Casting Call: A New Amadeus?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 04:37 PM

Speaking of Mozart and his 255th birthday, do you remember the Milos Forman film Amadeus? Just for fun, let’s imagine a remake of the movie and a brand new cast. Whom would you choose to play Mozart? How about Salieri? And what about Mozart’s wife, Constanze?

To help you in the decision making, here’s a little bit of Amadeus history:

Amadeus was released in September of 1984. The story was loosely based on the alleged rivalry between composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. The film starred F. Murray Abraham as an amazing Salieri and Tom Hulce as an equally provocative Mozart.

Interesting to note, I recently learned that Kenneth Branagh says that he was one of the finalists for the role of Mozart, but was dropped from consideration when Forman decided to make the film with an American cast. Meg Tilly was cast as Mozart's wife Constanze, but she was injured the day before shooting started and was replaced by Elizabeth Berridge.

When the movie came out there was a lot of discussion about how much of the story was fact and how much was fiction. Veracity aside, the movie was a huge hit winning eight Academy Awards that year including Best Picture.

Now --.the movie was actually an adaptation of the play Amadeus by British playwright Peter Schaffer which premiered in London in 1979. The original London cast included Paul Scofield as Salieri, Simon Callow as Mozart and Felicity Kendal as Constanze.  

In 1980 Amadeus had its Broadway premiere. It won five Tony Awards that year and starred Ian McKellan as Salieri, Tim Curry as Mozart (right) and Jane Seymour as Constanze. I never saw the original Broadway production, but I sure wish I had! It ran for over a thousand performances. During the lengthy run, McKellan was replaced by the likes of Frank Langella, David Dukes and David Birney. Curry was replaced by Peter Firth and Mark Hamill among others. And Constanze was played by Amy Irving, Suzanne Lederer and Maureen Moore.

In 1999, the play was revived on Broadway and ran for less than a year. The Broadway revival starred David Suchet (aka ‘Hercule Poirot’) as Salieri (I thought he was terrific), Michael Sheen as Mozart, Cindy Katz as Constanze and David McCallum (of Man from U.N.C.L.E. fame) as Joseph II.

I understand that in 2006 there was a production at the Hollywood Bowl, which presented excerpts from the play with Neil Patrick Harris (right) as Mozart and Michael York as Salieri. Interesting pairing, yes?

Knowing that Mozart was only 35 years old when he died and that Salieri lived to 75, whom would you choose from today’s lineup of great actors to play these roles?

More in:

Comments [50]

Eric Benz from White Plains, NY

Right. David Sanders as Solieri, Carole Kane as Stanzi, John Leguinzamo as WAM (with some serious dialect coaching), and Charles Laughton as the emporer

Feb. 25 2011 11:00 PM
Michael Meltzer

Bruce? Anyway, I agree, and if you can get Mickey Rooney for Mozart, you ought to be able to get Judy Garland for Costanze. Then you've got it made!

Feb. 22 2011 06:18 PM
Phyllis Sharpe from Teaneck, NJ

Responding to Bruce Meltzer's most recent comment, I agree Alec Guiness would be great as Sallierie but suggest Mickey Rooney for Mozart.

Feb. 21 2011 08:21 PM

Well, if he were a little younger, I would cast Tim Roth as Mozart because he actually resembles the paintings I've seen of him. As others have said, Geoffrey Rush as Salieri, Alan Rickman as the Emperor, and about Natalie Portman or Emma Watson as Constanze?

Feb. 05 2011 03:36 AM
Ed from Fredonia

Thought about it, cancel Margaret Dumont. Let's have Kitty Carlyle play Constanze, and let's call it "A Night at the Staatsoper."

Feb. 04 2011 03:53 PM
Michael Meltzer

Ed from Fredonia gets good Marx.

Feb. 04 2011 01:32 PM
Ed from Fredonia

Harpo Marx as Mozart
Chico Marx as Salieri
Margaret Dumont as Constanze
...and Groucho Marx as the Emperor

Feb. 04 2011 12:52 PM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

Frank Langella or Alan Rickman as Salieri.

Natalie Portman or Kate Blanchet as Costanza.

Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr. as Mozart.

