The Supreme Court's decision to declare gay marriage legal in all 50 states was such a huge victory for civil rights, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood saw the movie potential in the story. This week, Fox announced that it has acquired the rights to Jim Obergefell's life story (Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the case). Films take a while to go from idea to fully formed reality, so we're going to have to be a little patient. But in a couple of years, expect to see a movie about the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling make a big impact in theaters (and at award shows, undoubtedly). The 2019 Oscars aren't gonna know what hit 'em.
Obergefell and his husband, John Arthur, were married in Maryland just a few months before Arthur died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 2013. But they lived in Ohio, which refused to recognize their union, or to legally grant Obergefell any rights as Arthur's spouse. Obergefell sued the state and eventually pleaded his case in front of the Supreme Court.
It's a moving, important story that, if done right, could be made into an impactful, beautiful movie. Everyone from Joe Biden to Debra Messing has pointed out how films and TV can change people's attitudes and reduce their prejudices, in a way that's sometimes more powerful than even real-life experiences. And a movie about a story this big is sure to get major attention.
We're still a ways away from actually seeing Obergefell's story on the big screen, but that's not going to stop us from imagining our dream cast.
Here's who we think should play Obergefell, Arthur and the other important roles:
How about Paul Giamatti? The Sideways star already has one Oscar nomination and he's played several parts based on real people before (John Adams, Ben Bernanke). He also bears a resemblance to Obergefell.
But, if Giamatti doesn't do it for you, we nominate ...
Rainn Wilson could also pull off the part. Since his days on The Office, he's been going for less-comedic roles, like on Backstrom.
Jim Parsons has already starred in one critically adored movie about the gay rights struggle, The Normal Heart. But that was on HBO. The Obergefell movie is likely to get a much wider audience. Additionally, it's important that at least one out actor is considered for this film.
But if Parsons doesn't seem right to you, how about ...
Put him in a curly wig and Joseph Gordon-Levitt could pull this part off. He would also bring serious Hollywood clout to the film.
Obergefell's lawyer in the SCOTUS trial, Al Gerhardstein, has also sold the rights to his life story to Fox and he's also likely to appear prominently in the film. Larry David definitely has the looks to pull off playing Gerhardstein and he might enjoy taking on a more serious role.
Or, Gerhardstein could be played by ...
Ed Harris doesn't look as similar to Gerhardstein as David does, but his kindly, authoritative presence would fit the role.
Do you agree with our fantasy casting or do you have different suggestions for who should play these historic figures? Let us know in the comments!
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