When the first Iron Man movie came out in 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't exactly Ms. Popular. But she certainly wasn't despised to the same degree she is now. Her weekly dose of sanctimonious 'Goop,' her oblivious refusal to stop name-dropping her BFFs Jay-Z and Bey, and now her proclamation that everything -- even bell peppers and tomatoes -- is bad for you in her new book 'It's All Good' have contributed to her rapid elevation from 'annoying' to 'reviled.'
It certainly hasn't helped that People just named her The World's Most Beautiful Woman. Seeing her smug mug leering at you from the cover while you're stuck in the endless line at the checkout stand is nothing short of infuriating. This Paltrow-hatred has gotten so bad, some people are worried that it will affect their ability to enjoy Iron Man 3. Vulture has even written a six-step guide to help you put your hatred on hold for two hours, so that Paltrow's Pepper won't ruin one of the summer's biggest blockbusters for you.
I applaud Vulture's practical approach to the matter. But I've decided to take the daydreamer's route instead by compiling a list of the top 10 actresses I'd rather see rocking the Iron Man suit on the big screen. (Yes, Pepper apparently gets her own suit this time around. And Paltrow has smugly told media that she wasn't a "crybaby" about wearing it like co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle.)
One thing I will give Paltrow is that she's a relatively age-appropriate choice to play RDJ's love interest. After all, they're only 8 years apart, which is nothing by Hollywood standards. (She's 40, he's 48.) That said, there are still plenty of other age-appropriate actresses who'd make the Iron Man franchise even better.
Here are my top choices to play Pepper (in the event that we could turn back time and re-cast Paltrow.)
1. Sandra Bullock. She'd be perfect. She's got the comedic chops for the required banter with Tony Stark, and the action background to pull off the suit scenes. Plus, she's a crowd-pleaser. I don't know anyone who doesn't like her!
2. Mary-Louise Parker. Few actresses spar better than MLP. She'd be a great foil for our egomaniacal hero.
3. Elizabeth Banks. Smart. Sassy. Blonde. The perfect Pepper!
4. Julianne Moore. Well, we already know there'd be chemistry -- at least on RDJ's end, anyway. Remember his flirtatious nod to Moore at the 2011 Golden Globes?
5. Tina Fey. Fey is at her funniest when she's trying to boss around the unbossable, like Tracy and Jenna on 30 Rock. So she'd be great as Pepper, who's constantly trying to keep Tony in line.
6. Lena Headey. We've seen her prop up kings on Game of Thrones and kick ass as Sarah Connor in the small screen's Terminator adaptation, so she's already demonstrated her ability to portray two of Pepper's most important traits: propping up Tony and keeping evil at bay.
7. Maria Bello. Remember how funny she was in Thank You For Smoking? She more than held her own against Aaron Eckhart, and I'd love to see her go head-to-head with RDJ.
8. Cate Blanchett. Some might say Blanchett is too delicate to play steely Pepper, but is there really anyone more delicate than Paltrow, who's afraid to eat eggplant?
9. Naomi Watts. Like Bullock, Watts is incredibly likable, and she's proven she can handle more physical roles in flicks like The Impossible.
10. Portia de Rossi. She's great as the ditzy Lindsay Bluth on Arrested Development, but we haven't seen de Rossi's sly wit on display since her Ally McBeal days. I'd love to see her deliver withering one-liners to RDJ.
Did I miss anyone? Let me know below.
'Iron Man 3' opens in theatres on May 3.