Casting the Real Housewives: The Movie

A favorite party game of the intellectual elite

the bravo players

In a recent interview with Andy Cohen, actress Sarah Paulson said it was her dream to play Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson. “I just want to play Vicki,” she said. “Vicki is a very fascinating person to me.”

Vicki is indeed one of the more fascinating people to whom I have ever borne witness. She has an ineffable spirit; something akin to a matriarch hyena screaming out in the desert in search of her lost pups who have merely moved to Oklahoma. She’s never slept with multiple partners in her life, she’s being nailed to the cross like Jesus was (and he did nothing wrong), and she doesn’t poop because it’s gross. If it were up to me, she would win not only the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents “Representative of the Year” Award, but also the Belle Gibson Award for “Best Cancer Scam Co-Conspirator.”

Sarah Paulson is not necessarily who I would cast as Vicki Gunvalson, but then again I don’t know who in Hollywood could ever drive the fun bus that is her little family van. If Sarah Paulson thinks she can take on that challenge, well, I wish her the best.

That brings me to the discussion at hand, which is my favorite party game, if you count me lying awake at 2 a.m. a party and me thinking “okay but who would play Jeana Keough” a game: casting the Real Housewives. The rules are:

  1. Pick a Real Housewives series
  2. Cast its characters with professional actors

Drawing for reference on the hundreds of hours of footage you’ve seen of each of these people, the goal is to cast someone who doesn’t just look like the person in question, but who embodies — or can embody — their spirit. Luckily I’ve discovered that if you’re a skilled enough player, you can often find both of these things in one person. Picking up where Sarah Paulson left off, I’ve cast a few other members of the RHOC gang to get you started.

Heather Dubrow: Sutton Foster

Heather Dubrow Photo Credit: Nicole Weingart/Bravo; Sutton Foster Photo Credit: Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty Images

Although Sutton Foster doesn’t seem to share Heather Dubrow’s demonic core (and I don’t think she would have led a Rosemary’s Baby-esque cabal against Shannon), she does share her physicality. In my opinion, she not only could pull off Dubrow perfectly in a film, but already pulls her off perfectly in every day of her normal life. Imagine Foster delivering Dubrow’s freak out at Meghan King’s pre-fertilization sushi party after Kelly Dodd called Shannon a “cunt” and then called Tamra a “dumb cunt.” Remember? “This is not acceptable — leave!” It would be perfection, and I can’t believe it hasn’t yet happened on Watch What Happens Live.

Kelly Dodd: Whitney Cummings

Kelly Dodd Photo Credit: Arturo Holmes/WireImage/Getty Images; Whitney Cummings Photo Credit: @WhitneyCummings Twitter

Right-wing firebrand Kelly Dodd treats every interaction as if she’s doing crowd work with hecklers. I’m taking the recently viral video of Whitney Cummings pretending her audience is mad at her about an R. Kelly joke as her audition tape, and of course — she’s got the part!

Shane Simpson: Jeremy Strong

Shane Simpson Photo Credit: Bravo; Jeremy Strong Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Shane seems to have turned a corner, personality-wise, after finally passing the bar, but the little gremlin who was consistently and smirkingly cruel to the mother of his children (who passed the bar on her first try) no doubt still lurks beneath his skin, eager to be portrayed by a man who knows complicated small protagonists: Jeremy Strong.

Gina Kirschenheiter: Natasha Lyonne (But Blonde)

Gina Kirschenheiter Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Natasha Lyonne Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

She speaks the truth, even if she sounds like Natasha Lyonne but from Long Island when she says it.

