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Josh Lucas. Haven't seen him in much, but he seems to consistently be an "all man" man while still remaining accessible in other ways. It's possible.

chris soth

Let me be the first to say what I think MAY be obvious:


Last of the old time movie stars, maybe the only one who brings a gravity that Grant could, and can also bring the levity Grant did as well. I don't think he'll deign to do romantic comedy much now, but when he's brushed w/it, I think he's acquitted himself quite well -- remember how sexy he and JLO were in OUT OF SIGHT? I even think he was pretty good in the not too great, yet underrated ONE FINE DAY.

So, tho' we'll never see it in all probability, if studios still ran things, he'd do one of these/year, along w/another Danny Ocean.


E.C. Henry


Liked what you had to say about the Eddie Izzard and Luke Wilson gender swapping at the end of "My Super-Ex Girlfriend." Didn't catch that when I saw it.

And the next Carry Grant is...

1. Luke Wilson: in my opinion this guy has rom/com staple for the next 10 years stamped all over him.

2. George Clooney: have to agree with Chris on this one, his charm is undeniable.

3. Toby McGuirre: Absolutely LOVED him in the first Spiderman. Hopefully he'll go rom/com so we can see what else he's got.

4. Heath Ledger: Heard he's in line to be the next Joker. Ledger as Nicholson, there's your syle factor. Now maybe he could parlay that into a rom/com personna.

5. Matthew McConnehey: Girl eye candy, yet with a fiesty side to him.

6. Matt Dillion: Outshinned Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson in "You, Me and Dupree," perhaps he'll build on that and "Crash"'s sucess and be the next Tom Hanks -- I think he has it in him.

7. Jake Gythenthal: Has the "raw goods" but needs some polish/rolls to justify his potential.

8. Tom Cruise: Macho? Definatley. Carry Grant style... I'm not sure. BUT this proven box office champ can get any role he wants and he's not out of the mix yet.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Tim Clague

Basically anyone who has ever played or has ever been considered for James Bond.


Don't have time to elaborate, but I think the closest right now is Will Smith. Charm, style, class, and humor.


I gotta vote on Clooney for this one, although the thing really is, there will never be another Cary Grant. That said, in my opinion Clooney is alone these days, in that he has that aura of manhood that few other stars have. Boys, all of them, and I enjoy many of those boys. Clooney - in spite of his avowed singledom - hey, it's his choice (although I think it's a cop out - I've heard him say he's 'no good' at relationships - I'd rather hear him say he just doesn't want one - but it seems a bit coyly calculated to send a message that says to interested women everywhere - 'but you might be the one to make me change my mind', trademark grin), anyway, digressions aside, he's got that manly something that I don't see in anyone else right now. And not too much in the real world either.


Clooney's the obvious choice, sure. But I think Wolverine could pull it off. Certainly Russell Crowe has the depth, intelligence and range, if only they'd offer him a comedy (or if only he'd take an interest). Ditto for Daniel Craig, though who knows if he has the comedy chops? Maybe Edward Norton?

I don't think the usual suspects (McConaughy, Stiller, either Wilson brother) have much of a mature masculine presence. They're all man-boys.

Laura Reyna

I also agree w/ the Clooney pick. He has intelligence, maturity, manliness, & isn't afraid to act goofy & look bad. But i also agree it might be too late. He's caught the 'serious artist' bug & might not ever want to go back & do what some call "fluff".

Speaking as a 40 yr old woman, what i really want to see are MEN on screen.

Real honest to goodness, grown up, manly MEN.

Mature men. Not BOYS. I'm so sick of seeing boys & boyish men on screen.

I think this is part of the longing for Cary Grant. We're missing the mature, sophisticated, 'been around' kind of man (& not just in comedies).

Tim: "Basically anyone who has ever played or has ever been considered for James Bond."

Totally agree w/ Tim here. And what do all the Bond candidates have in common?

They are all MEN, not boys.


