Rewind & Remix: Recasting ‘Valentine’s Day’ with API Stars

Does anyone else remember those early 2010s, big-budget romantic comedies featuring a bunch of A-list movie stars in multiple storylines that all somehow connected? You know, like “Love Actually” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.” The one that’s probably on your mind this time of year, 2010’s “Valentine’s Day,” hosted the most significant actors of the decade in one cliche, yet enjoyable, mess. This film follows an ensemble of lovelorn, lovesick, and love-repulsed individuals living in Los Angeles, all trying to make it through February 14.

With a whopping 20 main characters, the individual storylines aren’t the most detailed, but they are fun. During a recent rewatch, a thought occurred to me: what if a remake was made, but with a majority API cast in the roles? 

Thus, this article was born. In our humble opinion, this recast is a bit of an improvement, as the original “Valentine’s Day” only included three people of color and only one had an actual romance. But that’s beside the point.

Darren Barnet as Reed Bennett (Originally played by Ashton Kutcher)

In the original film, Reed Bennett is a sentimental florist who runs around Los Angeles in a pink jumpsuit and matching cap, trying to spread Valentine’s cheer like some himbo Santa. But his own love life takes a downward spiral when his girlfriend rejects his proposal and he learns a close friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her. Back to the main point—Darren Barnet is an easy sell for this role. Barnet has the effortless charisma and swoon-worthy looks that would make slipping into this role almost too easy.. And his comedic portrayal of Paxton in “Never Have I Ever” shows that he’s more than ready to take on this character.

Simone Ashley as Julia Fitzpatrick (Originally played by Jennifer Garner)

Julia Fitzpatrick is a soft-spoken grade school teacher who’s been left behind by her surgeon boyfriend, Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), who’s busy jetting off to another city on Valentine’s Day. A bit disappointed by the lack of a romantic evening, she visits one of her closest friends, Reed Bennett, for advice. As expected in rom-coms, Julia is thrown into various hijinks as she finds her way to true love.

This may seem like a long shot. After all, Ashley’s breakout role as the ever-so-serious Kate Sharma in “Bridgerton”’s second season may seem the exact opposite of sweet and shy school teacher Julia. But if you watch the original movie, you’ll notice plenty of moments where Ashley could truly shine.

Lana Condor as Liz (Originally played by Anne Hathaway

No stranger to rom-coms, Lana Condor would be a stellar addition to this potential remake. And there’s no better role for her than Liz, temp receptionist by day and phone sex operator by night. Liz is charming, outgoing, and has a natural sense of humor that makes viewers root for her happily-ever-after throughout the film. Condor has shown time and time again that she’s one of those actresses who you just can’t help but support in whatever role she takes on. While this may not be as innocent as her best-known role in the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” movie series, it would definitely be an easy fit for her.

Brandon Perea as Jason (Originally played by Topher Grace)

Alex is the clueless, sort-of boyfriend of the aforementioned Liz. As the two have only been dating for a few weeks, Alex doesn’t think to plan anything special for the holiday until his co-workers urge him to at least take Liz out to dinner. Throughout the movie, Alex is a bit hapless and awkward as he tries to find the best way to romance Liz, making Brandon Perea the perfect fit for the character, especially if you take his “Nope” performance into consideration. Plus, who doesn’t want to see the very attractive Perea in a rom-com?

Charles Michael Davis as Kelvin (Originally played by Jamie Foxx)

In a film with so many characters, there’s bound to be a few who aren’t exactly into the whole roses, chocolates, and romance thing. Kelvin, a sports reporter who’s been forced to cover the lovey-dovey festivities around the city rather than his usual athletic beat, is one of those characters. But this is a romantic comedy, so Kelvin can’t escape any of the genre tropes. For this reboot, I recommend Charles Michael Davis, whose charming antics in the sitcom “Younger” has me itching to see him in a proper romantic setting.

Ross Butler as Sean Jackson (Originally played by Eric Dane)

Viewers may assume that conflicted quarterback Sean Jackson is struggling with the fact that he has to retire from his sport due to old age. But at the climax of the film, audiences learn that Sean’s actually gay, which, of course, shocks viewers everywhere because it’s 2010. That storyline will doubtless need to be revamped in this remake, but here’s the most important question: Who should play him?

