- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2011

The List continues to celebrate the centenary birthday of Ronald Reagan. This week, a list of actors who could play Reagan at various stages in his career in a planned $30 million biopic. We ask: What actor from liberal-leaning Hollywood would satisfy admirers of Reagan, who revived the conservative movement?

  • Ben Affleck — Probably one actor who really does look like Reagan. But can you imagine Mr. Affleck, a strong supporter of the Democratic Party, appearing on “The Sean Hannity Show” to promote the film? “He’s preternaturally boyish and disarming, not unlike the prez, and both men were underestimated as lightweights before finally achieving widespread success and acclaim,” wrote Jeff Labrecque on EW.com.
  • James Franco — The “Spider-Man” star played Harvey Milk’s gay lover in the 2008 film “Milk.” “I played like four military men in every war situation, and people would ask me, are you conservative or right-wing?” Mr. Franco said. “But my roles aren’t based on any political agenda. My choice of roles is just project by project.”
  • Zac Efron The “High School Musical” star certainly has an uncanny resemblance to Reagan.
  • Jon Hamm — The star of “Mad Men,” a show set in the 1960s about a Madison Avenue advertising firm, has the looks and the smile to play Reagan, but his politics are far to the left. On “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Mr. Hamm agreed with Mr. Maher when the host called the tea-party movement racist.
  • Ewan McGregor — The Scottish actor no doubt could exude Reagan’s charm. “I’m not a guy who takes films for strong political messages.  I’m just into making quality stuff,” Mr. McGregor said. He also has noted, “Conservative’s the last thing I am.?
  • Robert Downey Jr. — The “Iron Man” star had a political metamorphosis after spending time in prison. Said Mr. Downey: “I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t.”
  • Christian Bale — The English actor has the looks and could easily master Reagan’s voice. Surely Batman had conservative views. However, Mr. Bale did star in “American Psycho,” which took a number of nasty swipes at Reagan.
  • Russell Crowe — The Australian actor mastered an American accent in his breakout film, “L.A. Confidential,” and looks similar to Reagan. Mr. Crowe is also a man of faith. “I do believe there are more important things than what is in the mind of a man,” he said in 2007 after deciding to be baptized. “There is something much bigger that drives us all. I’m willing to take that leap of faith.”
  • Gary Sinise — The “Forrest Gump” and “CSI: NY” star narrates the online virtual tour for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He spoke recently at the library’s centennial celebration of Reagan’s birth. “He was an actor born in Illinois. I’m an actor born in Illinois,” Mr. Sinise said.
  • Tom Selleck — Mr. Selleck plays a Reagan (Frank) in CBS’ police drama “Blue Bloods.” At 66, the conservative-leaning actor may be too old for the role.
  • Hayden Christensen The Canadian actor, who played Anakin Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, is also a likely candidate for the Reagan role.
  • Jim Caviezel — The “Passion of the Christ” star is a devout Catholic. Like Reagan, Mr. Caviezel and his wife have adopted children.
  • Chris Pine — The Hollywood Reporter has suggested the “Star Trek” actor for the Reagan role.
  • Hugh Laurie — The Oxford-educated Mr. Laurie is famous for his role as the doctor on the Fox series “House.” The English actor can produce an excellent American accent, but can he transmit the Reagan charm?
  • Joaquin Phoenix — The twice-Oscar-nominated actor, who played a Roman emperor in “Gladiator,” certainly could play the 40th president. After going AWOL for awhile, Mr. Phoenix is set to return to the big screen in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” teaching the 16th president how to kill vampires.
  • Tom Hanks — Mr. Hanks is a talented actor, but he also is known for his strident liberal views.

Compiled by John Haydon

Sources: blog.moviefone.com, the Detroit News, hollywoodreporter.com, New York Times, Wikipedia, jezebel.com, Ew.com.