Casting W and friends

If you’ve been wondering when Hollywood will finally get its act together and make a major motion picture about George W. Bush, well then, I have some very exciting news for you: Oliver Stone has come to our rescue. The controversial director is working on a new biopic about Dubya, and the film will be titled simply W.

The strangest part about W (aside from the fact that it is actually being made) is that we’re all familiar with the people that the movie will be about. They have had the pleasure of being a part of our lives for eight agonizing years.


Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

I don’t envy the job of casting agents who have to find actors who will be believable in these roles. I mean sure, we praise their past decisions when they cast Helen Mirren as The Queen and or Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan (and Cate Blanchett actually made Bob Dylan look sexy — is there anything this woman can’t do?). But there isn’t much artistic freedom when it comes to casting the first family or Bush’s cabinet members. They’re sort of … well, boring.

We all know who Barbara Bush is and what she looks like, and we’ve heard all about the drama surrounding Bush’s booze-loving daughters, Jenna and Barbara. So it’s interesting to see who are the lucky actors who have been cast in these roles. Let’s break down some of them, shall we?

Barbara Bush

Ok sure, I can get behind this. A little makeup, a little less botox, throw a set of pearls around Ellen Burstyns neck and we have a match.

Condoleezza Rice

Thandie Newton is in final negotiations to play the role of Condoleezza Rice. (My girlfriend just perked up and told me that she would love to play Ms. Randy Bean, if that is the case. Normally I would be jealous, but I cannot in good conscious blame her. Newton is beautiful — so I will let that flirty outburst go.)


Photo credits: Alex Wong/Getty Images (Rice),

Michael Buckner/Getty Images (Newton)

Thandie is married (in case anyone else was hoping for a chance with her), but here is the silver lining: She is married to Ol Parker, director of Imagine Me & You. Gasp! Maybe Thandie could wrangle Piper Perabo and Lena Headey into playing Jenna and Barbara Jr.? Wow, this movie is getting better and better.

OK, so it’s not an exact match.

The development of Condoleezza Rice’s story line is what perks my curiosity most about this film. I would be interested to see how the movie develops the juicy subplot of Condi buying a home with her "closest female friend," Randy Bean. Maybe the writers will take some artistic liberties and show us a dramatization of them picking out curtains together or bickering over which Netflix movie should be first in their queue.

Laura Bush

Hmm … this is one that gives me trouble. I’m just not seeing it.

You may or may not know Elizabeth Banks from her role in the The 40-Year-Old Virgin (she was the girl who drove Steve Carell’s character home while she was drunk). Switching hats pretty dramatically from that, she has been cast to play the first lady. I’m wondering how they are going to pull this off. No offense to Laura Bush, but this looks like it will require quite a bit of makeup.

I think they would be way better off casting Kathy Bates.


Photo credit: Vince Bucci/Getty Images (Bates), Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images (Bush)

The resemblance is totally believable. If you told me tomorrow they were cousins, you’d get no argument here. But truthfully, I just love any excuse to watch Kathy Bates. She can do no wrong, especially when she gets to use a Southern accent in a movie.

W the movie seems a bit odd to me for a myriad of reasons, but Ill just limit myself to one. The portrayal of real people, who are very much still in the news, in a feature film has a very Lifetime movie-of-the-week feel to me — and this is not a good quality. The only thing that makes me slightly interested in seeing this movie is wondering how good of an impression the actors will do of these public figures. It’s in that same spirit that I briefly tuned into Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story.

So what do you think? Would you go see this movie? Would you cast anyone else?

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