Movie Politics: Who'd Play White House Hopefuls? The presidential campaign has provided its share of dramatic Hollywood moments. Pennsylvania voters and NPR movie critic Bob Mondello offer suggestions on who would be cast in an actual big-screen movie.
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Movie Politics: Who'd Play White House Hopefuls?

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Movie Politics: Who'd Play White House Hopefuls?

Movie Politics: Who'd Play White House Hopefuls?

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Our correspondent, David Greene, has been on the presidential campaign trail for what seems like an eternity now. That means a lot of stump speeches, policy papers, debates, and of course, some gaffs from the candidates.

David tells us he's seen his fair share of made-for-Hollywood moments, and in all his free time on the campaign plane or bus, his mind has been wondering to this thought - what if campaign 2008 were a movie?

Take it away, David.

GREENE: So, one question about this campaign movie is whether we even need real actors. The candidates have already given us a ton of material for a trailer.

(Soundbite of music)

GREENE: In a land ripped by politics.

Unidentified Woman: No. I actually don't even watch the news.

GREENE: Three candidates fight for the ultimate job. A woman with a dream.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): You know, this is very personal for me. It's not just political, it's not just public. I see what's happening.

GREENE: The man with hope in his eyes.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democratic, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): Hope, hope is what led me here today.

GREENE: And the war hero.

Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Presidential Candidate): Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you my friends.

GREENE: Who will lead the free world?

Sen. CLINTON: He's very likeful. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad.

Sen. OBAMA: You're likable enough.

Sen. CLINTON: Thank you.

GREENE: Okay, that's enough. Maybe we could use some real actors. I've actually gotten ideas from voters. I've talked to a few, while I was out covering the Democratic race in Pennsylvania. Let's start with Hillary Clinton.

Unidentified Man: Florence Henderson, I guess, would be...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man: Hillary Clinton.

Unidentified Woman #1: I see Denzel Washington or Cuba Gooding, or even Jamie Foxx as Barack. Hillary is a tougher one.

Unidentified Woman #2: Maybe Jodie Foster.

Unidentified Woman #3: No.

Unidentified Woman #2: She's smart.

GREENE: Lots of suggestions and I decided I'd take them to an expert. NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello.

Bob says if a film crew was actually casting the movie, they'd probably try caricature the candidates.

BOB MONDELLO: Hollywood falls back on stereotypes whenever it can because that makes the storytelling easier, it's - you know the character you don't have to explain things.

GREENE: Okay, so we're dealing with stereotypes. That said, who would Hollywood cast as Obama? Denzel Washington?

MONDELLO: Too old. He's 54, no way.

GREENE: Oh, Will Smith.

MONDELLO: Better. It's easy - it's easier to make him look older than it is to make Denzel Washington look younger.

GREENE: What's more, Will Smith is known for giving uplifting speeches, like in the comedy, "Hitch," when he was giving relationship advice.

(Soundbite of movie "Hitch")

Mr. WILL SMITH (Actor): (As Alex Hitchens) Just one shot to make the difference between happily ever after and oh, he's just some guy I went to some thing with once.

GREENE: Inspirational, sure. Bob Mondello says Will Smith's characters also tend to be inexperienced and maybe idealist. As for Hillary Clinton, Bob thinks Meryl Streep.

MONDELLO: And she's actually played a role that it would, kind of, make sense to think about - "The Manchurian Candidate" - where she is, sort of, the ultimate political operative.

(Soundbite of movie "The Manchurian Candidate")

Unidentified Man: …will do what you are buffing.

Ms MERYL STREEP (Actor): (As Senator Eleanor Shaw) Oh, no, senator, I would and, and I will and I will do whatever is necessary to protect America.

GREENE: As for who should play John McCain?

MONDELLO: Actor who resembles him a little bit, I think, Richard Dreyfuss.

GREENE: He played a very conservative senator in the movie "The American President."

(Soundbite of movie "The American President")

RICHARD DREYFUSS (Actor): (As Senator Bob Rumson) I'm glad to see that the President has a girlfriend. Never mind, that she's the hired gun of an ultra-liberal political action committee.

GREENE: The attack dog, the temper - just the kind of stereotype Hollywood loves. Before I let our movie critic go, I did ask Bob how he'd review the presidential campaign so far.

MONDELLO: Yeah, really muddy exposition and it's going to get eventually to the conclusion, it's taking way too long to get there.

GREENE: The suspense will end November 4th at theaters everywhere. Well, at a polling station near you.

David Greene, NPR News.

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