Who should play the young Hillary Rodham Clinton: Carey Mulligan, ScarJo…?

You know what’s a really underrated film? Primary Colors! Emma Thompson played a Hillary Clinton-like political wife and John Travolta played a version of Bill Clinton. Billy Bob Thornton was sort-of a budget James Carville, and on and on. Kathy Bates is fantastic in that movie too, and Emma was particularly wonderful as a budget Hillary. Anyway, Hollywood is back in love with Hillary Clinton (after largely scorning her during the 2008 primaries), and there’s a planned Hillary Clinton bio-pic in the works. The film will focus on her early years, as Hillary Rodham, and when she first met Bill Clinton. So who should play the young Hillary? Sources tell THR that Carey Mulligan is the leading contender!

Carey Mulligan has emerged as the front-runner to play Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rodham, Temple Hill and The Arlook Group’s biopic of the former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state.

The Great Gatsby actress is the producers’ top choice to play Clinton during the formative years of her storied career in public service, according to several sources. Several American actresses’ names have been bandied about to take on the widely admired but often polarizing figure, including Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Chastain and Emma Stone. Ironically, the British actress, who was nominated for a best actress Oscar for her starring role in An Education, has never been mentioned.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actress will have a sit-down with director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now), but sources say both sides are eager for it to work. However, insiders close to the production caution that no decision has been made and that others actresses are still in the mix.

The indie drama portrays Rodham as a young lawyer on the committee involved in President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, and her juggling a diverging career path with her unresolved feelings for future president Bill Clinton.

Young Il Kim wrote the script, which was on the 2012 Black List.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Carey Mulligan is a fine actress, and I have no doubt that she can do an American accent. But! Hillary’s particular cadences and her intellectual/strident vibe? I’m not so sure. Of course, I don’t believe Scarlett Johansson has any place on this list either. Jessica Chastain would be an interesting choice… I get the feeling that with the right wig, Jessica could play just about anyone. As for Emma Stone… is she too young to play Hillary at this point in Hillary’s life? But Emma would nail the voice, I think. As would Chastain. So who should they pick?! And who should be cast as the young Bubba? Goodness. You know Bubba was quite gingery before he became a silver fox. Something to think about.

….Oooo, what about Anne Hathaway?!

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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103 Responses to “Who should play the young Hillary Rodham Clinton: Carey Mulligan, ScarJo…?”

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  1. Tess says:

    Jessica Chastain would be an amazing choice

    • ctkat1 says:

      Word- she’s such a chameleon I know she can nail the look, and she can do smart and passionate. She’d get my casting vote! I like Carey Mulligan very much, but she’s not quite right for this- she does vulnerable and fragile so well, but that’s not really Hillary Rodham…

      ScarJo- not a chance.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Chastain would be my pick as well. Any actress who can go from The Help to Zero Dark Thirty can for sure nail this role.

      As for the others…meh. Carey Mulligan is too ‘wispy’, ScarJo is too much of a sex bomb type and Anne Hathaway would probably try to break into song all the time.

    • gg says:

      Only one thing comes to mind after seeing this header photo: MADONNA.

    • gogoGorilla says:

      Totally agree. I really admire Hillary, but she does not have the sex-bomb vibe AT ALL, so ScarJo would be a terrible choice, IMO.

      I don’t think Carey M is that great of an actress, plus she seems too young.

      Oooh, I see someone suggested Rebecca DeMornay. She’d be great!

  2. Spooks says:

    Carey is too vanilla, Emma and ScarJo are not good enough actresses, and I just can’t see Jessica. I think Anne would be the best.
    And Hillary is such and inspiration to women around the world. I’m not American, but she’s my favourite first lady.

  3. Liz says:

    I think the film is set when she’s early to mid twenties so I think Chastain is to old, age wise Emma Stone or Carey Mulligan are a much better fit.

  4. marie says:

    based on talent I’d go with Jessica but I really don’t like any of these choices.

    Primary Colors was an awesome movie, hated Kathy Bates outcome.

