by John M. Floyd
Rob Lopresti's entertaining column a couple weeks ago about different actors who have played the same detective/sleuth started me thinking. (Always a dangerous thing.) What role, I found myself wondering, would be the most difficult for an actor to take on? A terrorist? A child molester? A serial killer? Possibly--but challenging roles don't always have to be bad guys, right? What if you had to play a familiar, famous, and/or heroic part? Wouldn't that be just as hard to do? If you're the producer, who (besides maybe Clint Eastwood) would you choose to play Jesus Christ, or Jonas Salk, or Jack Kennedy, or Davy Crockett? (I won't list God, here, because in my opinion no one could ever top George Burns.)
(As I tried to recall these roles, I found myself surprised anew by some of the choices the casting folks made to play our Commander-in-Chief--and in some cases found myself wishing we could've swapped out some real-life Presidents for the ones we saw on the screen.)
Here are the candidates:
2. Peter Sellers
3. Morgan Freeman
4. Bill Pullman
5. James Cromwell
6. Harrison Ford
7. Donald Pleasence
8. Jeff Bridges
9. Robert Culp
10. Michael Douglas
11. John Travolta
12. Richard Widmark
13. Kevin Kline
14. Gene Hackman
15. Ronny Cox
16. Cliff Robertson
17. Charles Durning
18. William Hurt
19. Fredrick March
A. Air Force One
B. Seven Days in May
C. The Pelican Brief
D. Escape From New York
E. Absolute Power
H. The Sum of All Fears
I. Captain America
J. Vantage Point
K. Deep Impact
L. Independence Day
M. Dr. Strangelove
N. Escape From L.A.
P. The Contender
R. The American President
S. Twilight's Last Gleaming
T. Primary Colors
A few observations: My pick for the best movie performance as POTUS would be Morgan Freeman, and (although I didn't include television series, here) I think the best TV prez was The West Wing's Martin Sheen. The best portrayal of a real President was probably Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.
To me, the most unlikely casting choices were Jack Nicholson and Jeff Bridges (can't get The Big Lebowski out of my brain, here)--but Bridges did what I thought was an outstanding job.
For those of you patient enough to have given this little match-puzzle a try, here are the answers:
2-M -- Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove
3-K -- Morgan Freeman, Deep Impact
4-L -- Bill Pullman, Independence Day
5-H -- James Cromwell, The Sum of All Fears
6-A -- Harrison Ford, Air Force One
7-D -- Donald Pleasence, Escape From New York
8-P -- Jeff Bridges, The Contender
9-C -- Robert Culp, The Pelican Brief
10-R -- Michael Douglas, The American President
11-T -- John Travolta, Primary Colors
12-G -- Richard Widmark, Vanished
13-F -- Kevin Kline, Dave
14-E -- Gene Hackman, Absolute Power
15-I -- Ronny Cox, Captain America
16-N -- Cliff Robertson, Escape From L.A.
18-J -- William Hurt, Vantage Point
19-B -- Fredrick March, Seven Days in May
20-O -- Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks!
These are of course not all instances, but these came first to mind. Anybody know of others? Can you think of some actors who did an especially good--or bad--job?
NOTE: I'll be back in two weeks, and--having temporarily satisfied my Netflix fix--I will then try to produce a column more in keeping with mysteries or writing, or both. No promises, though.
Love them movies . . .
Love them movies . . .