Earlier this year, shortly after that time we were all lusting over older actors who used to be (and in some cases still are) ridiculously attractive (wait, that doesn’t narrow it down at all), Dustin wrote a post about modern movie stars who look like classic movie stars. But physical resemblance isn’t where the connection between generations of Hollywood stars stops. There are actors who, I contend, are trying to straight-up steal the souls of their older counterparts. With varying level of success, admittedly. I’ll totally buy Tom Hardy as the successor to Gary Oldman. Jared Leto needs to sit the fuck down.
In movies like Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling has made a strong go at tapping into young Marlon Brando’s sensitive-soul-hiding-in-a-brooding-bum vibe. (Maybe Gosling was going for that in The Notebook, too? I didn’t see it. I heard that at one point he emotionally blackmails Rachel McAdams into going out with him by threatening to kill himself. Did that happen? That’s super fucked up.) And, lest we forget, this Canadian ex-Mouseketeer full-on incepted himself into a Brando voice.
Well, Channing Tatum and Gene Kelly are both dancers, first off. And Tates, like Kelly, combines a boyish, romantic charm—he just wants to talk about custom furniture and/or do a waltz with you!—with undeniable masculine sex appeal. Just look at Gene Kelly’s thighs—we’d better be glad he wasn’t born in an era when he could play a male stripper, because Kristy’s head would explode. To top it all off, Tatum is even playing not-Gene-Kelly-but-no-he’s-totally-Gene-Kelly in the new Coen Brothers movie.
Look, I’m not saying James Franco is our generation’s James Dean, but I am saying he sure as shit wants to be, from starring in a James Dean movie to his self-consciously beatnik-y (or douchebag-y, YMMV) artistic predilections to his constant trolling about his sexuality. That latter point echoes speculation about Dean’s sexuality—and hey, speaking of, do you want to be reminded about that time Dean possibly-not-for-sure-but-really-totally-did have a threesome with Eartha Kitt and Paul Newman? Look at the flirting going on here. They definitely fucked.
It’s not just the occasional physical resemblance: In movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and Django Unchained, Leonardo DiCaprio has displayed an affinity for full-on bugfuck freakouts. If any non-Jack Nicholson actor could do justice to the “Wendy, I’m home” scene from The Shining, it’s Leo. When he’s not banging young, hot models, he’s probably using glitter pens to draw hearts and “LD + JN NEVER LET GO” in his Jack Nicholson scrapbooks. You know he’s spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting that eyebrow impersonation.
I’ll let Tom Hardy take this one: “Gary Oldman is my hero. When I went to drama school, everybody used to quote him and his films. State of Grace, right through—they used to do their impressions of him in Leon or whatever. And I’d sit there really quietly and think, “No, no, you don’t. No. I am more of a Gary Oldman fan than you are.’” And he has the accents to prove it.
Is Jared “My Joker’s so scary it will make my mother have a retroactive miscarriage, guys, pay attention to meeeee” Leto is the second coming of Method legend Daniel “Only actor to win three Best Lead Actor Oscars” Day-Lewis? Heh. OK. Sure, 30 Juggalos to Mars. Calm down.