  5. Lucretia says:

    Any of the above would be fine with me. I looked forward to and loved the recent Game Change on HBO, but somehow this project doesn’t sound very interesting. I may be surprised.

  6. ZigZagZoey says:

    Carey kinda looks like her the most….

  7. T.fanty says:

    I like the idea of Emma Stone. Hillary is as tough as they come, but there’s a sense of fun to her and a charm that I don’t think Chastain could bring out.

  8. Auj says:

    Lindsay Lohan
    They both make humiliating choices in their lives.

  9. Andrea says:

    The only one on this list that wouldn’t annoy me would be Chastain.

    The idea of a glamorous starlet like ScarJo or even Emma Stone playing her feels so wrong.

    If you have read her biography then it’s clear she felt awkward and unattractive and un-feminine as a young woman. She was not the bombshell woman compared to all the other women who came in and out of Bill’s life. She was the uber smart Girl in the corner that caught his eye for different reasons. Putting someone like ScarJo in the role is pretty insulting to that.

  10. Tapioca says:

    ScarJo! The scenes with Bill would be awesome:

    “Darling, I love you, but my face is up here.”

    “I’ve made my choice…”

  11. Nanz says:

    Primary Colors is one of my all-time favorite movies. I agree that Scarlett J. would be a poor choice. Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain would be interesting choices.

    I have what I think might be an unpopular opinion about Carey Mulligan and Jessica Chastain. I was completely underwhelmed by Mulligan’s performance in Drive after hearing about what an incredible actress she is. The same thing happened when I watched Chastian in Zero Dark 30. I don’t know if it was the hype that left me disappointed or if it was their actual performances. Even though I didn’t like the movie The Help, I thought Chastain’s performance was exceptional. And after reading about her incredible range, I expected more, I guess, from her ZD 30 character. Mulligan just comes off as a fragile flower, but I haven’t seen much of her work yet. What should I be watching to see what everyone else sees in their acting skills? Serious question.

    • ctkat1 says:

      I think Jessica Chastain is very talented, but I don’t think that ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was an exceptionally strong performance- I don’t think that performance was more “Oscar worthy” than Marion Cotillard’s in ‘Rust and Bone’ or Rachel Weisz in ‘Deep Blue Sea.’

      I think that seeing Jessica go from ‘The Help’ to ‘Take Shelter’ gave me a good sense of her range.

      I think that Carey Mulligan is also good, although ‘Drive’ didn’t give her much to do.

      • Snooze says:

        watch Carey in An Education. I also think that Chastain was incredibly overrated in ZD30. She was a wallflower. I couldn’t understand why there was so much buzz about her for the Oscar.

      • Snooze says:

        Oh god. None of these women! They are all terrible choices. I hate how they just pick five “hot” actresses, regardless of how suited they are for the role. It needs to be someone with serious intelligence and charisma. You can’t fake those things. Probably a tier 2 actress.

    • steph says:

      Carey was great in Drive. Sublime and understated. Theres a great scene where Gos is in her livingroom and she hands him his jacket, so much more potent than any sex scene. She totally went toe to toe with Gosling, whos no slacker himself.

      I like Amy Adams best for Rodham though.

  12. AmyLynne says:

    Please not Anne Hathaway, I can’t take another Oscar campaign.

  13. Rux says:

    Jessica all the way.

    I have such a gril crush on her.

  14. Debbie says:

    Chastain is insanely overrated and no to her being Hilary. Also no to scarjo she can’t pull of Hilary’s intellect she would make her some sex kitten and that is not Hillary. Not sure Emma could do it but she might surprise us. Cary is a wonderful actress but she seems to innocent and Hillary has never been that. Honestly they need an unknown because this is a difficult role she really is so known and respected its just hard. Emma played her when she wasn’t as known.

  15. Shelly says:

    Carey resembles her physically, so I pick her. Scarlett is way too glam.

  16. Legal Annie says:

    I say Meryl Streep. She’s the only one who could pull it off.

