Nightmare on Queen Street: casting the Toronto mayoral race
With new polls putting Rob Ford in a dead heat with George Smitherman, the mayoral race is finally getting a much-needed infusion of drama. OK, we’re not in Primary Colors territory yet, but in the interest of being prepared, we’ve gone ahead and made our selections for who should play whom in the movie version. Spielberg, eat your heart out.
See the cast members »
GLENN BECK as ROB FORD
The ideal candidates to portray the city’s most self-celebrating pinchpenny are his two doppelgänger brothers, Randy and Doug, but should family members fail to step forward, we think American blowhard Glenn Beck could play Ford accurately. No acting lessons required here: he’s got the girth; he’s got the ill-fitting suits; and in terms of offensive, imbecilic statements, Beck makes Ford look like Casey from Mr. Dressup. Getting into character would be as simple as an extra dollop of hair gel and a dash of Torontonian temperance.
CHRIS BAUER as GEORGE SMITHERMAN
He’s definitely got Smitherman’s signature close crop under control, and if previous gigs are any indication—Bauer starred on The Wire and is now on True Blood—HBO’s resident hothead should have no trouble working himself into a Furious George–style frenzy. Since Smitherman announced his mayoral bid back in November, he’s mostly managed to keep his legendary short fuse from igniting. We’re guessing—nay, hoping—that the implausible but undeniable rise of Rob Ford might be enough to summon the ghost of pyrotechnics past.
(Images: Bauer, Scott Wintrow/Stringer, Getty Images Entertainment, Getty Images; Smitherman, Shaun Merritt)
PRE-MAKE-OVER SUSAN BOYLE
as GIORGIO MAMMOLITI
We know he’s out of the race, but his supporting role still has to be played. We think he’s a dead ringer for the dowdy Britain’s Got Talent singing sensation who became known the world over after her powerhouse performance of “I Dreamed a Dream.” But the similarities don’t end with the bushy brows: he’s a staunch Catholic (don’t ask him about shopping on Christmas), she’s got plans to sing for the Pope; he hates bike lanes, she couldn’t handle life in the fast lane; and, perhaps the most striking similarity, neither has a chance of being relevant come October. On a related note, post-make-over Susan Boyle is a dead ringer for John Tory. Coincidence? Probably.
THE CHURCH LADY as JOE PANTALONE
In the past year, the deputy mayor has devoted his time to such killjoy endeavours as liquor licence quashing, patio shuttering and banning any new “places of amusement” on such hipster homesteads as Ossington, Queen West and Harbord. No doubt Dana Carvey’s uptight Bible thumper character—who could easily pass for Joe Pants’s twin sister—would approve. Of course, if she’s not available, the casting agent will have to call the mayor from Footloose.
STEVEN TYLER as SARAH THOMSON
Everyone and their mother has pointed out the similarities between the race’s only female contender and America’s erstwhile governor of Alaska, so we thought we’d get a little more creative in our casting. Steven Tyler may be a dude, but in this case, dude looks like a lady, and both have hair that went out of style with stirrup pants. Added bonus: should Thomson be the one to unseat Miller, Aerosmith theme song opportunities abound: “Eat the Rich,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” “Amazing,” “Crazy.” (What, you thought we were going to say “Bitch’s Brew”? )
(Images: Kevin Mazur, WireImage, Getty Image; Thomson, Tsar Kasin)
MR. POTATO HEAD as ROCCO ROSSI
Broad face? Check. Hairless scalp? Check. Kinda creepy smile that looks like it could be pulled off the rest of his face? You betcha. Rossi has made much of the fact that he’s not a career politician but has been less vocal about his status as career potato impersonator. Earlier in the campaign, it looked like he might actually have a shot based on the fact that right-leaning voters had nowhere else to turn, but that was before arch-conservative Rob Ford entered the race. Today Team Rossi suffers from a total lack of identity and flavour, sort of like a certain carbohydrate.