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Posted at 8:44 AM ET, 07/16/2010

Casting Aaron Sorkin's John Edwards movie

By Jen Chaney

Aaron Sorkin has announced that he will make his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of "The Politician," Andrew Young's tell-all about the sordid affairs of one-time presidential candidate John Edwards.

Sorkin has demonstrated a flair for capturing political drama in movies like "The American President" and, of course, in NBC's "The West Wing," a show he created. The guy probably doesn't need any help in the screenplay-crafting department.

But maybe he could use a hand with casting. So, in an effort to make Aaron Sorkin's life easier, we've got four of the key roles in "The Politician" all figured out.

As John Edwards: Tom Cruise


(AP)

They've both got smiles that flash brighter than 1,000 halogen lamps. And for Cruise, this would present the kind of acting challenge he hasn't tackled in a while. If he could master that Carolina drawl and Edwards' affable smarminess, maybe he'd even earn another Academy Award nomination.

Tea Leoni as Rielle Hunter


(Gerard Burkhart for The Washington Post/Mark Seliger -- GQ)

Leoni shares something of a physical resemblance to Edwards's baby mama. And as she's demonstrated in films like "Flirting With Disaster" and "Spanglish," she can do stressed-out and borderline crazy quite well, qualities that may be key to portraying Hunter's emotional state during her tumultuous, secret affair with Edwards.

Mary Kay Place as Elizabeth Edwards:


(Lacey Terrell/Gerald Martinea -- The Washington Post)

Calm. Collected. Motherly, but with a healthy dose of bitterness and anger. Place can do all those things with ease. She'd make a great Elizabeth Edwards.

As Andrew Young: Jon Hamm


(AP)

Playing the Edwards aide who tries to stand by his boss (at least until that part where he published a book about him) would make a nice departure from Hamm's role as the dark and mysterious Don Draper. Plus, it would put Jon Hamm in the movie. And this always seems like a good idea. In a related story, Hamm also would have been just perfect for the part of Spider-Man, one of those little yellow minions in "Despicable Me" and Tinker Bell.

Like these suggestions? Or do you have better ones? Weigh in with a comment.

By Jen Chaney  | July 16, 2010; 8:44 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mel Gibson audio tapes now in hands of detectives; Pink recovering from stage fall; Aaron Sorkin to make John Edwards movie
Next: The critics who dared not to like 'Inception'

Comments

Me likey. Nicely done, Jen. :)

Posted by: Lizka | July 16, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Bingo!

Posted by: mat00 | July 16, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Jack McBrayer (Kenneth on 30 Rock) for John Edwards

Posted by: echovector | July 16, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Mel Gibson as John Edwards - I think he could really nail the whole "seemingly nice guy who is really a narcissist" thing.

Posted by: chelseabfh | July 16, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

How 'bout Matthew Modine Andrew Young?

Posted by: im6mi | July 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Peter Bergmann as Edwards - he has smarmy down!

Posted by: djohnson1 | July 16, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Heather Locklear as Rielle Hunter.

Looking for other Elizabeth Edwards ideas.

Posted by: Hunter | July 16, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Greg Kinnear as John Edwards?

Posted by: Hunter | July 16, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

A John Edwards movie would be the most BORING MOVIE OF ALL TIMES!

Worse than Ishtar!!!

Posted by: imZandor | July 16, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Agree with echovector who proposed Jack McBrayer (Kenneth on 30 Rock) for John Edwards.

And with Hunter on Heather Locklear for Rielle.

May I suggest, out of utter snarkiness, Sharon Gless for Elizabeth Edwards?

Based on the photo, Andrew Young seems to resemble a cleaned-up Billy Bob Thornton.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, the Edwards' could play themselves. Whatever the sins and injuries these people bear, they have certainly demonstrated their ability to, well, play themselves.

They might even do it.

Posted by: Casey1 | July 16, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, the Edwards' could play themselves. Whatever the sins and injuries these people bear, they have certainly demonstrated their ability to, well, play themselves.

They might even do it.

Posted by: Casey1 | July 16, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

imZandor
Worse than Ishtar!!!

I'm sure some folks said that re "All The President's Men" when it was being cast, too.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Susan Sarandon as Elizabeth Edwards
Courtney Love as Rielle Hunter
Rob Lowe as John Edwards
Linus Roache as Andrew Young

Posted by: mattintx | July 16, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Who in their right mind would want to see a movie like this?

Posted by: jfregus | July 16, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Awesome, mattintx! Rielle and Courtney are two peas in a pod.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

jfregus
Who in their right mind would want to see a movie like this?

Four little words: "All The President's Men."

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If this book actually becomes a movie it will be a flop unless it is made as an animated feature like Toy Story. It would also have to have some adoreable characters and with the plot of this book that might be difficult. Perhaps the "Edwards" character could be a vampire. Their are a lot of true stories around which would make a better movie. How about a movie on the real life antics of Newt Gingrich? Or on the real life adventures of John McCain after he returned from Vietnam, dumped his wife and married a rich beauty? Ot to be exotic make a movie about the real life love life of Mao? All in all the Edwards story is pretty boring.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | July 16, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Actually no..I think I should be cast as Edwards..I have more his look..and already have the Southern Drawl and the culture to portray his character in a more realistic manor........Garris Christopher

Posted by: lalightin1 | July 16, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

With her scary tightened visage, Mary Kay Place more resembles Mary Matalin. And not in a good way.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

As the publicity seeking person she is, Rielle as Reille.

