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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 09/ 8/2010

In Reagan biopic, who should play Nancy?

By Sarah Anne Hughes

Who would you cast as Nancy Reagan in the upcoming biopic? (Dennis Cook/AP)

A biopic about Ronald Reagan is in the works. The film, simply titled "Reagan," will be based on two biographies about the former president written by Paul Kengor ("The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan") and will cover Reagan's life, from boyhood to the presidency. It's not clear what the film's tone will be, but script writer Jonas McCord said this of Reagan, "I was of the opinion that at best he was a bad actor and at worst a clown." I think that's a decent indicator.

This is not the first time Hollywood has attempted to make a film about Reagan. In 2003, the CBS miniseries "The Reagans," starring Josh Brolin as the patriarch, came under fire when portions of the script leaked and it was deemed unbalanced. The miniseries was not broadcast on CBS but on cable network Showtime.

The Hollywood Reporter has already compiled a list of possible young Reagans, including Zac Efron and James Franco. Over at Moviefone, Tom Hanks and Jon Hamm have been named as contenders for the older Reagan. But what about the first lady, Nancy Reagan (played by Judy Davis in the miniseries)? Here are some of my picks to play the petit, elegant and controversial woman who told kids to "Just Say No."


Do you see the Mulligan-Reagan resemblance?(Vince Bucci/AP)

Carey Mulligan
For a younger Nancy, I'm thinking British actress Carey Mulligan. Like her husband, Nancy acted in her youth, and Mulligan has that old-school Hollywood vibe in spades. Plus, she's a legitimately talented young actress, which she proved in "An Education." Looks-wise, she rocks a short haircut as well as Nancy did, and she has similar facial features. Can you imagine what a cute couple Mulligan and Zac Efron would make?

Maggie Gyllenhaal
If the filmmakers are looking for an actress who could play both young and older Nancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal is a good choice. Although she plays a good down-home girl, think her Oscar-nominated role in "Crazy Heart," she can do slightly snobby as well, like Rachel in "The Dark Knight." As far as looks go, Reagan and Gyllenhaal have similar cheekbone structure.

Annette Bening
Even though Annette Bening favors Democrats, I think she would make a great older Nancy. Like my other candidates, she wears short hair well and has an elfin face. She has played the love interest of a commander in chief in "The American President."

Meryl Streep
Can one make a hypothetical cast list without adding Meryl Steep? I can't. Reagan was 60 when she became first lady, about the same age Streep is now. Above all, Streep has old-world class and elegance that can't be duplicated, and she would bring the necessary grace to Nancy Reagan. Streep may not look a lot like Reagan, but the woman can play anyone, and, in my opinion, should.

Who do you think would make a good Nancy Reagan? Tell us in the comments section.

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 8, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Movies  
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Comments

I second Meryl Streep

Posted by: talleyl | September 8, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Julianne Moore

Posted by: joneu316 | September 8, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Needs to be someone quasi-anorexic. So, as fine as Streep and Moore are as actors, they're too sturdily built. Joan Allen has already played Pat Nixon, but she might do as the older Nancy, too.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | September 8, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Claire Danes. She has the same lollipop look as Nancy, with the head too big for the body.

Posted by: Californian11 | September 8, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Betty White.

Posted by: spidey103 | September 8, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The actress from Cheers. Can't think of her name. First thought that came to me. The older Nancy, I think.

Posted by: arkosu | September 8, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

How about Lady Gaga? Nancy was a B movie actress and a Grade B first lady.

Posted by: berg1928 | September 8, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

arkosu
The actress from Cheers. Can't think of her name. First thought that came to me. The older Nancy, I think.

Uh, Kirstie Alley, right? LOL! Seriously, I assume you mean the skinny Shelly Long, who played Diane Chambers the first few seasons.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | September 8, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, in the movie *I'm* directing, it's Montana Fishburne.

Posted by: byoolin1 | September 9, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Julianne Moore is good.
Joan Allen?
How about Mia Farrow as an older Nancy? Delicate-looking, brittle, sharp-edged.

Posted by: Hunter | September 9, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I bet the actress from Cheers arkosu is thinking of is Bebe Neworth who played Lilith Crane.

Posted by: Lizka | September 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I bet the actress from Cheers arkosu is thinking of is Bebe Neworth who played Lilith Crane.

Also, I wouldn't count out Julianne Moore or Merl Streep just because they don't have dainty bone structure - Phillip Seymour Hoffman played Truman Capote, awesomely, in my opinion.

Posted by: Lizka | September 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I bet the actress from Cheers arkosu is thinking of is Bebe Neworth who played Lilith Crane.

Also, I wouldn't count out Julianne Moore or Meryl Streep just because they don't have dainty bone structure - Phillip Seymour Hoffman played Truman Capote, awesomely, in my opinion.

Posted by: Lizka | September 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Christina Hendricks.
There should be nude scenes.
In fact... all scenes in the series should feature a naked Christina Hendricks.
This is the only way this becomes a project I'm interested in watching.

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | September 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Quin - Not what I was expecting, but I'm suddenly excited about this project. Now more excited. More excited. More. More. And now...ashamed. Deeply, deeply ashamed.

Posted by: karmadrome | September 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"I was of the opinion that at best he was a bad actor and at worst a clown." So-o, a balanced portrait of Reagan is probably not the end game this time around either.

Which means it will probably be as successful as the Josh Brolin version.

Posted by: novaescapee | September 9, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

LiLo if she can change it to "Just Say Yes!"

Posted by: kabuki3 | September 9, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Mia Farrow is a good thought, but Sissy Spacek would make an awesome Nancy.

Posted by: VaLGaL | September 9, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Maggie Gyllenhall.

Take a look at this pic of the Reagans, long before his Presidency:

http://reagan2020.us/images/1950sRonandNancy.jpg

Posted by: molsonmich | September 9, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Katie Holmes. (she may have a hard time doing the Conservative Political thing though...)

Posted by: neesie209 | September 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I say Joan Allen. She did a bang-up job as Pat Nixon, and I think that should could work as the mature Nancy Reagan.

Posted by: gchurchill | September 10, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Helen Mirren, obviously.

Posted by: richismo | September 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Helen Mirren, obviously.

Posted by: richismo | September 10, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I think the reference to Cheers was to Rhea Perlman, lol

Posted by: richismo | September 10, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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