Skip to main content

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Let’s cast the LeBron James ‘Coming Home’ movie!

LeBron James returns home to the Cleveland Cavaliers
When LeBron James ended weeks of speculation by announcing his decision to leave Miami and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, what he really did was cap the kind of sports story that is quickly optioned by a major motion picture studio and transformed into a summer blockbuster - maybe even an Oscar contender.

It’s the kind of story that deserves the feel good treatment. Young gun breaks the heart of his Midwest city - fans, friends and family, learns that there's more to life than just the "one thing," and redeems himself by Coming Home (assuredly the title).

Here’s how I imagine Coming Home

Movie opens in a small gym. We see James in the distance in a contemplative moment, alone, shooting hoops. He says nothing - in fact, he has very few lines in the entire film. Over this quiet moment, we slowly hear the rising sounds of sports radio - Baskin and Phelps, maybe. It is June 25, the day James announces he’s opting out of his Miami Heat contract, and the sportscasters are debating what this move could possibly mean. Is there any way on God’s green Earth James could return to Cleveland?

Every pivotal moment -  his Cleveland-based agent, Rich Paul, working the phones and pressing palms, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and former Cavs and Heat player Zydrunas Ilgauskas allegedly board a plane to meet with James in Florida, excited fans gather outside his Bath, Ohio, home, not sure what to expect yet, worried that they'll be let down once more - is presented this way. 

James is always alone - meditative, distanced from the main stage, focused on the play unfurling in his own mind - while a whirlwind of speculation swirls around him. 

He is the Zen master while the world around him falls into chaos.

Okay, we all agree that’s the only way to make this movie (humor me here, folks). So who do we cast? No problem. Here you go:


Rich Paul, played by Sean 'P Diddy' Combs
Rich Paul, played by Sean “P Diddy” Combs
Paul is James’ agent - his third - who most consider the mastermind behind James’ return to Cleveland. While LeBron surely made up his own mind, Paul is the one who paved the way. Combs not only resembles Paul, but displays the kind of swagger and sharp business sense as the young agent.


Dan Gilbert, played by Kevin Pollak
Dan Gilbert, played by Kevin Pollak
If you’ve met Gilbert, you know he has a sense of humor similar to Pollak’s. Or at least a sense of humor that’s out there just a little bit (check out any stories about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the draft lottery). Pollak looks a bit like Gilbert and can carry the same tired - by confident - Midwestern cadence Gilbert does. Plus, with Gilbert and Pollak, you’re never sure whether to love him or hate him. Maybe the answer is a little of both.


Pat Riley, played by James Cromwell
Pat Riley, played by James Cromwell
For Riley, you need a strong character actor with powerful screen presence. Cromwell fits the bill. He can be imposing and disarming at the same time. You trust him - and you wouldn’t say no to him - adding great tension to James' and Riley's Vegas meeting.

Savannah Brinson, played by Jennifer Hudson
Savannah Brinson, played by Jennifer Hudson
There’s little doubt Brinson, James’ wife, had some influence over the decision to move back to Akron. After all, it's her home as well. It’s likely Brinson is the biggest voice in James’ inner circle - what partner isn't? It was James’ decision, but Brinson hopes and dreams surely played a role. Hudson’s inner strength and quiet beauty would portray that well.


Cleveland fans, embodied by Mike Polk
Cleveland Fans, embodied by Mike Polk Jr.
Clevelanders know and love Mike Polk. He is our every sports fan. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of Polk. He embodies the love/hate relationship Cleveland has with its sports teams (“I love them and I hate myself for it”). I mean, have you seen his Factory of Sadness video?


Miami fans, embodied by Nasim Pedrad adn Jay Pharoah as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Miami Fans, embodied by Nasim Pedrad and Jay Pharoah
As long as the Saturday Night Live actors portray their version of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. After all, this is a story where the underdog city wins. So we must have some kind of comic relief - some kind of bad guy - and the bandwagon-celebrity-could-care-less Miami Heat fan - whether true or not - is the perfect rube.


