Reservoir Dogs: All Female Cast

One day in April, I was mindlessly surfing the internet for any kind of juicy movie news or editorial when had posted to a blog about Reservoir Dogs. Native Audio Grrrl was fed up with guys getting all the cool parts and decided to reimagine the Reservoir Dogs as an entire female cast. I have since seen the idea pop up a few more times, and it was just one of those things that got ingrained in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about an all-female Reservoir Dogs (Reservoir Bitches?) cast. Then I remembered back in February, Up in the Air director, Jason Reitman, was going to be hosting a live script reading of Reservoir Dogs featuring an all black cast.  Apparently, he was doing quite a bit of these, recasting ensemble movies and hosting script readings for an audience. He said of Reservoir Dogs:

What makes the Reservoir Dogs script work so well is, despite the fact that it was cast with all white actors, it really is a script that could feature any race.

– Jason Reitman,

It’s true. There really isn’t anything in the script that requires any of the characters to be of a particular race, and I feel like it would be similar for gender. Obviously all the prepositions would need to change as well as the names, and all mentions of their junk would have to be reworded.  Yet despite that, I would be very much interested in seeing how the finished product would turn out.  A woman repeating Mr. Brown’s “Like a Virgin” theory sincerely to a group of attentive women would be worth the price of admission alone.

So here is my suggestions for an all female cast for Reservoir Dogs:

Kathy Bates

Laurence Tierney/Kathy Bates

Jo Cabot – Kathy Bates

Joe Cabot is the crime boss that brings the Dogs together to perform the heist he has set up. He is a super-craggy old man who is even compared to Fantastic Four’s The Thing over the course of the movie. He is basically an old-fashioned father figure. The kind of guy who fixes problems with a smack in the head and a “Wottsamatta U” exclamation. To make this more maternal, you need someone who can back hand you across the face with a quick glance and a well-positioned remark. That is where Kathy Bates comes in. Her masterful grasp on dialog helps her control every scene she is in. Combine this with her trademark attitude that just so happens to scream, “Don’t underestimate me because I am female!” on her forehead, and you have a crime boss who would be intimidating to any walk of life.

Reservoir Dogs Parker Posey

Chris Penn/Parker Posey

Nice Gal Edie – Parker Posey

Nice Guy Eddie was Joe Cabot’s son. He was basically his number 2 handling a lot of the field work for his father. While he is clearly an adult who takes his job and responsibilities seriously, there are some naively juvenile quirks to his personality, for instance he still refers to his father as “daddy” and spends most of his days in track suits even when hanging with a group of guys in black-tie suits. In order to get a really big likable personality who can flip the coin and berate the Dogs when they screw up (royally, I might add), you need someone who isn’t going to chew the scenery and be way TOO over the top. I think this would be right up Parker Posey’s alley. She has excelled with drama and comedy but does her best work combining the two in any number of indie films that make up her filmography.

Frances McDormand

Harvey Keitel/Frances McDormand

Ms. White – Frances McDormand

Reitman, when talking about his all-black reading of Reservoir Dogs considered Mr. White the most difficult to recast. He says that Keitel is just so indelible in his performance that it is hard to see anyone else in the role. As I am no an older and wiser film-watcher I can see this as being true, when previously I may have considered Madsen to be the the truly unforgettable Dog. Keitel, on the other hand, brings a sense of maturity and history to a cast of characters that we are never truly suppose to known, just observe in this one moment. We need an actress who can bring the same amount of maturity and sincerity, like Frances McDormand. For so many movies of her movies, she is the emotional anchor for which other people’s reactions work around her, not to mention having some of the best range in the business, going from comedy to drama and back again with great ease.

Jessica Chastain

Tim Roth/Jessica Chastain

Ms. Orange – Jessica Chastain

Yes, Chastain’s orangeish red hair was definitely a factor in choosing her, but I like to think she would be the obvious choice even if I hadn’t cut down the acting pool to redheads from the get go. She gave 2 of the best performances of 2011 ( and I’m not talking about The Help). Mr. Orange might be the toughest role of them all because not only are you playing a character who’s playing a character, but you also spend most of the movie on the brink of death. With that, you need a master of emotions who will be able to turn it on on and off with a moment’s notice. Tim Roth was that guy for Tarantino, and I think Chastain has proven between the 7 movies she was in in 2011 that she has the chops too.

Kaitlin Olson

Steve Buscemi/Kaitlin Olson

Ms. Pink – Kaitlin Olson

Mr. Pink was one of the earliest roles for Steve Buscemi, and quite possibly the role the put him on everyone’s radar, at least to “Hey, that guy!” degree. Buscemi had a manic energy and jittery nervousness that worked in his favor. That’s a tough feat to pull of because at any moment he could possibly become obnoxious and ruin the chemistry of the group (even hate and mistrust needs chemistry). This might have been the easiest to cast because I immediately thought of Olson because of her work on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” That role might have started out slow for her, but as soon as the other guys got a feel for her sense of humor (based on being flustered and awkward physicality), the character came into her own.

Charlize Theron

Michael Madsen/Charlize Theron

Ms. Blonde – Charlize Theron

Like I said before, Mr. Blonde was probably the one dog that I had considered memorable mostly because Michael Madsen was calm, collected, and absolutely scary. He becomes that much creepier based on a few words he actually speaks. He just doesn’t let anything get to him and chills you to your bone. So to cast an actress who can match or out-do what Madsen does, she needs to have a physicality that seems intimidating. She needs to have a screen presence that draws the camera to her so when she is out of focus lurking behind the other dogs we still see her like a spotlight. She needs to be able to speak with her eyes instead of her mouth. I can only think of Charlize Theron.

Now, what the hell is the point? Well, for the most part I was bored and thought it would be fun, but I truly, honestly believe that I have brought together a cast of actresses who could do as good a job if not better than the original Dogs. Maybe that is sacrilegious for some, but there is a serious problem in Hollywood keeping all the cool parts for guys when women are clearly capable of being just as cool. Afterall, Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor consistently make it on to “Most Badass/Coolest/etc.” lists, it baffles me that those characters could die with them.