Sunday, November 08, 2015

Who would play you in the movie?

This is a re-post from four years ago, but with STEVE JOBS now out I thought it would be a good time to reprise it.

Lately, there have been a lot of movies either made or in development about real life people. SOCIAL NETWORK for one. 127 HOURS is another. Upcoming you have MONEYBALL where Brad Pitt (of all people) plays the Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Bean. And recently I read that the tell-all book on ESPN is soon to be a minor motion picture.

Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick are already speculating on who would play them in the movie. (Too bad Groucho is dead, Keith.)

But it brings up the question – say there was a movie of your life – who would play you in the movie? Now your first response might be – YOU. Why not play yourself? Well, that’s only been partially successful in the past. Ann Jillian pulled it off in THE ANN JILLIAN STORY but Jackie Robinson not so much in THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY.

Ann at least is a real actor. The truth is good actors will usually do a better job of playing you than you. Raymond Massey was a much better choice to play Abraham Lincoln than Lincoln himself, and not just because he was dead. Massey brought out a warmth that those who knew Lincoln admitted he didn’t have.

Another problem with playing yourself is pulling off those scenes when you were much younger. Imagine Mary Tyler Moore today trying to recreate Laura Petrie? Yiiiiiikes.

So if a Hollywood actor/actress were to play you, who would it be? After the joke answers of George Clooney and Penelope Cruz, which star best resembles you in looks and personality? After the second joke answers of still George Clooney and Penelope Cruz, who would it be?

Probably for me, if I’m being honest, Ann Jillian. Damn, it’s hard to play this game and not give joke answers.

Okay, for real – maybe David Strathern. Possibly Steve Colbert. Someone tall, dark, believable as a blogger.

So what about you? And how many joke answers until you settled on one that’s believable?

Here’s the thing that worries me about my movie. I can understand a studio not letting me play myself. But they probably wouldn’t let me write it either.

38 comments:

Peter said...

I was once told I bore a slight resemblance to a young Eugene Levy. I still haven't decided if that was a compliment.

I would want Daniel Day Lewis to play me. He looks and sounds nothing like me but that doesn't matter. He has a remarkable ability to transform into anyone. He's so good he could play Michael Jackson from childhood to adult.

benson said...

Back in the 70's, I was told I resembled Rob Reiner. Playing a young me, maybe Zach Galafianakis or Jonah Hill or Peter DeLuise.

By the way, the Hazel reruns on Antenna TV have cycled again to season 5 (the one without Don DeFore and Whitney Blake) and there's young Ann Jillian as Steve Baxter's receptionist.

MikeK.Pa. said...

William Macy, just because I think he's a great actor and could pull off playing anybody.

For you, possibly Barry Bostwick, Robert Downey Jr. or Jeff Goldblum.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Sad to say some folks think I resemble Tim Conway. No slam on Tim Conway, but like all of us, I have a somewhat different image of myself. Oh, hell, come to think of it, Tim is wonderful and a real treat to watch.

I'm now happy to say, "Tim Conway."

wackiland said...

In my case, there can be only one. Miss Piggy, of course.

Ralph C. said...

Ray Romano. I could dub his voice with mine and no one would notice. There are those who say I sound more like Richard Lewis. Both of their characters would sort of fit for me. In their real lives they are vastly superior. Either actor would scratch and claw their way...out of the roll. My life would make a dull, dull movie. Thanks for asking.

Michael said...

Ken, I don't think Raymond Massey captured a warmth Lincoln didn't have ....

Years ago, I was at a wedding and sat at a table with a guy who sounded exactly like Jack Nicholson. We joked about that and someone else there said I reminded her of another actor, and everybody at the table guessed correctly who she meant. So, the next year, I was teaching a Nevada history class and asked a trivia question: the only best picture Oscar winner ever to be filmed partly in Las Vegas. The Godfather? No, they used old footage of Las Vegas. I said, "I'll give you a hint. I've been told I remind people of one of the stars of the movie." A woman in the back row jumped out of her desk and yelled, "Rainman!"

Once everybody stopped laughing, I said, "It's funny. Every woman I've ever gone out with tells me how much I remind her of Tom Cruise." Well, I'm short, with a big nose and a nasal voice. Dustin, have your people call my people.

Terence Towles Canote said...

I would say Jake Gyllenhaal. We do look a lot alike. Unfortunately, I think any film about my life would be very boring.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

People tell me I look like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but he's dead, so I guess that wouldn't work out. Maybe if Jonathan Lipnicki hadn't retired from acting to become a body builder. . . . or Drew Carey, but he's a lot older than I am. . . .

Julian Brown said...

i get jason schwartzman the most often from others.

trying to think of someone somewhere between him and zach galifikanakis. because hairy and somewhat bear-like.

probably maron. at least he has a beard.

for you, ken : the guy who played shapiro opposite pitt's beane? reed diamond. but funnier.