Posted by: mmccash1 | July 16, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Nosy, "a cleaned-up Billy Bob Thornton" is an oxymoron.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 16, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

SPLOOT!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I think Tom Cruise is perfect for Edwards because it wouldn't be a stretch at all. Creepy, toothy guy flashing oodles of charm that almost (but not quite) conceals the empty soul within.

Posted by: themegnapkin | July 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Kevin Bacon as Edwards.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | July 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

mmmccash, not sure why you're singling out Rielle Hunter. She may or may not have been a publicity seeker, but her boyfriend wanted to be *The President Of The United States Of America*.

On the Grand Scale Of People Seeking To Make A Big Splash In The World (tm), Mr. Edwards would certainly be closer to the top.

Besides, he was fairly convincing in his role of "Devoted Husband" for a while there. Dude can act.

Posted by: byoolin1 | July 16, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Looking at that picture of Andrew Young, I'm thinking Timothy Olyphant.

Posted by: slc11 | July 16, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Is Elizabeth Edwards signficantly older than John (or does she look much older)? Because Mary Kay Place is a bit senior to Tom Cruise, if memory serves.

Plus, Tom Cruise can't act (oh, that). And Tea Leoni seems a bit too cerebral (!) to play Rielle Hunter. May I suggest:

Matt Damon as John Edwards
Kate Beckinsale as Elizabeth Edwards
Kate Hudson as Rielle Hunter
Ben Affleck as Andrew Young

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | July 16, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Chow Yun Fat as John Edwards... but only if M Night Shyamalan directs

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 16, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Dennis Quaid as John Edwards.

Posted by: angie12106 | July 16, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Dennis Quaid as John Edwards.

Posted by: angie12106 | July 16, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Awesome, Jen! I love Mary Kay Place -- she would be perfect as Elizabeth.

Wee Tom = ugh. Dennis Quaid = perfect.

Posted by: Californian11 | July 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards - +1 on Matt Damon!
Rielle -- Elizabeth Perkins
Andrew Young -- the guy who played the Man in Black on 'Lost'
Elizabeth -- the versatalented Meryl Streep

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | July 16, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

TheBoreaucrat, great call on Meryl. Along similar chameleonic lines, Dame Helen?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think Tom Cruise is perfect for Edwards because it wouldn't be a stretch at all. Creepy, toothy guy flashing oodles of charm that almost (but not quite) conceals the empty soul within.

Posted by: themegnapkin | July 16, 2010 11:51 AM

Wouldn't it be a vertical stretch for Cruise to play Edwards? Most (successful) politicians are taller than average...

Posted by: northgs | July 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

from jfregus
Who in their right mind would want to see a movie like this?

Ah, maybe all the same people that read about it online?

Posted by: cjbriggs | July 16, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Leoni has too much class to play Hunter! How about that trashy plastic-surgery reality tv chick - Heidi something? It has to be someone tacky enough to pose pantless for a magazine and then disingenuous enough to pretend she didn't know they'd publish the pics... Leoni's intelligence shows too much for that role :)

Posted by: alphaonna | July 16, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Michael Cena as John Edwards and Jack Black in drag with a beard as Elizabeth Edwards. Polanski to comes back to the U.S. to direct and all three are imprisoned and summarily executed for crimes against humanity...

Posted by: ozpunk | July 16, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

They should get Bill Clinton to play John Edwards in the movie, so the performance can have that authentic "been there, done that" quality...

Posted by: TonyV1 | July 16, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Peter Bergmen should play John Edwards because they look very much a like. Bergmen plays Jack Abbott on "The Young & The Restless."

Posted by: aspe4 | July 16, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

from jfregus
Who in their right mind would want to see a movie like this?

Well... uh... I would if Don Draper was in it and there was even a tiny chance that he'd have a scene wherein he's parading around in his birthday suit. Other than that... uh... no... no interest at all.

Posted by: JenAZ | July 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Cruise could pull off the heavy South Caroline accent. The smooth talking southern politician needs to be spot on for this role to work. It might be less problematic to cast someone that already has that southern charm. How about Matthew McConaughey. That way they would just need to put an Edwards wig on him.

Posted by: mjoy | July 16, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

ozpunk, at first I read that as John Cena as John Edwards. That would be a very different movie.

jfregus, it's Aaron Sorkin making a movie about politics. Last time he did that was with Charlie Wilson's War, which was pretty well-received. Only difference now is he's directing. There are a lot of people who'll want to see this based on Charlie Wilson's War, The American President, and The West Wing.

Oh, and yeah, I guess some people will be interested in the TV psychic guy that it's supposed to be about. That's the John Edwards we're talking about, right?

