Hopefully you all saw what may very well be the entertainment event of the year last Thursday. And make no mistake, this was an entertainment spectacle, not a political affair, which is why we’re talking about it here on Awards Circuit. 24 million viewers tuned in to that debate, making it the most-watched cable news broadcast of all time. Nobody watched it to become more informed about the
contestants candidates, are you kidding me? These guys got an average of about six-and-a-half minutes to speak (one spoke for less than five minutes!); hardly enough time for any substantive policy discussion. Just look at how the post-debate analyses all focused on how the candidates looked, spoke and acted as opposed to anything they actually said.
Let’s not kid ourselves, here. The ratings blowout of the Fox News debate last week can all be credited to one man:
I’m sorry, but with…some due respect to Pitch Perfect 2, Spy, Trainwreck, etc., this guy’s campaign is the funniest thing I’ll see all year. And in a way, probably the most insightful political commentary as well. Because now we all know without a shadow of a doubt, thirty years later, that Neil Postman was right. At a time when our current President is trying to garner support for arguably the most important U.S. foreign policy decision since the invasion of Iraq and the Democrats are (kinda) split between the candidacy of a self-described “Democratic Socialist” and someone aiming to be the first female President of the United States to succeed him, Americans are fixated on the campaign of a billionaire loudmouth reality show host and real estate mogul. Every week brings a new headline over the next outrageous statement he made, or some new controversy, or how “offended” the other GOP candidates are by something he said or did, despite his xenophobic, war-mongering, money-worshiping, sexist, Birther attitude personifying the modern Republican Party perfectly. I hope he gets the nomination. I really do – he’s exactly the candidate they, and we, deserve.
But enough about that for a moment. Let’s talk about Jay Roach and Danny Strong, two guys who have worked on many films but whose greatest critical and awards successes were collaborating together on two made-for-TV movies centered on major Presidential election controversies: Recount and Game Change. If they are not at least thinking about coming together again for a movie about his campaign for the Republican nomination, they’re wrong. If they are not getting Neil Young’s permission to use “Rockin’ in the Free World” as you read this, they’re wrong.
I think we should help them out with a casting brainstorm session right here! If I could cast the Trump 2016 campaign movie, here’s who would be in it:
Dennis Quaid as Jeb Bush
I’m not going to cast all seventeen GOP candidates vying for the Republican nomination here (feel free to do that yourselves in the comments if you’re so inclined), but I would be remiss to not at least stress one of the runners as a potentially very important character. Bush could be positioned as the boring, politics-as-usual establishment politician whose very presence stokes a resentment among the Republican base that paves the way for Trump’s popularity. Although Dennis Quaid has more charisma in his little toe than all of The Other Bush, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s played a comic riff on a member of that family.
Elizabeth Banks as Megyn Kelly
It’s hilarious to me that Fox News is suddenly offended by misogyny now that it’s directed at one of their own. Having said that, the hard-hitting questions from the most well-known of Fox’s blondes at the debate is a reminder that, despite her association with a shameless political arm pretending to be a news outlet, Kelly is actually a bright, confrontational reporter when she’s allowed to be. Banks never really impressed me as an actress until Love & Mercy, and now I’m dying to see more of her in even better roles. The chance to spar with a cantankerous blowhard on a debate forum could generate some delightfully acerbic verbal sparring and a stellar acting showcase.
Rob Riggle as Michael Cohen
If that name doesn’t ring a bell to you, he’s Mr. “You Cannot Legally Rape Your Spouse.” The best part of this casting is they don’t even have to show Riggle onscreen. They could just have him be an angry voice at the other end of the phone threatening The Daily Beast’s reporter investigating one of Trump’s ex-wives claiming he made her feel “violated” (she later retracted the statement). Riggle’s Daily Show alpha male doofus persona has carried over into most of his film roles, and applying it to “Trump’s Pitbull” could end up even funnier than Laura Dern’s hysterical portrayal of Katherine Harris in Recount.
John Slattery as Roger Stone
Roger Stone either left Trump’s campaign or was fired from his campaign last Saturday, depending on who you believe. I imagine it was one of those “You can’t fire me…I QUIT!” situations because I can’t see how a flamboyant GOP strategist known specifically for being able to dig up dirt on political enemies would not feel right at home on Team Trump, but I digress. Known best for his stint on Mad Men, John Slattery would be perfect as an experienced Republican hatchetman whose excitement slowly devolves into horror at the freakshow that the campaign turns into, culminating in an explosive confrontation with Trump himself.
Brian Geraghty as Corey Lewandowski
I know what you’re all thinking: “Corey who?” Which might be a problem since besides you-know-who, there is a very good chance this person will end up the main character of this whole sordid tale. Lewandowski is the Trump 2016 campaign manager, but despite his top position has remained mostly out of the spotlight so far. If there is one factor that might keep us from seeing a movie about these guys any time soon it’s because of how little we really know about Lewandowski, and whether or not he’s as much a maniac as Trump or if he sees the absurdity of the campaign for what it is. Either way, if he writes a tell-all book in the future, it would almost certainly form the basis of any movie about the Trump 2016 campaign, whether or not it comes from Roach and Strong. Despite his youthful appearance, Brian Geraghty is actually the same age, and he would probably be thrilled to take a break from playing soldiers and cops for the quieter role of an unassuming puppetmaster behind the theatrics of the Trump campaign.
And finally…Alec Baldwin as The Don!
Don’t even think about complaining that he doesn’t look like Donald Trump. First of all, that’s what they have makeup artists and hair stylists for. Secondly, no human being looks like Donald Trump. I’m still not sure if that hair of his isn’t some parasitic living organism stuck to him or something. So get some spray-tan on Baldwin’s face and an orange tabby cat on his head and set him loose on potentially the definitive role for him. Alec Baldwin is a decent enough dramatic actor, but he has always been at his best in comedy. You want corporate bully? You want egomaniac? You want stubborn blowhard? You want a guy who can effortlessly fire off insults like a machine gun? It’s almost as if all those moments, which have been quoted and rewatched and meme’d endlessly, was some sort of unconscious warm-up for this. If there is another actor who can reach the over-the-top absurdity and hilarious machismo of Donald Trump, I cannot think of him.
But I want to know what you think. Who would be your ideal cast to bring this bizarre, hilarious, kind of scary political freakshow to life in a film?