Who should play Bill Clinton in ‘Hillary,’ the NBC miniseries?

July 29, 2013
Hillary and Bill in 1998. (Courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library / via PBS)

It’s time once again to play everybody’s favorite game, “Cast the Clintons”! NBC announced this weekend it will soon produce “Hillary,” a major miniseries starring Diane Lane as the first lady-turned-secretary of state. (Which is not to be confused with “Rodham,” the still-in-development movie about Hillary in her 20s, with a bevy of young stars supposedly in play for the lead role.) For the TV version, set from 1998 to the present day, we already have our Hillary — but what fleshy-faced, voracious tower of charisma should play Bill? (Intentionally disqualifying John Travolta and Dennis Quaid, who already did the Clintonesque thing — the former well, the latter poorly — and have since aged out.) Our notes for the casting directors:

Jordan Strrauss / Invision/AP
Jordan Strrauss / Invision/AP

 

 

Jeff Bridges Pro: Shave the “True Grit” grizzle and he looks just right. Con: Too old to play Bill in ’98. Too A-list for TV.


(Andreas Rentz / Getty Images)

 

 

Matthew Modine Pro: Right age, not too distractingly famous. Con: “Tower of charisma”? Hardly. Also, too skinny.

 

 

(Matt Sayles / Invision/AP)
(Matt Sayles / Invision/AP)

 

 

Josh Brolin Pro: Charisma to burn, already played a POTUS (in “W.”). Con: Newly divorced from Diane Lane.

 

 

(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

 

 

Neal McDonough Pro: Veteran TV actor with a cocky manner, can tackle good/bad ambiguity. Con: Meh.

 

 

Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)

 

 

Woody Harrelson Pro: True Southerner. Loads of swagger. Cons: Too big for network TV. Too short. Too hard to envision with hair.

 

(Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images)
(Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images)

 

 

Thomas Haden Church Pro: Right fame level for this project. Con: Quite possibly too craggy.

 

 

(Abraham Caro Marin / AP)
(Abraham Caro Marin / AP)

 

 

Russell Crowe Pro: Unrivaled talent, face like a slab of beef. Con: Waaaaay too A-list for TV.

 

 

(Jonathan Short / AP)
(Jonathan Short / AP)

 

 

Dominic West Pro: Suave, rakish. Nailed the U.S. accent on “The Wire.” Con: Too rakish. Can he truly feel our pain?

 

 

(Chris Pizzello / AP/Invision)
(Chris Pizzello / AP/Invision)

 

Billy Bob Thornton Pro: Arkansas native. Nice blend of charm and darkness. Probably available. Con: None.

 

(Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images)
(Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

Sean Bean Pro: The “Game of Thrones” star has gravitas, a cult following, maybe a decent Southern accent in his back pocket. Con: None we can see. Call him!

Are we forgetting someone? We’re sure you’ll let us know. . .

 

Earlier: NBC sets Hillary Clinton miniseries; Diane Lane as former first lady, secretary of state

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