By Nick Maylor
We all know this is going to happen. The Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse became an instant bestseller upon release. I read it in one night. Trump and his people have insisted that the entire book is fabricated, though the events described in it seem completely consistent with what we see from the 45th President’s administration. If 10% of that book is true, it’s still an unfathomable nightmare. Jay Roach is best known for directing theatrical comedies like The Campaign (2012), Meet the Parents (2000) and the Austin Powers films; but he has also made serious political dramas; several for HBO. These include Recount (2008), Game Change (2012) and All the Way (2016). In an unsurprising move, it sounds like Roach will next tackle Fire and Fury for television. Mulling over the possibilities, I have compiled a list of 20 actors and actresses, and the people they could potentially play. In Roach’s previous films, many real-life figures were not cast; merely appearing in the films via news footage and interviews. Fire and Fury has been announced as a series, meaning that much more material can be explored than it a mere 2 hours and so, I have made a list of the twenty roles most likely to be considered.
20. MIKE PENCE – Rob Lowe
I attempted to sort this list by ascending order of the significance of the role and how interesting the casting is. Ironically, the Vice President would likely feature very little on screen; as his job has basically be to stand, smile and keep his mouth shut. I had considered suggesting a cardboard cut out of Pence but realized that it would be inconsistent of me if I didn’t actually give someone this dreadful role. I choose Rob Lowe due to a combination of “why not?” and “who cares?” Lowe can throw a white wig on, stand there and look pretty. Job done.
19. RICK PERRY – Josh Brolin
Trump’s Secretary of Energy is former Texas Governor, Rick Perry. When running for President in 2012, Perry said that he would immediately cut three departments if elected. One of them was the very department he now heads; Energy. The other one mentioned was Education. Perry couldn’t remember the third. One would think that heading the department of energy would include some understanding of science. Rick Perry doesn’t believe in climate change and thinks the earth is 6000 years old. His southern swagger is highly reminiscent of former US President George W. Bush (whom Brolin portrayed in Oliver Stone’s W.). Like Perry, Bush held the office of Texas Governor prior to his Presidency.
18. REINCE PRIEBUS – Michael Stuhlbarg
2017 was a landmark year for Stuhlbarg. He delivered a wonderful performance in Call Me by Your Name that featured an amazing and memorable monologue as the father of Timothée Chalamet. He also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. The role of Trump’s first Chief of Staff would be no trouble for this gifted character actor.
17. PAUL RYAN – Justin Bartha
The speaker of the house (and third in-line to the Presidency) has been called the “conscience” of the Republican party. No comment on that one. Ryan has that widow’s peak thing going on. He also has the right combination of dorkiness, brown nosing and pretentiousness that Bartha would easily be able to convey.
16. SEAN SPICER – Clark Gregg
There’s a moment in The Avengers when Agent Coulson (Gregg) goes total fanboy when talking to Captain America. That scene alone should be enough to sell this casting choice. The photos speak for themselves, but I can totally see Gregg going up to the podium, channeling that awkwardness we’ve seen from Phil Coulson; only instead of swooning over a hero, he’s trying not to lose his cool while thinking about how much he hates his job.
15. DONALD TRUMP, JR. – Sebastian Stan
Taking another star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe here, I choose Senastian Stan for portray Trump’s first born son (one of many things the Donald was happy to plaster his name on). Stan is better looking than Don, Jr but he has the chops to nail that arrogant bragadoccio.
14. SEBASTIAN GORKA – John C. Reilly
This English-born “foreign policy expert” served as a Deputy Assistant for Trump before leaving the White House (a regular occurance for Trump’s staff) and moving to Fox News. He is little more than an extreme right winger who thinks his accent makes him sound smarter than he is. There’s no doubt that Reilly has everything one would need in an actor for this part. He might even make Gorka endearing to watch.
13. ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci had one of the briefest tenures in Trump’s Whitehouse. He served as Communications Director for only ten days; but he became famous immediately. From his slick hair to his polished delivery, The Mooch seems like every high-profile mafia lawyer from central casting. Anyone who has seen Don Jon knows that the incredibly talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt would shine in this small character role. “The Mooch” seems like the kind of guy who would want to play himself here, but I think JGL would be a far better choice. Sorry, Mooch.
12. BETSY DE VOS – Amy Ryan
Trump’s Secretary of Education has no previous government experience, never went to a public school, and in 2001 listed education activism and reform efforts as a means to “advance God’s Kingdom”. She is an advocate of public funds going towards charter and private schools. Critics accuse her of advancing an agenda to privatize the American Public Education system. Another role likely to small, DeVos would be easy for the smart and talented Amy Ryan to handle.
11. KELLYANNE CONWAY – Sarah Paulson
Having previously worked with Jay Roach on Game Change where she played Nicole Wallace, Paulson would be an ideal choice for this bizarre character. The woman who coined the term “alternative facts” would no doubt serve for some interesting scenes where she (like everyone else) tries desperately to keep her cool under the insane circumstances.
10. JOHN KELLY – Mark Harmon
I will fully admit that this choice came about originally due to the physical resemblance between the two. Harmon has lots of experience playing military and political figures (see The West Wing and NCIS). If he was willing to shave his head, the part of Trump’s Secretary of Staff would suit him well.
