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Recasting Sleeping With The Enemy If It Was Made Today

Sleeping with the Enemy was released in 1991 to poor reviews but an enthusiastic audience response. That positive reaction from the audience stayed in place, as the television could not be turned on throughout the '90s without a cable screening of the film. It was a major star vehicle for Julia Roberts, who was fresh off the smash hit, Pretty Woman.

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Her performance as Laura Burney/"Sara Waters" isn't quite iconic as her Vivian Ward role, but it's certainly up there. With that taken into consideration, it's not hard to imagine the film being remade today to capitalize on this popularity. Furthermore, the 1991 movie has a feminist slant, and this is something that could be expanded on and reworked, perhaps by further fleshing out the Burneys as a couple and as individuals.

4 Chloe Williams: Jacki Weaver

Playing Laura's blind, stroke-impaired mother was a mostly physical performance by Elizabeth Lawrence. Jacki Weaver, a chameleon of an actor if there ever was one, can do a lot with her face alone. A range like Weaver has is exactly what Chloe Williams.

Weaver can play the matriarch to perfection, as seen in the film Animal Kingdom. Here, she would be able to inject that character's complexity into what amounts to a fairly limited role. The character partially exists in service of the film's tension building. Having Weaver's talent in those scenes (particularly the main scene she shares with Martin) would only further heighten their impact.

3 Ben Woodward: Emile Hirsch

Kevin Anderson took on the role of Ben Woodward in the original film. A scruffy-looking drama teacher at the local university, Ben serves a supportive role in Sara Waters' life. He's smartly written to be gentle, but not passive. The narrative's momentum is never centered around him because this isn't his story. Laura Burney is the one who needs to undergo a change.

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Another actor who could take on a gentle, scruffy-looking role is Emile Hirsch. A multi-talented actor, Emile Hirsch's best movies have him making the most of a quiet scene. The character traits he embraced in both Into the Wild and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would be well-utilized in a Sleeping with the Enemy remake.

2 Martin Burney: David Harbour

Patrick Bergin brought a fun, slipper performance to the table in Sleeping with the Enemy. He's not very subtle, though, even at the beginning. The audience accepts that Laura has been in this unhappy marriage to Martin Burney; they also understand why she's unhappy. Bergin plays controlling well, even when the script exaggerates Martin's worst tendencies almost to the point of cheesiness. David Harbour could be outright scary in the role of Martin. At the very least, he would bring the quiet, foreboding intensity he brought to Steven Soderbergh's excellent No Sudden Move. There, Harbour is a man (not good, not terrible) who is intimidating because he's on edge, pushed into a corner.

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Seeing him go from that middle ground to playing an outright terrible man could feel like a natural progression. Harbour's roles in Stranger Things and Black Widow also toed this line. Both characters are extremely conflicted, which is something that partially exists in Martin Burney (notably in his sincere, gutted reaction to his wife falling overboard). Still, Martin would be a step further into darkness, comparable to what Harbour did with his role in the underseen Liam Neeson vehicle, A Walk Among the Tombstones.

1 Laura Williams Burney / "Sara Waters": Margot Robbie

Julia Roberts was already a megastar by the time of Sleeping with the Enemy's release, but it did a lot to keep her as such. While Pretty Woman was quotableSleeping with the Enemy was Roberts showing the audience even more of what she could do in another genre. While Sleeping will never be one of Julia Roberts's best movies, it could be one of Margot Robbie's. Recently, The Invisible Man showed that an important message can be sent via a thriller remake. Sleeping with the Enemy could do the same, especially considering its far less goofy source material. Additionally, Robbie has shown the audience several times now that she can sell a scene in which she beats up a room full of men. Here, though, she'd be no supervillain.

Seeing her take on the hulking Harbour would be a much more realistic (though potentially frightening, if done well) dynamic. Furthermore, with Emile Hirsch in the role of Ben, it would be like a continuation of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. This time, his pining for her would be at the will of the writer, not relegated to (revisionist) history. There are also plot details in the original film that could be cleaned up. Martin informing Laura that he's found her via adjusting the towels in the bathroom (at which point she could just run) wouldn't play for a modern audience. With Robbie also on as a producer (a second role she commonly takes on during a film's production), she could assist in guiding the ship towards full believability.

NEXT: Julia Roberts' 13 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes

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