There is no movie currently in production around the life of Syracuse Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim. However, that didn’t stop the SU basketball Twitter handle from having some fun with the question of who would portray Boeheim in a feature film.
Clint Eastwood and Willem Dafoe are both fine choices, but let’s evaluate them along with the other potential options.
The “Seinfeld” co-creator and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star already has curmudgeon down pat, and also has experience playing Boeheim doppelganger Bernie Sanders. You go with David here for the outburst capabilities as well, though. That’s really where the key to capturing Boeheim on screen lies. David can also handle obsessing over minutiae, which is another key character trait that must shine through in any Boeheim portrayal.
Caan’s New York pedigree sets him up well to play Boeheim -- especially during the whirlwind early Big East years. Though you’d never consider him the funniest actor, Caan has been able to add humor where needed amid the serious demeanor. It’s also been awhile since he did anything incredibly redeemable on film, so maybe this would be his chance?
He’s not going to drop the accent. But assuming he did, this would be a fun wildcard consideration. And even if he didn’t, interspersed English accent would just be an entertaining sideshow to the movie. This works better if it’s a comedy, not a drama.
Here’s a vote for the serious side of the Boeheim story. Duvall can inject humor, but would add levity and reverence that Jim would probably expect in any portrayal. Even though he’s not “Southern,” he does have that drawl that seems to follow him around. That could present some problems.
His work on “House of Cards” alone should tell you he can handle the ruthless deadpan that Boeheim has perfected over the years. Plus, with that show maybe wrapping up at some point (I don’t know... political fiction’s not necessarily viable anymore), Spacey could have time. He has some versatility in the age department as well that other contenders wouldn’t.
Who else but the original? Jim also has some acting credits to his name already, including “Blue Chips” and “He Got Game.” No one can capture the Boeheim essence better, and we’d love to see him have to get de-aged and tossed into one of these classic 70s suits.
And sure, why not consider Eastwood or Dafoe?
Eastwood seems too grizzled, but would clearly take the part seriously. Dafoe could handle the snark and be perfect for scenes interacting with the media. Though he too might lack the humor to really “get” Jim. Not to throw shade at Tyus Battle and Frank Howard’s respective selections. There just might be better names out there.
But what do you think? Any of these seem like winners in the assumed, eventual biopic? Or perhaps you have your own choices. Make your own selections below.