Will politics make if difficult to cast Ronald Reagan?
Image Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty ImagesA Ronald Reagan biopic is in the works, and it’s not starring James Brolin or being directed by Oliver Stone. According to the Hollywood Reporter, marketing executive Mark Joseph has optioned the rights to two flattering Reagan biographies written by author Paul Kengor (The Crusader and God and Ronald Reagan) and intends to produce a $30 million feature. The Reporter states that the film will open with the 1981 assassination attempt on the president’s life and then tell the story of Reagan’s life through flashbacks. Interested actors must be thinking, “Okay, so what age are they looking for?” in order to cover Reagan’s boyhood, his Hollywood years, and his time as leader of the free world. Whoever gets cast might have to play as young as 20 and as old as 50 or more. So Rich Little is out.
Reagan is such a politically-sensitive figure, and CBS/Showtime’s 2003 miniseries with the liberal-leaning Brolin playing The Gipper was anathema to Reagan supporters. So the current audition process for Reagan might not only include talent and physical resemblance, but voter registration and political affiliation. Which might be a shame, because Ben Affleck, a supporter of many Democratic political candidates, wouldn’t be the worse choice to play our 40th president. He’s preternaturally boyish and disarming, not unlike the prez, and both men were underestimated as lightweights before finally achieving widespread success and acclaim. If the film’s producers make political purity part of their casting criteria, the talent pool will thin in a hurry. The Reporter‘s readers’ poll nominated Zac Efron and Star Trek‘s Chris Pine, and I’d throw James Marsden into the mix. Of course, I don’t know who these three voted for in 2008.
Who do you picture playing Ronald Reagan? Should the actor’s politics play any role in whether they get the job or not?