The Outsiders: A Dream Cast
Welcome to the most important imaginary reboot of all time.
Francis Ford Coppolla’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s classic novel, The Outsiders, hasn’t managed to hold up in quite the same way that its Brat Pack counterparts like The Breakfast Club (1985) or Sixteen Candles (1984) have throughout the years, but there’s no denying its significance as the first of the classic 1980s oeuvre. Its star-studded cast reads like a who’s who of twentieth century Teen Beat fantasy fodder.
To commemorate what might actually be the greatest, most frankly homoerotic film of all time, I’ve decided to recast it for the modern age. Science plays no part here. If you’re looking for reason, legitimacy, or Ansel Elgort in any sort of key role, you should probably keep on walking. I didn’t cast any Socs, because who cares, but if I had, Ansel Elgort would certainly be playing Bob, who is terrible. Just like Ansel.
Anyway. Without further ado…
Originally played by C. THOMAS HOWELL.
Replaced by: HARRY STYLES.
Cut off Harry Styles’ hair, and you have C. Thomas Howell in this movie. They are twins. It’s genuinely uncanny.
Ponyboy Curtis is our point of view character, through whose eyes we are seeing this terrible, Machiavellian hellscape. Is Tulsa actually this horrible? Like, holy shit. It’s like West Side Story, but no dancing and zero fun. Just a bunch of rich kids — in Oklahoma — with questionable fashion sense picking on a bunch of poor dudes trying to emulate Elvis Presley. In Oklahoma. Who lives there? Does anyone actually live there?
So here we are, following around this fourteen-year-old grumpy toddler as he runs around this dystopic dust bowl, somehow forgetting that Leif Garrett and his gang of Madras-wearing, Mustang-driving disciples are actively trying to beat the shit out of him. We’re supposed to believe that Ponyboy is just a kid with his head in the clouds, but listen. This town is like fair Verona on steroids. Ponyboy’s best friend was beaten within an inch of his life practically last week. Where is this kid’s awareness? If I were trying to raise him, I probably would’ve thrown him across the room too. Jesus Christ.
But this is why Harry Styles is perfect for this role. He is Ponyboy, reborn. Granted, a more fortunate Ponyboy — as far as I know, Harry Styles’ parents are alive and also nice people. Harry Styles is free to be as dreamy and disconnected as he wants — but a Ponyboy nonetheless. Have you seen this guy on stage? Have you ever taken a look at his Instagram? Tell me this guy hasn’t accidentally walked in front of a truck a time or two. I would bet my entire life savings that Harry Styles unironically jots down his thoughts in a Moleskine every night before he goes to sleep.
Alternatively: There is no alternatively. This movie is not getting made without Harry Styles at its helm and I am not sorry. People still in denial can go talk to their local ministry about it, because there is no other discernible reason why God would have created Harry Styles directly in C. Thomas Howell’s image if he weren’t supposed to take over this film role in particular.
Also, unrelated point, but have you seen how C. Thomas Howell looks nowadays? He has a goatee. If that happens to beautiful little Harry Styles, I might cry. What a goddamn waste.
Originally played by RALPH MACCHIO.
Replaced by: JADEN SMITH.
Who else? Who else is there on this earth but the guy who has already done a sub-par job replacing Ralph Macchio once? I was about to tell you that Ralph Macchio was forty-five when he made The Karate Kid, but apparently he was only twenty-two. That’s crazy. He just looks like one of those guys who plays a cherubic pre-pubescent, but in actuality is forty-seven with three ex-wives and a dozen kids underfoot.
The point still stands: Jaden Smith replaced this guy once, he can do it again.
Imagine Harry Styles and Jaden Smith running from the cops together. Imagine Jaden Smith lying on his death bed, burnt to shit, and telling Harry Styles to “stay gold.” The mental image alone is worth the inevitable hour and a half of Jaden’s wooden acting while he waxes poetic about the SUNSET. God. I cannot wait.
Alternatively: Ralph Macchio. He’s like Paul Rudd. Or Keanu Reeves. He probably still looks the same. Put some foundation on that mug, CGI out a few wrinkles, and there you go. Good as new. What use is modern technology if we aren’t willing to use it?
Originally played by PATRICK SWAYZE.
Replaced by: VIN DIESEL, CIRCA 1999.
First of all, hear me out. Patrick Swayze was perfect in this role. If I could choose Patrick Swayze all over again, I would. There’s no improving on that kind of casting awareness. However, this is a reboot cast, and stuck as I am with these limitations, there’s no remaining choice more perfect than a young Vin Diesel. Dominic Toretto is the Darry Curtis of the The Fast and the Furious franchise. They’re both the beefy, de facto patriarchs of a ragtag group of hooligans that have, despite the odds, found family amongst each other. Also, Vin Diesel would probably get super attached the story and fully fund the whole thing with his multi-millions from the Riddick movies or whatever.
Here’s how Hinton describes Darry in the beginning pages of her original novel: “He would be real handsome if his eyes weren’t so cold.” Admit it — Vin Diesel just sprung up fully-formed inside your mind, looking flinty and stern, his bald head gleaming in the sun.
Actually, one issue does present itself here: Vin Diesel’s bald head. The novel mentions how tough everybody’s hair is maybe fourteen billion times. All they think about is their hair. We would need to get Vin Diesel a wig.
