Random ReCasting/ReWriting Post! To All The Boys I Loved Before

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should! But I will still summarize it and then re-write it real quick for India, just so you can get a headstart on recasting, if you want.

I just watched this movie on Netflix and I loved it. Both as a good romance, and as a good character study, and as just a well-made movie. And now I want to remake it for India because it would be a very good fit. And the plot is that nice middle-ground of having enough structure to turn into a high quality movie, but still having flexibility that would let it easily work in the Indian context.

Basic original plot (SPOILERS! The original film doesn’t quite go in the direction you might think it will):

Our heroine is secretly in love with her big sister’s boyfriend, who was her friend first. She writes him a love letter, never planning to send it, and puts it with 4 other letters she has written to past crushes. Somehow, the letters get sent. To cover her feelings for her sister’s boyfriend, she agrees to pretend to be dating another boy who got a letter, who wants to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. But then she falls in love with the second boy and is conflicted about her feelings for her past crush, and his feelings for his girlfriend, and the situation is finally resolved when she talks to her big sister and realizes she is just afraid and reaching out for true love and should trust her feelings for the second boy.

Now, Indian rewrite:

Obviously we have to increase the ages a little and make this engagements instead of high school dating. The heroine is good friend with her supervisor at the hospital where she is interning, but he ends up being suggested as a fiance for her big sister, who is more beautiful and charming and outgoing than the heroine. She hides her feelings, because the couple is so happy and in love, but she writes a letter she never plans to send to the fiance. Then the sister and the fiance have a big fight right before the sister leaves for a new job overseas (the fight is over whether she should take the job). The sister says she is breaking the engagement, and suddenly the heroine is left to wonder what is the right thing to do, and wish her dead mother was there to help her.

If Rani was younger, this would be the perfect role for her

Because this is the Indian version, it is all about showing right away with no twists. So we see the younger brother of the household overhear her and then sneak into her room and take all the letters and mail them, clearly wanting to somehow help with her dilemma. The next day at the hospital, she is approached by a boy who went to school with her and whose family is sort of in the same circle as hers. He asks to talk to her, she is busy, but agrees to have lunch in the hospital cafeteria. And then he nicely tells her he isn’t interested, she probably heard his engagement to his high school sweetheart fell apart, but he isn’t ready to rush into anything new. Which is when she realizes that her letters must have been sent, including the one she wrote to him back in high school. And freaks out because that means her sister’s fiancee/her boss must have also gotten a letter. She seems him coming towards her at the cafeteria now and to avoid a conversation, grabs the other boy and hugs him.

When her shift is over, the boy is waiting to give her a ride home in his fancy sports car. While she went the route of studying hard and getting into med school, he went the route of business school and getting rich at a fancy job working for his girlfriend’s Dad. She kind of looks down on him for it, but he pokes her a bit about somehow feeling it is more virtuous to study hard and be a doctor than do a good job and get paid well for it. And he suggests they make a deal, his family is pushing him to get engaged again and he just isn’t ready. If she will be his fake girlfriend/fiancee to protect him from his family, he will be her fake boyfriend/fiance to help her get over the awkwardness of having just accidentally told her sister’s fiance she is in love with him.

How are there not more “fake dating to make boyfriend jealous/get over awkward moments” plots?

They spend time together and slowly get to know each other, he listens and really seems to care when she talks about her problems, and he confesses to her that his parents’ divorce still bothers him, that part of what he lost with his break-up with his ex is the close father-son relationship with her father. She admits that she never confessed her feelings or went after any romance because it was just easier to keep her head down and not take risks, which is the same reason she isn’t applying for the difficult mission trip she kind of wants to do. It all comes to a head when she has to go to with him as his date to his exes destination wedding. He sings her a song at the party, and it feels like real love (which she has been half thinking it might be), she goes to his room that night to confess her feelings, and the ex-girlfriend answers the door, so she just walks away. He tries to talk to her the next day, she shuts it down and says that they were always faking, right? Just have to get through this last day and then it’s over.

She returns home to find her older sister has returned and talked to the ex and knows everything. Big family fight, she is accused of ruining her sister’s engagement and then going off for an overnight trip with another man (she lied about going to the wedding, said she was going with a friend, and the family found that out too). She bursts out all her emotions in the middle of it, that she is sick of being the “safe” one, sick of giving up her dreams so everyone else can have theirs, and she is going to go on the 6 week mission trip and they can’t stop her, she is going to her friends house for the next couple of days and then leaving.

