25.1.07

Casting Call for Roundtable: The Motion Picture

Years ago my friends and I'd have this conversation where we'd decide who we'd like to play us in the movie of our life. Like my friend Chris, for instance:

Chris: Nick Nolte.
Prego: ...But he's over six feet tall and blondish, while you're...
Chris: Nick Nolte.
Prego: Uh... yeah. I could see that.

Girls were the worst at this game. One such acquaintance named Nancy asked me whom I thought should be cast. Needless to say her feelings were slightly hurt when I said Anjelica Huston. I could see her wince, thus forcing me to add, "A young Anjelica Huston."

No dice.

"Um... Why? Who did you have in mind?" I queried.
"I was thinking of Neve Campbell."

Prego
: Uh... yeah. I could see that.

I guess the question weighs heavily on self-esteem, self-image and a bit of the delusional. Casting for a biographical film is such a difficult endeavour. Occasionally you have a moment of genius, such as Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Mozart, George C. Scott as General Patton, or Howard Stern as himself -- but more often than not, you end up with a "huh"?

The best example of a "huh?" casting was Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble. I'll have to admit, I had a bit of a crush on Betty as a kid. Between her and Wilma, it was no contest. A cavehussy like Rosie O'Donnell would have sent any self-respecting troglodyte to the nearest monastery or at least drive him to bestiality (which would have had serious repercussions on our species).

Then, there's the occasional "Patsy Cline" treatment in which case the subject of the film actually gets a bit of a favour. Patsy Cline was no slouch, but vintage Jessica Lange? Groooowwlllll....

Trollopy activist Erin Brockovich got such treatment. Marginally. So did Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ.

Sh*t, back in the day, they didn't even show, Jesus. They'd just have some pious sounding voiceover with an inexplicable echo effect. They showed such reverence for Presidents of the United States, too. They'd usually just film the back of a chair in an office (if the need ever arose to have a presidential character).

Well, I suppose it leaves the question, who'd be the silver screen Prego? That distinction has always gone to Esai Morales - that dude that played Ritchie Valens's brother in La Bamba. For some reason, that response always evoked laughter - either because it's a good choice or because people always remember his pained "Rih-tcheeeeeeeee" when he learned of his brother's death.

Me? I liked the fact that his character was a "struggling artist" and took his brother to a whore house, where he uttered the line "Smells like fish, but it tastes like chicken!" It kind of makes up for the fact that he got his ass kicked by Sean Penn in Bad Boys.

Better yet? He's Hispanic and you actually can say "Um... Yeah. I could see that.

I haven't decided on who'd play Mrs. P. I figured I can get a nice casting couch for the likes of Paz Vega or Rosario Dawson. I'm sure they can pull off an Irish chick... with Lindsay Lohan as a stunt double...

Excuse me.

(What's that? Oh... sh*t, baby? I'm only kidding...)

Mrs. P just informed me that she's casting Matthew McConaughey as her divorce lawyer. F*ck. I suppose I should get Dustin Hoffman's people on the phone. In the meanwhile, I'm curious:

Best biopic casting decision? The worst? Most importantly, who might play you in the story of your life? Wallace Shawn? Jack Black? Karen Black? or (shudder of disgust) Elvira?

Lights.

Camera.

Action.

39 comments:

Joe said...

Well, I used to get told a lot that I looked like both Matthew Broderick and Michael J. Fox. (And I guess I can see that; I'm not that tall and I've got straightish brown hair.) So I suppose I'll have to go with one o' them.

What I'd really like, though, is to do some non-traditional casting and have myself played by Star Trek's George Takei, because he really seems to need the work.

Deni said...

Crispin Glover. Without a fucking "hey you get your damn hands off her" doubt.

the beige one said...

My druthers: Forrest Whitaker.

And actually, I think Hollywood would agree.

Carol said...

Aye, I useta tell the lie that I was the body double for Halle Berry, but then she made that h o r r i b l e "Catwoman" flick, and, well, my butt got bigger.
Now, with Angelina Jolie playing the biracial wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, I'll put on my rose-tinted glasses and say, yeah, she could be me...

Stephen V Funk said...

since I get to do the casting, why the hell not go for broke...

first choice to play me... Clint Eastwood

second choice... Elvis Presley

third choice... Pierce Brosnan

yep........

Suzanne said...

I'd love for Parker Posey to play the role, but it'd be more likely to be Debra Messing.

She'd have to get a boob job and put some actual meat on her bones to pull it off, though.

Keith said...

If the movie were set in high school, I'd have to go with a Sixteen Candles version of Anthony Michael Hall.

Throughout my adult life, I've been told I look like the young Danny Kaye, Conan O'Brien, Lance Armstrong, Edward Norton, and Jeff Anderson (Clerks). I actually think I look like a happy (and alive) version of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. Since Tim's dead, any cornfield scarecrow could probably play me pretty accurately.

Joe, you're more Broderick than Fox, though I'd probably cast a brooding John Cusack to play you, as the other two guys are way too positive to pull off the role.

Deni, I think you totally nailed your casting!

Steph said...

When I was a "girly girl", Bette Midler (I have the pictures to prove it!) Nowadays, there is no one who looks like me, be that for good or ill....

RW said...

Since I am the unfortunate lovechild of Tim Curry and Richard Boone, it would have to be an animated feature...

Avitable said...

RW, how about Edwards James Olmos for you?


