I have long thought that casting James Van der Beek as the lead in the movie Rules of Attraction was a giant missed opportunity. The lead character is supposed to be this sardonic, aloof, drugged-out playboy lusted after by almost everyone who sees him. The creators of the movie clearly cast Van der Beek in the role to subvert the loser-ish image he’d cultivated as Dawson in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” (Dawson was on an image-remaking kick at the moment, having just come off the hit football movie Varsity Blues.) I never believed him for a second as the protagonist of RoA.
Everyone who’s seen Cruel Intentions, Igby Goes Down, or Gosford Park knows that Ryan Phillippe exists on this earth for the sole purpose of playing that role. He’s been decent to mediocre in everything else, but I just know he would have taken that role in that movie to some unimaginable height, making it much, much more than the fun, hot trifle of a film it ended up being.
Now Hollywood’s gone and delivered Giant Missed Opportunity #2.
In June 1967, the Supreme Court handed down a hugely controversial unanimous opinion in Loving v. Virginia, forcing all the states to allow interracial marriage (at the time, 16 states banned it). That December, Hollywood came out with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
With an all-star cast (Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn) and a hotshot director (Stanley Kramer), GWCtD told the story of a wealthy black doctor visiting the also-wealthy family of his white fianc