Like most people, I have a good amount of friends who are all but consumed by Fantasy Football or Baseball. I’ve even been invited to join them a few times, but I had to pass.
It’s all just too much.
Too much time. Too much effort. Too much information.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m unhealthily fanatical about my own teams (Go Mets! Go Knicks! To a lesser extent, go Bears), but I certainly don’t know all the players on the rest of the teams, or what their capabilities are. Not to mention whether they’ve disappeared, been suspended, or lost an arm since their last game.
I never want to be that good with spreadsheets.
However, when a few friends from work came up with a different kind of league – tailor made for people like me – I finally realized I could be a part of the mania. Well, mania adjacent.
During a lunchtime conversation – probably between solving world hunger and creating an engine that runs on seawater – the collective minds of Rob, Jaena, Alex, Elmer, and Matt conceived of The Fantasy Casting League™.
In the current entertainment world of wall-to-wall reboots, remakes, and re-imaginings, it just couldn’t be more timely
The concept is simple. Pick a movie (preferably one that’s at least five years old), and recast it.
More specifically, recast it as if you were gonna start shooting tomorrow. No dead actors, fictional characters, or “Robert De Niro when he was 20″s.
You don’t recast the whole thing, of course. No one’s got time to choose the perfect new Cop #4 or Dinner Guest #12. Basically just 8-10 main or memorable characters.
Sure it might be a struggle to find that many with some movies, and a struggle to trim to down to that number in others, but you get the idea.
For us, the first week’s movie was Home Alone.
Rob put together the forms (complete with synopsis, original actors, character names, and pix), and we had a week to fill them out. Then the founders, along with me and fellow ‘Leaguers, Josh and Sarah, met up and reviewed (mocked/applauded/got confused by) everyone’s choices together. There were no drinks, but that should probably change.
In the inaugural run, the winner was chosen by vote (written on pieces of paper and tossed into a hat for a dramatic tallying by Rob in true Survivor style). And no, you couldn’t vote for yourself.
In the end, I outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed. Also; won.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one who went with a race-swap remake, but I did spend some extra time curating and cropping photos to match the originals. That and an adult Kieran Culkin are what probably put me over the top.
It’s the little things that make a difference.
After crowning the victor, we each threw an idea for the next round’s movie into the hat, which was randomly chosen as… The Breakfast Club (are you sensing a trend here?)
Despite all evidence to the contrary, if you’re trying this at your home, dorm, or place of business, I highly recommend mixing it up.
Avoid one romantic comedy after the other or two action flicks in a row, as a lot of those casts will probably end up being un-enjoyably redundant.
In the second round, we also tried a new scoring system, so that one poor choice didn’t completely derail someone’s chance at victory (although a Louis C.K. selection still felt a little like self-sabotage).
A bad pick got no points, a good pick got one, great pick two, and no pick at all got a negative two (so it’s always best to throw someone in there… anyone).
Naturally, the judging is very subjective. If you’ve never even heard of someone’s choice, it’s hard to vote for it, even if it’s theoretically perfect. But you still don’t want your lack of media savvy to knock out a contender. It’s best to take the temperature of the room during the evaluation to see if everyone agrees on someone you’re not familiar with. Then maybe they get the benefit of the doubt.
After everyone marked up their score sheets, they were all passed over to Rob (who’s clearly taking on too much responsibility in this racket) to add up the results.
Not to brag (he says just moments before bragging), but… I was at the top again once the dust settled.
We’ll see if I can keep going strong in week three. Thankfully, this post will go up while I’m still undefeated.
But who knows? With a little (a lot of) luck, that might never change!
Some final thoughts from League Management
Alex wanted to mention that “Josh sucks at understanding great casting calls” (feels like there’s a history behind that one).
Jaena wanted to stress that the League is still in beta, and that we aren’t trying to exclude people (not sure who feels excluded and why, but in all likelihood, I never liked them anyway).
And Elmer wants to point out that he’s placed second for two weeks straight. Oh, and that he’s coming for me (bring it).
Any casting ideas you’d have chosen over mine? Any suggestions for future movies to redo? Be sure to mention in the comments below…
Also, check out the follow-up in my next blog post…