Sponsored by:
Green Bay Press-Gazette

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Great Lombardi Hunt: Who should play Vince?

Last month, we passed along the news that ESPN was moving forward with a TV movie about the life of Vince Lombardi, namesake of that seasonally really busy street in west Green Bay. And we posed the question, who should play him? Who could play him -- a legendary, firebrand coach with a distinctive personality and singular scowl. Well, you guys responded -- in droves. Some very interesting choices were discussed, along with some we hope were just jokes. (Ha ha, Drew Barrymore. Very funny.)

With "Untitled Vince Lombardi Biopic" still listed as "in development" over at the Internet Movie Database, we figure there's still time to influence ESPN's decision-making process. Out of the 30-plus suggestions we got, we've narrowed the list down to six, based on acting ability, likeness, age, etc.

Feel free to disagree with us, vote for your favorite, or name some other actors we haven't thought of yet in the comments section.

Dan Lauria

Where You Know Him From: Venerable character actor, best known as Jack Arnold on "The Wonder Years"

Why He'd Make a Great Vince: Lauria is a Brooklyn-born Italian-American, just like Vince. And just look at that mug -- he's a dead ringer for the guy. With nearly 150 acting credits to his name, he's definitely got the chops. Plus, he's not a "name" actor, meaning he'd be fairly easy (and cheap) to land for the role -- unlike, say, Russell Crowe (who suggested him, by the way, and are you nuts?)

Why He Wouldn't: At 62, Lauria may be a tad old for the role. (Lombardi was 45 at the time of the Ice Bowl, which the movie is supposedly centering on.) But c'mon, he's the dad from "The Wonder Years"! He'll never age!

Rating: Four Lombardi Trophies (out of four)

Michael Chiklis

Where You Know Him From: The critically beloved FX cop drama "The Shield;" played The Thing in the critically hammered "Fantastic Four" flicks.

Why He'd Make a Great Vince: An Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Chiklis is a fiercely intense actor, and could give Lombardi a great physical presence. Also, according to, he doesn't currently have anything in production. He's just famous enough to draw interest to the movie from people not necessarily interested in Lombardi.

Why He Wouldn't: Even if you threw a wig on him, the resemblance is a bit lacking.

Rating: Three Lombardi Trophies

Michael Imperioli

Where You Know Him From: Played Tony's hot-headed nephew Christopher in HBO's "The Sopranos," and more recently was a shaggy detective in ABC's defunct "Life on Mars" remake.

Why He'd Make a Great Vince: There's that Italian connection again, only this time by way of Jersey. His Emmy-winning work on "The Sopranos" shows he can pull off confident/cocky and tough.

Why He Wouldn't: He's about the right age, but he looks too young for the part. He doesn't have that the grizzled, weathered look to him the Lombardi traded in. And he's more known for being the wise guy, which doesn't necessarily translate to wise coach.

Rating: Two and a half Lombardi Trophies

Jason Alexander

Where You Know Him From: Oh, you know where you know him from. "You're killing independent George!"

Why He'd Yadda Yadda Yadda: Although best known and irrevocably tied to George Costanza, Alexander is a highly versatile and skilled actor. He's done extensive theater work, including "The Producers." Still, career-wise, it's been a long time since the height of fame that "Seinfeld" gave him, and he might be hungry for a juicy role like Lombardi (just like Lombardi was hungry for those championships.)

Why He Wouldn't: He's George. He will always be George. In a trench coat and fedora, he will be George in a trench coat and fedora. Simple as that.

Rating: Two Lombardi Trophies

Willem DaFoe

Where You Know Him From: Where don't you? "Platoon," "Boondock Saints," "Mississippi Burning," "Clear and Present Danger," "Spider-Man," "The Life Aquatic" -- dude's everywhere.

Why He'd Make a Great Lombardi: Finally, a local boy! Appleton-born and Milwaukee-educated DaFoe would add a nice touch of Wisconsin to a movie about a man primarily associated with our state's second-biggest export (behind deep-fried cheese curds.) He's also probably the best actor on this list, able to disappear into any role he takes on. Plus ... well, he's just Willem freaking Dafoe. He'd be awesome, OK?

Why He Wouldn't: The balance between big-name star and medium-sized project seems to tip away from snagging someone like DaFoe, who only has three television credits to his name, and one of those was an episode of "The Simpsons."

Rating: Three and a half Lombardi Trophies

Max Casella

Where You Know Him From: Played Neil Patrick Harris' best bud, Vinnie Delpino, on "Doogie Howser, MD," and also did some time on "The Sopranos."

Why He'd Make a Great Vince: Well, he's already played a character named Vincent, for one thing. Plus he's already costarred in an ESPN miniseries, as Dick Howser in 2007's "The Bronx is Burning." He's also part-Italian, which I keep mentioning as if it means anything, but hey, it doesn't hurt.

Why He Wouldn't: Like Imperioli, Casella is almost the right age (yes, Doogie Howser's BFF is 42 -- don't you feel old now?), but still has the baby-face thing going on, robbing him of much-needed gravitas. And if we're not going to cast a "name" actor in this, he'd better be dead-on for the part.

Rating: Two Lombardi Trophies

-- Adam Reinhard,

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home