Alternatively: Channing Tatum. Because why the hell not? A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints-era Channing Tatum. He would also need to grow his hair out, which might make him ugly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Channing Tatum with long hair except for in the opening scene of 21 Jumpstreet, and that was just the world’s shittiest wig.
Originally played by ROB LOWE.
Replaced by: ZAC EFRON.
Again, it’s hard to replace Rob Lowe here. Sodapop’s main character trait is that he’s the handsomest guy in all of Oklahoma, and Ponyboy, his younger brother and most ardent admirer, practically creams his pants every time he talks about him. Rob Lowe in 1983 was about the best looking person in our planet’s history. Now, he looks like a used leather wallet collecting dust in the drawer of some antique dresser sitting in a storage unit in New Jersey, but back in the day, his face reigned supreme amongst all of the faces.
Enter: Zac Efron. A) Cute as hell; b) looks like he’s going to have a rough time aging; and c) TigerBeat staple. This is about as good as actually cloning Rob Lowe as a twenty-something to put him in the movie.
Anyway, what else is Zac Efron doing? Playing a DJ in that weirdly named movie with the girl from the “Blurred Lines” video? Yeah, okay. He has time. Trust me.
Alternatively: The guy who plays Dr. Dre’s younger brother in Straight Outta Compton. The actor’s name is Keith Powers, and he’s probably the most attractive person my eyes have ever seen. Granted, I’ve never actually seen Keith Powers act in anything other than the roughly five lines he says in Compton, but I’m comfortable in saying that it doesn’t actually matter. All he has to do is show up and blink, and it’s already perfect. He’s frankly stunning. I think we should put him in every single movie from this moment onward until the end of time.
Originally played by EMILIO ESTEVEZ.
Replaced by: MILES TELLER.
This is basically Miles Teller’s role in Divergent, except way less aggressive. One million times less aggressive. Actually, it’s nothing like the guy from Divergent, except for the relentless comic-relief factor. And you know what? It’ll work.
Remember that scene from the movie when Ponyboy is off listening to Randy, the world’s preppiest Lurch, talk about his feelings or whatever, and Two-Bit is laughing at the dudes wearing khakis? Yeah, I’m pretty sure Miles Teller has done that exact same thing in real life. He’s probably somewhere in the world doing it right at this moment. Playing Two-Bit would be a cakewalk, because all he would have to do is show up on set and act the exact same way he acts in his every day life. Boom. Oscar nomination.
Alternatively: Will Poulter, otherwise known as Eyebrows from We’re The Millers and The Maze Runner. He has the strangest face ever that’s ever been put onto this planet. What happened there, exactly? And why?
Originally played by TOM CRUISE.
Replaced by: WHO CARES?
Why was Tom Cruise even in this movie? I’m pretty sure Steve speaks exactly zero times. He’s annoying in the book, too. Can we just petition to get rid of the character entirely? Are we really that attached to this guy? I mean, his name is Steve. In an ensemble populated with guys named Sodapop, Ponyboy, and Two-Bit, who wants to hang out with a Steve? The answer is nobody. Nobody wants to hang out with Steve.
And you know what, I also hate Tom Cruise! He’s four feet tall, a Scientologist, and his teeth are improperly aligned. WHAT IS THE POINT OF HIM. The best thing that ever happened to this world was when Katie Holmes turned into a goddamn spy, divorced Tom Cruise while he was busy filming a movie in Siberia or whatever, and then dipped out of his life like Carmen Sandiego. I will never, ever stop loving Katie Holmes, PURELY because of what a power move that shit was.
You know what? Maybe Katie Holmes could breathe some life into this character. We could cut her hair short, slap a hat on her, strap down those boobs, and I bet not one single person would notice, because Steve is that irrelevant to the plot. Let’s do it. Whatever! Anarchy reigns.
Alternatively: Katie Holmes. Stab the knife in Tom Cruise’s back and twist it.
Originally played by MATT DILLON.
Replaced by: TOM HARDY.
Once upon a time, Tom Hardy was kind of skinny. Back before he had to expand the density of his neck five times to play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, he was an average-sized dude with average-sized muscles. I’m thinking of average-sized muscles Tom Hardy, playing the incredibly grouchy, half-crazy Dally Winston. Imagine Tom Hardy during that last scene. You know the scene. Tom Hardy would KILL that scene. Imagine the guy he played in Warrior, just minus the muscle tone, with more substantive dialogue and a leather jacket. You’ve literally never seen a better casting choice.
Alternatively: Chad Michael Murray. 100% of the look, 0% of the acting ability. Think about it.
Alternative alternatively: Nicholas Hoult. 50% of the look, 80% of the acting ability. Also, the sole option I’ve provided for Dally that is age appropriate. All I’m saying is, we have options.
Bonus: Cherry Valance
Originally played by DIANE LANE.
Replaced by: SHAILENE WOODLEY.
Imagine Shailene Woodley throwing a drink in Tom Hardy’s face. Let the image ruminate. It’s hilarious. Go for it.
Also it fulfills the dream that Shailene, Miles Teller, and I all share: Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in a movie together at all times.
Alternatively: Nope. No. Give me Shailene Woodley for Cherry Valance or give me death. It’s the perfect choice. We already know she’s cute as hell with red hair. Also, there’s no way that anyone could write her out of this script. It’s a lock. Done.
What else is there to say? I’ve now created the best movie of all time. You’re welcome, America.