Who should play Fidel Castro?

173723__fidel_lNo, there’s no movie. Not yet. But with the Cuban strongman faltering and his brother "temporarily" at the helm, the time has come for Hollywood to put Fidel Castro‘s affairs in order — and on film. I’m sure it’s the way he’d want to be embalmed: in shiny, capitalist celluloid. And it’s probably being discussed right now, in certain smoke-filled rooms (the smoke no doubt being of Cuban origin).

A Castro biopic is a no-brainer, an inside-out tale of the 20th-century’s latter half built around a massive, meaty Oscar-bait role. Will people cry foul at the very idea? Probably. Thus, Oliver Stone will most likely direct — though who wouldn’t enjoy watching another talented megalomaniac, Julian Schnabel, take a swing at it? He knows the territory. Wim Wenders might have an interesting slant on it, too. A project like this might even reawaken the long-dormant mojo of Francis Ford Coppola. But, art aside, it’s the tie-ins that really entice.

But directors, schmirectors. ("Schmirectors"? I think I’ve officially stretched that gag too far.) What we really want to know is, who’s got the cojones (or, for that matter, the tostones – what you wanna bet Castro can cook, dawg?) to play El Comandante? Not that others haven’t trod that bearded ground: Jack Palance assayed Fidel in the 1969 stinker Che!. Anthony LaPaglia whiskered up for Castro duty in 2000′s Company Man. But who should be the definitive Castro in the definitive Castro biopic?

The answer, to my way of thinking, is Javier Bardem (at right). The man’s got a thickness to him, a tough carapace nicely belied by those big, limpid eyes. (Even a dictator has to have a window onto his soul — especially in a movie.) In everything from Before Night Falls to The Dancer Upstairs to The Sea Inside,  Bardem has been a vessel for something at once volatile and hypnotic. Thus, with the power vested in me by no one in particular (i.e. "the people"), I declare him your Movie Castro. Oppose me below, and I shall crush you with an iron fist.   

addCredit(“Fidel Castro: Jose Goitia/AP; Javier Bardem: George Pimentel/WireImage.com”)

Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • Marnie

    I think Bardem is an excellent choice. He’s fluid, but stern. Check out other movies with him like “Segunda Piel,” or “Entre Las Piernas.” Excellent!

  • jcoop

    amen to bardem!

  • Chuck_A

    I think either Bardem or Benicio Del Toro would be good choices.

  • Shawn

    If you look at some of the footage from the Cuban Missile Crisis, or before, you’d see an uncanny resemblance to Liam Neeson.. At least thats what I saw at 3:30 in the morning :)

  • Just Me

    No one should play him-yet. He is still alive. I know there are many hopeful people just waiting for him to expire. Hollywood is always ready to make the next “big” movie. Hope there wont be a mad rush to produce this film, it may just turn out to be a clunker.

  • Sven

    Why not Woody Allen? He did a great job in Bananas…

  • 30 year old virgin

    I’m thinking Chaz Palmieri or Benicio Del Toro. On the action figure tip (tie-in to today’s other post about the lost figures) , Blitzkrieg toys has a Fidel Castro Action figure, which is bound to go up in value once he dies. Remember to keep it in the box though!

  • lola

    Didn’t Bardem play an artist imprisoned by Castro in Before Night Falls?

  • RonMwangaguhunga

    Joe Montegna, or better yet Stanley Tucci, who can play anything.

  • EP Sato

    I was thinking along Sven’s lines. The poster from “bananas” is of Woody Allen dressed like Fidel, and it’d be funny to see the 6′+ Fidel played by a neurotic New Yorker.
    They’d clearly need to get a stand in for the scenes that cover Fidel’s minor league beisbol career.

  • GeeMoney

    Sasha Baron Cohen! It would be hilarious!

  • Sara

    Am I the only one who thought that picture was Brad Garrett?

  • EP Sato

    Sara-
    He does indeed look a little like Brad Garrett. However, my initial reaction was that the guy in the photo looked like Raul Julia. I always thought the late Raul Julia (Gomez Adams) would be perfect for the role (he’s played leftist Latin Americans before in Kiss of the SPider Woman and Romero), but unfortunately he too has been outlived by Castro.

  • mgmg

    I also thought it was Raul Julia in the pic, who would’ve been great as Castro. Great actor gone too soon.

  • bootsycolumbia

    Actually, Brad Garrett would be a good choice. Everyone in the cast could wear six inch heels like they did in the Jackie Gleason movie he made for tv a few years ago.
    Seriously, though, what about Andy Garcia? I read once that he’s anti-Castro, but I think he could pull off the role. If not him, though, Javier Bardem would be a very good choice.

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