How Would You Cast a Biopic on the Rock Band Van Halen?

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June 20, 2019 at 1:12 pm Quote #60633


How Would You Cast a Biopic on the Rock Band Van Halen?
Aiden Mason
2019-06-20 16:00:44

You’re a casting director, and you have done nothing but work on crappy little B movies that never amounted to nothing. But suddenly your day comes. You get the big call, the one saying how impressed a certain director has been with your ill-appreciated efforts. As it turns out, he’s making a movie, and not just any movie, but a big budget film about an iconic rock band…and he wants you to cast the band: Van Halen. Yep, looks like it’s your big break.

So, you get right to work, racking your brain and wringing out Google, you look for look-alikes and more look-alikes, making sure they can act and hopefully have some rock-star moves. You know you have to cast more than the original band for the film…you also have to cast Sammy Hagar, as he was an integral part of their success as well. You find out that the job is much more difficult that you thought it would be, but you really need the money. So, who do you pick?

Well, that’s the question posed here, and I actually did a lot more than run Google for a loop, I had to sit and think about it for most of the day. I wracked my brain, trying to think of which actor would be best in what role, and to be honest I continued to draw blanks when I just used my brain. It was Googles image search and the right keywords that helped me narrow things down to an acceptable level. It got me down to some actors that could not only act, but had a bit of physical potential as well. If they were lacking a bit in either department, there would always be make-up and choreography, right?

So, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Below is my personal pick of actors who I would have portray the members of the band Van Halen in a biopic…all of the major members from back in the day, anyway, plus one to fill the role of Wolfgang, Eddie Van Halen’s son and current bass player/vocalist for the band. Keep in mind that these aren’t perfect choices…I know. However, I don’t think they’re too bad when you consider all that the magic of Hollywood is capable of.

To make it simpler for those of you more familiar with the Van Halen of the seventies than the eighties, and vice-versa, we’ll just start with the original four members, and add Sammy and Wolfgang to the end of the list. But we will do it right; at least, what I think is right anyway. Let’s start off with the band’s founding members, the Brothers Van Halen.

Edward ‘Eddie’ Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen is a legend in his own time. He is one of the greatest lead guitarists on the planet, and that’s no small feat considering the players he is up against. In 1974, he and his brother Alex started the band Van Halen, with David Lee Roth as their frontman. They had so much impressive potential that Gene Simmons from Kiss backed their first album after seeing them play. Eddie was always an energetic guitarist, with locks that made the girls swoon and guitar licks that won over the guys, he was one big heartthrob in those years. Yeah, he’s a bit older now, but he’s still Eddie. Not as eager to jump and dance, but still Eddie all the same.

When it came to choosing an actor to play Eddie in the Van Halen biopic I was torn. There are many young actors who could possibly pull it off. But there aren’t many who resemble Eddie and who could pull it off at the same time. Except one. My choice of actor for the role of Eddie Van Halen is Tim Robbins. Now wait, don’t groan; compare their looks. Yes, Tim is older now…so is Eddie. But that’s what make-up and wigs are for, right? Plus, Tim is one of the finest actors out there, and I think he’d have a blast with this role.

Alexander ‘Alex’ Van Halen

The quieter member of Van Halen, as well as one of the founding brothers, Alex served primarily as the band’s drummer, though he also played guitar in earlier years. He always seemed to be the silent guy in the back, like most drummers are. But also like most drummers, he used his facial expressions to join the rest of the band in the on-stage fun, with wide-mouthed smiles and his ever present shades. Alex managed to make a bigger mark on the music world than many people know.

Now it’s time to cast the role of Alex Van Halen, and I must tell you, this was one of the easiest ones for me. One look at his great big smile with those sunglasses on and I thought of Mike Damone from ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High…that was the actor who should do it. The man who played the shady, ticket-scalping Mike Damone is really Robert Romanus, who has had several other roles in his career. This one would put him down in the annals of history, though. He’s a perfect fit, short of the age issue, which will likely be an ongoing issue anyway with this topic. “Will Mr. Romanus report to make-up please!”