Curt Alliaume said...

Years ago, a few of us casted "St. Martin's Press: The Movie," with nearly 50 people I worked with and their acting doppelgangers. I got Harold Ramis - so I wish we'd gotten the movie out of turnaround earlier.

Mike Barer said...

The guy who played Ferris Beuhler's buddy, has me down pretty well.

Pete Grossman said...

Al Franken

Ted Kilvington said...

20 years ago someone said I looked like Michael Chiklis, and I replied that I looked more like Curly Howard. Then Michael Chiklis played Curly Howard, proving us both right.

Mike Barer said...

Alan Ruck can play my part.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I liked Keith Olbermann. Yeah, he was "different, but very, very smart and easy to work with (@ KNX Radio anyway).

Cap'n Bob said...

Arnold Stang.

VP81955 said...

I wouldn't want to destroy any actor's career by having him cast as me.

Ben K. said...

Friday question: Hey Ken, I know you don't talk about sketch comedy all that much, but I wonder what you thought of last night's Donald Trump episode of "Saturday Night Live"? I've seen at least part of every "SNL" episode ever produced, and this was by far one of the worst. Trump himself was stiff and dull (proving your point that few people are able to play themselves well), and he didn't really even seem to want to be thtere that much. Meanwhile, the sketches were lifeless and forced. (The only funny part was Larry David returning with his "grumpy old Jew" impression of Bernie Sanders, which will grow old fast if they keep trotting it out.)

Some pundits are now claiming the "SNL" writers must have sabotaged the episode on purpose by creating bad sketches -- which I think is completely unfair. They clearly were stuck between not wanting to suck up to Trump but not being able to insult him either, and the result was lukewarm comedy that seemed to have been overseen by a committee. (Just compare the one sketch that could have been funny but fell completely flat -- in which we see Trump as a wildly successful president in 2018 -- to that famous Reagan-era sketch in which Ronald Reagan was portrayed as a secretly master strategist who only pretended to be clueless in public.)

Do you think there's anything the writers could have done to save this episode? If so, what would it have been?

Ken Levine said...

Didn't watch a minute of it. Nor do I plan to. I could care less about Donald Trump.

Phantom Dreamer said...

Brad Pitt actually played Billy Beane, not Billy Bean.

Pseudonym said...

I want to say Seth Rogan, but realistically it would probably be Jordan Raskopoulos.

gottacook said...

Elliott Gould, if our 18-year age difference could somehow be negated - he's the older one.

mmryan314 said...

Ken- Right now I wish there was a " like" button on your previous comment. Getting back to topic- the ONLY person who could possibly play me is Margo Martindale - funny, sarcastic, endearing, older, and smart.While I`d like to look like Jane Fonda- I don`t.

Mighty Dyckerson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cap'n Bob said...

We've been over this before, Ken. The correct expression is I couldn't care less.

Anonymous said...

Ken says " Imagine Mary Tyler Moore today trying to recreate Laura Petrie? Yiiiiiikes."

She did! Check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORCPrkO_O2M&t=4m39s

Johnny Walker said...

An interesting question! It would be interesting to know what was going on behind the scenes in the SNL episode. I guess it was similar to the time that Tina Fey had to open for Sarah Palin. I bet there were some conflicted feelings.

Salad Is Slaughter said...

I've been told that I resemble Fred Flintstone so I guess my movie would have to be animated.

NikeN said...

Brad Garrett could play Ken.

SNL hasn't been funny for a long time. The last episode was par for the course, though I was expecting them to throw some insults at him.

cadavra said...

Definitely Richard Lewis to play me, but he'd have to put the weight back on!

(Though as I've always considered Buddy Sorrell to be my role model, Morey Amsterdam at that age would have been perfect!)

Anonymous said...

Well, a guy I was once seeing told a very young ME that I reminded him of Sophia Loren in her earlier years. Big nose, big lips, big hips, very Italian. I was flattered, and it was a long time ago.Janice B.

thomas tucker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thomas tucker said...

A few years ago my wife and I were walking to a show in midtown Manhattan and the crowd in front of us kept turning around and staring because they thought I was Ben Stein. I get it from waitresses too, who think I sound like Ben Stein. Bueller? Bueller???? See what I mean?

chuckcd said...

cadavra, At this point, Richard Lewis would have to put on a LOT of weight since he's dead.

There is no one is show business ugly enough to play me.

Dale Hewlett said...

Ken. You are a writer, who just stated my pet peeve for normal folk, a Yuuge peeve for writers. You said you could care less about Trump. Do I really need to explain my personal issue with that statement?

cadavra said...

If Richard Lewis is dead, then who's that playing the psychiatrist on BLUNT TALK?

mike said...

Y'know, I always thought that Jackie Robinson did a pretty good job of playing himself in the 1950 biopic. Story goes that he was really nervous getting close to Ruby Dee, not least because Rachel R was right there on the set!