You have to go back to Camelot to find a presidential administration as open to instantaneous mythologizing as the current one. The Trump White House has it all: a president whose conception of the job (and most relevant work experience) is playing a character on TV; a rogue’s gallery of advisers, relatives, and hangers-on busy stabbing each other in the back; and the looming feeling that it’s all going to come crashing down eventually.
This presidency is so ripe for fictionalization that some reporters have even started covering it as an ongoing TV series, so you have to figure that Oliver Stone, our foremost chronicler of the very recent past, will want to try his hand at dramatizing it in the not-too-distant future. In order to save him time on preproduction, we’ve taken the liberty of handling the entire casting process for him, from the man at the top to the lowest of Cabinet secretaries. (Stone loves a sprawling ensemble.) With any luck, he’ll be able to get this thing out by the midterms.
One note: We are not just casting a generic Hollywood Trump film; we’re casting an Oliver Stone Trump film. With a Stone casting, vibe matters just as much physical resemblance. And sometimes that vibe is visible to him and only him. You may see Jeb Bush and think “Please clap.” Oliver Stone sees Jeb Bush and thinks, “Ah yes, the perfect role for Jason Ritter.”
Another caveat: For originality’s sake, we wanted to avoid actors who have already played members of the administration on SNL or in other comedy sketches. For the same reasons, we also tried to steer clear of casting suggestions that have gone viral on Twitter, though in two cases the Twitter casting was so much better than every other option that we had to go with it. Got it? Turn up “Fly Me to the Moon,” and let’s boogie.
The White House
Charlie Sheen as Donald Trump
You need an actor with gravitas — someone who can carry a film, not just do an impression. But you also need someone with the right live-wire energy; Kevin Spacey doing Frank Underwood 2.0 isn’t going to cut it. Charlie Sheen’s proven he can work on Stone’s wavelength, and there’s an additional touch of meta in the timing: The actor’s much-publicized meltdown was sharing tabloid pages with Trump’s birther conspiracy back in the spring of 2011.
Ray Liotta as chief strategist Steve Bannon
This is one of those times when we can’t do better than Twitter’s choice. Liotta’s Bannon would be so manic and paranoid, it’d make the last 30 minutes of Goodfellas look like Mr. Rogers.
Tom Hollander as former press secretary Sean Spicer
Few actors working today can do “peevish” as well as Hollander, an English actor you may recognize from the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice and the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Colin Hanks as former chief of staff Reince Priebus
Hanks the Younger had a small role in W. as David Frum. Now it’s time for him to play another Republican insider, the buttoned-up chief of staff who was always a little out of step with the freewheeling characters in the rest of the administration.
J.K. Simmons as current chief of staff John F. Kelly
We’re not looking for Farmers commercial J.K. Simmons here. For the former general who’s now the president’s newest chief of staff, we’ll need Whiplash J.K. Simmons, in all his snarling, terrifying glory.
Laura Dern as counselor Kellyanne Conway
Let the Dernaissance continue! Aren’t you just dying to see her eat a whole green onion?
Bobby Cannavale as former communications director Anthony Scaramucci
Another pick from the Twitter hive mind that’s impossible to improve upon. In Oliver Stone’s Trump biopic, the Mooch’s ten-day stint as communications director will be handled in a rollicking two-minute montage set to Billy Joel’s “I Go to Extremes.”
Zach Woods as senior adviser Stephen Miller
There’s something unsettling about Miller’s eyes. To borrow a quote from Werner Herzog, there’s no kinship, no understanding, no mercy there; only overwhelming indifference. That’s hard for an actor to work with, but Zach Woods has spent his career adding strange new shades to blankness.
Allison Williams as director of strategic communications Hope Hicks
There are only two things you need to know about Hope Hicks: One, she’s the only non-Trump member of the inner circle to survive every round of staff purges. And two, she allegedly once got in a public screaming match with former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on the Upper East Side, with “Page Six” reporting she “was doubled over with her fists clenched.” Allison Williams it is.
Tim Roth as former national security adviser Michael Flynn
Before his extremely short stint as national security adviser, the hatchet-faced Flynn served as Trump’s attack dog on the campaign trail. This part calls for Tim Roth, who’s turned snarling into an art form.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jared Kushner
Gordon-Levitt sent his voice tumbling down into its lower registers for Stone’s Snowden; now he’ll get the chance to do the opposite playing the First Son-in-Law. (A strange coincidence: Both men took pivotal missions with the Russians.) If Don Jon is anything to go by, the actor won’t skip the necessary ab workouts.
David Denman as Donald Trump Jr.
Who better to embody America’s favorite large adult son than Roy from The Office?
Jimmi Simpson as Eric Trump
Has Westworld made Simpson too famous for a minor role in an imaginary Oliver Stone film? Hopefully not — his otherworldly demeanor is an ideal fit for the middle Trump sibling.
Mädchen Amick as Melania Trump
You can never have too many Twin Peaks cast members in a Trump biopic.
John C. McGinley as Vice-President Mike Pence
The Scrubs star played an asshole sergeant in Platoon, an asshole trader in Wall Street, and had small roles as non-assholes in Born on the Fourth of July and Nixon. He’s got the right kind of masculine attitude to play Pence, who is definitely not planning to run in 2020.
Bud Cort as Attorney General Jeff Sessions
There are few 69-year-old actors who could be described as “impish.” One who can is Harold and Maude’s Bud Cort, who can expertly channel the childlike glee Sessions has for rolling back LGBT rights, expanding civil asset forfeiture, and purging voter rolls.
Ciarán Hinds as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Both Hinds and Tillerson have the air of men in possession of deep secrets the public cannot handle. But let’s be honest: This one’s all about the brows, baby.
Hank Azaria as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
He’ll look cute in the glasses.
Chris Cooper as Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis
Mattis is reported to be one of the stabilizing elements of the Trump cabinet, which only makes his nickname more hilarious. Chris Cooper has lived in that dichotomy his whole career: He’s a CENTCOM commander in the streets, a Mad Dog in the sheets.
Josh Brolin as Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
What can we say? The man was born to play former governors of Texas.
Laurie Metcalf as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
Metcalf had a small part in JFK, but now that she’s got that Tony, she’s been bumped up to a Cabinet post. The Illinois native is more than capable of nailing DeVos’s Michigan vowels.
Clarke Peters as HUD Secretary Ben Carson
Remember season five of The Wire, when Lester just seemed a little … off? Like he made a bunch of inexplicable decisions that didn’t really line up with who he was before? Yeah.
B.J. Novak as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
He’s already played one supposed wunderkind stymied by an unconventional executive, what’s one more?
William Sanderson as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
The Deadwood actor excels at playing genteel Southerners whose grand schemes don’t quite come to fruition — ideal for bringing out the tragicomedy of McConnell, the conservative mastermind whose efforts to repeal Obamacare were all for naught.
Bruce Dern as John McCain
You know Oliver Stone is going to make that thumbs down happen in slow motion.
Ray Wise as former campaign manager Paul Manafort
The Twin Peaks actor is no stranger to playing characters with nefarious secrets. He’ll bring a sinister charm to the role of Manafort, the Trump campaign head who turned out to have … complicated foreign entanglements.
Dylan Baker as former FBI Director James Comey
In any movie where Trump’s the main character, you have to figure Comey will end up a strange, uncrackable antagonist. That screams Dylan Baker, who’s played a string of unsettlingly straightlaced oddballs. He’s not six-foot-five like the real Comey, but nobody’s perfect.