The assistant who sabotages the boss to get a promotion – how many Lifetime movies have featured this plot? And didn’t it launch the show Nashville, with Hayden Panettiere’s character trying to dethrone country music vet played by Connie Britton? But no series or film can hold a candle to the OG of this plotline: the Oscar-winning All About Eve.
But Eve Harrington doesn’t stop at trying to steal Margo Channing’s career. No, she wants the Broadway star’s boyfriend, best friend, and her life in general. Made in 1950 and considered one of the greatest films of all time, it’s a must-see, but might have a better chance of attracting today’s audience if it was updated with some current stars.
10 Miss Casswell: Megan Hilty
Marilyn Monroe was a relative unknown when she was, some might say, typecast as the wanna-be actress introduced to the Broadway crowd by theatre critic Addison DeWitt as a “graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art.”
The beautiful bombshell who could easily take on the role now is Megan Hilty, an actual New York theatre actress many will remember from TV’s Smash, where she played Ivy, who vies with Katharine McPhee to play “Marilyn” in the Broadway version of the icon’s life.
9 Phoebe: Anna Kendrick
Barbara Bates played an Eve in the making in the original film. Now a star, Mill Harrington returns home from an awards ceremony honoring her to find Phoebe waiting for her. The wide-eyed President of the Eve Harrington Fan Club turns on the charm — and sex appeal — when Addison shows up at the door.
The multitalented Anna (she sings, too, and has written a book) has such range as an actress that she can turn on a dime from ingenue to seductress, as the part requires.
8 Max Fabian: Anthony Anderson
Gregory Ratoff portrays the Broadway producer who funds the plays written by Lloyd Richards, directed by Bill Sampson, and starring Margo Channing. He is a serious money man, but needs a sense of humor to deal with this group of creative divas, who are also his friends.
Anthony Anderson, with his dramatic acting chops honed on Law & Order and his comedic timing put into practice each week on Black-ish, is perfect to play the large and in charge guy who puts on the show.
7 Birdie: Leah Remini
The Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated Thelma Ritter, with her trademark New York accent, made a career playing working-class characters like Birdie, the long-time, trusted assistant/confidante of Margo Channing.
Leah Remini, with her own NYC-centric way of speaking evidenced in her leading roles in Second Act with BFF JLo, as well as King of Queens and Kevin Can Wait, was born to play the role of the only street-smart person in the room who knows from the get-go that Eve is not the innocent she pretends to be.
6 Lloyd Richards: Hugh Jackman
The career of debonair Hugh Marlowe spanned 50 years, from the 1930s to the 1980s. In his role as playwright and husband of Karen, he had watched Margo age out of the leading lady parts in his plays, but kept casting her because she’s a great actress and a friend … until Eve lends a hand and reads with Miss Casswell, who is auditioning. Eve, who has failed to seduce Margo’s man Bill, sets her sights on Lloyd after he gives her the lead in his new play.
Hugh Jackman, the handsome Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe winner, and Oscar nominee, is the embodiment of the intelligent, savvy, and often frustrated author.
5 Karen Richards: Gina Torres
Oscar-winner Celeste Holm brought her beauty and charm (not to mention decades of screen and stage experience) to the part of Karen Richards, socialite and wife of playwright Lloyd, and bestie of Margo. Where Margo’s off-stage persona is that of a broad, Karen is refined, soft-spoken and has a soft touch. Hence, she is the one Eve approaches outside the theatre in the hopes that Karen will take pity and bring her inside to meet the Broadway star.
Gina Torres is a sought-after television actress who has appeared as the elegant, sophisticated and intelligent law partner on Suits, which spun off into her own show, Pearson, and she is currently starring as an EMT in Rob Lowe’s 9-1-1 Lone Star, proving she can play someone who is both comfortable among cafe society and empathetic towards those less fortunate.
4 Bill Simpson: Henry Golding
Gary Merrill was quite the leading man in his day, so it’s no wonder that the handsome actor was tapped to play Bill, Margo’s younger lover. Although he’s torn between directing theatre productions and wanting to helm the ship of Hollywood films, the one thing about Bill that is unwavering is his love of his oft-insecure, Broadway star girlfriend. Eve finds that out the hard way.
The relatively new Hollywood star Henry Golding won our hearts with leading man roles in Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, and Last Christmas. He would be totally believable as the ambitious, slightly jaded, director who is devoted to the woman he loves.
3 Addison DeWitt: Jeff Daniels
British-born Oscar winner George Sanders took condescension to a new level and often played the cad in his long stage and screen career. He made a meal out of the role of Addison DeWitt, the manipulative, pot-stirring theatre critic who helps Eve achieve her goals, not out of avuncular kindness, but for the amusement of watching everyone’s world turn upside down.
Who couldn’t see the actor who can play anything in this role? Daniels (who is 6-foot-4) is particularly adept in roles where he is literally and figuratively large and in charge. His character in HBO’s The Newsroom serves as the perfect pre-cursor for the role of the influential villain who ruins people’s lives and careers for sport.
2 Eve Harrington: Alison Brie
The acclaimed and award-winning actress, Anne Baxter, was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal as the doe-eyed schemer who weasels her way into the life of Margo & Co. first as the Broadway star’s assistant (much to the chagrin of Birdie), then as her understudy, then as her replacement in Lloyd’s new production. She plays almost everyone, especially Karen, like a violin with a sob story about being a down on her luck war widow combined with a heartfelt devotion to Miss Channing.
This part — then and now — requires an actress whose most important quality is likability. Like the others in the cast, you embrace her when you first meet her as an ingenue, but can’t hate her later when you realize she is out for herself at any cost. Alison Brie, who has turned in such varied performances from Mad Men and Community to Glow, has what it takes to make the part “all about her.”
1 Margo Channing: Kim Cattrall
“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night,” was the line made famous from this Hollywood classic by the two-time Oscar winner and legend, Bette Davis. As the aging star, Margo, who grapples with self-doubt — first about how she could have been so gullible as to fall for Eve’s act, then at her own career, in which even she knows the parts she’s playing are better suited for younger actresses — Davis’ Channing showed us eventually that moving on in one’s life to a new phase is not a sign of defeat, but growth.
Golden Globe winner Kim Cattrall has an acting CV that dates back to the 1970s, although most know her as “Samantha Jones” from SATC. Since her work on that iconic HBO series, she’s played a variety of leading roles in shows such as Sensitive Skin, Tell Me A Story and most recently, Filthy Rich. Not only does Kim have the acting chops for this demanding role, but she can draw upon personal experience with recent headlines to play the beleaguered Margo.
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