroine. Jones has shown aptitude for spunk and moxie, but she's not been given a hell of a lot else to do. Beatrice is sort of the prototype for all these no-nonsense lady characters we see in sitcoms these days, so it could be interesting to watch Jones mine the root, sparring gamely with her Benedick (a blustery and fumbling James McAvoy perhaps?) and wrap her tongue around all that sparkly verse. It could be a total disaster, but at least it'd be pretty to look at.
The Role: Tilden in Buried Child, by Sam Shepard
Why? Possibly crazed, stunted man-boy is sort of Galifianakis' stock-in-trade, so he ought to step comfortably into the role of... crazed stunted man-boy Tilden. Only Shepard's play is a hell of a lot creepier than anything Galifianakis has done before, though there is an alarming and exciting bit of creeping menace in all of his comedy. Tilden, the slumping son of a crumbling Midwestern family wracked with guilt from a history of incest and dead babies, doesn't do much but hulk and carry vegetables around, but it could be a great opportunity for some serious physical acting. Best thing: He could keep the beard!
The Role: Medea in Medea, by Euripides
Why? No fooling! Sure she's already gone the villainous mother route in Precious, but why stop now when she's got something good going? Plus Medea is a bit from Mary Jones. Both characters have motivations born from a man's scorning, but what they do with them is a bit different. Medea is a bit grander and crazier. Mo'Nique's got the presence to hold the stage as one of drama's most formidable women, plus she's got that kind of wicked curl in her eyes that just works so well when she's being really terrible. Fiona Shaw, who did a famous modern Medea in 2002, played Mrs. Dursley in the Harry Potter movies, so conversely comedian Mo'Nique should be able to do the switch the other way around, right?