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Jun 18, 2008

Movies I'm Really Not Looking Forward To: Cheers

In the spirit of movies no one ever wanted to see like The Beverly Hillbillies, Leave it to Beaver, and George of the Jungle, I can't help but think of the inevitability that the studio execs of tomorrow, no doubt at a loss for original material, will be more than happy to dig into the archives of 80s and 90s television for ideas.

Previously, I tried my hand at casting the Full House movie. This time out, a more beloved sitcom - Cheers. The question: if you were a casting agent and were asked to put together the ensemble for a Cheers flick to be released in the near future, who would you pick?

Keep in mind the relative profile of the project. Brad Pitt as Sam Malone? Jessica Alba as Rebecca? Not a chance in hell. Also, while physical resemblances to the original characters may be nice, they are by no means a necessity or a prerequisite.

Okay, enough foreplay. I present to you the cast of Cheers: The Movie (note: since I'm a bigger fan of the later years and I can't stand Shelley Long, we'll be looking at the Woody/Rebecca years rather than the Coach/Diane years, though I have nothing against Coach. He was just as good as Woody, just in a different way.).

Sam Malone
Playboy. Former alcoholic. Former crappy pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Witty. Prone to bantering with the "leading lady" of the day. Those are some tough shoes to fill, and while his American-accented roles haven't been the best representation of his work, Colin Farrell sure does have a lot of traits in common with Malone. I found this the toughest role to cast, which is unfortunate since he's the lead. It's also unfortunate that Kevin Costner is 53, because he'd be the best choice. Hell, if you mash up some of his previous characters, he's practically already played Sam.
Alternate: Nathan Fillion

Rebecca Howe
Recall, if you will, a time long ago. A time when (shock!) Kirstie Alley was considered beautiful. Yes friends, it's true - once upon a time, Alley played a sexy Vulcan in a Star Trek flick. Then in just a few years, she was cast as the romantic lead opposite Danson after Long's departure. Rebecca was troubled, to say the least. Easily flustered, prone to crying bouts, but with a quick wit and a penchant for rich guys. Although maybe not as good of a sparring partner with Sam as Diane was, she made up for it with better chemistry. Christa Miller, vet of The Drew Carey Show and Scrubs has shown excellent versatility over her career, playing both the girl-next-door and the vampy bitch with equal aplomb.
Alternate: Selma Blair

Norm Peterson
See, the trouble with lovable fat guys is that they're fat. As such, many of them die young. John Candy. Chris Farley. John Belushi. Well, my pick for resident stool man Norm just might die young, too. In fact, the odds for "Might" have been taken off the board in Vegas. If Artie Lange lives past 50, it just might be a sign that hell has frozen over. Still, since he's still alive, he makes a pretty decent pick for Norm. Who doesn't love Artie? Now if only he can remain sober enough to play a drunk...
Alternate: Horatio Sanz?

Cliff Claven
Who better to play Norm's best friends than a guy that's played Artie Lange's best friend many a time (I believe the two are good friends in real life)? As a bonus/element of confusion, the guy playing Cliff could be named Norm! Aside from being a US postal worker, Claven was the in-house know-it-all (or perhaps, know nothing) at Cheers, and Norm McDonald can certainly pull of being a blowhard, as evidenced by nothing less than his ability to impersonate Larry King with precision.
Alternate: Stephen Root

Carla Tortelli
I had some trouble with this role as well. No offense to Rhea Perlman, but I'm sure she knows she's not a terribly attractive woman. And, believe it or not, Hollywood is generally not in the business of making stars of unattractive people. Thus, the pool of available "name" actresses available to play an Italian barmaid with a mouth like a sailor and a penchant for sleazy husbands isn't all that deep. My first choice, Aida Turturro (The Sopranos) is more of a natural pick; the alternate is a wild card that I think just might be inspired.
Alternate: Wanda Sykes

Frasier Crane
Aside from a perhaps too-obvious choice of David Hyde Pierce here, I don't think there's a better choice to play the stuffy, snobby psychiatrist than Neil Patrick Harris.
Alternate: Thomas Haden Church

