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18 Days: It’s Time to Cast Hollywood’s Egyptian Revolution Film

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on February 11, 2011

On February 11th, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner. On the very same day, James Buster Douglas, a 42-to-1 underdog, dealt Mike Tyson his first professional loss with the largest upset in boxing history, becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

And on this day, today, February 11, 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak officially resigned as the leader of the nation he ruled for more than 30 years, on the 18th day of mostly peaceful protests.

Hollywood and the rest of the international cinema industry is no doubt lining up directors and screenwriters to greenlight an Egyptian revolution project. To do our part, we’ve taken the liberty of lining up the perfect cast of who should star in the sure-to-be award-winning film “18 Days.”

While we’d love to shoot for authenticity, for this to film play big in the West it’ll probably have to be a Hollywood blockbuster where everyone speaks English with a vaguely British accent. So let’s operate on that premise. Assuming the producers find the perfect screenwriter/director combination — we’re thinking urban specialist Fernando Meirelles, City of God director, at the helm and Syriana/Traffic writer Stephen Gaghan on the script — the film will only be successful if the leading actor has the chops to pull it off. So who’s got the gravitas to star as Hosni Mubarak? Ian F*&kin’ McShane.

The 68-year-old English actor has shown through his brilliant turn as Deadwood‘s Al Swearengen that he can pull off the larger-than-life ruthless dictator who can own the word “cocksucker.” And while we don’t know what’s happened behind the scenes in Mubarak’s Cairo palace these past 18 days, it’s a safe bet that he’s screamed that word in the direction of the millions of protesters on many occasions.

For the recently installed, quickly forgotten Vice President Omar Suleiman, who better than a Jew from Brooklyn? Slap some Jersey Shore-brand fake tan on Richard Dreyfuss and you’ve got yourself a veep.

The biggest Schiavo no-brainer of the casting process goes to Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian law scholar, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace prize winner. ElBaradei returned to Egypt and joined the youthful protesters, though he declared after Mubarak vacated the presidency that he would not seek to run for the top office in Egypt. Take one look at this guy — is there anyone on this planet who can play the role better than Jeffrey Tambor? Hey now, Egypt.

Then there’s the subplot of Wael Ghonim, the charismatic young Google executive who helped launch the protests in Tahrir Square and was secretly incarcerated by Egyptian police for 11 days. His story might turn out to be the best — does anyone seriously doubt that he will run for president…and win? This one was tough, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone better than French Moroccan actor Saïd Taghmaoui, best known for his roles in Three Kings, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Vantage Point. He’s seen in this photo here with Egyptian police torture already beaten into his character.

What’s missing so far? Women! Egypt’s a total sausage fest, or whatever meat the Egyptian people eat. Despite this Facebook group called “Women in Egypt,” and despite women showing up in photos and demonstrations in Tahrir Square, there’s been no true leading lady.

So in true Hollywood form, we’ll either have to invent a female character that sleeps with Mubarak but whose heart lies with the protesters, or we’ll have to center around a female character who’s leading the protests online but whose father won’t allow her to go to Tahrir Square, until she finally says “The hell with you!” and makes it there. Either, or both, roles will be played by Natalie Portman. Because, really, what movie doesn’t star Natalie Portman these days? She’s everywhere!

Anderson Cooper, of course, will play himself, and he’ll be forced to re-live his brazen attack. He’s got the chops for it. But there is one minor media role left to cast. Back in the United States, the right-wing echo chamber has come a bit unhinged at the thought of non-Christian people rising up. Glenn Beck, Fox News’ resident conspiracy theorist, has repeatedly warned that the uprisings in Egypt could lead to an Islamic caliphate spreading across the Middle East. And even though this dude doesn’t look like him, he perfectly captures the spirit of the horseshit Beck peddles every night — Scary Train Guy from Ghost:

(As Hadley points out in the comments below, Vincent Sciavelli died several years ago. We’ll have to CGI him in, because he’s too perfect not to star as Beck in the film.)

The scenes in Tahrir Square — from the two weeks of peaceful protests and the few days of clashes between pro-Mubarak supporters and anti-government demonstrators — will blend real-life footage and as many extras as the crew can find. Hat Is Bread Guy, of course, will star as himself:

And in true Hollywood fashion, this film has somehow already been greenlit as a trilogy. Part II will be subtitled: “Syriasly, Da Masses in Damascus” and Part III will be called “Yemen: Yeah, Man.”

Did we miss anyone? Who else should be cast? Have any better calls for people we already cast?

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