Here's Looking At You, Kid & Other Iconic Quotes That Have Changed Pop Culture
by Mandi Harrison
Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s seem to go hand in hand. It doesn’t seem right to picture anyone else playing Holly Golightly, singing Moon River on the fire escape or staring into the front window of Tiffany’s. But that is exactly what could have happened. The writer, Truman Capote, wrote the novella that the film was based on with Marilyn Monroe in mind and was insistent on casting her as Holly. The screenplay was written with Marilyn in mind; however her acting coach told Marilyn that playing a lady of the evening could be dangerous for her career and she turned the role down. Truman was not very happy with the casting decision.
Now, I think Marilyn Monroe is underrated- not to get all Candle In The Wind-y, but she was never taken seriously because of her looks. The girl could act- Some Like It Hot is still one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. With no disrespect to Truman Capote and Marilyn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s would not have had the same impact with Marilyn in the lead as it did with Audrey. Audrey transformed Holly from a misunderstood sex kitten to a vulnerable young woman, trying to run from her past and hide from the future. It’s not to say the movie would’ve been bad, it just would’ve been much different.
A compelling story is pivotal for a great movie, but the performance is what brings the characters to life. Having the right actor for the right role is just as important as hiring the right director or cinematographer. Once the film goes into production, it’s up to these roles to bring the story to life. The right actor will take the character and develop into flesh and blood, adding parts of themselves into the writer’s work. Example- Nora Ephron created the world, but it wouldn't have worked as well without Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby making it 3 dimensional. The most memorable scene of the movie wouldn’t have existed without the touches that Billy and Meg brought to the characters.
It seems like every time a movie is a success, there is always an article about how so-and-so was supposed to be in the movie and what the outcome of that possible film would’ve been. Scheduling or differences in opinion between filmmakers and the studio can lead to these changes in casting. These movies probably wouldn’t have been as successful with someone else- nothing against the other actors, but they wouldn’t have brought the same qualities.
Here are some movie lines that wouldn’t or couldn’t have worked with anyone else. The actors who said these lines are responsible for some of the most iconic moments in pop culture history. The landscape of cinema would’ve been completely different.
”Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”. - Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland- enough said.
“Here’s looking at you, kid”. - Rick, Casablanca. Was there ever anyone more gruff and devastatingly cool? I don’t think so….
I just don’t think Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!- Elle Woods, Legally Blonde. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods.
“Here’s Johnny!”- Jack Torrence, The Shining. It took me years to watch this movie just because I was terrified from the deranged look in Jack Nicholson’s eyes from this scene alone. Talk about an impact on pop culture.
“La-dee-da, la-dee-da”. - Annie Hall. This line is just pure Diane Keaton, the inspiration to the movie that brought romantic comedies back from the brink of death. Annie Hall inspired many filmmakers and her fashion sense is still being copied. POP CULTURE ICON!
“All right Mr. Demille, I’m ready for my close-up”.- Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard. I’ve heard this line my whole life, every time someone was ready to have their picture taken and never knew where it was from. It’s so amazing, it’s not just pop culture history, it’s an every day phrase now. That is the power of a great performance. Gloria Swanson is incredible as an actress time forgot, but who hasn’t forgotten her glory days. Watch it if you can- it’s brilliant.
“Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.”- Margo Channing, All About Eve. This is another line that I always heard growing up, and another movie that blew me away. Bette Davis as a bored broadway actress, looking for a bit of fun is a roller coaster to watch. Bette had just the right amount of sex appeal & gravitas to bring Margo to the big screen. She is everything you’ve heard she is and more.
“Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Savings and Loan!”- George Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a character more beloved than Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey, the down-hearted favorite son of Bedford Falls. The film’s most iconic line is said by his daughter (Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!) , but the earnestness that Jimmy puts into the role is what gives the movie its heart and what’s made it a classic for many years.
“Hello, Clarice.” -Hannibal Lector, The Silence of the Lambs. There is so much meaning in those two simple words. Anthony Hopkins is both terrifying and mesmerizing as Dr. Lector. His performance earned him the Oscar for Best Actor, with a little over 16 minutes of screen time. That’s the shortest performance to ever win for the lead actor category; he was that impactful.
Those are just a few of the most iconic lines in pop culture history. Here are a couple of my favorite lines with delivery that I can’t get over.
“I will tell you in another life, when we are both cats.” and “There goes the saddest girl to ever hold a martini” Both by Penelope Cruz’s character, Sofia, in Vanilla Sky.
“And I’ll return to Paris and it’ll be as if I’ve never been.” Chris and I think Carey Mulligan is just the bees’ knees, and her delivery of this line from An Education is often imitated, but nothing beats the original.
“Are you still on this? It’s been 8 days- I’ve moved on. The best way to grieve- don’t do it.”- It seriously took me 3 days after I watched Trainwreck to realize Tilda Swinton was playing Amy Schumer’s boss, Dianna. She is just the most delicious blend of awfulness.
“I’m on a new diet. I don’t eat, and every time I feel faint, I eat a cube of cheese.” - Everyone talks about Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, but my homegirl is Emily Blunt. I highly identify with her exasperated, over-worked Emily. Anyone that can hold more than her own against Meryl in her first major role…
“Carmine? What don’t ya just go marry Carmine?”- Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle is just a thing of beauty. And by beauty, I mean a hot mess. Speaking of…
Every line that comes out of Cate Blanchett’s mouth in Blue Jasmine. This is easily my favorite performance of all time. Her delivery is just incredible. To say Jasmine is a piece of work is an understatement. Cate takes a character with no redeeming qualities, no one to blame but herself for her issues and makes her empathetic. This is the movie that made me look at performances differently. It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but the one I quote the most is probably “I want to do something substantial!”
The studio system often looks to who can sell a movie and that is their basis for picking the right actor (in their eyes). Producers and directors look at who can emotionally sell a movie- who connects to the material and can make it their own. That is a huge part of having a memorable performance. Some of the most iconic roles are decades old and people still talk about them. Why? Because the actors made them feel something. This year, Gone With The Wind is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara are two of the most iconic, beloved characters, with Scarlett at the top of many a best character list. Can you picture anyone other than Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable playing the ill-fated lovers?
Scarlett: Where shall I go? What shall I do?
Rhett: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Devastation at its finest.