Tuesday, December 11, 2018

"Absence of Ballots" Or "Bladen Runner"

Gerry Cohen, Nan Fulcher, and probably others have been pitching movie titles for the inevitable and longed-for filming of the (lightly fictionalized) NC9 absentee ballot scandal. I'm going a step further (because I'm semi-snowed-in and fighting boredom) with some prospective casting.

For the pivotal role of Leslie McCrae Dowless, I can't see anyone else but Steve Buscemi. Buscemi can communicate intimidation and toxic disdain like no other actor, and he rarely gets the lead in any movie he's in. He needs this break. He can play strong and he can play weak, and I believe we'll need that kind of range for the Dowless part.

The key part of Reverend Mark Harris needs an actor with enough corruptible unctuousness to be convincing as pastor to his flock while succumbing to the temptation to cheat. First, I thought (naturally!) of Reverend Lovejoy on The Simpsons, but I'm afraid he wouldn't have the range to do the harder scenes of political trimming. The scene where Harris agrees to the hiring of Steve Buscemi for his dirty work might be too much for a mere cartoon. Who could play both calculating and pious? Maybe Bruce Greenwood, one of the most under-appreciated character actors working in films.

Young reporter Joe Bruno, who is really the lead, the hero, the dust buster. Both callow and relentless, a surprising bulldog for the truth. He's tall and lanky and might seem at first to be tissue-thin, but he's got sinew. I have to go with Zach Woods, best known right now probably for "Silicon Valley." He's been mainly cast in nebbishy comic parts, but I think he needs a chance to strut his stuff. He could play those scenes where he surprises himself at how enterprising he can be at getting the story. He's almost embarrassed by his own success.

Killer angel from the state Board of Elections, Kim Strach. There's no one else for this part but Parker Posey, who can play fashion plate with an iron spine better than anyone. She can smile and push the knife in simultaneously. At the moment this part is mighty thin but will grow in importance and gravitas as the investigation reaches a boil.

The almost forgotten victim of all the corruption, Dan McCready, has been the hardest part to cast. Both boy scout and father of three. Both scrubbed innocence and brave Marine. I briefly considered Michael Cera, who can play innocent, but you'd never buy him as a Marine (plus his career appears to have moved into eclipse). I finally decided on Ansel Elgort, of "Baby Driver" fame, who has the right smile for it and who you could imagine toting a rifle.

1 comment:

Opinionated said...

Not at all surprised by your casting of Parker Posie, knowing what a favorite she is of yours. Love the cast - will you be writing the script?