News Column

Petraeus Scandal: Let's Cast the Movie

Nov 21, 2012

Peter Mucha

Petraeus and Broadwell

The web is crawling with ideas as to who should play the unprincipled principles in the inevitable flick(s) about the sordid/torrid/horrid affair involving Gen. David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell.

Let's throw out a working title, too:


The biography's apt actual name, All In, is likely off-limits.

A Saturday Night Live skit this weekend even scripted a scene or two, as "read" from All In by newcomer Cecily Strong playing Broadwell:

The deadbolt slid into place with loud thunk. . . .

The general reached into his desk drawer, and pulled something out.

Petraeus: "Put this on, Paula."

It was a synthetic wig, cut Louise Brooks style, in cotton candy pink.

Broadwell: "No, David, it makes me feel like a dirty girl."

Petraeus: "But you are a dirty girl, Paula. You're my dirty girl. Now get up on that couch."

The reading went on to mention monkey business behind a Jeep (when she said, "Pull my hair, General. Pull it hard and spank me"), and, later, "erotic asphyxiation."

National security issues -- what the public is most curious about, surely -- were also noted.

The casting suggestions run the gamut, from the credible (007 actor Daniel Craig as the CIA chief) to the incredibly insensitive (Phillip Seymour Hoffman as wife Holly Petraeus).

Some sites even cast multiple versions, from high drama to low-brow comedy. Rachel McAdams (The Vow) could play Broadwell in the tearjerker romance, while Steve Carell (ex of The Office) could play the general in the wacky sex comedy, according to

Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis would play Petraeus in the art-house version, while Modern Family's Sofia Vergara could embody socialite Jill Kelley (who tipped off the FBI after receiving threatening emails from Broadwell), suggests CNBC's Jane Wells.

Others nominated for the roles:

Gen. Petraeus: Jim Caviezel of CBS's Person of Interest (Philadelphia Daily News), William H. Macy of Fargo fame (AtlanticWire) and Damian Lewis of Homeland (Huff Post), plus usual suspects Harrison Ford, Richard Gere and George Clooney.

Broadwell: Rashida Jones of NBC's Parks and Recreation or Angelina Jolie (AtlanticWire); Hillary Swank (UPI); Weeds' Mary-Louise Parker or Rachel Weisz, supporting Oscar-winner for The Constant Gardener (Huff Post), and a personal pick, Revenge's Madeleine Stowe.

Kelley: Kim Kardashian (Yahoo comments); Jennifer Esposito, formerly of Blue Bloods (Huff Post); Army Wives' Kim Delaney (Philly Daily News), Oscar-winning La Vie en Rose actress Marion Cotillard (Wells) and another personal choice, Melanie Lynskey, the infamous Rose of Two and a Half Men.

Holly Petraeus: Kathy Bates (Philly Daily News, others), Angela Lansbury (Yahoo comments) and Meryl Streep (Wells). How about Imelda Staunton, who played Hogwarts power-grabber Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter flicks?

Gen. John Allen, who also corresponded with Kelley, could be played by Dylan Baker or Billy Bob Thornton, per Huffington Post, or Chris Cooper or Tilda Swinton, says Wells. Our suggestion: Jeffrey Tambor of Hangover and Arrested Development.

Can't forget the shirtless FBI agent, Frederick Humphries, famed for emailing Kelley a photo of himself bare-chested between two target dummies. He could be played by Matthew McConaughey (UPI), Ryan Gosling (Comedy Central's Indecision) or "anyone from Magic Mike" (Huff Post). Face- and scalp-wise, though, he's closer to astronaut Story Musgrave.

Source: (c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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