With so many talk show hosts elbowing for our late night TV viewing attention — Jay and Dave and Jimmy and Jimmy and Craig and Conan and Jon and Stephen and Chelsea and Carson — it’s hard to remember that there was a time when there was just Johnny. For 30 years on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson dominated the late night landscape along with his stalwart sidekick Ed McMahon, putting the nation to bed with a formula of monologue, celebrity interview, occasional skit, and musical guest that remains more-or-less intact to this day.
But while Johnny was a fixture of American culture, part of his legend is that he remained essentially a mystery — an intensely private man who granted few interviews and all but disappeared from public view from when he retired in 1992 to when he died in 2005. That may soon change. Deadline is reporting that a biopic about Carson is currently in the works, with screenwriter John McLaughlin (Black Swan, this month’s Hitchcock) adapting journalist Bill Zehme’s forthcoming biography Carson the Magnificent: An Intimate Portrait. There is no studio or director yet attached to the project — and since the book has yet to be released, everything remains in the embryonic stages. But with a subject who looms so large in American pop culture, all producer Tom Thayer (Hitchcock) would likely need to do is hook an A-list star to play Carson — and perhaps another A-lister as McMahon — and he could be well on his way to a greenlight.
So who could play Carson and McMahon? We held several envelopes to our heads and came up with a list of prospective actors, some more obvious than others. Check out our list below: READ FULL STORY