Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence in rebooting musicals into movies, or rebooting original musical films (like the very recent fourth iteration of A Star is Born).
Of all the reboots that have come out, I am surprised no one has tried to reboot the 1971 classic adaptation of the stage musical, Fiddler on The Roof. It is one of my favorite movies, has one of the most sweeping, beautiful scores ever (that fiddle??), badass characters (Fruma Sara is a true queen, and I too would be angry if Tzeitel carried my keys and wore my pearls!), and is a story that groups of people all over the world can universally relate to.
In my free time, I’ve often thought about who I’d like to see take on the classic roles of Fiddler that many a man and woman have taken on at community theater playhouses all across America. Besides my fever dream where a hologram of Madeline Kahn performs every part and fully delivers (we can talk all about Ms. Kahn and her genius another time), or casting Katrina Lenk as Tevye, I thought that maybe some real, living people should get the chance to perform in the imaginary Christmas 2020 premiere of the film.
Now, while I am not a casting director, I do urge you to contact a casting director you know so that the following people can get some work and also thank me for thinking of them. You will notice that very few of these people are musical theatre performers; it is a rule in Hollywood that when making a movie-musical, you are not allowed to hire people that have real musical theatre experience. So, without further ado, below is the cast of the 2020 reboot of Fiddler on The Roof, based on almost nothing except for my own dreams:
Tevye (Paul Rudd)
I chose this picture specifically to illustrate my point. Paul Rudd is an everyman and a Jewish dad, which means that he is usually level-headed, except for when the airport loses his luggage. Tevye is also a Jewish dad, and he just wishes for a little bit of money to make ends meet and give his family the lives they all deserve. Also, Paul’s funny!! I don’t know if Paul can sing or not, but that doesn’t really matter to me because he has nice eyes. That’s Hollywood, baby!! Can you imagine the bits he could do with God and how he would absolutely burn the lens during his monologues? Comedy gold would be made.
Runner up: Steve Carrell.
Golde (Laura Linney)
Besides giving this blonde woman another meaty, Woman Who is Slowly Realizing Things While The World She Knows Crumbles Around Her role, it would be interesting to see Golde with even more emotional bitterness and a cigarette dangling out of her mouth when she says, “Do you have to boast about your age?”
Tzeitel (Aubrey Plaza)
Tzeitel, while kind of the catalyst for the whole breaking-of-tradition theme, is kind of… boring? I mean, her relationship with Motel is very cute and she is definitely a Strong and Independent Woman to stand up to her father, but it seems like her only other personality trait is Being The Oldest. This is why I vote for Aubrey Plaza to fill her shoes — she is funny, weird, and has a bit of an edge that could make the line, “We gave each other our pledge” that is delivered to Tevye all the more intense. And, just as a side note, in the original stage production, Tzeitel and Motel go to Warsaw at the end (which makes me do the nervous face emoji), while in the movie, they go to New York with Tevye and Golde. In my version, they go to Warsaw for three years, decide it isn’t really their vibe, and then move to Asheville and own a thriving B&B.
We all agree that Hodel is The Hot One, right? Zendaya is good, beautiful, intelligent, witty, and talented all rolled up into one. She’d be a perfect Hodel, but in this reboot I want her to realize that following a guy to Siberia is dumb. Hodel is such a hot ticket, and she could’ve totally found a guy in New York instead of leaving with Perchik and probably living a depressing existence until both or one of them inevitably dies at the hands of the revolution.
All we really learn about Chava is that she likes books and Fyedka, the Russian Cossack. Also, she is The Shy One. These are all ingredients, when mixed together in the right way and held under the gorgeous light of the first full moon, to create a vessel also known as Björk. Remember Chava’s little interlude in “Matchmaker” where she’s basically saying “I’m too young for this, please Yente don’t marry me off to a Man Who Will Beat Me And Is Also One Thousand Years Old”? Björk’s vocals would make this all the more BONE CHILLING.
Shprintze & Bielke (Bouquet of Flowers)
There is nothing really noticeable nor discernable about these two except for the fact that they are the youngest daughters of Tevye and Golde. In the movie, they share about five lines between the two of them. This is why I suggest a bouquet of flowers take their place. Imagine a bouquet of flowers in their place in every scene these two young girls are in and tell me if there’s a difference.
Motel Kamzoil (William Jackson Harper)
I haven’t seen William Jackson Harper in anything besides The Good Place, but he seems like a really good actor and is also super cute. Chidi is a fantastic character, and is basically a modern-day Motel. What I’m asking is that William Jackson Harper plays Chidi. I want Chidi to be in this reboot. I want a role reprisal. Also, imagine the trepidation and excited nervousness with which he could sing-talk “Miracle of Miracles”!!!
Perchik (Timothée Chalamet)
Okay, can we all agree that while Perchik is the Hot Bad Boy Who Comes to Shake Things Up, he’s also kind of the first form of what we know today as a “SadBoi”? A.K.A, like, kind of the worst? While passionate, he’s moody and very “welcome to my twisted mind” about everything, which is why I feel Timothée and his Renoir face could do the part justice.
Fyedka (Chord Overstreet)
To be honest, the only qualifications one needs to embody Fyedka are to be vaguely Aryan looking and soft spoken. It is a bonus if he also has blue eyes, which convinces the audience even more that Fyedka truly is The Different One in the cast. I don’t really remember much about Fyedka’s personality, except for that he too likes to read and it seems his and Chava’s relationship is built upon the fact that they both like books, and he is tall and a gentle juxtaposition to the other Russians occupying Anatevka. So, why not Chord Overstreet of Glee fame and ex-boyfriend of Hermione Granger (yes, he used to date Emma Watson)?
Lazar Wolf (Harvey Fierstein)
The key to playing Lazar Wolf is to have as little awareness of your surroundings as possible, and to let the audience believe that since you are an older, wealthy butcher it’s totally fine that you still live with your mother. Mr. Fierstein could pull this off. You might be saying, “But wait, didn’t Harvey Fierstein already play Tevye in the 2004 revival of Fidder?” Yes, yes he did. However, this is my dream, not yours.
Yente (Cyndi Lauper)
Has this casting choice seriously never crossed your mind? Can you imagine what this would look like? Cyndi’s Yente would be like if Molly Picon’s Yente found a Joann Fabrics on the outskirts of Anatevka and went hard. Plus, can you imagine the synthpop version of “The Rumor” that would only be available via the CD release? A must.
Fruma-Sarah (Lainie Kazan)
Fruma-Sarah has approximately three minutes of screen time, but the staying power of a thousand suns. Lainie Kazan is bold, brassy, has a great voice, and great comedic timing when given the chance to shine (you may think I’m talking about her iconic role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but what I’m really talking about is her pivotal, scene stealing role in the Adam Sandler film, Don’t Mess With The Zohan). She could take those three minutes from when she ascends out of the ground, white as a ghost, and give a performance worthy of at least a Golden Globe for Best Guest Actress right there.
The Fiddler (Tilda Swinton)
I mean. Who else to hauntingly fiddle and embody the entire meaning of the film but this ethereal chameleon from Planet Breathtaking Androgyny?