Most of us won’t ever become the subject of a grandiose Hollywood biopic, but that doesn’t mean that it also isn’t fun to imagine it with all the frills of dream casting.
But this time around, people aren’t focusing on which actors should play themselves. They’re focusing on which actors should play two of that eventual biopic’s pivotal roles: the parents.
In many cases, it’s a big decision. And given the nature of the prompt, you could just choose anyone, living or dead.
Twitter’s collective dream casting for their Hollywood parents spans at least as far back as April 6, and subsequent versions included variations of a single question: “Who plays your parents in your biopic?”
These are characters who might only appear fleetingly in childhood scenes or be a consequential presence in that hypothetical biopic. And then the bigger question: Do you pick two actors who look like your parents, or are you going for more of a vibe? And is this a loving relationship, a fraught or estranged relationship, or something of a mixed bag depending on the time period being covered?
After a while, people started to see a handful of recurring faces. Mandy Patinkin, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Diane Keaton, Sally Field, and Stanley Tucci were just some of the actors who kept popping up.
We even got some joke responses.
TCM host Ben Mankiewicz could readily point to a recent biopic that already depicted his own family’s history. In his case, it was his grandparents—Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and Sara Aaronson (Tuppence Middleton)—who were the ones depicted in David Fincher’s 2020 film Mank.
For most of us, it’s essentially just a fun prompt or thought exercise. But if you want someone who is basically living out this exact dream scenario, look no further than Steven Spielberg. He’s currently working on a semi-autobiographical project that’s based on his childhood, and for that film, Spielberg cast Paul Dano and Michelle Williams to play fictional versions of his parents.