$15 Film Casting Challenge

I was browsing through my WordPress reader a few days ago when I came across a really fascinating idea on a blog called Cinema Axis: the $15 Film Casting Challenge. Inspired by a similar challenge in which people were picking the best basketball players for their dream team with only $15 to spend, this challenge asks us to put together a dream cast for a film. (I’ve also seen the same type of challenge made by hockey fans.)

Courtney Small, who came up with this challenge on Cinema Axis, asked that people leave their picks in the comments, but I’ve decided to make a whole post out of it because I loved the idea so much!

The rules are simple: You select one person from each category, and you can’t spend more than $15. If you have some money left over after making your initial picks, you can hire one more person for a cameo, but their value must exactly match the amount of money you have left. Credit for the lists and assigned values goes to Cinema Axis. Here are my selections!

$5 Martin Scorsese
$4 Steven Spielberg
$3 Stanley Kubrick
$2 Alfred Hitchcock
$1 Quentin Tarantino


$5 Marlon Brando
$4 Tom Hanks
$3 Robert De Niro
$2 Jack Nicholson
$1 Sidney Poitier


$5 Meryl Streep
$4 Katharine Hepburn
$3 Cate Blanchett
$2 Ingrid Bergman
$1 Bette Davis


 Supporting Actor
$5 Daniel Day-Lewis
$4 Philip Seymour Hoffman
$3 James Stewart
$2 Jack Lemmon
$1 Michael Shannon


Supporting Actress
$5 Kate Winslet
$4 Tilda Swinton
$3 Olivia de Havilland
$2 Deborah Kerr
$1 Viola Davis


My total at this point adds up to $13, so I have $2 left over for a cameo.


Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite of the directors listed, so he was the natural choice for me in that category. Since he’s my director, the film would be a noir thriller.

I was tempted to choose Poitier or Brando for my actor, but I went for Jack Nicholson because I think it would be a heck of a lot of fun to see him in a Hitchcock film. Same goes for Philip Seymour Hoffman, my supporting actor: he was an incredible talent, and I think he’d be a great fit for one of Hitch’s shadowy tales. Perhaps we’d have Nicholson as a dirty cop and Hoffman as a hardened criminal (or vice versa – I can see it working either way.)

For my actresses, I went classic: Ingrid Bergman, who appears in some of my favorite Hitchcock films and would undoubtedly be just as great in this imaginary film; Olivia de Havilland, an actress with a gift for dramatic performances; and, finally, the great Deborah Kerr in a cameo role (perhaps as de Havilland’s sister?). An all-star roster of classic ladies.

This challenge was surprisingly easy for me, and I’m tempted to cook up an all-classic version to make it tougher on myself. Putting my own favorite actors and actresses at the $5 level would certainly add some extra challenge to the challenge. Stay tuned!

10 thoughts on “$15 Film Casting Challenge

  1. I’d love to see your all-classic version! I would have picked the same choices as you, though that Supporting Actor category is full of some especially great choices.


  2. Okay, are you ready for this? Hitchcock directing a fun ‘mistaken idenitity’ thriller in the ‘North by Northwest’ vein, with the unlikely pairing of Tom Hanks and a young Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart as Hanks’ father, and Viola Davis (who I’ve loved in a series of Tom Selleck made-for-TV mysteries I’ve watched recently) as the Thelma Ritter-ish friend of Hepburn. And with my extra buck, I’ll take Michael Shannon and have him play the evil foreign agent hell-bent on killing Hanks. The movie’s plot will involve diamonds, will take place in Finland and Alaska, and will be titled ‘Cold As Ice’, with the opening credits theme performed by Foreigner, of course.


  3. Great selections! I love the idea of de Havilland and Kerr possibly playing sisters in a Hitchcock film. I can already envision a great twist occurring based off of that pairing alone.


  4. Applaud your choices! Kerr is my all time favorite, and as Courtney noted: Deborah and Olivia together in a movie – heaven! I would never put Nicholson in a Hitchcock movie. While an interesting possibility, I think Hitch and Jack do not mix.


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