Woody Boyd
Woodrow Tiberius Boyd was a young hayseed that came to Cheers fresh from Hanover, Indiana, where he was voted the smartest student in school. As such, an actor that's good looking that can play dumb (and hopefully can look it as well) is required. While I know you might be thinking Paul Walker right now (who wouldn't), I just don't think he has any comedic chops in him, whereas James Franco, fresh from his sure-to-be great performance in Pineapple Express, looks to have it in him. He's not a bad actor, either, which is more than Walker can say.
Alternate: Owen Wilson

14 people have chosen wisely: on "Movies I'm Really Not Looking Forward To: Cheers"

Daniel G. said...

Not bad, sir, not bad at all. But forget about Farrell doing an American accent. I especially like the casting of Norm McDonald - but is he still alive or what?

Nayana Anthony said...

I had the same thought in re: Farrell's accent.

On the other hand, your casting of James Franco as Woody is nothing short of inspired.

Thomas Haden Church as Frasier would weird me out... wasn't he dim-witted Lowell on Wings at the same time (like the half-hour timeslot right before) Grammer was on Cheers?

Michael J. Mendez said...

Well done sir! Of course, couldn't we just see a reunion of all the same actors and actresses? I would watch Fat Actress argue with Bald Actor in that same old bar. Or am I thinking of Moonlighting?

Graham Greenlee said...

See... you say Cheers: The Movie and I couldn't run away from it fast enough... but then you present your cast and I want to buy my tickets right away.

Real question is, what's the plot of the film? Because if it's "Oh, no we have to raise enough cash to save the bar from foreclosure," I'll stick with Empire Records, thank you.

NFL Adam said...

Before I scrolled down, my initial thought for Sam would be Colin Farrell. Plus, he did a guest spot on Scrubs. Not that it matters.

Chivid said...

Unfortunately, Norm MacDonald is due to die any day now when the implosive force of his massive unfunniness sucks himself into a quantum singularity from which the only thing that will escape is the obnoxious odor of unearned ego.

DCMovieGirl said...



J.D. said...

Nice calls on the casting of Christa Miller and James Franco. Inspired! Howzabout casting Jennifer Jason Leigh as Diane? She would really dive into the role and give it her all and showed her gift for comedy with, uh, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, which I liked but not many others did. D'oh!

Fletch said...

@ Daniel - I still don't think Farrell's the best choice, I just couldn't think of anyone better...

@ Nayana - well, I'm sure Wings and Cheers were somewhere in the same 2-hour block, but I can't recall which went where. Probably Cheers at 8 and Wings at 8:30...

@ Mike - Moonlighting, nice. Yeah, those descriptions would work well for that show, too.

@ Graham - I think the plot would involve a zany idea that Paul (the 4th or 5th regular) cooks up that embroils the whole gang in some sort of rivalry versus that other bar they always fought with. Then Sam and Rebecca would get married, then kill each other. Or something like that.

@ Adam - yep, Farrell was good on Scrubs, too. Even got to use his normal accent...

@ Chivid - so, I'm guessing you're not a fan of Norm's? ;) At least the ego bit would fit with the character.

@ JD - gracias. Yea, JJL would work for Diane pretty nice. Christine Taylor (if that's her name - Ben Stiller's wife) might work, too.

NFL Adam said...

That episode was just on, too.

I hope Norm MacDonald gets more famous because I do a dead-on Norm impersonation. Look for it to debut on NFL Network one of these days.

Fletch said...

Can you do Norm-doing-King? If so, you need to videotape that and send it to me immediately for posting here. I want hair and makeup done, too, complete with the King set in the background.

Nic Cage said...

Nathan Fillion as Sam Malone!! Brilliant!

Fletch said...

Thought you'd like that, Nic...

Anonymous said...

While I was reading I found myself silently hoping for Neil Patrick Harris to pop up. Oh, and Sam Malone's alternate pick...HELL YES! Nathan should be in every film made. Maybe not every movie... but more movies, yes.