A Hollywood Producer Casts #LibSpill: "Canberra Goes Hollywood"
WORDS BY TOM ST JOHN
Our nation’s politics show all the hallmarks of a modern day Hollywood film; drama, intrigue, no people of colour, no sympathy for women, pre-existing IP, and the perfect villain. It’s a story of love, loss, and redemption. It’s authentic. The story is just like Game of Thrones – if you kept the bellicose warlords and incestuous melodrama and dropped the big words.
Still, even with the national outrage and backroom deals, it might be hard to get Hollywood to agree to make this film unless we are proactive enough to offer them some sensible casting solutions. So sit back, ponder, there are no bad ideas here people, and let’s assemble a bunch of overpaid narcissists to adequately fill the roles of these overpaid narcissists.
Malcolm Turnbull – Sam Neill
Philip Baker-Hall was a tough pass. The renowned character actor brings the kind of beleaguered guilt that defines late-stage Turnbull, but unfortunately probably doesn’t have the same bourgeois detachment. Philip Baker-Hall feels, Turnbull calculates. Spacey has the skin-crawling entitlement down, but Turnbull is too feckless for a portrayal like that. Perhaps they would make a better pairing in real life; blacklisted together. However, I get the feeling that this film is going to be a tragedy, tracking Turnbull’s person demise. I want the right accent, I want that beaten-down sense of calm, and I want, at the right moment, a bit of pathos. Sam Neill was the only right option here.
Shortlist; Philip Baker-Hall, Jeffrey Tambor, Kevin Spacey, the Monopoly Man.
Scott Morrison – Tim Robbins
‘ScoMo’ was perhaps the toughest find in all of these. There are few sentient people who can capture all of his dullness, feebleness, and malice. This is probably why the shortlist was peopled with inanimate objects and cartoons; it’s hard to imagine a human who could capture the tedium of his ur-religious zeal. It’s Sunday morning again in Australia, and Morrison is the Jehovah’s witness rapping at the door. Ultimately it was Tim Robbins, famous for his role as Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption, particularly his geek glasses and snub nose, that won out.
Shortlist; Peter Griffin, a CPR doll, Paul Harvey, Billy Graham’s corpse, a Santa stunt double, Jon Voight.
Peter Dutton – John Malkovich
Voldemort is a little on the nose here, so to speak. We have to mix things up a little. A bald Elon Musk was certainly an interesting suggestion, if only because he could capture how it feels to be universally despised. Matt Lucas scored high on resemblance, but perhaps was a little too chubby and human. Walken was an interesting late entrant to the field – he has the off-kilter oddity and scary eyes – but ultimately nobody could top the slit-nosed malevolence of John Malkovich. Every Hollywood flick needs a good villain, and Malkovich ticks the boxes. He can stalk, he can play both sides, and just like Dutton every smile he’s ever made looks like it was rehearsed in front of a mirror the night before.
Shortlist; Matt Lucas, Christopher Walken, A cat’s asshole, Mussolini’s id, Elon Musk with alopecia, a cursed potato.
Julie Bishop – Kris Jenner
A conventional line of thought would be that we need an actress with range here. Someone to capture the withering looks, the disappointment, the sacrifice of a promising political career left in tatters. Jane Fonda was a tough no – she’s still camera ready at 80 and it is wild. Robin Wright certainly has the political drama chops, but not even House of Cards got as crazy as the 2018 LibSpill. Ultimately, I couldn’t go past the catty looks and all around sass-queen energy of Kris Jenner.
Shortlist; Princess Diana (…too early? …still?), an older Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Jane Fonda.
Alan Jones – Pope Francis
This is deceptively important. Jones is good for a scene or two – once behind the microphone slurring various races, and another in some backroom throwing darts at a cigarette-burned picture of Bill Shorten – but these are crucial scenes. A good cameo can make or break a film. Jim Broadbent a.k.a. Horace Slughorn has the looks, and Jerry Springer has the experience handling unhinged morons for a living, but ultimately we wanted to go rogue with this one. On a professional level there is an equivalence here – Pope is to Vatican what Wallabies coach is to Australia. On a deeper level, both are wonderful at hiding vile horror behind an unearned and unexplained veneer of exemption from the rules of public discourse. The n-word? Relentless cover-ups of sexual abuse? It’s all in the presentation.
Shortlist; Michael Mann, Jerry Springer, a racist puddle of melted plastic, Jim Broadbent.
Mathias Cormann – Christoph Waltz
No brainer. Vaguely sinister? Check. Ambiguous accent? Check. Gray hair and annoyingly well-dressed in a suit? The boxes are ticked and Waltz is a shoe-in. Even better if Tarantino signs on to direct this, though maybe this whole sordid affair is a bit too much of a bloodbath for even him.
Shortlist; Robbie Coltrane after Jenny Craig, any James Bond villain ever, Tim Kaine (what else is he doing?).
Michaelia Cash – Allison Janney
I’m quite proud of where we landed here. Uma Thurman has the aggression, and Gwen has that kind of … how do you put it … batshit insanity? But Ms Janney will be a perfect complement to Waltz in the cabinet betrayal scenes. She has the political experience from The West Wing and the brutal streak from her part as Tonya Harding’s mum in I, Tonya. What more could you want? Between Cash and Bishop, the hairspray budget for this flick is going to be more expensive that for the actual movie Hairspray. What are you going to do? We’re going for verisimilitude.
Shortlist; Liz Hurley, probably Julie Bishop?, Uma Thurman, Gwen Stefani, the sideways smile emoji.