Michael Vick: The Movie Casting plus Vick’s Sunday Highlights Video
It’s becoming more and more obvious with each passing day (and the occasional scrambling day, but only when the pocket collapses) that the Michael Vick saga can end but one way…with a major Hollywood movie. Michael Oher got a movie and all he did was move in with a well off family and play some solid offensive line in high school. That’s nothing compared to Vick’s tales of adventure.
He entered the league too much hype and promise and had a fair amount of success before seemingly squandering it all away with a prison stint for dog fighting. After tons of controversy and public outcry, he was finally allowed back into the league to mostly sit the bench for the Philadelphia Eagles.
But then, starting quarterback Kevin Kolb went out with a concussion, which just so happens to be the most talked about injury in the league these days, and Vick came off the bench and is currently playing the best football of his life. In other words, he’s spent his time since being released from prison dedicating himself to being a top-notch player and teammate. Who saw that coming?
He’s not fighting dogs anymore, he’s throwing laser precise spirals and when his inept offensive line fails, he’s making plays with his running game like the Michael Vick of old. With a few more solid performances, like the beating he put on the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday, for example, he should easily cement a starting job for himself in 2011. And then the comeback is complete.
All of the pieces are in place for the football movie of a lifetime. The only question is who gets to star in it? Well, we’ve got a few suggestions…
Wilford Brimley as Coach Andy Reid
Andy Reid is a lot of things, not the least of which being walrus moustached and almost certainly diabetic. What he’s not is charismatic or lovable. He’s made his name in the NFL by being consistently successful and not much else. That’s great for sports, less great for feature film casting.
What this character needs is personality, and when personality is your order, nobody delivers like Wilford Brimley. He’s made a disease that kills lots of people each year into a lighthearted internet meme. That takes a lot of charm, not to mention a lot of diabetes. Andy Reid is boring, Wilford Brimley can fix that.
Questlove as Donovan McNabb
Much like Andy Reid’s character, it’s going to take some top-notch facial hair for Donovan McNabb to be accurately portrayed on the big screen. He might hail from Chicago, but that beard he rocked for most of his time with the Eagles was Philadelphia as shit. Why not capture that moment in time with a Philadelphia native like Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson?
He might not have any notable acting experience, but with his recent gig as Jimmy Fallon’s bandleader his profile has shot way up. Stepping into McNabb’s shoes would require some serious gym time for the Roots drummer to make himself look believable as an NFL quarterback, but hey, that’s the stuff surprise Academy Award nominations are made of. It’s a no brainer.
Michael Shannon as Kevin Kolb
It’s probably a good time to mention that, like any other “real” Hollywood movie, the Michael Vick story will be “based on actual events.” That means that, for the most part, what you’re watching is true. But there will need to be some creative liberties taken to make the story more interesting.
In this case, it’s going to be essential that Kevin Kolb be portrayed as unlikable at the least and borderline insane if we’re talking best case scenario. In real life, he hasn’t done anything to deserve being benched for Vick other than sustaining a brutal blow to the head. But that’s not going to cut it come movie time.
Nobody wants to root for the guy replacing the guy who suffered massive head trauma in the line of duty. But rooting for the guy replacing the guy who is kind of creepy and standoffish and possibly racist if you’re swinging for the fences? That’s a guy worth throwing your support behind.
When it comes to modern-day actors, nobody brings the creepy and unlikable quite like Michael Shannon. Every time dude shows up in a movie, you just know something shady is going to happen soon. If you’re looking for someone to portray what should be a likable character in a way that makes that character inherently unsettling then Michael Shannon is your guy.
Kristen Bell as Coach Tony Dungy
Look, no story of redemption and overcoming adversity starring a scary (to Red State types) black guy is going to fly without some benevolent figure intervening at some point to set our hero on the right path. In real life, that person for Michael Vick was former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. In movie life, Hollywood law dictates that it’s going to have to be a fish-out-of-water white woman.
Tony Dungy is a great guy, so we certainly don’t want to sell his contribution to the Michael Vick story short, but to be brutally honest, he’s about as interesting as watching a sunrise on an overcast morning. In Utah. Instead, why not cast a sassy white lady who Vick treats like an outsider at first but eventually comes to express his acceptance for by teaching her how to do a really intricate end zone dance or something?
That formula worked for Michelle Pfeiffer (and Hillary Swank, and countless others) so there’s no reason it couldn’t work for the completely adorable Kristen Bell. A high-profile role as the unlikely savior of a hardened NFL criminal could be just the thing she needs to get some serious actor cred under her belt.
Popsicle as the Abused Dog
This movie obviously won’t be complete without a leading dog. That would be like shooting a Flavor Flav movie without clocks or insanity. No dog on this planet is more fit for the role than Popsicle, one of the leading drug dogs in the United States. Poor Popsicle was found in a freezer on a drug dealer’s porch in New York starving and nearly frozen to death. After being rescued by DEA agents, he was enlisted in drug dog training school, get this, IN VIRGINIA. That’s where Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting ring was!
This clears the way for a perfect subplot in the inevitable Vick movie. After word gets back to Popsicle that dogs are being mistreated in his new home state, our hero dog is determined to infiltrate the Bad Newz Kennelz and deliver justice for his fellow pit bulls. After gaining Vick’s trust, Popsicle is allowed to fight alongside his canine brethren. But in a moment of leadership rarely seen in non-humans, Popsicle plans a mutiny. During a pivotal and heartbreaking dog fighting scene, good puppy Popsicle stands on his hind legs and lets out a vicious series of growls and barks. Vick turns and faces the unruly dog in anger, only to realize that every other dog in the room is staring him down also. And some of them have guns!
Popsicle eventually slaps a pair of handcuffs on Vick and ships him off to prison. He’ll spend his time lobbying for stricter penalties for dog fighting after Vick’s release from prison, but eventually comes to see Vick as a friend after the Eagles unexpectedly cover the spread in an NFC championship game against the highly favored New Orleans Saints, netting Popsicle a huge payday from the illegal gambling ring he runs out of his house.
Michael K. Williams as Michael Vick
If we had our way, Michael K. Williams would have at least some role in every movie we watch ever. But he’s especially perfect for the role that will eventually transport Michael Vick from controversial NFL outcast to beloved sports hero. Who in the hell watched The Wire on HBO and didn’t think Michael K. Williams character (Omar Little) was the greatest thing ever?
He would routinely outsmart police, outgunned his enemies and outgayed the most dedicated Cher fan. And we loved every damn second of it. If Michael K. Williams can make an almost certainly psychopathic killer who eschews pussy into a hero among men, imagine what he can do with an NFL quarterback who killed a few dogs. By the time Williams is done, Michael Vick will be running for public office.
And finally… This weekends highlights Eagles vs. Jaguars