Life can be a dream, yes? The song says so! And in dreams, they remake Clue–not as a duplicate of the first movie (as if that’s possible) but as a wonderful, 21st-Century vision of Mr. Boddy’s mansion on a hill.
SPM Rules for Casting Clue
- Funny: If you’re not funny, why are you here? Leave through the front door and step in some dogshit on the way out.
- Mature: We need mature actors with whom we can trust our favorite movie ever. It’s true the spirit of the original and is a welcome difference from the young-and-pretties.
- True to the character: That’s a purposeful word choice: I’m not suggesting we stay true to the actor’s portrayal; just that we stay true to the character on the page. With some minor exceptions, of course.
In my dream cast of Clue, the script stays virtually the same, with the only differences being adjusting for gender as needed, and eliminating the lazy, easy jokes that were the hallmark of too many movies in the 1980s.
WADSWORTH: Martin Freeman
With all apologies to Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, the best choice for Wadsworth is Martin Freeman. The defining characteristics of Wadsworth are that he’s British and he reacts. Martin Freeman is the next Bob Newhart, who was the next Jack Benny, and Jack Benny built a lifelong career on reaction. We know he’s funny; we know he’s very British; stop dithering and cast him.
Alternate: Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch
MR. BODDY: The Rock
This casting choice is credited to a Facebook friend of a friend. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson not only is funny as hell, but he also plays serious well, and the action of moving his body from place-to-place will eliminate the need for the Cook’s fat jokes later in the script. Also: The Rock, because The Rock.
Alternate: Tim Curry. I kind of like that idea, but I have other plans for Tim Curry.
PROFESSOR PLUM: Viola Davis
Professor; condescending; can do slightly sleazy. Who’s it gonna be? Viola Davis. She’s brilliant, and from HTGAWM, we know she makes a kick-ass professor who plays every side of every coin she’s given. And how different is a psychiatrist from a lawyer? One caveat is I haven’t see her play a lot of funny… but I bet she’s a funny bitch.
Alternate: Lucy Liu; Jordan Peele
COLONEL MUSTARD: Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch. Don’t insult both of us by making me explain this.
Alternate: A verrrry distance second is Suzanne Cryer. But, come on. Jane Lynch.
MISS SCARLETT: Sofia Vergara
Sexy, funny, elegant, brilliant? Sofia Vergara. This woman has overcome the burden of physical perfection to become hilariously self-effacing and goofy.
Alternate: Salma Hayek, who is also hilariously self-effacing and sexy.
MRS. PEACOCK: Laverne Cox
Senator’s wife? Party planner dresses like your very elegant crazy aunt? Laverne Cox. The batty absent-mindedness is a bit of a stretch for her, but I have faith.
Alternate: Buzzfeed suggested Meryl Streep, and that’s marginally acceptable.
MR. GREEN: David Hyde Pierce
Fundamental character change: Mr. Green is gay. Most 80s movies I love have a moment that just rubs like sandpaper these days. In Soapdish, it’s when they out Montana Moorehead as being trans, sending her screaming off set. In Clue, it’s when Mr. Green says he’s going to go home and sleep with his wife. Ha! Ha! He’s a good guy, and whew, he’s not really gay! Thank goodness.
So: David Hyde Pierce. Niles Frasier practically IS Mr. Green.
Alternate: Javier Munoz. No, I haven’t seen him yet in Hamilton, but I have to cast someone from Hamilton, because it’s my movie so you shut up.
Second Alternate: Kenneth Parcell.
MRS. WHITE: Tituss Burgess
This was the hardest call. Casting anyone in Madeline Kahn’s role hurts my heart: she’s gone, she’ll never return, and no one will ever be Mrs. White. I’ve seen people suggest Kate McKinnon, but she’s too young, and too likely to play it like Madeline Kahn.
So we need someone who will capture the spirit of Madeline Kahn–her wide-eyed deadpan silliness, her utter embrace of absurd gravitas–but someone who will make the role all her… or his own. So I give you Mr. White: Tituss Burgess. He’s funny, he’s over-the-top, and he will never, ever be mistaken for Madeline Kahn.
The victims will be played by their murderers, with some exceptions (RIP Eileen Brennan and Madeline Kahn). I love the idea of killing them off, one by one–it’s a fabulous way to kill our sacred cows, and it also gives these bit characters new life. And also new death.
THE MOTORIST: Martin Mull
THE COP: Christopher Lloyd.
THE COOK: Michael McKean (Eileen Brennan, we miss you so; you’d have made a wonderful Cook.)
SINGING TELEGRAM: Tim Curry (OMG Tim Curry as a singing telegram could you DIE?)
YVETTE: Kate McKinnon. See, I got her in there after all! Imagining Kate McKinnon pissed off about being in a French Maid costume makes me so warm and fuzzy inside. Also, I would like to see Tituss Burgess hating on Kate McKinnon in a French Maid costume.
THE CHIEF: Howard Hesseman, and we’ll credit him this time.
Don’t screw this up, Hollywood. Do it right or don’t do it at all.