Deadline reports that 'Get Smart' director Peter Segal has signed on to direct 'Grudge Match,' a comedy about two aging boxing rivals who are brought back into the ring for one final bout. The big question now is which elderly (we're talking in the age range of 60-70) actors will strap on the gloves and climb into the ring to punch the living daylights out of a fellow senior citizen? The original article dismisses the idea of a Robert De Niro vs. Sylvester Stallone situation (the duo had been rumored for the parts earlier in the month) and jokingly suggests a 'Bucket List' reunion between Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson (Segal has worked with Nicholson before on the 2003 comedy 'Anger Management,' so you never know).
In the spirit of what will surely be a film sold entirely on seeing two legendary actors face each other down, we've compiled several dream match-ups between aging legends, men who don't let broken hips and cataracts get in the way of their ass kicking!
The Match-Up: Michael Caine (77) and Ian McKellen (71)
The Pitch: Two assassins who, unlike their wussy young contemporaries, have absolutely no intention of giving up after one final job, find themselves on the trail of the same high price target, re-igniting a fifty year rivalry between the old school, rough and tumble cockney hitman (Caine) and his technologically savvy, upper crust elitist opponent (McKellen). A lot of hip, young punks get in the way and a lot of hip, young punks get taken out in the crossfire.
The Why: Michael Caine has carved a niche in recent years as the kindly old uncle type, the kind of man who dispenses wise advice like it were candy. Ian McKellen has become the go-to thespian for genre roles like Magneto in 'X-Men' and Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings.' Too many people forget that Caine spent a decade or two of his career being a consummate badass in films like 'Get Carter' and 'Zulu.' Too many people forget McKellen's remarkable work as Richard III, the greatest scoundrel in all of Shakespeare. These are two actors who need to remind the world that they can kick all of the asses. Not to mention, can you imagine these two having heated conversations in those accents? Amazing.
The Match-Up: Liam Neeson (58) and Samuel L. Jackson (62)
The Pitch: Two FBI agents are thrown together when they realize that they've been working the same case from two different angles. Now they're being hunted by a shadowy organization hellbent on their destruction. The only problem is that Jackson is the guy who stole Neeson's wife thirty years ago, even adopting Neeson's infant daughter as his own. Can these two old rivals put aside their differences and learn to work together to survive a threat to themselves and their shared family?
The Why: Although easily the youngest people on this list, Liam Neeson and Samuel Jackson have spent much of their careers hiding their ages from audiences. It's time for these two to embrace their maturity and let all of the gray hair and wrinkles show. With 'Taken,' Neeson brought a serious gravity to an action role that wouldn't have worked nearly as well without his age. Jackson has seemingly found a fountain of youth somewhere, but the only thing that would make him seem tougher (and he looks like one tough SOB) is some crotchety old man craziness.
The Match-Up: Robert Duvall (79) and Gene Hackman (80)
The Pitch: Enemy ground forces have landed on American shores and World War III is in full swing. The in-over-his-head president calls in an old advisor (Duvall), famous for making "tough decisions." Meanwhile, a commander on the ground calls in an old friend, a former soldier turned recluse (Hackman). Both men are convinced they know how to win the war and neither is going to bow to the other. It's 'Crimson Tide' on an epic, nationwide scale.
The Why: Two of the greatest actors of all time, Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman haven't shared nearly enough screen time over the years (their only mutual credit easily found is 'Geronimo: An American Legend'). With both actors nearing the end of a glorious career and with Hackman seemingly retired, it's time for these two legends to face down in a story that will take advantage of the fact that these guys look like they've seen a lot. There is more history, more personal experience, in Duvall's crows feet than most actors could ever hope to portray. Build a movie around these two where they have to stare each other down in the face of total destruction -- there are no actors who look like they know more about the harsh reality of the world.
The Match-Up: Ernest Borgnine (93) and Clint Eastwood (80)
The Pitch: After being forced to move into a retirement community by his pushy family, a retired cop (Eastwood) realizes that the criminal mastermind he supposedly killed forty years earlier (Borgnine) is alive and well and ruling over the ostensibly peaceful old folks home with an iron fist. Can our hero summon his old instincts once more and dethrone his old enemy from his position of power?
The Why: It's simple really. Clint Eastwood and Ernest Borgnine come from a completely different era, an era where men who looked like Clint Eastwood and Ernest Borgnine could be stars. In an age of pretty boys, here are two elderly men who are not only still regularly working, but could probably chase you on top of a moving train and toss you into a ravine. Imagine these awesome relics, men who toiled under Peckinpah and Leone, forced to confront each other in a darkly comic modern setting, where the biggest thing at stake is their honor. It would be one of the greatest cinematic showdowns of all time.
The Match-Up: Robert Redford (74) and Warren Beatty (73)
The Pitch: A screwball comedy in the same vein as 'Bringing Up Baby' and 'The Philadelphia Story,' we follow two aging millionaires (Redford and Beatty) as they make a daring wager: whoever has the more successful company at the end of the year gets to woo the lovely socialite widow they've been pining over (Helen Mirren). Heart warming romance, witty banter, slapstick pratfalls and hilarious acts of industrial espionage occur!
The Why: Like Eastwood and Borgnine, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty come from an entirely different era, the era of tortured method performances and highly personal filmmaking about three-dimensional characters living in a world made up of shades of gray. Interestingly, these charming, suave actors are also reminiscent of movie stars before their time and would feel perfectly at home in a wacky, star-studded romantic comedy, a genre that hit its peak in the 1940s. This is the type of movie that would just be an excuse to watch Beatty and Redford play around and have fun and do their movie star thing, but honestly...what more could you want?
You can have those for free, Hollywood.