Hollywood’s Strangest Biopic Casting Decisions


Despite the fact that the news broke on April Fool’s Day, it appears that Ashton Kutcher really is set to play Apple guru Steve Jobs in an upcoming indie biopic to be directed by Swing Vote filmmaker Joshua Michael Stern. Needless to say, many are puzzled by this casting choice — which doesn’t mean the film will be awful. It just means that we’re having a hard time reconciling what we know about the actor with what we know about the man he’s supposed to portray. Of course, this isn’t the only weird biopic casting decision that’s come out of Hollywood since the turn of the millennium. We’ve rounded up the strangest picks in recent memory, after the jump.

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs

Perhaps Jobs bore a bit of a resemblance to the That ’70s Show actor in his youth, but we’re still a little skeptical about whether Kutcher will have the gravitas to pull off the Apple mastermind. Was “dude” even a regular part of Steve’s vocabulary?

Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury

We know from Sweeney Todd that Cohen’s got some pipes, and we know from all his other movies that he’s not afraid to get flamboyant and put on a show (and he can certainly carry a mustache), but the idea of anybody who’s not Freddie Mercury trying to be Freddie Mercury just feels weird to us. Still, can you think of any other actor who could play him? We kind of can’t.

Ed Harris as John McCain

HBO’s Game Change premiered to pretty positive reviews from everybody except Sarah Palin and John McCain, which was to be expected. The image of Ed Harris as John McCain still creates some cognitive dissonance, though, despite how well he pulled off the part – probably because we can’t get that image of drunk Jackson Pollock riding a bike full of beer bottles from his Academy-Award nominated role in 2001’s Pollock out of our heads. That guy was almost president? Nuh uh.

Jon Voight as Pope John Paul II

Yes, the star of Midnight Cowboy once portrayed the highest authority of the Catholic Church in a television miniseries released shortly after the pope’s death in 2005. Considering that he helped to create Angelina Jolie, who knows? Maybe he does have some kind of holy power.

Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan

It was recently announced that Jane Fonda would be added to the long list of actors starring in The Butler, an upcoming film about White House servant Eugene Allen. The weird part? She’s playing Nancy Reagan. Call us crazy but one of the most liberal actresses in Hollywood — your parents may remember her as Hanoi Jane — playing one of the most conservative female icons in US politics makes us feel some very strange feelings.

John Cusack as Richard Nixon

Forgive us for commenting on the same movie twice, but John Cusack is also currently in talks to play Richard Nixon for that same Eugene Allen biopic in which Fonda will be playing Nancy Reagan. We felt that this deserved some extra attention, because what? Let’s hope the movie ends with Nixon holding a boombox outside of David Frost’s window.

Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dalí

The 2008 British movie Little Ashes starred Robert Pattinson as our favorite Surrealist painter, whose poet friend is romantically obsessed with him. God, can Pattinson play just one person who nobody wants to bang? And seriously — Salvador Dalí? This movie never made it stateside so we can’t comment on how well he performed the part, but the thought of Edward Cullen with a tiny mustache and a canvas full of dripping clocks is even creepier than regular Edward Cullen. So yeah, that’s pretty creepy.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Gloria Steinem

Sarah Jessica Parker is set to play Gloria Steinem in Lovelace, the Linda Lovelace biopic (the one with Amanda Seyfried that will probably come out next year, not the one with Lindsay Lohan that will most likely never see the light of day). Gosh, what would Gloria have to say about Sarah’s past as the flighty sex symbol and expensive shoe addict Carrie Bradshaw? Apparently, she’s “honored.”

Gywneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath

Who better to capture the unbearable pain of one of America’s leading female poets than the coddled GOOPtress herself? We can only imagine what kinds of suggestions she must have had for the director while filming the 2003 film Sylvia: “This oven I’m sticking my head in is so old-fashioned! Why don’t we use a wood-burning pizza oven like the one I’ve installed in my backyard?”

Literally any movie where David Bowie plays someone who actually existed

Nikola Tesla in The Prestige? Andy Warhol in Basquiat? Freakin’ Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ? Who was the casting director for all of these movies, especially that last one? Seriously, who looks at this guy and thinks, “He definitely looks like he could have killed Jesus.” Wait — on second thought, don’t answer that.