Film and TV

Who Should Play Greg Abbott When He's Inevitably Spoofed in a Movie?

Steve Carrell and Sacha Baron Cohen are two of our favorite choices to play Gov. Greg Abbott when he's inevitably spoofed.
Steve Carrell and Sacha Baron Cohen are two of our favorite choices to play Gov. Greg Abbott when he's inevitably spoofed. Wiki Commons
There’s not a whole lot in the last few years that hasn’t felt straight out of satire. However, if we’d heard that one of Texas’ most ardent combatants of public safety had gotten COVID-19 himself, we’d chalk that up to bad writing. Nothing is as ironic as reality, right?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s governorship has produced many controversies, but the COVID-19 pandemic kicked his incompetence into high gear. Between his anti-mask policies to his demands on public schools, Abbott is one of the few politicians whose public gaffs rival Ted Cruz’s.

Certainly, the Abbott administration will eventually be the subject of an Erroll Morris-style documentary, but we don’t think that would be as fun as seeing Abbott dramatized by one of the GOP's most frequent enemies: Hollywood. While there’s the potential for a deathly serious dramatic piece, we’re hoping for something like Vice or Bombshell, employing comedians to help tell the story in a more palatable way.

We’re paging some talented screenwriters right now to wade through Abbott’s most embarrassing moments, but we’ve also lined up a list of guys we think could bring this buffoonery to life.


Steve Carrell
Even if he’s best known for his lovable sitcom roles, Steve Carrell has steadily leaned into villainous roles with murderous Olympic coach John du Point in Foxcatcher, sexist tennis player Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes and as The Morning Show’s creepy anchor Mitch Kessler. Carrell’s performance as Donald Rumsfeld in Vice was fantastic; perhaps he could call up his old pal Adam McKay to craft another political satire.

John Malkovich
OK, so we’d have to stick a goofy wig on the bald actor, but Malkovich usually finds a line between absurd and mean that we think the role of Abbott necessitates.

Guy Pearce
Just leave him in the Prometheus old man makeup.

Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton has proven that he’s more than a comic genius with more serious roles in Birdman, Spotlight and The Trial of the Chicago 7, but Abbott would give him the chance to do something he’s never attempted before: be completely unlikable.

Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin did a pretty damn good job getting inside the mind of our 44th president in W. in a surprisingly empathetic portrayal. We’re not expecting any of that open-mindedness here, as we’re hoping villainous turns in the Sicario and Avengers franchise have hardened Brolin's heart for a darker role.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Borat himself has been deceiving wicked politicians for his entire career, so maybe he should get the chance to play one. Given the right amount of makeup, Cohen can transform into pretty much anybody.

Mel Gibson
Hey, it’s only fitting that Abbott is played by a real-life tool, right? Gibson is appearing more regularly in films again, and while we’re not ready to grant him a comeback, the idea of him channeling his rage to get in Abbott’s mind is an intriguing prospect.

Bradley Whitford
So maybe Bradley Whitford doesn’t look a whole lot like Abbott, but he did play a ruthless politician on The West Wing and an intolerable racist in Get Out, so maybe his best role yet is a combination of the two.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.