Casting the Candidates

With word yesterday that HBO optioned the yet-to-be-finished 2008 election account, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by Time’s Mark Halperin and New York’s John Heilemann, it’s clear the network is looking to corner the market on waxwork political docudramas. Just last month they announced plans to make Peter Morgan’s The Special Relationship, the final film in his Tony Blair-trilogy, with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore as Bill and Hillary Clinton (White House edition!), and, of course, Michael Sheen, once again starring as Mr. Blair. As for Game Change, we’re still a long way from casting—the book doesn’t even come out until next year—but in a wildly unscientific poll of talkbackers over at Entertainment Weekly, fans were hoping to see Will Smith, James Caan, Meryl Streep and Tina Fey in the central roles as Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, respectively. Those are great choices, but… how can we put this lightly? There isn’t a chance in hell they actually get cast! (Note: The Post also made some recommendations this morning.) Who should star in Game Change? Here’s a quick look at eight attainable stars that would be perfect.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Barack Obama: While it’s true Messrs. Smith and Obama share more than a passing resemblance, the World’s Biggest Movie Star ™ doesn’t have the serious gravitas to play the president. Mr. Ejiofor, on the other hand, totally does! He exudes the right mix of charm, elegance, cockiness and intelligence, and, best of all, he comes at a fraction of the cost of Mr. Smith. Plus, while he isn’t a doppelganger, you have to admit the smile is kinda uncanny.

Chevy Chase as John McCain: Mr. Chase already has experience playing presidential material—see: his Gerald Ford impression—and at this point in his life, he looks exactly like Mr. McCain. That his voice shares a certain affectation with the Arizona Senator is just gravy. Think: lispy.

Teri Hatcher as Sarah Palin: We would never trash Ms. Fey’s impeccable impression of the Alaskan governor, but there is no way it would hold up under two hours of movie scrutiny. Enter Ms. Hatcher. She may not be a look-alike for the former beauty queen, but stick her in a pair of glasses, a wardrobe from Sak’s Fifth Avenue and let her do the ditzy/sexy/stupid thing she does so well on Desperate Housewives, and … voila! You’ve got yourself a Palin.

Cherry Jones as Hillary Clinton: Ms. Jones is already playing a Hillary Clinton clone on this season of 24, so why not let her try her hand at the real thing?

Viola Davis as Michelle Obama: There is a resemblance here; if you squint hard you might think they’re the same person. But, mostly, we just love the idea of a strong and stirring actress like Ms. Davis sharing scenes with Mr. Ejiofor. Swoon!

Danny McBride as Todd Palin: If you can’t imagine Mr. Palin closing telephone conversations with a Kenny Powers-like “you’re fucking out,” well, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Hope Davis as Cindy McCain: No one does “frigid blonde” like Ms. Davis.

Bill Clinton as Himself: This is the part he was born to play. Casting the Candidates