This writer puts forth Ross Butler as a candidate. It may be hard to imagine Butler playing “one of the oldest quarterbacks” (at least in the “Valentine’s Day” universe), especially since he’s been cast as a teenager in most of his past roles. Good on him for aging so well; like, please drop the skincare routine! But we need to remember that this man is in his 30s, and a little movie magic could help him play Sean.

Ally Maki as Kara Monahan (Originally played by Jessica Biel)

Kara Monahan is Sean Jackson’s very, very overworked publicist, who happens to be another Valentine’s Day hater. Throughout the film, she slowly descends into more of a neurotic mess as she navigates work crises and the planning of her annual “I hate Valentine’s Day” party. The role requires a comedic actress who can ensure none of her actions seem too forced, and in this case, Ally Maki has the chops. Considering Maki’s past works, none of Kara’s meltdowns would seem dramatic in the original and instead could come across as very relatable. 

John Cho as Dr. Harrison Copeland (Originally played by Patrick Dempsey

Alright, call it writer’s bias, but this next addition is purely because I enjoy seeing John Cho on screen. First of all, ever since “Selfie” was canceled, I have made it my life mission to see him in a rom-com one way or another. Secondly, the idea of Cho playing a smarmy doctor trying to juggle an affair and a marriage would be endlessly fun to watch on screen. Either way, he would definitely have to be a part of this reimagined movie.

Shay Mitchell as Captain Kate Hazeltine (Originally played by Julia Roberts)

Unlike most characters in the film, Captain Kate Hazeltine doesn’t run around Los Angeles throughout the movie’s runtime. Instead, Kate spends most of her screen time stuck on a plane, desperate to make it to the city for her one-day leave. The person whom she’s meeting in L.A is left a mystery until the very end, but let’s just say her story provides a unique perspective in this film. Shay Mitchell would be an amazing addition as a character with a quiet, yet impactful personality and this writer is anxiously awaiting more projects from Mitchell. 

Dev Patel as Holden (Originally played by Bradley Cooper)

Audiences learn very little about Holden throughout the movie, besides the fact that he’s a well-dressed man who’s been stuck on a very long flight to Los Angeles. He’s charming and banters well with his seatmate, but it’s not until the film’s last moments that you get some idea of his true personality. And the one, the only, Dev Patel would totally be the perfect fit to play this intriguing stranger in a suit. 

Olivia Rodrigo as Felicia (Originally played by Taylor Swift)

If I were to be completely transparent with readers, this idea was the initial reason this article was created. This casting felt like a message from God. Only one singer-songwriter-slash-actress could fill the Taylor-Swift-sized hole in this production, and that person is Olivia Rodgrio. There’s not much to this character other than being slightly dorky in a charming way, and Rodrigo could easily take on that role. Plus, having any of her songs on the soundtrack would be a score (no pun intended). 

Alex Aiono as Willy (Originally played by Taylor Lautner

Unfortunately, this was a bit harder to cast. We had to rack our brains to find an actor to step into THE Taylor Lautner’s shoes. Since “Valentine’s Day” came out in 2010, the film featured post “Twilight”-hype Lautner, so that’s a high bar to reach. Luckily, Alex Aiono could pull it off. He already plays the supportive jock boyfriend in “Original Sin;” therefore, Willy’s overzealous puppy love for Felicia would come just as naturally.

Lola Tung and Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Grace and Alex (Originally played by Emma Roberts and Carter Jenkins) 

Like many teenagers in a new relationship, Grace struggles with knowing if it’s time to take the next “big step” (if you know what we mean) with her boyfriend, Alex. The two decide to take the plunge on Valentine’s Day, but find their attempts foiled through various circumstances. For this couple, Lola Tung and Tenzing Norgay Trainor would totally hit it out of the park. While Grace is a bit more cynical than Belly in “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” Tung could easily rise to the challenge, and Alex would allow Trainor to show off his ample experience in playing slightly awkward characters. 

Rosalind Chao and Tzi Ma as Edgar and Estelle Paddington (Originally played by Héctor Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine)

Edgar and Estelle have been married for ages, but trouble brews when Estelle admits to an affair with Edgar’s business partner. But don’t be fooled—their romance is definitely on the sweeter side of the film, going back through years of compromises and challenges. For this casting, this writer would recommend resident Asian dad Tzi Ma, and industry veteran Rosalind Chao. To sweeten the deal, the two have played a married couple in the 2020 remake of “Mulan,” so the chemistry is already there!