As Grant himself said, even he couldn't live up to "Cary Grant." But I'd have to go others and say George Clooney may be closest. He definitely has the humour required for it. (One thing I always loved about Grant was his comedy - he had great timing and some of his pratfalls, such as in Arsenic and Old Lace, are fabulous.)

Not sure what I think of this, but what about Johnny Depp? When he does do humour (Don Juan deMarco, Pirates), he's great at it. And he seems to move pretty easily into whatever type of film he's in. However, he also seems utterly disinterested in being something like a "Cary Grant." But I think if he wanted to, he could pull it off.

OK. Maybe not Depp. (btw ... I've got to give a thumbs down to either of the Wilsons ... Owen is tends to be too slovenly (in speech etc.), and Luke too soft (at least in what I've seen).

Laura Reyna

I think Matthew McConaughey has the right ingredients -- he can be manly when he wants to be(Reign of Fire, Frailty, Lone Star)--but he's made some bad choices in the Rom Com genre.

And the correct spelling is McConaughey. I know, always have to look it up... :-)

Annie D.

Dermot Mulroney. Oh yeah.


although i don't think he's done much romcom (if any), i would think aaron eckhart would be a good candidate.


It's possible that we've already had the Second Coming of Cary Grant, and most people either don't realize it or don't acknowledge it because he's not white. When I ask my mom, her sisters, and most other black (or hispanic, or otherwise) women that I know for their ideal movie star, they NEVER hesitate to say two words: Denzel Washington. He's had the charm, the charisma, the smile, the comfortable masculinity that never descends into machismo, and the chops. He's been stellar and sexy in a wide range of roles, from film noir to romantic comedy to detective stories to historical drama. And his range as an actor is arguably greater than Grant's--I don't think Grant have pulled off a real-life political firebrand (say, Eugene Debs) the way Washington embodied the essence of Malcolm X. Will Smith and George Clooney are nice second choices, but they're clear runners-up to Washington. He's been the new Cary Grant for two decades.


Definitely agree with everyone who has suggested George Clooney; Denzel Washington would also get my vote. James Purefoy and Rufus Sewell would be two British possibilities - both dark, suave, and very handsome, and Rufus Sewell has a fantastically dirty laugh, which always makes me laugh too. Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and in a few years time, Jake Gyllenhaal would all get a "yes" from me; the Wilson brothers, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler definite "no".

And I agree with Laura - I want to see men on film, not silly yoofs. And I'd rather see grown up men with grown up women, not with girls 20 years younger. That's one reason I liked The Lake House - both Alex and Kate looked like they'd been round the block, been unlucky in love, yet they're still trying to find something meaningful, and they manage it.

And I wish Keanu would do more comedy - seeing him in Thumbsucker made me (and several others in the industry screening I attended last year in Edinburgh) made me remember just how good he is at it - very deadpan, perfect timing. Wish he'd do a proper romcom (i.e. not Sweet November).


Glassblower: Yes, Lucas seems like a "could be heard from more decisively in the future" candidate...

Chris: Clooney clearly a frontrunner...

E.C. -- Luke may not be "commanding" enough to be a contender; Ledger doesn't seem interested in rom-com material but could be great at rom-com (his Casanova was nice); Jake G. is an interesting -- and so far untested -- commodity...

Tim: The 007 concept seems sound...

Craig: Smith looks good yet feels perennially Boy-Man-ish...

Betsy: You're clearly not alone in this...

Kristen: Yup, Hugh Jackman looks great in a tux -- again, it's a matter of his own choices...

Welcome, Laura: Absolutely. Capital-m Man is an essential aspect...

Bill: Funny, I thought of Depp as well; he seems a little soft at first look, but he does have that key quality of mystery and a deep-rooted confidence...

Annie D: Dermot's done some good work in this genre -- but the audience has yet to respond to him in a big way...

Welcome, Deep: Eckhart! I quite agree.

Walter: That makes a lot of sense to me. Thing is, Denzel hasn't done a lot of straight-up rom-com material, so I think people don't tend to think of him in that light. But he certainly has the goods...

