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Casting Aaron Sorkin’s John Edwards Movie ‘The Politician’

Cherry Jones, Mark Ruffalo and Felicity Huffman for the disgraced Senator’s wife, aide and mistress; who could play Edwards himself?

"The Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin recently announced he'll make his directorial debut with a big-screen adaptation of "The Politician," Andrew Young's book about former Sen. John Edwards' sordid sex scandal involving Rielle Hunter.

Sorkin has done some of his best work in the political drama arena, having written "The American President" and "Charlie Wilson's War." He also created NBC's "The West Wing."

Deal Central consulted its inner casting director to fill the four main roles before Sorkin starts auditioning actors himself.


Michael Reilly Burke (40)
Tom Cruise (48)
Matt Damon (39)
Mel Gibson (54)
Aidan Gillen (42)
Greg Kinnear (47)
Peter Krause (44)
Edward Norton (40)
Chris O'Donnell (40)
Dennis Quaid (56)
James Spader (50)

Quaid's resemblance to Edwards is positively eerie, but it's Cruise who has the politician's electric but calculated smile down cold. However, Quaid just played Bill Clinton in "The Special Relationship" and previously played the president in "American Dreamz," while Cruise just played a U.S. senator in "Lions for Lambs." They might not have the urge to play another politician.

Damon and Norton are true chameleons who could have fun disappearing into this somewhat fascinating character. They're also on the younger side and may be too well known as movie stars.

Gibson might sell the most tickets, because who wouldn't pay to see that … or the fewest, because on the other hand, who would?

It would be cool to see Spader return to steamy fare after "sex, lies and videotape," and likewise, Kinnear gave a memorable performance as sex addict Bob Crane in "Auto Focus."

Gillen did fantastic work as Baltimore Mayor Tommy Carcetti on HBO's "The Wire," and in that mold, Kinnear and O'Donnell would also work. Krause probably would be better than all of them, especially if his "Six Feet Under" co-star Michael C. Hall was cast as Andrew Young.

Still, it's "Desperate Housewives" actor Burke who strikes me as the best fit, largely thanks to his startling performance as two-faced sociopath Ted Bundy in a 2002 cheapo biopic that was similar to the Jeffrey Dahmer movie that launched "The Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner. Plus Burke is a relative unknown who wouldn't bring pre-existing baggage to his portrayal of Edwards.


Mary Kay Place (62)
Cherry Jones (53)
Marsha Mason (68)
Kathleen Turner (56)
Barbra Streisand (68)
Dianne Wiest (62)
Kathy Bates (62)
Meryl Streep (61)
Annette Bening (52)

Cherry Jones, who played the president on "24," would be perfect for this role, which seems too tabloid-y for Oscar winners such as Streep, Streisand, Wiest and Bates. But "Big Love" star Place also could fit the bill, depending on who was cast as Edwards.

Mason would've worked a few years ago, but her career doesn't appear to be as active as the rest of the actresses on this list. If I were producing "The Politician" and Tony Award winner Jones wasn't available or interested, I'd go after Wiest, but if the "In Treatment" star passed, Turner may be the next best thing.



Will Arnett (40)
Nestor Carbonell (42)
Jon Cryer (45)
Tom McCarthy (44)
Michael C. Hall (39)
Jeremy Piven (44)
Mark Ruffalo (42)
Paul Schulze (48)
Dylan Walsh (46)

Arnett looks the most like Young, but it's questionable whether his dramatic chops are up to the task.

Ruffalo is the hot star of the moment thanks to his winning turn in "The Kids Are Alright." He also has the most big-screen experience on this list. He just needs to thin his hair out and add a touchy of gray, and presto!

It'd be hard to imagine Piven being anyone's No. 2, but people forget that before he started winning Emmys on HBO's "Entourage," he was a pretty credible character actor in films such as "Heat," "Very Bad Things" and "Judgment Night."

Cryer, Walsh, Carbonell and Hall have amassed devoted followings thanks to their successful TV shows and would be well-suited to playing Young. Schulze is fantastic week in and week out on "Nurse Jackie," but he may not be a big enough name to land such a high-profile role. If that was the case, my back-up plan would be to go after McCarthy.


Jenna Elfman (38)
Anne Heche (41)
Felicity Huffman (47)
Jane Krakowski (41)
Tea Leoni (44)
Mary-Louise Parker (45)
Meg Ryan (48)

All of these actresses can do "kooky" and that's what playing Hunter would require. Emmy winner Huffman is arguably the most talented actress on this list, and it doesn't hurt that the audience for a John Edwards movie probably would be the same demo that tunes in for "Desperate Housewives" every week.

Meg Ryan is really the one big-name movie star and Hunter would make an interesting comeback role for her.

Krakowski and Elfman are more natural comedians, while Heche, Parker and Leoni represent a more relatable and maternal middle ground.

Who do you think should play John and Elizabeth Edwards, Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young? Actual Hollywood casting directors are reading, so let us know in the comments section below!