Jim Carey as Mozart is way too wacky!

Feb. 03 2011 08:28 AM
Jose from Eastchester, NY

James Franco would be a perfect Mozart. As for Salieri, I would choose a more atractive actor than the previous one if only for a twist. Maybe a European would be best. Javier Barden and Antonio Banderas come to mind. Kirsten Dunst would be a great Constanze. She was lovely on Marie Antoinette.

Feb. 03 2011 07:52 AM
Michael Meltzer

Ron Owens has the right idea, but if you animate, you need the best actor for Mozart, that's Mickey Mouse. Salieri is the Nearsighted Mr. Magoo, Costanze is of course Little Lulu.

Feb. 02 2011 06:24 PM
James Roe~Upper West

Dear Madam Midge~ Just heard your reply from a reader suggesting Malkovich as Sal-
iere in "Mythical" re make...I seem to
feel Malkovich already did the Period/
Insanely twisted Gent in "Liasons Dangerous". I am seeing the magical Daniel
Radcliff as Mozart (did U see Equus!!!).
Daniel Day Lewis as Salieri, and either a very
talented newbie for Mozarts' wife; OR-a
wild young thing from the current crop of
pop/rock divaettes. Home safe! James

Feb. 02 2011 02:38 PM
Ron Owens from Mountain Lakes, NJ

Why not do it as an animation? Superman could play Mozart, and Salieri could be played by Wile Coyote.

Feb. 02 2011 09:04 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Though Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp both seem to have the qualities to match or exceed the performance of Tom Hulce I think they're both a little too old for the part. I don't know enough about the pool of young male actors to match the role. Macho is the career characteristic for male actors and that isn't the quality needed.

But for Salieri the perfect match would be John Malkovich. Prissy second fiddle to free spirit brilliance? Who could do it better?

Feb. 01 2011 06:40 PM
joe nathan from west orange, nj

robert Downey Junior

Jan. 28 2011 08:28 PM

Johnny Depp as Mozart; Clint Eastwood as Salieri; Lady Gaga as Constanze.

Jan. 28 2011 12:44 PM
John R. Gonzalez from Laconia, New Hampshire

I'm almost 80 and have been listening to QXR since the 1930' when mom always tuned into the oipera especially when Lilly Pns sang. My son, aged 36 is tall and would make the perfect Salieri. He works for Plymouth Sa\tate University in the TIGER problem which, for years, has been putting on Morality Plays for children in N,H., Vermont, Mass...even London, England and Egypt.. He has two children ages 5 and 1 named Xander and Sawyer. His wife, Becky, is a phusical ed teacer in two of our local schools. Chris would be a NEW find and would be great in the part.
A very proud old dad. John (who speaks 4 languages, by the way) Chris also speaks Spanish fluently.

Jan. 27 2011 11:03 PM

Naomi Lewin as Salieri and Midge Woolsey as Mozart. A fresh approach might be exciting. Actually the play was better. (Bruce Willis???)

Jan. 27 2011 07:44 PM
Fred from NYC

Daniel Day Lewis and Robert Downey Jr
Barbara; get a grip!

Jan. 27 2011 06:17 PM
Richard Palumbo from Tribeca

Definitely Colin Firth as Mozart
Jeff Bridges as Salieri

Jan. 27 2011 05:11 PM
Chris from Poughkeepsie

Mozart: Michael Cera
Salieri: Christopher Lee
Constanze: Anna Faris

Jan. 27 2011 04:51 PM
John Moran

I also choose Johnny Depp to play Mozart.

Jan. 27 2011 04:48 PM
EA from LI

I like the suggestions above of Michael Cera for Mozart and either Alan Rickman or (probably better) Geoffrey Rush as Salieri. Yes, the film was fiction, but it was a fun drama all the same, and I will never forget the scene where Salieri realizes, sightreading Mozart's scores, just how far above him his rival soars. His recognition of genius was so moving--! Took my breath away.

Jan. 27 2011 04:43 PM
Bonnie from Bloomfield, NJ

Ooh! Here's a thought: How about Clint Eastwood as Salieri? I can just picture him knocking at the door, cloathed in a black cloak and hood, saying menaclingly, "Go ahead. Make my day!"