Posted by: dkp01 | July 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for this, Jen, but I think Tea Leoni is a little too old to play Rielle. I would opt for January Jones. And how about Rob Lowe as the Senator? He understands sexual misconduct in the media on a personal level. I agree with prior posters in that I'd like to see Ben Affleck as Andrew Young and the great Meryl Streep as Elizabeth Edwards!

Posted by: lydandy | July 16, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

BTW, why don't you make a poll with the suggestions, and let us vote?!

Posted by: lydandy | July 16, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW, why don't you make a poll with the suggestions, and let us vote?!

Posted by: lydandy | July 16, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Tom Cruz is a terrible actor. Having a resemblance to Edwards is not the issue, having the mannerisms of Edwards is what counts and Cruz does not have what it takes.

Posted by: rgb111 | July 16, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

lydadndy
Tea Leoni is a little too old to play Rielle.

Maybe, but on the other hand, Rielle's gotta lotta miles on 'er.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

How about Al Gore playing John Edwards.

Posted by: 12oreo | July 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Rielle Hunter is not hot. I'm disappointed in you John. You and Clinton both picked unattractive mistresses. I never understood that, at least get a porn star like Tiger did.

Posted by: Jsuf | July 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Andrew Young looks amazingly like Steve Carrel (I don't think I spelled that correctly).

Posted by: Lewis52 | July 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sean Hayes from Will and Grace is another dead ringer, like the fellow from 30 Rock.

And Mare Wittingham for Elizabeth.

Posted by: fmjk | July 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I think Andrew Young looks amazingly like Steve Carrel (I don't think I spelled that correctly) from "The Office".

Posted by: Lewis52 | July 16, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Who's Meryl Streep going to play? A cameo as Tipper, maybe? Alec Baldwin might make a good Al Gore. But, then it might be confusing -- people will think they're watching "It's Complicated."

Posted by: suelong | July 16, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Chow Yun Fat as John Edwards... but only if M Night Shyamalan directs" -- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Good one, quintiliusvarus.

I'm liking the Dennis Quaid / Mare Winningham / Elizabeth Perkins suggestions. Great stuff.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | July 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

suelong
will think they're watching "It's Complicated."

SPLOOT!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

td, Mare Winningham would make a scarily perfect Elizabeth!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 16, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Sufferin sucka tash, waz a point of it all !!

Posted by: solid3 | July 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

A movie... about John Edwards? NOOOOO, No PLEAAASSEE NO! Just make it stop already!

Posted by: forgetthis | July 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The role will be a real challenge for Cruz. True he shouldn't have any problem with having the audience believe the selfish narcissist part.

But if he gets the pretending to like women part scenes nailed he might just get an Academy Award!

Posted by: GarrisonLiberty | July 16, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Eric Bana should play Young. Not for any particular reason, just because I like looking at Eric Bana.
Excuse me for now, I am having a hot flash.

Posted by: menopausequeen | July 16, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

For Edwards , what Pee Wee Herman was already working ?

Posted by: roughseas | July 16, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Greg Kinnear is the guy to play Edwards. He has the looks and can appear as insincere as the best politician out there.

Posted by: psplus | July 16, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

You know who'd do John Edwards perfectly? Tim Matheson! He played the same smarmy politician role as John Hoynes on West Wing and was fabulous!

I think someone's idea of Rob Lowe was good, too -- he has the same boyish thing going on that Edwards has.

Like Mary Kay Place. Not sure about Tea Leoni, who might come off too classy to portray Hunter -- but despite what a previous poster said, she's certainly not too old to play her. Hunter was born in '64; Leoni in '66.

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | July 16, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

NOT TOM CRUISE

that does not do edwards justice

maybe josh brolin? someone with really good hair.

Posted by: anitaks618 | July 16, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

For a movie (not a made for TV deal) I would cast:

Greg Kinnear as John Edwards
Mare Winningham as Elizabeth
Renee Zellweger as Rielle
Matt Damon as the Aide
Emily Blunt as the Aide's wife

Posted by: afoley1 | July 16, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

For a movie (not a made for TV deal) I would cast:

Greg Kinnear as John Edwards
Mare Winningham as Elizabeth
Renee Zellweger as Rielle
Matt Damon as the Aide
Emily Blunt as the Aide's wife

Posted by: afoley1 | July 16, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

If Cruise is unavailable, get Sam Rockwell. Already showed his Southern accent capability in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Posted by: bitterblogger | July 16, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Ok...thought about it some more

I would cast Jessica Lang as Elizabeth and Courtney Love as the mistress

Posted by: afoley1 | July 17, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

this casting actually is quite good. if tom cruise could rein it in a little and not be too over the top, he could be a good john edwards. elizabeth edwards is by the way only 4 years older than john edwards. it's just that she's aged poorly (i know she's ill) and he's aged ridiculous well. mary kay place really does look like elizabeth and oddly tea leoni could pull of an authentic rielle as long as they put her in cheap discount flouncy clothes and mimiced her mannerisms. i would keep looking for someone better than john hamm. i don't think he looks like andrew at all. otherwise, pretty decent casting. jeez. i swear.

Posted by: emmajulie | July 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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