2011 Oscars: Recasting 'The Fighter'

We continue our series recasting this year’s Oscar nominated films with David O. Russell’s gripping boxing drama, The Fighter

1. The Fighter Recast: Intro

2. The Fighter Recast: Mark Wahlberg/Kirk Acevedo


Played by Mark Wahlberg, 39, in the film

Recasting: Kirk Acevedo, 39

Why He's Right for the Part: In real life, Puerto Rican actor Kirk Acevedo is a former boxer, and he was brilliant in the role of scrappy boxer Miguel Alvarez in HBO's critically acclaimed series, Oz. But that's not why we like Kirk for the role of Micky Ward, played beautifully in the film by Mark Wahlberg. The real reason is that Kirk is adept at playing characters who express a lot of inner turmoil without really saying much. Micky might be incommunicative in The Fighter, but he's hurting on the inside. His mother and brother are setting him up to take a beating in the ring every single time out and it's getting to him — you can see it in his eyes. Bonus Points: Wahlberg and Acevedo seem to be in the same weight class and in real life, are the same age, 39. 

3. The Fighter Recast: Christian Bale/Benjamin Bratt


Played by Christian Bale, 37, in the film

Recasting: Benjamin Bratt, 47

Why He’s Right for the Part: Dicky's a firecracker. He's explosive. And "explosive" is precisely the word that we would use to describe Benjamin Bratt's courageous performance in the biopic, Piñero, about the challenging life of Puerto Rican playwright and actor, Miguel Piñero. One of the prettiest faces in Hollywood, Bratt was completely unrecognizable in the role, transforming into an rugged, incarcerated, drug-using tortured artist. And like Bale's performance in The Fighter, Bratt put on a show that was so entertaining (and at the same time so painful to watch) that we couldn't take our eyes off him. 

4. The Fighter Recast: Melissa Leo/Mercedes Ruehl


Played by Melissa Leo, 50, in the film

Recasting: Mercedes Ruehl, 62

Why She’s Right for the Part: You know who would rule as Alice Ward, the mother/monster in The Fighter? Mercedes Ruehl, that's who! The Oscar-winning part-Cuban actress, who was recently seen as Vincent Chase's no-nonsense mother on HBO's hit series, Entourage, is the perfect choice to channel a character who is a pillar of strength on the outside and a ball of nerves deep down. Alice prides herself on being a fearless businesswoman, but she's also got a funny side, and Mercedes is queen at playing characters with double personalities. 

5. The Fighter Recast: Amy Adams/Joanna Garcia

CHARLENE FLEMING                                                                                                                                                                    

Played by Amy Adams, 36, in the film

Recasting: JoAnna Garcia Swisher, 31

Why She’s Right for the Part: The most refreshing thing about Amy Adams' powerful performance in The Fighter is that she's playing the kind of role she's never played before. Adams is known to have an aptitude for portraying sweet, innocent and charming girls in films like Junebug, Doubt and Disney's Enchanted, but Charlene is an entirely different beast: a waitress who takes shots with her customers, a foul-mouthed college drop-out who can't seem to get her life together, and a girl whose willing to get down and dirty in a brawl, all alone, against a group of tough chicks who look like they fix cars for a living. For the role of the fearless and badass Charlene, we're doing what The Fighter did and casting against type. JoAnna Garcia Swisher, who like Amy has played sweet girls all of her life, has a fight in her that the world has yet to see. Bonus Points: Not only do Amy and JoAnna look alike, but Jo also knows what it's like to be married to an athlete from her real life courtship with Yankees outfielder, Nick Swisher

6. The Fighter Recast: Related Links