Jan. 27 2011 04:01 PM
Judith Nieter from Massachusetts

James Franco would make an interesting Mozart even though a bit mature... how about Pete Posalthwaite as Salieri? (big grin)

Jan. 27 2011 03:12 PM
Anna from at home

Ok, now I thought of a couple of possible Mozarts (from actors of all-time). A young Danny Kaye or Warren Beatty (perhaps with a blond or red wig). They are both probably too tall, but with the magic of movies could look shorter. I think they both possess several qualities that might work really well for the role.

Jan. 27 2011 02:54 PM
Anna from At computer

I thought I'd think back to movie actors of all time for this fun casting idea. So far, I've come up with Claude Rains for Salieri. Still working on Mozart... (Just to note, I really liked the original cast of the movie, it's one of my favorite films).

Jan. 27 2011 02:27 PM
Diana from Cortlandt Manor, NY

Jeremy Irons as Salieri,
Jonny Depp Mozart, Miley Syrus as the child bride. Loved the movie.Played the tape till I wore it out.

Jan. 27 2011 02:27 PM
derf from da bronx

Let’s see now.
Chuck Norris as Salieri.
Chris Rock as Mozart.
Pamela Anderson as Constanze.
Just remember that the music is the star of the film. It makes the film.
Oh – Jeffery Jones is irreplaceable as the Emperor.

Well, there it is.

Jan. 27 2011 02:25 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

I agree that the play did a great disservice to both Mozart and Salieri. No one noticed that the play brought out that it was Salieri who recognized the genius of Mozart. But I think Javier Bardem or Molina as Salieri would be great. Also Alan Rickman as the Emperor or the Cardinal. Jeremy Sisto I think would make a fine Mozart but he might be too old. From my reading up on Mozart, he might have had kidney failure. Also he owed money to the gamblers. And you know what they are like when you owe them money.

Jan. 27 2011 02:22 PM
howard from Brooklyn, NY

I would cast an authentic Austrian as Mozart. Arnold Schwarzenegger, with a lot of make-up and digital effects could look 35. I would cast an authentic Italian as Salieri. Roberto Benigni who could pass for a 75 year old. And to make the movie really interesting I would cast Megan Fox as Constanze.

Jan. 27 2011 01:10 PM
Arden Anderson-Broecking from Darien, Connecticut

I would cast Daniel Radcliffe and Cristoph Waltz as Salieri, and Chloe Sevigny as Constanze! I adore Johnny Depp, but I don't know that he'd be quite right for the role.

Jan. 27 2011 12:45 PM

Taylor Lautner as Mozart (he's just wide eyed and innocent looking enough to pull it off - but has a wird edge to him as well.)

Daniel Day Lewis as Salieri -- there can be no other. His performance would probably raise the real Salieri froim the grave!

In tribute to his early performance as Mozart, Peter Firth could now play Joseph II (he's old enough and very accomplished)

As Wolfie's "child-bride", Hailee Steinfeld (whose 15 yrs. old now but could be 18 by the time this "remake" gets cast) would be great. She was teriffic in "True Grit" and would be a sexy pairing with Taylor Lautner. Remember that Wolfie was sort of a lusty fella!

Jan. 27 2011 12:07 PM
Jeffrey K.

Javier Bardem as Salieri
Michael Cera as Wolfie

Jan. 27 2011 11:24 AM
CIndy from Union Square

Hulce and Abraham, for me..and I'm sure for many filmgoers have remained the gold standard of casting for Milos Forman's stunning film. It's almost impossible to think of any two others who could pull it off as splendidly as they did. But hey... Alan Rickman sure is close. With his craft and talent - I could believe him as a petulant, scheming Salieri.

Jan. 27 2011 11:23 AM
Eric Klein from home

Back again cool crew. Just looked up Mr. Franco - very interesting choice for Wolfie - must say I like that one. Mr. Rush would also make an excellent choice for Salieri. I agree with the other folks - if it ain't broke don't fix it! Maybe Emma Thompson as Stanzi? Or Kate Winslett.

