Will Paul Giamatti Play Karl Rove in Oliver Stone's Bush Movie?

Photo: Photos: Getty Images

Oliver Stone’s sort-of anticipated film W., about George W. Bush, announced two new cast members today: James Cromwell as George H.W. Bush and Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush. (We were hoping for Dame Edna, alas.) They join Josh Brolin as W. and Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush. But we’ll throw one more legitimate candidate into the mix: Paul Giamatti is in talks with Oliver Stone about a role in the film.

How do we know this? Because we saw them literally in talks the other week, at the Edison Café near Times Square. Stone hopes to cast Giamatti as…well, someone. Sadly, the din of theatergoers enjoying pastrami and matzo-ball soup (delicious!) drowned out any hints as to what exact part they were discussing. Giamatti’s a noted chameleon — seriously, who else could play John Adams, Harvey Pekar, and Santa Claus? — so we can definitely picture him as Dick Cheney (we were hoping for Burgess Meredith, alas), though perhaps the likeliest role is puppetmaster Karl Rove. After all, Giamatti claimed he based his villain in unjustly ignored masterpiece Shoot ‘Em Up on Bush’s longtime adviser. We do know one thing — he’s not up for Rumsfeld, since we did hear him ask Stone, "Do you have a Rumsfeld?" — which is now our own personal catchphrase. —Adam Sternbergh