Letters from General Washington keep arriving by baby-faced courier. Franklin cracks jokes from the corner of the room. Jefferson wishes he was back in Virginia snogging his wife. Adams won’t sit down. We’ve seen the success of a Les Miserables redux. Now it’s time to reboot American patriotism, turn Philadelphia into an incubator of democracy, and get Hollywood to roll out a remake of 1776.
The cast that carried 1776 from stage to screen had a collective spirit that made the film utterly enjoyable. But what can we do for the cast of a modern one? Les Miserables pulled in all the big names: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway. . . and Borat, of course. A pumped-up 1776 deserves no less. The Wife and I have discussed this in some detail, and we’ve come up with a list of suitable candidates:
John Adams (Massachusetts): (young) Ewan MacGregor, (older) Kevin Spacey (The Wife thinks the latter is too old for Adams, but I disagree.)
Abigail Adams: (young) Amy Adams, (older) Allison Janey or Emma Thompson
Thomas Jefferson (Virginia): Hugh Jackman (Hey, Wolverine is a versatile guy. Mess with the quill and you’ll get the claws!)
Martha Jefferson: Naomi Watts
Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania): Danny DeVito or Christopher Lloyd
John Hancock (Congressional President): Anthony Hopkins is a reasonable choice, but I’m running for William Shatner.
Edward Rutledge (South Carolina): Eric Bana
Richard Henry Lee (Virginia): Will Farrell
Caesar Rodney (Delaware): Alan Arkin
Reverend John Witherspoon (New Jersey): David Strathairn
Can you think of any good choices for a musical cast? Some of these suggestions may be easily scrapped, especially if our delegates can’t sing.
I also think that a remake deserves a bit of historical editing. As the last signatures are applied to a mighty declaration of independence, we must remember that our nation was only founded on the concepts of partial freedoms. The topic of slavery was touched upon in the original 1776 and a fresh perspective would be helpful in the new version. Several of our founding fathers were successful slave owners, reliant on human property for financial prosperity, and the collective push from tyranny deserves a critical view of these ironies and disappointments.