Jan. 27 2011 11:17 AM
Barbara from Hicksville, Long Island

No one should be cast in the production because it is a terrible representation of Mozart and his life. The script should be burned. If you are going to write a play about a historical figure, it should have some facts in it and represent the person accurately. I have read Mozart's letters and seen them in his original hand and I can tell you that the character in Amadeus is absolutely nothing like the real Mozart. For a man who gave so much to the world and continues to inspire millions, it is atrocious what they have done to him. Where is truth these days? I am so glad he is in a better place and no longer has to deal with being mistreated. Happy Birthday Wolfgang!

Jan. 27 2011 11:14 AM
Jan Schwartz from Vacaville, California

All the suggestions of my fellow listeners are wonderful!
I think it would be great to find a relative "unknown" for Mozart... young, energetic, probably British or Australian...
How about Alfred Molina for Salieri?

Jan. 27 2011 11:13 AM
Bonnie from Bloomfield, NJ

My first pick for Salieris was Burce Willis, but Randi beat me to it ( about Sean Connery?). Alec Baldwin as the Emperor. Johnney Depp for Wolferl, ja, sure--is McCauley Culkin old enough yet? Scarlett Johansson is a good choice for Connie (or maybe even Natalie Portman).

Funny thing: I never saw the play and I didn't see the movie here. When I finally saw the video, in 1986, I was in Sweden visiting relatives, and I saw it--what a switch, LOL--in Swedish, with English subtitles!

Jan. 27 2011 10:50 AM
akwexynyc from NYC

I like the suggestions of Alan Rickman,Jeffrey Rush and even Kevin Kline as Salieri.
I would just like to suggest the marvelous Tom Wilkinson as well.
I have a harder time figuring out whom I might imagine as Mozart and Constanze.
Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow as the latter...?
I second Rupert Grint for Amadeus. Or maybe Hugh Dancy. Robert Downey Jr seemed an odd suggestion at first but he might make a very intriguing choice given his work on Chaplin.

Jan. 27 2011 10:43 AM
Mirella Sanseviero from Long Island NY.

Mr.Meltzer it's right !

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Jan. 27 2011 10:34 AM
Mike from Riverdale

Jim Carrey (or Robert Downey as per above) as Mozart and Phillipe-Seymour Hoffman as Salieri for sure.

Jan. 27 2011 10:22 AM
Michael Meltzer

All those suggested are awfully good choices, but it's like asking someone to be the act that follows Michael Jackson, Hulce and Abraham were that good. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
But, from an "all-time" list, I would have liked to have seen Roddy MacDowell as Mozart and Alec Guiness as Salieri.

Jan. 27 2011 09:59 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Daniel Day-Lewis as Salieri to Rupert Grint's Mozart. An odd pairing that, to me, screams dramatic tension.

Jan. 27 2011 09:46 AM
Julia from Kearny

I thing..... Johnny Depp as Mozart and Jeffry Rush as Salieri..great combination of good actors with great skills...

Jan. 27 2011 08:41 AM
Heidi, North Arlington

Johnny Depp as Wolfie and Robert DeNiro as Salieri,. Perhaps Jeremy Sisto or Andy Garcia....Salieri I am having a hard time deciding.

Jan. 27 2011 08:41 AM
Forrest Munger from Bergen County

Either Kevin Spacey or Kevin Kline as Salieri. A young actor named Rob McClure (currently portraying Charlie Chaplin in San Diego) as Mozart. Scarlett Johansson as Constanze.

Jan. 27 2011 08:37 AM
Stan from NYC

"gaylealstrom" beat me to it...Definitely James Franco as Mozart. However, Bale is too young for Salieri, I think. I suggest -- maybe-- Alex Baldwin...

Jan. 27 2011 08:36 AM
Eric Klein from home

How about Alan Rickman as Saleri and Robert Downey Jr. as "the creature"

Jan. 27 2011 08:25 AM

I think James Franco as Mozart, who I think is like him in type, and maybe Christian Bale (sp?) as Salieri

Jan. 27 2011 07:46 AM
Randi Kornreich from NYC

Bruce Willis as Salieri and Matthew McConauchey as Wolfie. Just kidding; as a publicist back then, I worked on the film. Hard to think of more perfect casting.

Jan. 27 2011 07:37 AM

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