Dream casting? For The Whiskey Rebellion? So do I already have a treatment written?
Sort of, yes.
Yet film/TV rights to The Whiskey Rebellion are still, as they say, unencumbered. Inexplicably to me, although I’d want to have a big say in what story any dramatization would tell, so whatever. And while my series conception is deliberately funky and low-budget, it is a period drama, so not the cheapest . . .
But the hell with dreary practicality! Let’s talk casting!
You’d have to know the book/treatment for any of this to make sense, but it’s an ensemble piece, with Brackenridge the oddball hero — twentieth century American mind stuck in the eighteenth-century American frontier. So it’s a kind of comedy. Standout roles are: Brackenridge, Washington, Hamilton, Husband, (Scary Explosive Rebel) Daniel Hamilton (name change needed), (Creepy Rebel “Leader”) David Bradford, John Neville. Smaller roles, less distinct in the book, developed or collapsed or composited in the treatment: Albert Gallatin, Moderate Friend of Brackenridge Wilkins, Moderate Rebel David Hamilton, Slimy Tax Collector Robert Johnson, Attorney General William Bradford, Presley Neville, Mrs. Neville, and some other female characters to be invented out of thin air. And some one-sequence walk-offs that will nevertheless be memorable.
Actors: Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Bettany (Hamilton), Giamatti, Depp, Pitt, Von Sydow (Washington/Husband, and yes, it might be right if one actor played both), Jeremy Irons, Johnathan Pryce, Peter Stormare, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nolte, Crowe, Brian Cox, Ian McShane. Obviously the casting variations below would mean differing character conceptions — but that’s why dream casting is more fun than actual writing, and it’s cool to me that this story, unlike so many, would let actors with such wildly different “qualities” be considered for the same roles.
Brackenridge: Giamatti (possible weirdness given John Adams), Depp, Hoffman.
Washington: Von Sydow, McShane, Nolte, Lewis, Irons.
Husband: Von Sydow, Cox, Lewis, Pryce.
Scary Rebel: Pitt, Stormare, Crowe, McShane.
Bradford: Giamatti, Depp, Crowe, Pitt.
Neville: Giamatti, Crowe, Cox, Irons, Mcshane, Pryce, Hoffman.
[UPDATE: Historians will find this nuts — so it must be right — but I think Sean Penn could play Hamilton. Or really almost any other role in this thing.]
Dream Musical Directors: Danny Barnes or Peter Stampfel. That’s it. Nobody else. That’s final.
Locations: a depressed, rural foreign land for western PA; Philadelphia is all interior sets, nothing outside, no re-creations, nothing fancy.
This is the anti-“John Adams.”