For me, it would probably be Oliver Platt. He's a large man with a beard. Although that guy from the Indiana Jones films who shouted "Indy" in a really deep voice would be cool, too.

RW said...

...or Edward James Olmos. Without the mustache.

eek!

Avi, you mean John Rhys-Davies?

RW said...

No, maybe Oliver Platt is better...

John Sadowski said...

Hmm, this is sort of a tough one. Anthony Perkins maybe.

Don't you agree, mother?

Steph said...

Now that I'm sober and can actually consider the question, I think James Spader (as he appeared in Stargate) could play me.

Steph said...

RW: I think Ronald Coleman would be casting for you.

Deni: Crispin Glover! LOL! Like when he played "Andy Warhol" in The Doors!

Steph said...

GOOD casting, I mean.... (I'm a wee bit hungover this morning...)

Stephen V Funk said...

bad biopic casting of recent memory...

Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in "Walk the Line"

Anthony Hopkins as Richard M. Nixon

Sereena X said...

John, you do resemble Anthony Perkins. But stop calling me "mother."

Suzanne's choice is interesting to me, because I can almost envision Debra Messing playing the part of me, EXCEPT: Messing needs to grow boobs, stop being anorexic, get a nose job, and become less of a "reactor" (in her approach to acting) and more of an action figure. (And we'd need to throw in Thomas Haden Church as the love interest.)


Who could play me?

Probably: Catherine Zeta Jones when she isn't weird.

Even more likely: Catherine Bach if she could get a little muscle tone in her arms, and if she hasn't aged much.

In a weird parallel universe time warp: Anita Ekberg with Paul Auster playing the husband.

Deni said...

Keith, I would go with Michael Rapaport
for you, after he dropped about 40 pounds, or maybe Reed Diamond.

I'm pretty proud of the Crispin Glover similarities. Keeps everone off balance. They never know what I might do. I could break out in to an off-pitch wrenching version of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" or kick David Letterman in the face at any moment.

I actually like that better than when I got tagged with Quentin Tarantino all the time. I think it's because of the ridiculously large forhead.

RW said...

Ow... no, I really don't see the Ronald Coleman thing Steph.

I don't have a moustache and I've got him by about twenty pounds and my nose is more of a bulb to his hawklike thing and my hair is a bit more disheveled and I have a kind of raspy voice and in no way do I "smoulder" when I am in low light.

Ok now that I feel like a complete waste of DNA let me just go kill myself mkay...?

the beige one said...

Great casting in existing biopics: David Bowie as Andy Warhol in Basquiat. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. Bruce Greenwood as JFK in 13 Days.

sage said...

Clint Eastwood, he's older than me, but I still like him even though I don't own a poncho and gave up chewing cigars years ago.

keda said...

well obviously cate blanchett or tilda swinton.

or ingrid bergman were she still alive. and young, really young and slim n stuff.

stupid question.




i can hear you!

thelyamhound said...

Being a Gemini, I have to say it depends on which Lyam we're talking about.

Lyam as pensive, grounded masculine force: Ed Harris

Lyam as bruiser: Jason Statham

Lyam as foppish loose cannon: John Malkovich

Steph said...

RW: Well, in my mind I always see you looking like Ronald Coleman. Class is class.
:D

Sereena X said...

If I could pass as a man, I'd want Christopher Walken to play me.

Carrie said...

Probably Katie Holmes.

Prego said...

Come on, Carrie. You're a little hotter than that.

Deni said...

Oh, and Beigey, if you think you'd be played by anyone but Al Roker you are kidding yourself.

Oh wait, you should play Roker in his life story.

the beige one said...

Deni, you really don't want to live to see 40, do you?

Atul said...

Great thinking exercise. I can't easily pick one actor. The four of these guys would have to have a love child and then that son could play me in a movie (in about 35 years).

I think I look like a cross between...
Ray Romano
Bronson Pinchot
John Lovitz
David Duchovney

If I had to choose an existing actor, it would be Ray Romano.

Sorry for the delay Prego. I'm on the west coast and I was at work until 7. My post will come up after I eat some dinner.

archshrk said...

John Cusak and Johnathan Frakes for me. See the proof.

Kal said...

Thank God for Phillip Seymor Hoffman, before him the only comparisons I got were Paul Williams and a young John Madden...

I can deal with Hoffman though.

Just a trumpet player said...

Debra Messing would play me : she is friendly, witty, entertaining, bright and quirky. And Taye Diggs would play my other half...

Michele sent me ; have a great weekend !

Suzanne said...

Sorry, Trumpet Player, Debra Messing is unavailable, due to her prior commitment of playing ME.

You'll have to cast someone else.

Aging Fabulous said...

I would choose Olivia Hussey... not because we look alike, but she has the most gorgeous hair! And, I get to choose lol...

utenzi said...

Best and worst casting in biopics? Wow. I just don't know. Maybe Lou Diamond Phillips for Ritchie Valens on the good side and any romantic lead role for Clint Eastwood in the past 20 years for bad casting. Does he realize that he's over 70 and maybe 20 something women are not his type anymore?

Michele sent me, Prego.

Carmi said...

Melanie Doane sings a lovely song called "Wilma or a Betty Man". I howl out loud every time I hear it:

http://www.lyricsdownload.com/melanie-doane-wilma-or-a-betty-man-lyrics.html

rob said...

Campbell Scott.

Ooooo...or Timothy Olyphant.

Wait...best one yet: A half eaten bagel in a catchers mit!

I think that last one's a winner.