But when they get to the airport and she sees everyone else saying good-bye to their families, she starts to tear up. Just in time for her whole family to show up to say good-bye. They love her no matter what, they are sorry they let her down and didn’t see all she was going through. And, surprise, they got to the airport in time because her fake boyfriend called them and told them when she was leaving and that she really did want them all to come and say good-bye.

Jump forward 6 weeks, same airport, she looks for someone to meet her and there is Fake Boyfriend, waiting and smiling at her. She goes over to him, he pulls out the same ring she angrily gave back to him (the fake engagement ring that at some point she learned really was a family heirloom which made her think he actually liked her until she saw him with his ex), and asks “want to wear this again? for real this time?”

I should watch this some time, it’s the only “fake engagement” film I can think of.

Okay, I’m happy with all this! But we still have to cast it.

I want Taapsee as the older sister, cool and confident and smart and and effortlessly pretty. And for our heroine I am going to resist the Alia urge. Hmm. Bhumi maybe? For the older sister’s fiance, maybe Ayushmann? Nice and thoughtful and secretly handsome, the kind a quiet studious shy girl would be friends with and have a crush on. And for our hero, the cool rich cocky type who is secretly super nice and kind and sensitive??? Boy, this is legitimately hard! It’s a great role for Shahrukh in the mid-90s, but not now. Maybe Dulquer?

And for those of you who actually care enough to read this post, please let me know what you think! And come back to this post after you WATCH THIS MOVIE (because you really should).

UPDATE: Oh oh! I just had a brilliant thought! In the original, there was a thing about the heroine and her sisters being half-Korean on their mother’s side. It wasn’t a big thing at all, it was just a small part of all the things that set them aside as a family. We can do the same thing in the remake if we make their mother white. And we can cast Kalki as the oldest sister and Alia as our heroine, so their real life ethnicities will match their characters. And Alia’s Mom in a flashback as their Mom. And their hot widower Dad can be……Anil? Bobby Deal?

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30 thoughts on “Random ReCasting/ReWriting Post! To All The Boys I Loved Before

  1. I think the hero has to be strikingly good-looking, Dulquer (though charming) is not shocking enough. But I’m not sure who that would be. Tovino?

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    • Sid would be perfect, but I’m not sure if he can pull of “handsome and also really nice”. It’s kind of his character in Hasee To Phasee, but you haven’t seen that yet.

      Aditya? From Daawat E Ishq?

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  2. I definitely think you need to play up the ethnic diversity in the family, but it’s actually a shame that there aren’t more actors of mixed or different ethnic backgrounds in the Hindi film industry. I thought Jason Tham in Happy Phirr Jayegi was really good and he’s been in a couple of films…he’s Indian but of Chinese descent. Not just because the characters in Jenny Han’s series are Korean-American, but wouldn’t it be interesting to do something set in Northeast India and get some more regional representation in there.

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    • There’s Danny Denzongpa, he is way too old to play the John Corbett role, but might be interesting as a maternal grandfather thrown into the mix as a co-parent. Manisha Koirala is Nepali, although she doesn’t really look it, but could be interesting as the dead mother in a flashback. And the little brother could be the adorable little boy from Tubelight. But for the two sisters in that case, I just don’t know.

      That is, if we aren’t counting white as an additional ethnicity, because there’s loads of actors with European/Indian heritage.

      Any thoughts on the lowkey hot widower father?

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      • I thought of Danny immediately, too. I guess I count white as an additional ethnicity:), so Kalki in there somewhere would be good, too. But ever since the great scenes of the girls from the Northeast in Chak De India and the really bad casting of Priyanka in Mary Kom, I’ve been hoping for a Hindi film with better representation of people from that region.

        For the lowkey hot widower in a predictable Indian casting, I would go with R. Madhavan, if the characters were actually teenagers? Also, I’m starting to develop a little thing for Pankaj Tripathi. I didn’t like Mirzapur after watching a few episodes (too violent for no reason), but Pankaj is a lowkey hottie!

        On a related note, did you know that Neena Gupta had a daughter with a Virgin Islands cricketer? Her name is Mazaba and she’s a fashion designer and she’s also gorgeous!

