I was commenting today on Macinjay’s thoughts about the RWC ; M’s fairly sure that SA are the better side and will be victorious over England in the final. That’s fair enough and on paper he’s probably right but there’s magic in the air and an England victory, however unlikely, would make for an incredible sporting story. So incredible that I could imagine Hollywood picking up the scent and taking this bunch of seeming no-hopers and transferring them to the silver screen land of hope and glory….assuming they win of course! But I couldn’t help wondering what they’d call the film and who they’d cast in it…..
Ocean’s XV has a ring to it, yep I’ll settle for that. Now the casting. No doubt there’d be a big lobby for Mel Gibson in his face paint, doing the hakka and taking on the brutally oppressive English front row single-handedly and…hang on Mel, this time it’s the English who are the underdogs. Can you play an effete English back dancing round the sneering Aussies, arrogant French and murderous Boks? Thought not.
No, it would have to be a galaxy of big US stars playing the big parts with a sprinkling of bankable English actors/actresses playing the character roles. So George Clooney for Phil Vickery and Brad Pitt, naturally, for Johnny W. Catherine Zeta Jones to play the woman who loves them both and who eventually plumps for Brad in his defining moment as MVP, yet again. I think Robert Duvall should play Steve Banks, Johnny’s grumpy personal fitness trainer who nurses him back from career-threatening injury. Hugh Grant has got to play Andy Gomersall, with his boyish charm, with Bill Nighy playing crafty old hand Mike Catt in his final match, where he collapses at the final whistle, with one hand on the Webb Ellis trophy. Jack Black plays a cameo role as Andy Farrell, on in the final 2 minutes to make the beautiful slip pass to Bill Nighy. Robert de Niro plays the role of his life as down to earth northener, Brian Ashton firing his men with Churchillian words and Nelson-like tactical brilliance having overcome his own raging personal demons. Cameo role for Victoria Beckham as the team’s sassy PR girl. Helen Mirren takes on the role as the brassy, no nonsense head of the IRB infuriated that France haven’t made the final and determined to teach England a lesson. John Malkovitch as the scheming head coach of the French team Bernard Laporte. Leonardo DiCaprio as dashing Percy Montgomery. Vinnie Jones as grizzled old stager Lawrence Dallaglio who inspires young Brad with his one-man demolition of the SA pack Lock Stock fashion. Tom Cruise as Sunday Times journo Stuart Barnes who discovers the inside story on Ashton’s humble background but stifles the story till the final’s over, losing his job in the process, but retaining his considerable dignity. Sean Connery as under-pressure PM Gordon Brown, who seduces personal secretary Cameron Diaz but confesses all to his wife then the nation before presenting the winner’s trophy and immediately announcing a snap general election. Meanwhile Matt Damon steals the final scene as a tearful middle east envoy Tony Blair calling Brad to express his profound joy that England’s victory has caused deep satisfaction in Damascus and Teheran leading to a significant breakthrough in the Middle East peace process.
Finally Sir Ian McKellen plays the defining role of his illustrious career by taking on the role of Ming Campbell acting against type as a sad old bugger (apparently the former head of one of England’s main political parties) stealing the film’s final imagery as the credits are rolling, walking slowly but purposefully through the portal of St Stephen’s Hall at Westminster and down the Fulham Rd towards a glorious new career as 5th assistant manger and head of youth development at Chelsea FC.
Now that’s a Bafta banker! But if you’re a talent agent more focused on the Oscars then hey feel free to make my day egg-chaser re-casting punks.