  17. mercyme says:

    None of the above, though Chastain and Mulligan are good actors and Emma is charming and likeable. There has to be a better fit. How about Emily Blunt?

  18. Legal Annie says:

    Alternative choices are Glenn Close, Amy Poehler, Julianne Moore and Helena Bonham Carter.

  19. Lem says:

    Claire Danes or January Jones. They have, IMO, the cold edge Hillary requires.
    How about Joshua Jackson for slick willy. He has the nose and the under the surface sex appeal that Clinton owns

  20. Jackie says:

    Not anyone on the list but I think Jennifer Connelly could do it. As I scrolled down the pics and saw that black and whilte pic of young Hillary , I thought it was Jennifer Connelly.

  21. Chicagogurl says:

    Chloe Sevigny would nail this.

  22. MsAubra says:


    Rebecca DeMornay PROBABLY or Cathy Baker, that is if they’re picking it up from Hilary in her late 40s and up?

  23. Vic says:

    Linda Cardellini (freaks and geeks era) would be a great choice

  24. Reece says:

    No to all of them. Keep looking!

  25. Lala Rose says:

    I’m casting my vote for Emma or an unknown … I think Emma has that slightly awkward feel for her.

    NO SCARJO! Just no!

  26. insomniac says:

    I love Carey, but it’s hard for me to imagine her as Hillary. I was thinking Emily Blunt.

  27. IrishGirl says:

    Moon: As a matter of fact, I just read an article in The Wrap that casting was actually down to Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Mulligan. The other actresses (from Chastain to ScarJo, Emma Stone, etc.,) wanted the part and their names were thrown into the mix but, it was down to Lawrence and Mulligan. Jennifer Lawrence will not be available (Lawrence is one hell of a busy working woman!)so, Mulligan will likely play Hillary.

  28. Mandy says:

    It would pick Chastain out of these options. I think she would be pretty awesome in that part.

  29. nico says:

    Too bad she’s not younger because Jennifer Ehle would be fantastic.

    I agree that Emily Blunt would be a good pick.

  30. Anna says:

    God, I am SOOOO having the Chastain Fatigue. She really lacks in screen presence. I wouldnt mind Emma Stone in this role. And I would love Annie to give it a try, tho I am afraid she might emote just a bit too hard. For Hilary.

  31. Anna says:

    God, I am SOOOO having the Chastain Fatigue. She really lacks in screen presence. I wouldnt mind Emma Stone in this role. And I would love Annie to give it a try, tho I am afraid she might emote just a bit too hard. For Hilary.

  32. Rachel says:

    Can I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Carey Mulligan in anything, so I have no opinion on her acting skill. It would be a different sort of role for Emma Stone. But she’s a good actress. It would certainly be a chance for her to expand her range. No ScarJo. And while I love Jessica Chastain, I agree with Anna. I’m overloaded…

  33. flotsamrose says:

    I assume Spooks means “vanilla” as in lacking feist or intellectual grit, not “vanilla” as in light-skinned.

  34. Jayna says:

    No, to all of these. You need someone who can exude keen intellect to play her. I love my Hillary. Rock on, Hillary.

  35. bns says:

    They always just slap the 5 most popular actresses of the moment on these speculation stories. I’m sick of all of these girls. Pick someone who hasn’t been promoted to death.

  36. CS says:

    I don’t think you understand what vanilla means.

  37. Julia says:

    Everyone who’s saying that Carey is too vanilla should watch Shame. She is really great in it and shows a lot of range.
    I think she would be pretty good as Hillary.

  38. Chordy says:

    Amy Acker! I think Amy Acker would be such a great Hillary! She has the poise and the brass to pull it off. Also, she’s in Much Ado and is reunited with Alexis Denisof!!

  39. Decloo says:

    Naomi Watts? She’s such a chameleon. And a great actress.

  40. jojo says:

    I hate myself for saying this, but in that bottom pic I’m getting a bit of a lily collins vibe. Hmmm what about the young olsen: elizabeth? How young is this hillary going to be?

