OK, yes, I’ve been away a while (4 months, but who’s counting?). I neither died, ran off on an extended writer’s retreat, won the lottery and decided on early retirement, joined the touring company of Les Misérables, or found a real job. So why the radio silence? Call it a combination of writer’s block and real life rearing its ugly head and requiring my attention (… that’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it).
And yes, I will go back to writing about what has been going on as far as my novel is concerned (ostensibly the purpose of this blog), about new ideas for stories, research, and writing query letters for literary agents. BUT, as Aragorn said before the black gates of Mordor, it is not this day.
Instead, I’m going to have some fun sharing my latest obsession. With the never-ending soap opera/train wreck/circus freak show that is the current White House monopolizing headlines this winter, I’ve been amusing myself with a bit of speculative casting for a potential (inevitable?) movie or mini-series on the Trump administration.
I tried to be as original as possible and avoid knee-jerk casting, i.e. choosing actors already known for their popular impersonations (à la Alec Baldwin as Trump or Tina Fey as Sarah Palin). On the other hand, it turns out that some of my choices concur with those of other people who have speculated on a Trump film (and they are many), and I’m not going to change my mind just because I’m in agreement with someone else. In some cases there’s an obvious physical resemblance (see my choices for Paul Manafort and Sean Hannity, for example), but being a doppelgänger doesn’t necessarily carry the day. I’m looking for a certain characteristic about the actor that I find suitable, a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that overrides physical resemblance. That’s certainly the case with my first choice:
Donald Trump: Val Kilmer. Yes, you read that correctly. Now before you scoff at this one, consider a moment. Yes, he’s a bit young, but there is physical potential; I mean, have you seen Val Kilmer lately? Kilmer has also proven he can don someone else’s skin very effectively, and he has a certain mercurial quality about him (some would say he’s a bit of a whack job himself) that could translate well in portraying 45. Hell, you didn’t think he could play Batman either (… OK, bad example).
Robert Mueller: Sam Waterston. The man is the embodiment of integrity. Mr. Law & Order. If he hadn’t chosen acting, I’m sure he would have been a real-life district attorney. Second choice: James Cromwell.
Hilary Clinton: Annette Benning. She conveys intelligence, strength, and bears an (albeit idealized) resemblance.
Nancy Pelosi: Diane Lane. Ditto, plus she has a raw toughness that I like (see Clark Kent’s mom Martha in Man of Steel.)
Michael Cohen: David Schwimmer. Loveably detestable.
Paul Manafort: Mike Myers. The resemblance is actually striking, and Myers plays a good slime ball.
Roger Stone: Steve Martin. A wacky comic actor to play an even wackier comic-book villain. (Stone himself could be cast in the role of the Penguin in the next Batman film.)
Steve Bannon: Brendan Gleeson, Ray Liotta or Ian McShane. All this wonderful potential, and only because Philip Seymour Hoffman is no longer available.
Mike Pence: Steve Carell. This might be a waste of talent on a character who could be played alternatively by a block of wood, but Carell can do dead-pan like no one else.
Kellyanne Conway: Holly Hunter. I ADORE Holly Hunter. Strong, intelligent, tough, normally someone I want to cheer for, but she could play the sycophantic nitwit just as effectively. This would be the antithesis of the character she played in Broadcast News, and would be great fun to watch.
Sean Spicer: Gary Sinise. A straight-shooter, a real-life Republican, and a guy who seems to take himself awfully seriously; also just the right height. Alternatively Martin Freeman or William H. Macey, if you’re looking for a funnier portrayal.
Bernie Sanders: Alan Arkin. Forget Larry David: Arkin is a much more serious actor with more gravitas than David could scrape together in a lifetime. Great voice. Also, another Brooklyn native.
Jeff Sessions: Chris Cooper. A little tall for the part and not the Keebler Elf type, but a serious actor and an authentic Southern man with lots of potential bile.
Michael Flynn: Stephen Lang. Much more threatening than the real Flynn, and has long and successfully portrayed the high-ranking military man (see Avatar among others). Looks good in a crew cut.
Melania Trump: Elizabeth Hurley. Better looking than Melania, and — more importantly — she can be extremely funny; alternatively Rachel Weisz, who can do ANYTHING!
Ivanka Trump: Jessica Alba. Physical resemblance (same lovely smile and vacuous stare); perfectly anodyne, wholesome, like a tall glass of soy milk.
Donald Trump Jr.: Ben Stiller. Like David Schwimmer, only less loveable.
Eric Trump: Martin Wallström. As seen in Mr. Robot, a cold, nerdy evil.
Jared Kushner: Michael Cera. A bit of a goof, but would make a hilariously incompetent villain.
James Comey: Michael Shannon, Dillon Baker, or Liev Schreiber. This is a tough one: none bear much physical resemblance to Comey, though Schreiber and Shannon have the advantage in height. All have gravitas and fit the part of the betrayed true believer. (Baker was really born to play former Defence Secretary Robert McNamara, but that’s another film).
Rex Tillerson: James Brolin. Don’t be fooled by the awkward, goofy grandfather role in Life in Pieces: a physically imposing figure, intelligent but completely out of his element. Alternatively Sam Elliott.
Gen. John Kelly: J.K. Simmons. Hands down: could almost be Kelly’s twin and is a scary SOB in his own right.
Sarah Huckabee-Sanders: Melissa McCarthy. The role requires a superior comic actor. McCarthy would be outrageous.
Betsy DeVos: Jane Lynch. One of the funniest and most under-valued actresses in Hollywood. I originally thought of Christine Baranski, but she’s just too fabulous to be that wonky.
Ben Carson: Damon Wayans. Wayans would be lethal in this role. Also Clark Peters (The Wire), or Eddie Murphy in a pinch.
Sean Hannity: Nathan Lane. Another great comic talent to play a cartoon figure, and there’s the uncanny physical resemblance.
There you have it. You may have other ideas. You may have BETTER ideas. I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment and let’s get this argument started!