Casting Call

As we enter the dawning of a new administration (Sesame Street) and say good-bye to the one leaving (Hollywood Boulevard), we must acknowledge that much work remains before us as a nation.

No, I am not talking about healing a split nation or deciding whether we continue with the Electoral College silly; I'm talking important stuff here. Namely, in an ever-increasing audiovisual age, where movies and not books define eras, who the hell is going to play our President, the Man from Arkansas, and the other principals in the inevitable movie writer's cramp suffering Hollywood will not be able to resist making.

Think about it. It's up to us-this generation to accurately archive and portray to future generations what the Clinton era was all about. And as we enter a post-literate America where communication is being reduced to only grunts and button clicking, it is imperative that we preserve our take on the Clinton years as accurately and quickly as possible. Having said this, let us begin our solemn duty of casting the principals in a movie that will define an era. Let us begin with our star-crossed lover (hey, I'm trying to be nice here), Ms. Monica Lewinsky.


I don't care what the world says about "that woman", Ms. Lewinsky. Although much of what was said about her was said in jest, some of it was downright cruel and uncalled for. The comments about her looks were particularly nasty, but what can you expect from a society where many think Calista Flockhart is sexy? And folks, Calista Flockhart may be a nice person, but sexy she ain't. With her big eyes, big head, long skinny neck and eighty-five pound body, dating her would be like dating E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.

As for Monica, I don't think she is bad looking. Yeah, she's a bit on the chunky side, but being as buxom as she is, she carries weight better than most. Generally, I'd say she's cute while being a bit ackward looking at the same time. In some ways still a girl, but in a woman's body. To me very indicative of her (and my) generation - Generation X.

This leads me to my choice to play Monica-the talented Christina Ricci. And while Ricci may be at the tail end of Gen X, to me both are quintessential yet polar Generation X types. Ricci with her alternative, hip and insightful Generation X vibe could easily pick up the sometimes girly and slightly dysfunctional flavor of Generation X that Monica emits. And given some similar physical characteristics - dark hair, pale skin, ample foreheads and of course for the degenerates in the movie going audience - big breasts, I think Ricci is a good choice.


Now for her confidante Linda Tripp. Well, if this were a Disney production you might want to go the evil stepmom/deceptive wicked witch route. It depends on your angle or agenda. But honestly, I don't know much about the woman. What I do know is that she secretly taped Monica's conversations and well, how should I say this, she's a bit aesthetically challenged. So there we have it. She enjoys listening to and recording intimate details of people's lives and she's not the cat's meow.

After some thought, it is my belief that a fellow aesthetically challenged voyeur should be cast as Linda Tripp. My choice to play Linda Tripp - Mr. Howard Stern. Lest anyone has any doubts, catch the cover of Stern's book from a few years back, Miss America.


We now move onto Mr. Ken Starr. The man who examined the evidence Linda Tripp provided and the testimony of God knows how many people only to have them compiled into what amounted to an extended Penthouse Letter - The Starr Report.

My choice, and I'm adamant on this one, is Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey. Yeah, Spacey is a bit thinner and younger than Starr. But they both have that same demeanor-a dryness in manner and a measured speech meant to slightly suppress an intellect and ability they know is superior to most. And by easing off the throttle a little on their personality, they've become able to prevent the smartass within themselves f rom coming out to condemn a world they know is full of idiots.

But for the naysayers out there, do the following. Get a hold of voice recordings of both men. You'll quickly notice that their voices are virtually identical. Any minor differences in voices could easily be overcome by the master mimic Spacey. But if this isn't enough (and your into stuff like numerology and astrology), consider the following. Both men have the initials K.S. Additionally, both men have last names relating to the cosmos which means that their fates are intertwined (help me out here Sylvia Browne). And amazingly, both men's fathers were in Dealey Plaza the day Kennedy was assassinated.

OK OK, I made the last thing up. But damn it, every honest person knows there is no one more capable of playing Ken Starr than Kevin Spacey.


We now undertake the most important task of all. The legitimacy of our record of an entire political era hinges entirely upon the believability of the actor chosen to play William Jefferson Clinton in the Clinton Movie. For this reason I state the following: No American Actor Should Play Clinton.

That's right. With as much zeal as I feel Spacey should play Starr, I believe a foreigner should play Clinton. You see, American actors, no matter how talented, will inevitably become a caricature or at best a mimic of the President.

We don't need a toned-down two hour Saturday Night Live sketch and we sure in hell don't need anything like Travolta's performance in Primary Colors again.

Americans are simply too close to the subject matter to accurately gauge what really lives inside the man Bill Clinton. For this reason, I've taken a page out of the Oliver Stone School of Casting , where you'll recall with a stroke of genius he cast actor Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon. With this in mind , and because I believe only a foreigner will be able to emit the life force -the essence that is Clinton , my choice to play Bill Clinton is French actor Gerard Depardieu.

OK. Take a breather. Are you out of shock or finished laughing? Now listen to me. I know to many my choice is ample evidence of my need for institutionalization, but hear me out.

Think about it. Apparently Clinton and Depardieu both have a lust for life. Both are big and a bit dumpy looking. Both have weird haircuts and cartoonish noses. And with each of them, one has to step back a bit to see what the hell anybody saw in them in the first place. Yet, they each have a core following.

And just imagine Depardieu as Clinton rollicking around the Oval Office with Ricci as Lewinsky, Depardieu's face flustered red with passion and Ricci's ample breasts heaving in excitement. In a word Lewisky herself might use - creepy. The viewing public would simultaneously be titillated and revulted.

However, one problem does remain. Although Depardieu is ideal as Clinton, his voice isn't. Anyone who has heard Depardieu speak English (I'm not trying to be mean) knows what I'm talking about. It would be hard enough enough for natives, let alone non-natives, to get Clinton's voice down, especially for feature film purposes. For this reason, I believe a voice over should be placed over the dialogue of Depardieu.

My pick for the voice over artist is Bill Clinton's brother, Roger. He has the accent, and if he doesn't overdo it, he could probably get some of his brother's natural speech patterns down. And as a performer and as brother of a president who is soon to leave office, he may as well strike it while it's hot and take all the opportunities he can. Besides, having one actor do the President's voice while another does his bodily actions would add a fitting surrealism to the Clinton Movie? Haven't we all wondered if Clinton The Voice actually knows what Clinton The Body is doing?


There you have it folks - The Clinton Movie. Imagine it. An enflamed Depardieu as Clinton (but with a Roger Clinton voice) cavorting with Lewinsky as played by buxom Christina Ricci. Howard Stern as Linda Tripp, the backstabbing conniving friend you thought you could trust. And Kevin Spacey as Starr, the meticulous, watchful and enigmatic notetaker of all that you do - naughty and nice.

Some in the audience will surely think - I can't be seeing what I'm seeing. This isn't happening. This is too damn weird. Yet, isn't this what we all said during Clinton's many misadventures. I can't be seeing what I'm seeing. This isn't happening. This is too damn weird. Now some might argue for a more academic approach to making a film on Clinton, but shouldn't a surreal presidency have a surreal movie as its witness to the ages?


Make a casting decision at Plastic.

by Juan Melendez


pictures Terry Colon