Casting Super Bowl XLV

2 03 2011

So this is a bit late, as we’re a couple of weeks past the Super Bowl, but hey, I was busy celebrating a Packers victory.

If Super Bowl XLV was made into a big Hollywood movie, who would (or should) be cast in the various roles?  I took 14 players, coaches, and executives from the teams and league, and tried to best cast the roles based on a few basic qualifications:

1. Appearance – I wanted actors who at least somewhat resembled the person they’re portraying.  Some are closer than others, of course.  For the players, athleticism is considered as well.

2. Acting Ability – Looks aren’t enough.  I wanted people who I had seen in other projects and who can hold their own as thespians.

3. Star Power – For the most part, the actors chosen are known enough to play in an ensemble cast about an event like this.  Some are well-known, some may not be, but overall I don’t think they’d scoff at being offered the role.

4. Age – I wanted actors who were fairly close in age to the person they were portraying.  Some are off a ways, but let the makeup department deal with that.  All ages appear in parentheses in the explanations under the pictures.

If you think you have better choices, leave a comment and get a conversation started.  And feel free to cast the rest of the roles.

Note that the team casting is a bit more Packer-heavy.  They did win, after all, so I don’t think that’s too unfair.

Also note that THIS IS ALL HYPOTHETICAL.  No movie is actually being made.

First up, the head coaches (2):

Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy would be portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio

Mike McCarthy - Vincent D'Onofrio

Mike McCarthy (47) is the heavyset ringleader of the Green Bay Packers.  He’s endured countless scrutiny from the national and, in particular, the Wisconsin media over the years, so it seems somewhat appropriate that he’s portrayed by actor Vincent D’Onofrio (51).  D’Onofrio, despite decades of work in television and film, is still best remembered as Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.  In Jacket, of course, Pyle endured the scrutiny of his merciless drill sergeant before finally snapping.  McCarthy tends to stay cool under pressure, so the similarities really end there.

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin would be portrayed by Omar Epps

Mike Tomlin - Omar Epps (I think)

Call it the easiest casting decision in movie history.  A Google image search for Mike Tomlin (38) even turns up tons of pictures of he and Omar Epps (37) in a slash-image like the one above.  Beyond the striking physical similarity, Epps is a very accomplished actor with a variety of roles in television and films, including as athletes in The Program and Major League 2.  He’s now probably best known for his current role as Dr. Eric Foreman on Fox’s hit show House.

Second, let’s check out some executives (3):

Packers GM Ted Thompson would be portrayed by John Slattery

Ted Thompson - John Slattery

John Slattery (48) is younger and more handsome than bold and heavily-scrutinized Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson (58), but there is a shortage of good silver-haired actors in Hollywood and Mad Men star Slattery is the best among them.  The role isn’t an easy one if the movie portrays any of the drama that led to Thompson’s decision to end the Brett Favre “will he or won’t he come back” drama and lay his job and the future of the franchise on the shoulders of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Steelers President Art Rooney would be portrayed by Chazz Palminteri

Art Rooney - Chazz Palminteri

Chazz Palminteri (58) is a powerful actor who has a gruff demeanor and carries the perfect air of superiority one might expect from an NFL team executive (or a mob boss).  He wouldn’t have any trouble playing Steelers President Art Rooney II (58) who has been disliked by some but instrumental in pulling the Steelers back to greatness.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would be portrayed by Dylan Baker

Roger Goodell - Dylan Baker

Dylan Baker (51) isn’t a household name for most folks, but his face is likely recognizable from various serious and comedic supporting roles in everything from the Spiderman trilogy to Plane, Trains, and Automobiles.  His extremely complex and dark role as child molester and family man Bill Maplewood in the movie Happiness convinced me he could play pretty much anything.  Portraying the both lauded and vilified NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (52) would be well within his vast acting range.  Plus, they look a bit alike.

Up next, the defensive players (3):

Packers Cornerback Charles Woodson would be portrayed by Idris Elba

Charles Woodson - Idris Elba

Idris Elba (38) is best known by many for playing Stringer Bell on HBO’s hit series The Wire.  He’s a British actor but, as Bell, proved that he’s more than capable of sounding like a homegrown American.  He’s an excellent actor and has the height, athleticism, and intensity to play Packers defensive back Charles Woodson (34), who was the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and delivered an emotional halftime speech in Super Bowl XLV after he was forced from the game with a broken collarbone.

Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu would be portrayed by Jason Momoa

Troy Polamalu - Jason Momoa

Admittedly, this was a really tough one to cast, but it simply HAD to be done.  Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu (29) is of Samoan descent, and my examination into Samoan actors didn’t turn up anyone capable of really playing this role (though some might fit right in as offensive linemen).  Hawaiian native Jason Momoa (31) is not a particularly well-known actor, but I was familiar with his work as Ronan Dex on Stargate: Atlantis, and he does have the same general look and athletic build to portray Polamalu.  Camera work would have to minimize Jason’s 6-inch height advantage over Troy, but those are small potatoes compared to other physical factors (including hair, which would be converted from dreads to locks).  As for star power… let’s call it Momoa’s big break.

Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews would be portrayed by Armie Hammer

Clay Matthews - Armie Hammer

Despite the silly name, Armie Hammer (24) is a young actor who emerged as a budding star this year because of his duel role as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network.  He has some acting chops, but he’d need to grow his hair out or get some extensions to accurately portray Clay Matthews (24), who is as well known for his long hair as he is for his devastating hits.  Matthews forced a key fumble late in the Super Bowl that helped clinch the game, and he was runner-up to Polamalu for 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the year.

Last, the offensive players (6):

Packers Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson would be portrayed by Channing Tatum

Jordy Nelson - Channing Tatum

This was a tough one.  Jordy Nelson (25) is far from an NFL superstar, but had a big game in the Super Bowl and was an integral part of Green Bay’s victory, so he deserves a role.  The problem is that Hollywood is extremely short on Caucasian, ATHLETIC young twenty-something actors.  I mean, seriously, nearly all of the notable white actors in that age range are scrawny nerd-types like Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg, or Shia LaBeouf.  It was difficult casting Aaron Rodgers for the same reason.  Channing Tatum (30), though I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him in anything (I’m not a big Step Up fan, shockingly), at least matches the physicality and would be able to play Nelson.

Steelers Wide Receiver Hines Ward would be portrayed by Brian J. White

Hines Ward - Brian J. White

Brian J. White (35) has played athletes in Mr. 3000 and the Dwayne Johnson football vehicle The Gameplan, so suiting up as tough-nosed Steelers wideout Hines Ward (34) wouldn’t be a big leap for the accomplished actor, whose credits also include roles in The Family Stone, Brick, and I Can Do Bad All By Myself.  In fact, White actually spent some time as a player for the New England Patriots and as a professional lacrosse player before getting deep into the acting game.

Packers Wide Receiver Greg Jennings would be portrayed by Anthony Mackie

Greg Jennings - Anthony Mackie

If you don’t know Anthony Mackie (31) from his stellar performance in last year’s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker or his portrayal of Tupac Shakur in Notorious, you might remember him from his emotional performance as college football player Nate Ruffin in 2006’s We Are Marshall, so he’s no stranger to the gridiron.  He’s an ideal candidate to play wideout Greg Jennings (27), who spurred a Green Bay victory with a pair of touchdowns in the big game.

Packers wide receiver Donald Driver would be portrayed by Mos Def

Donald Driver - Mos Def

Aside from an obvious physical resemblance, rapper Mos Def (37) has carved out a nice non-music career as an actor in films like Be Kind, Rewind, Something the Lord Made, and The Italian Job and would be a solid choice for the role of Donald Driver (36).  It might be a tough task for him to tackle the heavy role of Driver, a former college track star who was raised in extreme poverty and went from a 7th round pick out of Alcorn State to the greatest wideout in Green Bay history.  Like Woodson, Driver was injured and missed most of the big game, but his leadership and determination are unquestionable.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be portrayed by Ryan Gosling

Ben Roethlisberger - Ryan Gosling

A difficult casting choice, for sure, because short of Zach Galifianakis, there aren’t many pudgy bearded actors in Hollywood.  Also, despite the pudge, Ben Roethlisberger (29) is still an athlete and his turbulent history might require a top-notch actor.  Enter Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling (30), known for his roles in Half Nelson, The Notebook, and 2010’s Blue Valentine.  Gosling has also played a quarterback before, portraying QB Alan Bosley in 2000’s Remember the Titans.  He may have to add a few pounds, but the 6-foot one-inch Gosling is a perfect fit to portray Big Ben.

Packers quarterback & Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers would be portrayed by Zachary Quinto

Aaron Rodgers - Zachary Quinto

This is possibly the toughest of all the casting decision.  As mentioned in the Jordy Nelson selection, there is a huge shortage of young athletic Caucasian actors in Hollywood right now, so casting professional football players like Aaron Rodgers (27) is no simple task.  Fresh off his performance as Spock in the new Star Trek, Zachary Quinto (33) isn’t an obvious choice for the Super Bowl MVP, but he’s shown his acting range over the years and seems capable of taking a few hits from defenders.  After acting opposite Tori Spelling on So NoTORIous, you’d have to think he could handle anything.

So what other roles would you cast?  Do you have better choices than the ones I made?  Let me know in the comments.

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Episode One! Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber, Oscar Picks

25 02 2011

Episode One!  Yes, it’s finally here (right click, save as, or click to stream mp3):

DAN PORT PODCAST EPISODE ONE

It’s about 37 minutes long and is about 35 MB big. (huh huh huh)

Show notes:

The full Charlie Sheen Alex Jones Show interview from TMZ is right here

And here’s Sheen’s $30,000 check to a porn star / prostitute.  Note that the bank manager misspelled verified.  Funny.

Check out Justin Bieber’s brutal CSI death scene here on Youtube (also, my bad, he’s 16)

The full list of Academy Award Nominees via IMDB.com

My picks:

Best Picture- The Social Network

Best Actor- Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Best Actress- Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Best Supporting Actor- Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Best Supporting Actress- Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Best Director- David Fincher (The Social Network)

Best Writing Directly For Screen- Christopher Nolan (Inception)

Best Writing Adapted- Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

The Wikipedia page for the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis.  Probably the most important sports book ever written.