Sunday, September 9, 2012

Born For These Roles

Sonny Chiba as Kaz Hirai, Chairman, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.

Kaz Hirai once claimed that he’d rather take a bullet to the head than see the PS3 get any Xbox360 games. Letting Japanese legend Sonny Chiba take on the overly dramatic role of chairman of a foundering video game console manufacturer would bring an air of dignity to the part – something Sony hasn’t had in years. Let’s just hope Kaz doesn’t state that he’d rather commit seppuku than be portrayed in a movie about the console wars.

Will Arnett as Jack Tretton, President, Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Jack Tretton has a flair for the dramatic, a great sense of humor, and the ability to spin a yarn of bullshit without missing a beat – all necessary for doing PR work for a console manufacturer currently in 3rd place. Will Arnett is best known for playing GOB Bluth - a magician whose biggest trick…illusion was making everyone believe he was a good magician. A perfect fit for Tretton, who must constantly craft the illusion that the PS3 is doing great.

Takeshi Kitano as Ken Kuturagi, Creator of the PlayStation

Kuturagi is often lovingly referred to as the “Father of the Playstation.” Kitano is often lovingly referred to as “Beat Takeshi.” Besides sharing cool nicknames, these guys both have a serious, no-nonsense look. Kitano, as an established actor, could easily deliver when directed to play the simultaneously specific yet vague “I was just demoted from my job because my latest offspring, Playstation 3, didn’t set the world on fire like my last two babies.”


Robert Downey Jr. as Reggie Fils-Aime, President, Nintendo of America

Who better to play Nintendo’s Haitian head honcho than a guy who portrayed a white Australian actor who underwent pigment surgery to play a black man in Tropic Thunder, a movie about making a movie? While Reggie’s catchphrases are relatively PG (“I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names”) compared to Downey Jr’s (“I’m a lead farmer, motherfucker!”), there’s no doubt the talented actor could bring some edginess to the part. Who knows – he could get another Oscar nod for it.

Ken Watanabe as Shigeru Miyamoto, Creator of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda

Miyamoto is a legend, known for creating some of the most beloved game characters of all time. He also came up with Wii Fit and Wii Music, so it would be an understatement to say that he’s trying the patience of even the most loyal fanboys. Despite the loss of nerd cred, there are still legions of gamers frothing for the next title from the Nintendo mastermind. Ken Watanabe probably doesn’t even know who Miyamoto is, but taking on this role would no doubt propel him to super-stardom. Sadly, his mailbox would also be inundated with hate mail from the crazed Nintendo faithful unhappy about some minor imperfection in his portrayal of their God.

Frances McDormand as Cammie Dunaway, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Nintendo of America

Cammie Dunaway managed to frighten some with her maniacal facial expressions and piss off most by leading the charge at Nintendo’s abysmal 2008 E3 press conference where she regaled the apathetic crowd with tales of a failed family snowboarding trip that ended with her breaking a wrist. Many wished she broke more than that. Frances McDormand’s Academy Award-winning role as a pregnant rural police chief investigating three murders in Fargo demonstrates she has the chops to tackle a corporate bigwig. On a side note, modern video game critics often allude to the possibility that the dead guy in the snow from Fargo’s cover art actually represents Nintendo’s core fanbase.


Steve Buscemi as Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft

The guy who helped found one of the biggest software companies on the planet may not have a direct say in the daily decisions that shape the Xbox brand, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t important. We think of Steve Buscemi in a similar way.  Sure, he isn’t an A-list star and has a face only a mother could love (just like us regular guys), but his work is consistently great, he’s funny as hell, and has the awkward, middle-aged nerd look down-pat. But if someone tried to throw a pie in Buscemi’s face, you know he’d rip their face apart with his snaggleteeth.

Bruce Willis as J Allard, Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment and Devices Division

It was extremely difficult to find a popular bald actor to play J Allard. OK, it wasn’t difficult at all. Microsoft entered the video game biz only 8 years ago and has since built an empire to rival Sony and Nintendo, though not without its growing pains. Bruce Willis knows all about being the underdog; Planet Hollywood has landed in as many financial pitfalls as Microsoft’s Xbox brand. He also knows about picking himself up by the bootstraps and soldiering on even when his wife hooked up with Punk’d d-bag Ashton Kutcher. J Allard has to deal with the widespread Red Ring of Death phenomenon, which affects around 1/3 of all 360s, but still finds time to keep his scalp sleek.

Ed Harris as Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

Ballmer became an instant internet celebrity when a parody video surfaced of the jowly maniac yelling “developers, developers, developers, developers…” at a crowd over a raging techno beat, pumping his fists and raising the roof. All it did around the office however was land him a new nickname – “The Crazy Em-Ballmer” (don’t ask about that last part). Ed Harris knows how to play slightly unhinged.  Check him out in The Truman Show, Pollock, and A History of Violence for proof. Prepping for the role would be easy: Add 40 lbs. of bloated, stressed-out executive body fat and practice Ballmer’s patented ‘tongue out’ laugh.

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