If you’ve watched ESPN, read our sports section or merely talked to another human being on campus, you know that the football team is embroiled in a scandal involving tattoos, memorabilia and withholding information from the NCAA. The sports guys have dedicated plenty of ink to their opinions on the topic.
But I’m an arts ‘n’ entertainment guy. I’m not here to name names or assign blames. I’m here to convert the plot into an award-winning, million dollar-earning Hollywood blockbuster. Here’s the crack cast I came up with after minutes of consideration.
At this point in the story, Tressel is the main character. He’s in the most trouble with the NCAA and, as a result, the athletic department. We need an actor who can carry a Best Picture nominee (which this will be).
My pick is David Straithairn. The actor is best recognized from his role as the nefarious CIA director in the “Bourne” series, who leads the attempted elimination of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. He earned a Best Actor nomination as Edward Murrow in “Good Night and Good Luck,” preventing even George Clooney from stealing his spotlight.
There will have to be some work done to widen Straithairn’s face, as it’s far too thin to look like Tressel, who has a more normal-sized head. His facial expressions are dead-on Tressel, however. Both seem to have a genetic disability that prevents them from smiling. If either has ever shown teeth while trying to smile, I haven’t seen it. All intensity, all the time.
Hear me out on this one: Chris Brown. Despite primarily being a vocalist, Brown starred in last year’s film “Takers.” Plus, he understands this role. He’s been a 20-something in trouble. He knows what it’s like to have thousands disappointed in him and being primed for a comeback. Plus, I think Jon Gruden would agree with me when I say both have excellent footwork.
E. Gordon Gee
I struggled with this one. Getting someone to look like Gee is one thing, but finding someone to match Gee’s lively speaking demeanor is a whole new ballgame (pun intended). I settled with Stanley Tucci. I’ve never seen Tucci with hair, but he would own the glasses and bow tie. And, anyone who has seen “The Devil Wears Prada” knows he’s got a shot at nailing Gee’s attitudinal facets. I also considered Lil Wayne for the role, but I kept my imagination in check. Maybe next time.
I’m about to pull out a name from your childhood and you might not recognize it at first: Reginald VelJohnson. You may recognize him as Carl Winslow on “Family Matters” or as Sgt. Al Powell in the first two “Die Hard” films. VelJohnson is a master of playing folks who have been thrown into uncomfortable situations, such as living with Steve Urkel or finding himself moderating a hostage situation. He’s perfect to play someone like Smith, who got tossed out in front of the team bus.
This is a made-up character because, frankly, this story is lacking in sex appeal, which is what draws men to blockbusters, not incredible dialogue. Clarett will be the tattoo artist at the center of the scandal, because real-life parlor owner Eddie Rife isn’t a public face so no one will mind his replacement. I envision Sandra Bullock in the role, covered in tats, strictly for irony’s sake. How faux sexy is that?
I’m casting the NCAA as a single character for metaphorical purposes. I’m seeing a tall, black-shelled cyborg character voiced by James Earl Jones. Because, and this is just the Michael Moore in me talking, the overbearing restrictions of the organization is Evil Empire-ish.
David Fincher is the obvious choice for director. He’s already been nominated for a movie on college students doing debatably illegal things (“The Social Network”) and he’s awesome (“Se7en,” “Fight Club”).
My working title: “All The Senator’s Men.” See what I did there? No? It’s OK. Google “Woodward and Bernstein” or ask your parents about Watergate. In the meantime, I’ve got to get calling talent agencies.