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        • Maybe go on the slightly more radical side for India and have all the kids be adopted? Treating adoption as a no big deal everyday thing would be plenty radical. In that case Kalki could be the oldest, the little boy from Tubelight could be the youngest, Danny could be the Grandpa, Madhavan could be the father, and the heroine could be someone Northeastern looking. And there could be some casual comment that almost doesn’t matter about how they all came from orphanages. The important part of the family background is that the mother is dead and they miss her, them being adopted really isn’t a big deal (just as the family being half-Korean was part of their background but not that big of a deal in the original).

          And Madhavan is old enough even if the characters aren’t teenagers, I think he is pushing 50. Figure he and the mother got married young, and adopted their first kid at 25 and the last at 35, that’s right around the age he actually is. And I’d want the youngest kid to still be pretty young, like under 15, so a father on the younger side would work.

          I knew Neena Gupta had a daughter out of wedlock because I know someone who went to school with her, did not know her Dad was a Virgin Island’s Cricketer!

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  3. I thought of Danny immediately, too. I guess I count white as an additional ethnicity:), so Kalki in there somewhere would be good, too. But ever since the great scenes of the girls from the Northeast in Chak De India and the really bad casting of Priyanka in Mary Kom, I’ve been hoping for a Hindi film with better representation of people from that region.

    For the lowkey hot widower in a predictable Indian casting, I would go with R. Madhavan, if the characters were actually teenagers? Also, I’m starting to develop a little thing for Pankaj Tripathi. I didn’t like Mirzapur after watching a few episodes (too violent for no reason), but Pankaj is a lowkey hottie!

    On a related note, did you know that Neena Gupta had a daughter with a Virgin Islands cricketer? Her name is Mazaba and she’s a fashion designer and she’s also gorgeous!

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  4. I like everyone’s suggestions, especially Taapsee. But I absolutely BRISTLE that Dulquer isn’t stunningly beautiful enough! Okay — how about he is the sister’s romance that Lara Jean crushes on? I actually think Sid wouldn’t be bad in the Peter role — Hasee Toh Phasee vibes! He has that long lean Peter Kavinsky vibe and stunningly handsome while also just seeming like a NICE guy. A Gentleman!

    However, if it was more teenish, how about Ishaan and Sara Ali Khan as Lara Jean . I’m not sure Jhanvi would have the acting chops but could Sara be shy? Hmm.

    If it’s Alia as Lara Jean, then Sid would still work. I do like Madhavan as the Dad. He’s just a big ole teddy bear — and who wouldn’t want to see a scene of him giving a sex education talk and condoms to his daughter? LOL!! Actually, what about Shahrukh as the Dad?

    I don’t know why, but I had a thought of Varun as Peter. I know, he doesn’t have the height, but he does have the cocky popular thing down cold.

    I have the perfect actress for the youngest sister — Sadhana who was in Peranbu. She is insanely talented. Or Baby Menakshi who was in Oppam with Mohanlal.

    Fun!!!

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    • I was debating Varun as the hero role. He can do that cocky thing, but I’m not sure if he can manage the complicated layer of “cocky to hide insecurities to hide a core of real confidence”. Does that make sense? I feel like the hero both knew how to put on the act of being the cocky big man on campus, but also had a center of real security with who he was in the world which is what made him a good match for our heroine, they both had that center of knowing who they were. I think I like Sid better for that, he is really good at the combo of “fake confidence to hide real confidence” kind of thing. Part of the reason he is so good in action roles, he can do the cocky one-liners and also the serious bits.

      Dulquer as the crush might be perfect. He can play that “friends with a girl without romance” vibe really well, we saw that in Bangalore Days. If this was all Malayalam Dulquer, Parvathy, Nazriya, and Tovino would be a heavenly cast. And Kunchacko as the father.

      If it was more teenish, what I would love to see is Vivaan Shah as the hero. He’s impressed me in the little things he’s had so far, and he has the height. And then Ishaan can be the sister’s boyfriend. Sara might be a really interesting choice for the heroine, because she isn’t supposed to be shy exactly, more just slow to open up to strangers. Sara could bring that sense of calm within herself and bravery with her family, that would add a different feeling to the bits where she is in public and not saying anything. The audience would immediately know there is more to this girl than meets the eye. Oh OH!!!!! And then Saif can play the father!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 10:51 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Madhavan was my first thought as hot dad , but I think Arjun Rampal would be perfect too. Or Milind Soman. And how about Shah Rukh?

    I also like very much the idea of making the girls half white (but without casting Alia). But I was also thinking that they can be Tamilian or Malayali or from Andra Pradesh.