Tamra Judge: Reese Witherspoon

Tamra Judge Photo Credit: Bravo; Reese Witherspoon Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Reese Witherspoon is a U.S. citizen. She is allowed to stand on American ground and ask any question she wants to ask, like: Who could possibly play American treasure and entrepreneur Tamra Judge better than American treasure and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon? No one. And THAT’S MY OPINION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vicki’s son Michael: Nathan Fielder

Michael Photo Credit: Coto Insurance; Nathan Fielder Photo Credit: Comedy Central


Vicki’s daughter Briana: Merritt Wever

Briana Culberson Photo Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Merritt Wever Photo Credit: Taylor Hill/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Also correct.

Brooks Ayers: Jim Beaver

Brooks Ayers Photo Credit: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Jim Beaver Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

To be honest, I searched through the Google results for “southern actors” for a while before I landed on Jim Beaver. Ideally the role would have gone to George W. Bush in a world where he became an actor rather than the president, but we needn’t dwell on what might’ve been. Jim Beaver, from Supernatural and Deadwood, will do just fine.

Gretchen Rossi: Taylor Swift

Gretchen Rossi Photo Credit: Bravo; Taylor Swift Photo Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

I’m a Gretchen Rossi apologist. I think she’s smarter than the world around her allows her to be, and I hated when everyone was mad at her for being offered a role on Malibu Country. It’s not her fault that Heather is demonic. I think Taylor Swift would understand Gretchen’s soul, her ability to say “something” without pronouncing the “m,” and her dedication to a dud.

Slade Smiley: Jim Carrey

Slade Smiley Photo Credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Jim Carrey Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

I want to be clear that this is not because I consider Slade a comedian. It is because he and Jim Carrey have the same chin.

Shannon Beador: Jo Firestone

Shannon Beador Photo Credit: Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty Images; Jo Firestone Photo Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Obviously I’m veering from my streak of photorealistic casting choices to introduce Jo Firestone into the mix. Firestone is quite a bit younger than Shannon Beador and indeed doesn’t look like her at all — however, if you know anything about both of them, I think you’ll quickly come to realize that this choice is genius. A remarkably inspired casting decision. It’s a great part for Jo Firestone, and she would do a great job.

David Beador: David Eigenberg

David Beador Photo Credit: Jerod Harris/WireImage/Getty Images; David Eigenberg Photo Credit: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Same voice, both hot in the same way, and both cheated on their wives if we’re thinking of David Eigenberg as his character from Sex and the City rather than a real man, which I am.

Meghan King (née King Edmonds née O’Toole King): Margot Robbie

Meghan King Photo Credit: Steven Simione/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Margot Robbie Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Mainly they’re just both blonde, but, based on her role in Bombshell, I think Robbie would be good for the Brooks cancer season movie.

Lydia McLaughlin: Anna Kendrick

Lydia McLaughlin Photo Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Anna Kendrick Photo Credit: MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

There is absolutely no one else who could play Lydia, and thank god for that.

Lydia’s Mom: Sally Struthers

Lydia's Mom Photo Credit: Bravo; Sally Struthers Photo Credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images

After explaining this casting choice to my coworkers, one of them asked, “Is Sally Struthers still alive?” The answer is yes, rude, and she’s Lydia’s mom.

Jeana Keough: J. Smith-Cameron

Jeana Keough Photo Credit: Amy Graves/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; J. Smith-Cameron Photo Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

God she would be so good … maybe Kenneth Lonergan can direct?

Shannon’s ex-husband David’s mom: Meryl Streep

David's Mom Photo Credit: Bravo; Meryl Streep Photo Credit: MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

“He made one mistake and … she pushed him!” Imagine Meryl Streep saying that in a clip played before her Oscar nomination is announced for the role of Shannon’s ex-husband David’s mom.

Obviously there are a lot of people we haven’t gotten to, but you get the idea. Alexis Bellino could be Cate Blanchett with prosthetics. Jim Bellino could be Paul Giamatti. Briana’s angry little husband could be Sam Rockwell. Lizzie could be Idina Menzel, Lizzie’s husband would obviously be Luke Wilson, and so on. So there you go. Have fun playing the “casting the Real Housewives” game with your loved ones!