9. REX TILLERSON – CIARÁN HINDS
Rex Tillerson was fired via tweet. Let that settle in. The slow-talking Texan (like essentially everyone else) has ended his short tenure at Trump’s Whitehouse. He’s viewed as one of the worst Secretaries of State in U.S. history, having no previous experience and boasting a weak job record. Irish actor Ciarán Hinds has the presence and bears a resemblance to Tillerson. Hinds also has no trouble sporting any American accent for a role. Hearing Texan from him would be fun.
8. JEFF SESSIONS – Martin Freeman
Trump’s Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a former senator from Alabama. He is famous for saying marijuana is only slightly less dangerous than heroin, being unable to recall anything when testifying to the House Judiciary Committee and looking like a Keebler elf or a garden gnome. Who better to play a gnome than a hobbit? The British actor would suit the role perfectly. A white wig, a suit and make up is all he needs before sliding into that Alabama accent.
7. SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS – Ginnifer Goodwin
Sometimes when we’re fan casting, it’s necessary to go against type. Sarah Sanders doesn’t seem too warm and fuzzy. When Sean Spicer served as White House Press Secretary, you got a sense that beneath the spin, a little piece of him died having to go out and face the reporters each day. Sanders has no such air to her. She seems like the kind of person who would stare down a battleship with nothing but her resting bitch face. Ginnifer Goodwin is so sweet and non-threatening that I think she would relish the chance to get mean.
6. STEVEN BANNON – Paul Giamatti
Steve Bannon is a failed screenwriter and former chairman of Breitbart News. He is famous for mobilizing the alt-right, looking like he sweats moonshine and wearing several collared shirts top of each other for some reason. Giamatti rocks in every role he takes with villains being no exception. His work in Cinderella Man (2005), Straight Outta Compton (2015) and The Ides of March (2011) would each serve as proof that he’s perfect for Bannon.
5. JARED KUSHNER – Adam Driver
Although rarely seen speaking on camera, Trump’s son-in-law is an extremely important figure in the life of the 45th President. A few of his responsibilities in the current administration are said to be: solving America’s opioid epidemic, reforming the criminal justice system, diplomacy with both Mexico and China, and negotiating peace in the middle east. Adam Driver could make the role of the rarely seen Kushner fascinating.
4. IVANKA TRUMP – Jennifer Lawrence
Although Scarlett Johansson already did a great job portraying Ivanka on Saturday Night Live, I decided to go with this young Oscar winner to play the de facto First Lady, Trump’s favourite child. Lawrence would no doubt pull off the elitist, entitled and oblivious nature that Ivanka must be ripe with.
3. MELANIA TRUMP – Noomi Rapace
Trump warned us about immigrants stealing American jobs. His third wife is a great example of that. Melania Trump is likely to be one of (if not the) most empathetic characters on this list. Thrust into a public job she never wanted, Melania has encountered all the slimiest baggage that her husband carries with him. From the Access Hollywood “pussy grabber” tape to constant news about Stormy Daniels, Melania may very well be crying on the inside, feeling trapped in a hopeless position. We won’t know how her future will play out after Trump’s Presidency. The commander-in-chief’s trophy wife (his words) may not be as miserable as we all think, but when it comes to Mr. Trumps marriages, it certainly doesn’t seem like the third time is the charm. From her work in Prometheus (2012) to The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (2009), Swedish actress Noomi Rapace has shown that she can overcome adversity. If there is any character who is appropriate for the #MeToo movement, it would be Melania.
2. ROBERT MULLER – Mark Strong
It is possible that the series will feature opposing viewpoints to those of the administration. The man who could be responsible for Trump’s demise is Robert Muller, the sixth director of the FBI. Appointed as special council in the ongoing Russia investigation, Muller is a hard-ass, ex-marine who has been doing a ton of work that we’re all waiting to see. Mark Strong has the chin, stoicism and talent to play Muller. He’s also played several bad-asses before, so he definitely has what it takes.
- DONALD J. TRUMP – Bryan Cranston
This was the hardest decision to make; one wrought with problems right from the start. How does an actor play this man in a drama? How do you play Trump with subtlety? How big is too over-the-top? How do you play Trump in silence? We’ve seen actors like Darrell Hammond, Johnny Depp and Alec Baldwin do Trump as a comedic parody. Anyone and their grandmother is capable of doing a Donald Trump impression. Is there anything substantive beneath Trump’s public persona? The only way to pull this off is to get an actor so talented and renowned for playing intense dramatic roles. Cranston has brilliant comedic timing but it’s because of his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad that convinced me he should play Trump; because Walter White and Donald Trump are nothing alike. Walter White is brilliant, meticulous, a master strategist and always careful. Trump is none of those things. Cranston has also worked with Jay Roach on Trumbo (2015) and All the Way (2016); playing former US President Lyndon Johnson in the latter.
Nick is an actor/writer/comedian/musician from Hamilton, ON Canada. Having been a film nut since the early days of his life, Nick has had an obsession with cinema and popular entertainment. Nick has written for thecinemaholic.com and is the current Foote & Friends “expert” on all things geek/superhero/comic-book related. Nick is the host/producer of the official Foote & Friends On Film podcast. Nick met John when studying acting at the Toronto Film School, for which John H. Foote was director and Film History professor. The two have been arguing ever since.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMaylor