The Republic of T.

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Casting Bush

 Ed Note: This was so much fun, I decided to update the post with a few more casting choices and bump it back up to the top of the blog.

I admit it. I’m one of those people who reads the tabloids while I’m standing in line at the grocery store. (I figure I still have some time before Parker figures out what I’m reading.) I already knew that Oliver Stone is planning a Bush biopic. What I didn’t know was that Josh Brolin will portray Dubya. At least not until I noticed a tabloid headline blaring that Brolin’s stepmom, La Streisand, is furious that he’s doing the part, (and Brolin is allegedly furious that she’s furious) because she’s worried that Dubya might get a sympathetic portrayal. (Meanwhile the folks at Fox & Friends are worried that Streisand’s stepson in the lead role means it’ll be a “hit piece.”)

The tabloid piece got me thinking: who else would I cast in the picture? Brolin is the only cast member listed right now, so the rest of the cast is anybody’s guess. The folks at Radar have already taken a stab at guessing. And while they’ve made some interesting choices, including a few I would have also made, I think there’s still room to make some suggestions of my own. (And, Oliver, if you’re reading this, all I ask is a brief walk-on and/or casting credits.)

So, here goes.

Katie Holmes is Laura Bush.

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This is one pick where I probably agree with the folks at Radar. And, yes, for pretty much the same reason. Plus, there’s just enough of a resemblance, and Katie wouldn’t even need to change her hair that much. OK. She might have to glam down a little. OK, a lot.

Jack Nicholson is Dick Cheney.

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Again, inspired casting by the folks at Radar. If Jack’s not available, my next pick might be Dennis Hopper. I’d also seriously consider Anthony Hopkins.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is Karl Rove

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Alright, this is totally my pick. Aside from a vague resemblance, Hoffman has the chops for this. Definitely. The way this guy disappears into a role, you might think you’re actually seeing Karl Rove in action. C’mon, Oliver. Give Hoffman this role and you all but guarantee at least one Oscar for this picture.

Regina King is Condoleeza Rice.

Now, initially thought Oprah for this, but I think Oprah would overshadow even the role of Condoleeza Rice. Besides, too obvious. Same goes for Angela Bassett, though she’s a strong contender. (Any actress who can play Tina Turner can probably handle Condoleeza Rice.) But Regina King was the first choice I got excited about. She a great actress, who can deliver intensity like nobody’s business. Besides, it’d be great to have the actress who does the voice for Huey Freeman playing Condoleeza Rice. Trust me, Oliver, Regina gets you another Oscar nomination.

William H. Macy is Donald Rumsfeld.

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OK. Again, Macy is a favorite of mine, and far too underrated. Besides, put some glasses on him, and comb the hair back, and I think you’ll have your Rumsfeld. And imagine what he could do with some of Rumsfeld’s lines, like the bit about “known unknowns and unknown unknowns.” (He might make a good Joe Lieberman, too.)

James Earl Jones is Colin Powell.

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I think you ought to shoot for the stars, Oliver, and Jones is another obvious choice here. If there’s another actor that can pull this off, I don’t know who it is. Now, Jones comes with the possibility that he’ll overshadow the role, but he also brings the right gravitas. And seeing him and Nicholson acting together in the same film? That I’d pay to see. And if you go with Hopkins, you’ve got Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter. (If you can get Jones, think Morgan Freeman.)

Robert Duvall is George H. W. Bush.

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Poppy is a hard one to cast. My initial thought was Donald Sutherland, and he might be OK. But I really liked the idea of Robert Duvall in this part.

Betty White is Barbara Bush.

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Barbara Bush was another difficult one. I’d thought give it to Judi Dench, but there’s had to be someone more appropriate. Angela Landsbury comes to mind, but again she didn’t seem quite right. Then my friend Katharine recommended Betty White, whose vicious turn on The Practice, suggests she has the stuff to do Barb justice. Works for me.

Vince Vaughn is Jeb Bush.

The rest of the Bush boys were somewhat hard to cast. Casting Jeb took a minute, and I’m not 100% sure about it, but my initial thought is that I like Vince Vaughn for this one. I would not, however, be averse to considering Tim Robbins. In fact, the more I think about it the more I like it. However, I kind of have my heart set on casting him and Susan Sarandon in cameos as Bill and Hillary Clinton, preparing to leave the White House.

Ed Burns is Neal Bush.

Again, this was my first pick. But I’m not necessarily sure it’s the best choice. Don’t get me wrong. Burn is more than up to the part, but even though he was the first I thought of, my gut says there’s another actor who might be right for it.

So, maybe Owen Wilson is Neal Bush.

Give him a different haircut, and you’re part of the way there. I’m not sure why I think Wilson might bring a certain “something” to this part, but I do.

Dixie Carter is Ann Richards.

I’ll admit up front that I’ve been a fan of Dixie Carter’s since “Designing Women.” What can I say, Oliver? I’m a big queer. But I’m absolutely right that Dixie Carter would be great as Ann Richards. OK, she doesn’t sound like Ann or look like Ann, but she’s got the attitude. Give the woman the right make-up, a white-haired wig, some of Ann’s signature sayings, and get out of her way. If Dixie Carter isn’t the way you want to go…well, I’m all out of ideas.

The rest of Bush’s inner circle needs to be cast. I have a few notes on that too, Oliver.

Kathy Bates is Karen Hughes.

This next one may be a bit of a stretch, but stick with me Oliver. Again, I’m njot looking for a close resemblance here. A close enough resemblance will do, so long as the actor has the right stuff for the part. Imagine what Bates could do with this part. Hell, imagine what she could do with Hughes’ tin-eared trip tapdance down the Arab street, in some kind of Rainbow Tour from an alternate universe.

Willem Defoe is Paul Wolfowitz.

Paul Wolfowitz gives me the creeps. Willem Defoe is a little creepy, but also sexy. If I’ve got to watch someone plan the Iraq war, it ought to at least be someone I’d want to watch.

Fred Thompson is Richard Perle.

Look, first of all, the man is probably looking for work right about now. And it would probably be a good role for him. Give a few scenes in the oval office. At least then he can say it was in it. Sorta.

Jason Alexander is Richard Armitage.

This one is just because I saw a kind of resemblance. It would be interesting to see Jason Alexander take on a role that wasn’t necessarily comedic. (At least, I don’t think Armitage is especially funny.

Dustin Hoffman is Seymour Hersch.

This is the last one, I promise. It’s just that if there’s a possibility that you cover the Abu Ghraib scandal, I’d hope you’d consider Dustin Hoffman to play Seymour Hersch.

OK, Oliver. Those are all my picks for the major roles, at least for now. There are several other roles that need filling. I’m a little flummoxed about who to cast as Lynne Cheney.

Oh, and for Al Gore, right now I’m thinking Tom Hanks, but I’m not entirely committed to that. It’s not a deal breaker. And for John Kerry, I’m completely open to suggestion. Maybe it’d be best to have him do a came, but only if we’re sure his part is going to be very small.

If the Plame scandal comes into play here (and maybe it should), I’d recommend Laura Linney as Valerie Plame. Diane Lane would be another great choice. And Bruce Davison as Joe Wilson.

Just for shit and giggles, I’d cast Ellen Degeneres as Mary Cheney, and k.d. lang as her partner, Heather Poe. And either Barbra Streisand or Jane Fonda as Cindy Sheehan. For the Bush twins, see if you can get Lindsey Lohan. I’d suggest Britney Spears, too, but that smacks of stunt casting. (And we don’t want to do that, do we?)

I should probably stop now anyway, because I don’t know how much I’ve raised your budget for this movie, but my guess it I’ve raised it a lot. But, you gotta admit that getting even half of these folks would give you a stellar cast.

And seeing them on the screen might at least make people feel like something good has come out of the last seven or so years.


  1. Hoffman is a brilliant, brilliant choice for Rove. Good job, Terrance! I have seen Colin Powell speak in person, and think James Earl Jones, despite being the “obvious” choice … well, it’s just that he’d be outstanding.

    I’m not so sure about Nicholson for Cheney. I feel like we need someone capable of being colder.

    As for Barbara, what about Betty White? Don’t think of her on Golden Girls; she really wowed me with her turn as Catherine Piper on The Practice, where she was this vicious, calculating, nosy neighbor from Alan Shore’s hometown. She was actually kind of scary and chilling, and was so darned good that it ended up as a recurring role for her.

  2. Terrance,

    Years ago, some geek friends and I had a blast recasting Star Trek the Next Generation with absolutely the wrong actors. Think Gilbert Gottfried as Captain Picard.

    Anyway, with this casting of That Man’s biopic, my question is who would get first billing?

  3. I like Angela Lansbury as Lynne Cheney. Do you remember her in the original Manchurian Candidate? So does cold like no one else.