Michael Anthony

What can we say about Michael Anthony? Really? Well, he was the bass player for Van Halen from 1974 through 1996. He joined up with them for a reunion tour from 2003 to 2005, and the very next year he formed the band ‘Chickenfoot’, of which he is still an active member. He was another quiet one, but knew how to get through to the audience through physical activity and by showing his intense love for what he did through his excitement and facial expressions. Compared to the other three band members, Michael really never reached a specific level of heartthrob status for the girls, but that never affected his playing. If he was good enough for Eddie, he’s good enough for me.

Now this guy was hard to find an actor for. I went up and down, back and forth, and after much torture and forehead slapping narrowed it down to two: Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen. I must say that with all the weight Rogen has lost in recent years, he doesn’t seem to fit the bill quite as well as Jonah, who has mostly maintained the ‘stature’ needed to properly play the bassist believably. Both of them are extraordinarily talented, and I believe either of them could pull off the acting part without a second thought. Although both have an acting lineage rooted in comedy, this could be precisely the role they need to show something more serious to the audience. Since I have to choose one of them, I pick Jonah Hill, and I make that choice based on his acting skills, his facial appearance, and that beautiful belly that fits the part so perfectly.

Now it’s time to cast the two primary frontmen of the band, the singers who were not only the voices of Van Halen, but the faces as well. This was equally simple and difficult, but it managed to pan out in the end, and well I think. Let’s see what you think of my choices.

David Lee Roth

This egocentric singer loved to dress in tight, brightly colored spandex and leap all around the stage like Peter Pan on steroids. But for the genre, his gimmick worked, and he became a household name apart from Van Halen after he left the band. As for female fan attention, his long blonde locks got the girls screaming, but his face wasn’t the prettiest around. With that being said, he had a phenomenal voice and a stage presence that was not easily forgotten…ever. After leaving VH he was in the band Mammoth, providing his skills to another set. Rumors of him being a paramedic were circulating, but he was able to reunite with the band for their reunion tour, which was surprising after much bad blood.

Okay, now before I announce my casting choice for Dave, please brace yourselves and don’t hate. I chose Brad Pitt, and I will tell you why. He has a great body, is a fine actor, and has that dusky look in his eye that is flirtatious and daring all at once. Not to mention the fact that if you look at him when his hair is really long, well, he could definitely pass for the man. Yep, the man is a shoe-in for the part.

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar makes the list, not just because he sang for Van Halen for years, but because after he took over the band continued to put out hit albums, and that isn’t easy to do when you replace a lead singer. But Sammy took a bite, chewed it up, and spat it out, and he did it all in a way that sold albums and won awards. It didn’t take fans long to adjust to his different style, and soon Dave was a fading memory. Sammy most certainly deserves to be on the list. He joined the band in 1985 and remained with them for eleven years, until 1996. This dynamic singer, also known as the ‘Red Rocker’, he was first a member of the Fabulous Catillas, then The Johnny Fortune Band’, Montrose, and after Van Halen enjoyed a lucrative solo career. He is one of the greatest of our time, and has displayed his talent in some very surprising ways.

Sammy Hagar was one of the two easiest roles to cast on my list. I went through maybe eight photos when I saw that someone had done the work for me. They had posted a side-by-side pic of Sammy and my choice to play him, and though the man isn’t primarily an actor, he is a celebrity filled with tons of personality, and his looks are almost perfect. The winner is Guy Fieri, celebrity chef and game show host, among other things. I believe Guy is the ideal Sammy for this flick.

Wolfgang Van Halen

The son of Eddie and ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli has managed to make quite a name for himself in his short life (he’s 28). Not only is he an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and drummer, but he is fortunate enough to play with Van Halen himself. With him being Eddie’s son and a member of the band, I felt that it was very important to include him, as any movie about Van Halen worth its salt will have his character in it.

But who should play him? This one was tough only for a moment. Something about Wolfgang’s eyes and facial structure finally screamed the answer at me: Jerry O’Connell. Yes, I said Jerry O’Connell. Now, I understand that he has dropped some weight and is a bit older, but we depend on these movie people to make believers out of us, and I think they would have no problem with Jerry in the role. I don’t know…maybe he’s way too old, but what is age but a number?

There you have them: My picks for the actors who should play the band members of Van Halen in a biopic about the band. It’s been fun, but I prefer to leave this type of work up to the pros; they would likely put me to shame. Who would you choose if the matter were in your hands? Think about it. You may be surprised at the solutions you come up with.


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