Jenny Gotschall, portrayed by Meghan Aruffo
Jonathan and Jenny Gotschall, played by Zach Braff and Meghan Aruffo
Those that followed the story closely remember all the rumors that surely confirmed LeBron’s return - the kids back in Bath schools, the renovations at his Bath home - the list goes on. The most reported rumor was the Facebook post from Caroline’s Cupcake owners Jonathan and Jenny Gotschall. They knew someone who knew someone who said LeBron’s return was a done deal. The post made national news. A little literary license would allow you to expand these two characters and show how excited Cleveland fans were during those wild two weeks. Braff and Aruffo are the perfect couple to play the cupcake couple.


Lebron James, played by LeBron James
LeBron James, played by LeBron James
I mean, who else can you cast but the man himself?










Follow Midwest Movie Maker on Facebook and Twitter!
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Tina Fey, Jay Roach Bringing Kent State Film '67 Shots' to Ohio

Tina Fey is taking a serious turn, producing 67 Shots, a film about the 1970 Kent State shootings. The movie applied for the Ohio Film Tax Incentive earlier this year and plans to film in and around KSU sometime in 2018.

67 Shots focuses on events that led up to the shooting deaths of four students by Ohio National Guardsmen. The title comes from the numbers of shots those guardsmen fired into the unarmed crowd of protestors.
Fey is producing alongside Jeff Richmond, her husband and a Kent State alum. Jay Roach, best known for the Austin Powers and Meet the Fockers franchises, will helm the project. Roach is making more socially and politically aware films at this stage in his career, including Trumbo and Game Change.
The film is based on the book 67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence and is adapted by award-winning playwright Stephen Belber. Fey and Richmond’s production company, Little Stranger, will join Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures and Michelle Graham’s Everyman…

'Walking Dead' star Emily Kinney joins 'Anhedonia' cast

Emily Kinney, perhaps best known for her role as Beth Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, is joining Anhedonia, the new indie feature from Cleveland’s Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco.

Kinney got her start on stage, with roles in Spring Awakening and August: Osage County, before transitioning to guest roles on television and a star turn as Emily on Showtime’s The Big C.

Her breakout role would come as Beth Greene, Maggie Greene’s little sister, on The Walking Dead. Kinney became a fan favorite during a series of dramatic episodes in the series’ fourth season when Kinney’s Greene bonded with fellow survivor Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus.

Anhedonia co-stars Breckin Meyer and Giselle Eisenberg.

"To have the opportunity to work with such an amazing actress like Emily is beyond exciting,” says Swinderman. “It's also very exciting for the city and people of northeast Ohio to have three huge TV stars coming to town to work on such a wonderful project.”

Anhedonia tells the tal…

Cleveland indie nabs 'SNL' alum Abby Elliott, TV veteran Breckin Meyer

Abby Elliott and Breckin Meyer are coming to Cleveland. They are set to star in Anhedonia, the new feature from 1031 Films’ Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco. Filming begins May 1 at locations around Northeast Ohio.

Elliott, an alum of Saturday Night Live, is best known for her roles on How I Met Your Mother, Odd Mom Out, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It may not be Elliott’s first time in Cleveland, either. She played Lara in Fun Size, which shot in Cleveland in 2012.

Meyer starred as Jared Franklin on Franklin & Bash and is well known for roles in Road Trip, Clueless and Garfield.

Also joining the cast is Giselle Eisenberg, who stars as Sophia in Life in Pieces, and Cleveland’s own Debra Herzog, who had a supporting part on Outsiders and serves as a producer on Anhedonia.

Other local stars include Bryant Carroll, Allen O’Reilly, Jonathan Chiarle, and Katherine DeBoer. More roles will soon be cast.

Dark subjects, big questionsAnhedonia tells the tale of Casey (Meyer), who mee…