Casting an R.A. Dickey movie
Newsday has reported that former Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey has been approached to make a movie about his life. While nothing is in the works just yet, here are a couple of casting options if Dickey's story indeed receives a Hollywood ending.
The projected film’s protagonist. Dickey’s story is a testament to hard work and faith. From a failed prospect with the Rangers to a mediocre journeyman pitcher to an ace with the Mets, Dickey is a screen writer’s dream. He’s personable and quotable, too. The colorful pitcher has been known to walk around the Mets clubhouse in tie-dyed shirts, often wears head bands or wraps and makes Star Wars references whenever possible. Whoever portrays Dickey can’t just portray him as some wide-eyed, lucky guy. This actor has to have depth.
JEFF BRIDGES as R.A. DICKEY
Well, he’s got the beard down. And anyone who’s portrayed “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski can probably master Dickey’s easygoing/nerdy/intellectual persona. The big thing here is the age difference: Dickey is 37 and Bridges is 52. But Hollywood did manage to make Bridges look much younger for Tron: Legacy, so who says it wouldn’t work here?
CHRISTIAN BALE as R.A. DICKEY
Yes, the Dark Knight might be a fit to become the leader of the Jedi Council of Knuckleballers (that designation is a Dickeyism). First of all, Bale certainly has the acting chops to take on Dickey. From a gruff do-gooder in The Dark Knight trilogy to a drugged-out, loony, ex-boxer in The Fighter, Bale can seemingly handle any role. And when he’s not filming he has begun wearing a beard. Hmm...
JEFF DANIELS as R.A. DICKEY
Daniels can play a serious and frustrated broadcaster on The Newsroom and also stretch to the dumber part of the Dumb and Dumber duo. It’s almost a sure thing he could strike the right balance for Dickey. Daniels is also no stranger to the large role superstitions plays in baseball: he married his high school sweetheart on Friday the 13th because he wore No. 13 on his baseball uniform.
Every good movie needs a wise, older figure in a leadership role to steady the ship during hard times and give dramatic monologues to a symphonic crescendo just before a pivotal moment (this is doubly true if Aaron Sorkin decides to write his second baseball-themed movie). The fiery but loyal Collins has presided over the majority of Dickey's resurgence and is a natural fit for that archetype.
MARTIN SHEEN as TERRY COLLINS
We've already seen Martin Sheen fill the wise statesman role on The West Wing and in The Departed. Plus Sheen, like Collins, isn’t all that tall. If Sheen needs to brush up on baseball, he can always place a call to his son, Charlie, the star of the Major League franchise who also plays an ex-ballplayer on his new show, Anger Management.
HARRISON FORD as TERRY COLLINS
Ford doesn’t necessarily have the look down, but how much would you love to hear him deliver this Collins quote: “You need an aspirin, you’re off for a day. I’m just getting tired of going in the training room, where I’ve got to sweat to see who can walk out of there.” I doubt Ford would get a follow-up question. Plus, Dickey’s a big Star Wars fan, so how could he pass up working with Han Solo himself?
If you want to make a sports movie profitable, you need both men and women to see it: AKA there needs to be a good looking man in it (see Moneyball and Pitt, Brad). All apologies to Dickey, but he’s just not that guy. Plus Wright is in the middle of an MVP-type season, so footage of Dickey’s dancing knuckler can be interspersed with liners off Wright’s bat.
EWAN MCGREGOR as DAVID WRIGHT
McGregor is Scottish born, but has proved adept at playing Southerners (check out his slight drawl in Big Fish). The Virginia-born Wright needs to be played by a smiling, affable actor and McGregor fits the bill.
The last knuckleballer before Dickey, he helped pass along the wisdom of the Knuckleball sect to its newest practitioner. Wakefield spent the majority of his career playing for Boston, so an actor developing some type of facial hair is a must. It might be in every Red Sox contract.
DENNIS QUAID as TIM WAKEFIELD
Quaid has already played a pitcher in The Rookie, a biopic of Jim Morris’ tough road to the majors. He also has the weathered, seen-it-all look of an older hurler. The normally clean-shaven Quaid will have to forget his razor for this role, though.