'Inglorious Bastards': casting call
With the release of Ben Stiller’s ‘Tropic Thunder’ and the recent casting of Brad Pitt and Simon Pegg in Quentin Tarantino's forthcoming ‘Inglorious Bastards’, Time Out casts its own ‘Men On a Mission’ movie
The leaderIn a move that’s sure to have original Dirty Dozen commander Lee Marvin spinning in his lead-lined grave, we’ve decided to give the pivotal role of Squad Leader to… a lady! No stranger to firearms ('Insomnia'), gruelling training regimens (‘Million Dollar Baby’) or testosterone-soaked locker room banter (‘Boys Don’t Cry’), Hilary Swank is exactly the sort of diamond-eyed, no-nonsense hardass we’ll need to whip these degenerates into shape!
The mama’s boyBack in his ‘Happy Days’, erm, days, mealy-mouthed suck-up Ron Howard would’ve been perfect to play the snivelling jerk who stays in the bunker while the other guys get slaughtered for king and country. If we’re bringing it forward to now, blue-eyed street minstrel Justin Timberlake could – contrary to his super-sexualised stage persona – take up Ron’s perpetually whining mantle with aplomb.
The poet-warriorThe plum role of any ensemble carnage movie, the poet-warrior is the heart and soul of the piece. He has paratrooped into the very heart of war and emerged reborn with a female-friendly line in pretentious non-sequiturs and affected brooding. And there’s currently nobody more qualified in this arena than far-sighted jazz-mutineer Howard Moon (Julian Barrett) from ‘The Mighty Boosh’.
The Bronx blowhardConstantly harping on about how many ‘broads’ he’s going to ‘bang’ when he rotates back to the real world, the showy part of Big Apple braggart allows filmmakers to explore the twin demons of fear and pride that dwell in men’s souls. As he proved in ‘Miller’s Crossing’, nobody does vainglorious self-delusion quite like John Turturro. There’s sure to be tears before bedtime with this guy!
The trigger-happy psychoWith Joe Pesci probably sick to the teeth of being asked to reprise his, ‘you think I’m funny?’ business, we think that the underrated yet overused Luis Guzman could be really intimidating if he toned down the funny voice. Failing that, what if futurist matinee idol Brendan Fraser ruffled up that foppish centre parting? We could easily see him spraying a paddy field with liquid fire while rakishly sucking down a Chesterfield.
The trigonometry student who’s trying to prove to his pop that he’s a manWhile there’s no doubt that someone like Luke Wilson would make this role his own, he doesn’t quite have the required gawk to really make you pity the chisel-cheeked little fellow. In fact, if Casey Affleck was willing to exactly replay his palm-sweatingly nervy performance in ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’, he’d be a shoo-in.
The (failed) draft dodgerThis is the guy who, between missions, ends up wailing, ‘I’m not even supposed to be here, man!’ having been frogmarched to the draft hall by the local sheriff (played by Sam Elliott in a ‘I sure as hellfire didn’t want this job, sonny, but by Gad I’m gonna see it through’ role). It’d be quite a coup for any director to make you feel sorry for Jason Biggs, but it’s really got to be some drippy quarterback type… Sean William Scott?
The tragic clown with a bullet lodged in his brainAnother loner in the pack, but with this guy, every mission is a gamble – one off-kilter glance and he’ll take you down to Chinatown. In the '80s, it would have been the ‘Police Academy’ rebound role that Bobcat Goldthwait would have been perfect for. In the '90s, Jim Carrey showed the (mildly) dark side to his rubber-faced clowning in ‘Batman Forever'. But for pure, unadulterated ‘is this man actually insane?’ ambiguity, Mos Def is a lock.
The knife manIn ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’, Paddy Considine showed that he possessed a rare (quasi-sadistic) proficiency when it came to doing ‘slow-and-painful’. If not an off-the-hook, bandana-wearing local torturer in a makeshift POW camp, Paddy would be your man for some deep jungle mano-a-mano action... no, not that kind.
The tech guyUsually British (Simon Pegg in ‘M:I:III’) or bespectacled (Kevin Smith in ‘Die Hard 4.0’), the noughties reinvention of the dynamite expert of yore is ripe for the newly buff Daniel Radcliffe to trade his swizzlestick for some heavy ordnance. Let’s just hope the script boys can resist slipping in endless heavy-handed asides about him being ‘a bit of a whizz’ with computers…
The Zen masterIt’s almost impossible to dispel the memory of Donald Sutherland as gong-bonging acid-fried peacenik Sergeant Oddball in 1970’s ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, but a few names do suggest themselves. We all know Keanu can do ‘non-threatening stoner’ in his sleep and Viggo Mortensen was the indie go-to guy for the role before those Hobbit films. Our money, however, is on incomprehensible freak brother Benicio Del Toro – fleshing out the part of perpetually baked bomber pilot ‘Benny the Bull’.
The pencil pusherWhile bullet-riddled mayhem ensues elsewhere, there’s got to be a guy sweating in the background with a blood-flecked notepad and one eye on the impending war crimes tribunal. If the always unlovable Jon Lovitz is unavailable, then we’d go for the highly-strung, pooch-faced stylings of Jason Schwartzman.
Author: Adam Lee Davies, David Jenkins
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