Casting Craziness or Not? Josh Brolin as George W. Bush - Rolling Stone
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Casting Craziness or Not? Josh Brolin as George W. Bush

Is it bananas to cast Josh Brolin, the dog-shooting hombre of No Country for Old Men and American Gangster, as George W. Bush in W, the new film from Nixon biopic director Oliver Stone? No more than the movie itself, which New York magazine has just predicted will be “the comedy hit of 2009.” For my money, Brolin is one of the most underrated actors in America, and can play anything. But if an early version of the script obtained by is on the money, Stone will be having a lot more fun with Dubya then he did with Tricky Dick. Listen to just three descriptions from a script that shows Bush as a party animal who resents living in his father’s shadow until he gives up booze, finds religion and gets up to political shenanigans:

After the young Dubya drains a pint of Wild Turkey and runs over a pile of trash cans while driving home, his angry father tells him to call Alcoholics Anonymous, prompting Dubya to sarcastically deride his dad as “Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. Fucking God Almighty.”

Bush practices his parachute landing in the White House pool but forgets to properly release the harness and sinks to the bottom. In another scene, Donald Rumsfeld doodles a drawing of Condoleeza Rice standing on a piano with a globe spinning on her finger.

Bush interrupts a meeting with Prince Bandar, in which he informs the Saudi ambassador about plans to invade Iraq, so that he can catch the rest of the 2002 Miami Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens playoff game. Bush is later shown choking on a pretzel and passing out during the second quarter.

Several Bush biographers have laughed off many of these script assumptions, hinting that what’s on screen sounds like a farce. I’ll say. In Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, opening April 25th, our stoner heroes parachute onto Dubya’s ranch (don’t ask) and share a joint with the Prez , played to the Texas manor born by a cussin’ James Adomian. High on pot, Bush calls his daddy and gives him hell. The scene wouldn’t seem out of place in Stone’s movie. Which may be the problem. To Stone, w is not a farce. The Oscar winner for Platoon and Born on the 4th of July is as serious as a heart attack about the enterprise. Look at the esteemed actors he’s signed up. Besides Brolin, who is now acting in Milk as Dan White, the San Francisco politico who assassinated the openly gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978, Babe star James Cromwell is on board as George Bush Sr. and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn plays momma bear Barbara Bush. 40-Year-Old Virgin babe Elizabeth Banks will play Laura Bush. And Mi-2‘s Thandie Newton is nearly set as Condoleeza Rice, as is Fantastic Four‘s Ioan Gruffudd as British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Did Stone screw up big time by not casting comic actors in the first place? Just looking at Steve Carell makes me want to shout, “That’s My Bush!” And Bill Murray could do Dick Cheney to a wicked turn. And what about Sacha Baron Cohen as Tony Blair? In that spirit, let’s recast w for Stone. It sounds like he could use the help.

In This Article: George W. Bush, Josh Brolin


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