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    • What do you think about moving all the ages up a smidge more and making Katrina the oldest and Kalki the heroine? I think that might have a really interesting dynamic. Not sure who would be the hero in that case. Maybe Hrithik even? Madhavan could still be the Dad, so long as Kat was adopted at age 6 or something. Or maybe Kat is Maddy’s stepdaughter/adopted daughter and Kalki is his biological daughter? Just another twist on the whole interesting family background.

      Having them half southern might be interesting too, especially because it would let us cast Sai Pallavi as the heroine. She could wear southern style saris and flowers in her hair to work as a fashion statement/tie to her mother. It’s unusual and old-fashioned, but also distinctly “her”.

      On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 11:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • What about an all Malayalam version, Parvathy and Dulquer for the older couple, Nazriya for the heroine, Tovino for the hero? And Kunchacko for the Dad?

          Or Telugu, just so we can have Vijay Deveronkado as the hero.

          On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 11:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But malayalam only because of actors and not because it will end with: “and then they die”, or “in the end we find out he heroine/hero is crazy” 😉

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          • Yes, exactly! And no “and then they earned their happiness through 10 years of misery that made it more beautiful when it fully arrived”.

            On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 1:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • Obviously. And Naga Chaitanya can be the boy next door, and get some cheeky comments about how “it’s like he’s a son of the house”.

            On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 1:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • No, please no Naga Chaitanya in this remake, he is terrible. Nani would be much better as sister’s boyfriend. He is cute, nice and CAN ACT.

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          • But if Nani is the sister’s boyfriend, do we think we would still love Vijay for the heroine? Or would Nani overshadow him?

            On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 3:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think Nani is perfect, because we can see why she has a crush on him (and who wouldn’t? He is so cute and nice), but later when we meet Vijay (who is like Nani but sexier) we can fully understand why falls in love with him.

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          • And can Sai still be the heroine?

            On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 4:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Sai as the protagonist, and Malavika Nair (I saw and really liked her in Taxiwaala) can play the sister.

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    • Oh heck, we could throw in a subplot with Kareena as the hot single mom who moves in down the hall and fix them up too.

      On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 11:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • But that severely limits our hero casting. She can pull off mother of a 20 year old, but not more than that. Not unless we do some kind of “my mother died, my father remarried, then he died, now my stepmother is my mother”.

          On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 11:44 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But, they’re together in real life! How can this not work? …wait, could this just be a sequel to We Are Family?

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          • They’re together in real life, but she’s not the mother of his grown children! She’s not old enough for that.

            On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 12:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your concept, but I agree that I was shaking my head at the implication that DQ wasn’t stunningly beautiful enough (I personally find him more attractive than Tovino but can also see how the latter fits Peter’s role better). If Tovino was the hero, I would love to see Aishwarya Lekshmi as the heroine because the two had great chemistry in Mayanaadhi. But, I think one thing you’re forgetting is that while the heroine is the middle child, she is the same age as the sister’s crush. The sister is shown to be older than the crush because he’s still in high school while she goes off to college.
    I agree Madhavan would be a great dad (although he still seems young to play the father of mid-20s characters in my mind) SRK or Anil Kapoor would work too (I would love to see the SRK-Alia dynamic from Dear Zindagi again)
    Pleaseee no Varun Dhawan for Peter, I don’t personally like his acting & Sid is better but I also can’t see him carrying the cocky attitude of the character very well.
    Alia could totally be Lara Jean, but I don’t really see Bhumi (and Nazriya could do it but although she has a nice onscreen presence, I don’t think she’s the most formidable actress)
    I do think that DQ can play the sister’s boyfriend well, and I agree with the comment about Kalki not fitting the vibe of a film like TATBILB. (I like the concept of a mixed North/South Indian family but idk if I really see Sai Pallavi as the lead)

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    • TATBILB never explicitly says it, but somehow in my head I had the crush as between two ages, a year older than our heroine but younger than the older sister. Maybe in my remake he is an upperclassman about to graduate in med school and the sister is already successful and working? So he is kind of between the two again?

      I’m okay with Dulquer as the boyfriend. Oh! If we make it a real north-south kind of thing, we could make it that Dulquer is the family friend because he is a fellow southerner living in the north. And the hero could do sweet things that show his acceptance of the family’s southern identity. Whoever the hero is, it’s really hard to cast!

      Like

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