Sal: Right, I forgot about Keanu, who made a good Bellamy in "Something's Gotta Give" and could gain the necessary stature with age; Sewell seems like a stretch to me... Gyllenhaal, the more I think about it, has real potential, though he feels more boy than man at present... NO MORE SILLY YOOFS, meanwhile, sounds like a great t-shirt...


There isn't one and that's the problem. It doesn't help either that all the roles written for would-be-Carys are infantalized thirtysomething guys still living with their parents or commitment-phobes who have to essentially be tricked into falling in love. Maybe part of the problem is that there aren't any Cary Grant roles for the next Cary Grant to take.


Have to agree with Clooney votes. I actually liked the film One Fine Day he did with Pfeiffer, and thought it showed what he had to offer in the charm department.

If Mark Ruffalo (spelling? ) could take just an ounce of the sometime whiny-ness out of his voice, he could possbily have a shot as well...he has that calm demeanor.



ewan macgregor could fill the shoes, but like many of the others named, he probably doesn't want to.


Chris, well, that's kind of what the article points to -- though you've summed it up more directly and succinctly...

Dave, I've always been a Mark Ruffalo fan, but he strikes me as too inherently angst-ridden to be the suave C.G. type...

Kirsten: re Ewan, that sounds exactly right.


Clive Owens, Jean Reno (watch his European movies to see what I mean), and Eric Bana. Also, Colin Firth.


d'oh! I'm late and now everyone on my list has been listed. (Clooney, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, and Denzel Washington. I also think Christian Bale could do it, if he ever did comedy. Maybe (don't laugh) Brendan Fraser.) A world of no to the smug and smirky Matthew McConaughey.
This is an impossible exercise. Cary Grant! There can be no other. Now I have to go rewatch The Awful Truth and think about this some more...


Hey Billy,
Great post. Lots to think about...

Hmm... I'm going to overlook your affection for Rachel McAdams who I find pretty much annoying in just about everything. Plus, she has a HUGE forehead.

I think Jake Gyllenhaal has the potential to step into classic leading man, rom-com status. No one will fill the Cary Grant shoes, but I think maybe there are stars who can carry on the tradition. I also think Joshua Jackson has untapped potential in this department.
As far as the ladies... all I can say is, where is Elisabeth Shue? We need her at the box office, stat.
Also noteworthy, I don't think there is an up and coming actress who can fill the shoes of Julia Roberts. She fills the big screen with fun and that seems to be something that the current crop of young ingenues haven't yet mastered. It's going to be fun seeing which stars pan out into success stories and which ones kinda slip away back into obscurity.


The main problem with this pining for Cary Grant is that it's just not a Cary Grant world we live in anymore. Writers are always going to reflect the current culture - it's where they get their ideas, right? So we're not going to see those CG-esque parts, because where is the inspiration for them? The time has passed. CG usually played men of consequence: A banker, a lawyer, an insurance man, a newspaper editor...a man of substance anyway, if not of vital importance. How many of those people do you count among your friends now? We're much more likely to know the entrepreneur, the guy living in his parents' basement, the guy hopscotching from job to's just a different time.

I may have the details wrong, but doesn't North by Northwest start with him taking his mother to lunch? Find me an A-lister today who is willing to do THAT scene. (And be able to pull it off.)

These days, if there is a Cary Grant character in the movie, he is going to the Bellamy, or even the villian of the piece. Because that's how we see those positions now -- the company man, the suit. (Remember -- writers were company men as well then, under contract -- it wasn't such a scarlet letter.)

I blame it all on Ethan Hawke's goatee.

Come back to the five and dime, Archie Leach.


And I know he isn't current exactly, but I would've liked to see Paul Newman in a few great romcoms in his heyday.

My current vote would have to be Daniel Craig...but everyone's too damn short. Maybe Bale. Can we get Richard Curtis to write a Christian Bale movie? I'm rambling.


I figured it out. Today's Cary Grant is...Uma Thurman.

Impossibly good-looking. Statuesque-tall. Able to do comedy and action without missing a beat.

Now if only Luke Wilson could match up to Rosalind Russell, we'd be in business...

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