  41. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    Does anyone know their background?
    As in, how did they meet? Why did he choose to marry her and not a traditional bombshell? And why did he cheat on her a bunch of times, and she took him back? Is it because she knew/knows she has Bill by the balls? Are they even really together at this point?

    As a sidenote, even though I know that Bill Clinton is a horndog, I just like him. Maybe it’s his charm, I don’t know, but he’s just so likeable.

  42. Lala Rose says:

    Michelle Williams?! just a thought…

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I totally thought Michelle for a second too then realized that she may be too….low-key for the role.
      She has a really amazing subtly about her acting, a kind of quiet emotion that really works for her in certain roles but I’m not sure if I can see her playing someone as assertive as Hillary.
      I could be wrong though…I love Michelle Williams though-huge fan of her.

  43. Ally says:

    Omg not Carey Milligan. Girl is so overexposed. And too lithe for the part. I actually think that physically Scarlett would be the best choice, if she can dial down the breathy sexpot in her acting.

  44. Kelly says:

    Carey? No way. I don’t get her and why she would even be considered. ScarJo must be a joke addition. Anne Hathaway? No awful. Jessica Chastain all the way!

  45. Avery says:

    Leighton meester would be a great choice!

  46. kristiner says:

    Jessica Chastain would work because even though she was young Hillary has always looked MUCH older than she is.

    I know in the 70s and 80s people 20 something looked pushing 40 with all the makeup but Hillary’s face and droopy eyes and bags in that bottom pic makes her look 30 something. I looked it up and she’s 22 in that picture. That doesn’t look 22.

    Whoever plays her needs to be a really great character actress. Looks aren’t everything. I agree about Jessica in the right wig.

    • Suze says:

      I’m not sure where you would have gotten that impression but the seventies were a time of natural beauty – not heavy make-up. Fresh scrubbed was all the rage and young people looked very young.

      Now the eighties, you are on to something there. Lotsa makeup and people may have looked a bit older than their ages. But Hillary wasn’t young in the eighties – she was almost forty then.

      And that’s not a great photo of Hillary – too many shadows – makes her look older.

      • kristiner says:

        Natural beauty depended on where you lived. As a baby in the late 70s I’ve seen some pictures of my mom and aunts and they were in the South and it was pageant heaven, big hair, tons of blush and all.

        I’ve Googled other pictures and Hillary always looked older than her years.

  47. cipi says:

    dont understand why they always keep focusing on the same actresses. its either sjarjo, emma, jessica or carrey etc…why not pick a lesser known actress

  48. Lola says:

    Honey Boo-Boo’s mom would be the one to play Hillary

  49. LadyL says:

    The woman has a moon face. She is ugly on the inside and out. It’s just another movie I won’t bother to see. Who cares about this wretched woman? The blind, deaf and dumb?

  50. iLuvSpringTime says:

    Either Chip or Dale.

  51. Khaleesi says:

    Saoirse Ronan would be fantastic in that role

  52. cheeve says:

    I’m with the Michelle Williams vote. She has the range, she has the look, and it would help break her the rest of the way out of that whole fragile flower thing.

    I also liked the suggestion of Elizabeth Olsen.

    And I am sick of seeing Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence mentioned for everything. I’m no more than meh on either of them. Anne Hathaway would be completely wrong physically, although I think (I hate to admit this because I’m still so sick of her) she might have the best intuitive grasp of the role.

  53. Rory says:

    Do people not realise it says the “young hilary clinton”. if they are looking at mulligan and scarjo who are at least a decade younger, chastain is too old for the period they are focusing on. Chastain is in her mid-late 30′s and not in the same casting bracket as these actress. To be honest this is the sort of part some unknown actor is usually more convincing in then someone more famous.

  54. Prunella says:

    Too bad it’s not about the older Hillary, because Sharon Stone would nail it!

    As for the younger, Mila Kunis?