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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Quantum Leap’ movie

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Quantum Leap, the 1989-1993 NBC science fiction drama series about a scientist whose consciousness jumps around into the bodies of other people, but only during the years of his own lifespan, and only, it would appear, spatially within the continental United States.

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)

(I didn’t do a Dreamcast last week, and no one seemed to miss it. And the week before’s garnered only two comments. I’d hate to think this feature is played out, but maybe it is. I’ll make a decision after seeing the response to this installment about whether it should continue.)
The original cast included:

Dr. Sam Beckett: Scott Bakula
Rear Admiral Albert “Al” Calavicci: Dean Stockwell

At the end of the series, Sam was left still leaping around in time: he never got to make that last leap, the leap home. Where has he been leaping all these years? Has he learned anything more about why he’s leaping, or if anyone is controlling the leaps? There are questions that demand answering.

My dream cast for a modern update:

Dr. Sam Beckett: Lee Pace
Rear Admiral Albert “Al” Calavicci: Russell Crowe

Who would you cast? Any ideas whom Sam could leap into?

Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks Sam needs to be brought home:



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  • CM

    No replacing Dean Stockwell!

    I don’t think fans are ready to let go of the fantasy of the original actors reprising their roles in a film. (Is that cheating?)

  • honestly, as a fan of the original and as a fan of Scott, I can’t see re-casting, and I can’t see bringing the show back. And I can’t see it being a theatrical movie either.

    What I would like (even if those involved would not like it) is a series of TV movies with the original cast/crew/writers (Quantum Leap – 15 years later). I’d also like some closure at the end* – unlike what happened with the Pretender TV movies.

    *or at least control over the leaping, so that Sam could keep his promise to Donna – temporary leaps, like on Journeyman would be good

    That’s the most I could hope for.

  • Watch the last episode again. If you do, you will see that Sam clearly died, and has been given a chance by Fate/God/Time to do one last good thing before he passes on the the next life. Really, it’s the only interpretation that makes sense.

  • JoshDM

    Quantum Leap?

    Oh, boy…

  • Gee

    I loved this show! What a downer of an ending but I wouldn’t want to see it changed.

    Didn’t Sam leap outside the US when Al was a POW?

    I think Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell are still the dream cast. I wouldn’t want to see anyone else in a movie. However, a main attraction for me was that each week, we got to see Sam in a new situation/new body. That would be less significant in a movie where the emphasis would necessarily have to be on what was causing the leaping and bringing some sort of resolution.

  • andreina

    I would like in a Quantum Leapmovie or an Tv series with the original cast.
    Scott and Dean in their roles, in evoluton roles or in a story that explains and follows the last episode.
    I think we old fans would be happy to have a “end” but even a new episodes, new stories, in respect to the premises, the rules, the characters given in originel series.
    Bring back Quantum Leap, but only with Scott am Dean!

  • There were episodes set in Vietnam, Egypt and England. And one outside of Sam’s lifespan, in the American Civil War.

    And it wasn’t Sam’s consciousness that was leaping: it was his whole body. This wasn’t clear in the earliest stories, but is unarguable in later episodes where he replaces, for example, a war vet with his legs amputated.

    If Doctor Who was my heroin – right up until it was cancelled in 1989 and I decided to turn my back on fandom and become a ‘normal’ guy – Quantum Leap was my methodone. Let’s face it, it’s heresy to suggest replacing Bakula and Stockwell. (Although I did watch a couple of the box sets recently and my goodness, it could be cloying and schmalzy at times.)

    Anyway, with Doctor Who on our screens again and better than ever, no substitute is necessary. I’m back on the hard stuff for the next decade at least.

  • Stu

    Already considered:

    http://www.mania.com/new-quantum-leap-series_article_35356.html

    Notice what else is mentioned in the article as an afterthought.

  • PaulW

    If there had to be a Quantum Leap movie, knowing Hollywood it would be a reboot of the story, so we’d go back to the beginning of it and have Sam start again as a Leaper… perhaps leaping back to a major nuclear weapons test in the late 1950s, and convinced that using it would boost him back to his original timeline… only to have an Evil Leaper there trying to sabotage the test and start World War III.

    Dr. Sam Beckett: Aaron Eckhart
    Admiral Al Calavicci: Al Pacino
    Evil Leaper Alia: Lindsey Lohan
    “Kiss with History”: Sam explains time travel to a group of British scientists, one of whom goes back to a third cousin working for the BBC who ends up creating a cult scifi show… :smirk:

  • Shaun

    Ah Quantum Leap. Confused the heck out of me first time I saw part of an episode. My picks:

    Patrick Wilson as Dr. Sam Beckett; He has a good pondering look. Would probably look good in a grey mini skirt, in case the film revisits that particular episode’s theme..

