DreamWorks announced Wednesday that "Lincoln" alum Steven Spielberg, the film's director, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian who wrote the book on which the film was based, would be teaming up again for a movie about President Theodore Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft.
It will be based on Goodwin's latest book, "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism," which hits bookstands Tuesday and is said to be about who the friendship between Roosevelt and Taft that turned into a rivalry, as well as the muckraking journalism that shaped the Progressive Era. Spielberg spent years working on "Lincoln" so it may be a while before the film comes to fruition. Nevertheless, it's never too early to start speculating on the casting. Our thoughts:
Teddy Roosevelt has been played by Brian Keith, Tom Berenger and Robin Williams before. For what will surely be a very serious, Oscar bait-y epic, Philip Seymour Hoffman, a very serious, Oscar bait-y actor, would be perfect to play the "Rough Rider" president.
William Howard Taft
A friend to Roosevelt as well as his Secretary of War, President Taft has unfortunately become better known for his rotund figure – getting stuck in a bathtub, the story goes – than his presidential achievements. John Goodman – who has played politicians in "The West Wing," "The Campaign" and the upcoming "Alpha House" – can carry the weight of the Taft presidency and flesh out the role (pun intended.)
Goodwin depended on the diaries of Roosevelt's and Taft's first ladies to write the book, so it's hard to imagine them not getting some screen time. The stately Edith, Roosevelt's second wife, is a spitting image for Cate Blanchett, who, like Hoffman, is an awards magnet.
Helen Herron Taft, or "Nellie" as she was called, suffered a stroke two months after her husband's inauguration, yet became known for her genius when it came to the administration's social reputation. The role sounds like it would be ideal for the charming Mary Louis Parker, who deserves a challenging and complex character at this stage in her career.
While the DreamWorks press release didn't mention the muckrakers – the daring journalists whose exposes propelled much of the social change in the era — it looks like they'll have a large presence in Goodwin's book, which will focus on the team at McClure's magazine. Lincoln Steffens, one of the McClure reporters, bears some resemblance to Ewan McGregor, who played a reporter in the offbeat "The Men Who Stare at Goats."