    Brent Spiner as the Admiral. His time traveling experience from Star Trek: First Contact is crucial to prevent Wilson getting into any (primordial) hot water.

  • NorthernStar

    I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles. Scott and Dean were, IMO, the epitome in perfect casting and the chemistry between them has never been matched by any other show.

    I’m probably alone in liking the ending to QL. Yes, a scene with Sam finally stumbling into Al’s embrace would have been lovely but the bittersweet twist of Al’s happiness with Beth set against Sam’s loss in Time (presumably cut off from the project as he was leaping as himself) is wonderful.

  • JLP

    This has to be my all-time favorite show, and it definitely needs to be brought back in some form or other. We need closure, dangit!!!

    And while I’d hate to see someone else step into the roles of Sam and Al, I have to agree with the above poster who suggested Aaron Eckhart as Sam. Because I was thinking the same thing! There’s something about him that’s very, er, Sam-ish.

  • blake

    Sam : John Simm
    Al : Jeff Goldblum

  • Hdj

    Sam : Ed Norton
    Al: Gary Oldman

  • Bonnie

    A new Quantum Leap movie could not be made without Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. It just wouldn’t be the same without them.

  • Jester

    Agree with Bonnie.

    Sam: Scott Bakula
    Al: Dean Stockwell

    This is one remake that *doesn’t* need a new cast, and the story-telling would suffer if you tried. If you’re gonna make the movie, you have to bring him home. And if you bring him home, you need the original cast.

    There is, of course, nothing saying that at the end of the movie, some secondary character (perhaps played by your suggested actor) couldn’t step into the chamber convinced (wrongly) that HE can get it right… ;-)

  • Tony (South Africa)

    This is probably my favourite TV show ever. I ahve the box sets and I cannot imagine for one single moment replacing Scoot or Dean. As a previous poster mentioned their chemistry is unmatched.

    I would love to see a movie or a new season of this show. Ahhh…nostalgia is not what it use to be :)

  • scipwraec

    No doubt about it: keep Scott and Dean. I’d have no problem whatsoever with both of them reprising their roles as their older selves. It would make sense. Sam’s been stuck leaping, Al has been carrying on with his life. If done properly, bringing Sam home after all this time could cause more lips to wobble now than when the show ended. Who wouldn’t love to see the elderly Admiral finally get to crack the kid’s ribs with that hug long denied to them.

  • Chuck

    My two cents: The only way to do it would be a 2-4 hour TV project with the Scott & Dean. They could go the closure route or launch into a new series with new cast….

    Some fanboy has probably written something like this (thought even about doing it myself) and its probably somewhere on the web…

    Perhaps a “leap” I’ll make next…..

  • Inga

    I like your choice of Lee Pace for the role of Sam but Russell Crowe for Al??? I’m sorry but I just don’t see him in that role…Maybe that doesn’t mean anything because I have a hard time imagining anyone else but Dean Stockwell as Al hehehe

  • MaryAnn

    Some fanboy has probably written something like this

    Some fanboy or fangirl has written every permutation of everything. It’s like the million monkeys eventually banging out Shakespeare. Alas, most fanfic does read as if it were written by monkeys. :->

  • Louis

    First off, hello.

    My name is Louis and I’m a Quantum Leap fan. I was born in September 1981. I know I know, Oh Boy. lol I love this series. I have not seen this show in over ten years and have recently found it running again on the Vision chanell. First off the thought of a continuation of the last episode would be a miracle. Of course though Scott Bakula would have to play Sam Becket. This would not only rejuvinate the show as a series but would shed the light back on to the great meaning behind the show, That we can do anything if we believe in it, and most importantly that we have more then just the circumstances that happen in our lives to point or lead us in the right direction. I sincerely hope that this idea is picked up and made in to a movie before its too late. So thanks alot for this opportunity and here’s hoping the next leap is the leap home.

  • Erhan

    Any ideas for what the movie plot would be?

    Do you think if it were to be about Sam trying to return home that it would be too confusing for someone that had never watched the series ?

  • cindy

    c’mon! how could anybody replace Scott and Dean. Sure, the show’s premise was great, but it was the chemistry of the Sam and Al that made the show come to life. Without these two in the title roles, there could not be a remake. At best, it could only be a poor imitation of the original.

    Sam and Al
    (with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell ONLY)- I love you 4-ever!!

  • MaryAnn

    You’re missing the point of the game, cindy.

  • Tim Gray

    That is if Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell are willing to do a movie and or another TV series. Does anyone know if they are willing?

  • scipwraec

    They still show up together here and there for QL reunions. Scott is active on stage, Dean is still acting, pulling out the stops in ‘Battlestar Galactica’, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be willing, if it were a well-written script and properly made.

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