For a CIA director with star power, the nominees are ...
You want to talk credentials? No one has a better resume than Morgan Freeman, who has played, among others: God (“Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty”); the president (“Deep Impact”); Nelson Mandela (“Invictus”); the CIA director (“The Sum of All Fears”); and a former CIA agent (“Red”). Plus he’s got that American “speak softly but carry a big stick” persona down pat, as he showed as Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris in “Million Dollar Baby”: “Sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back. But step back too far and you ain’t fighting at all.”
Above: Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in “Invictus.” (Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros. )
Another guy with the right stuff. Heck, Harrison Ford singlehandly saved the CIA’s bacon several times as agent Jack Ryan in “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.” Like Morgan Freeman, he’s been the president (“Air Force One”). And, of course, he faced down the Nazis as Indiana Jones and took on Darth Vader, the emperor and Imperial Storm Troopers as Han Solo in “Star Wars.” It was in the latter that he summed up the no-nonsense approach that would serve him well at the CIA: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
Above: Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. (David James / Lucasfilm)
If Obama wants to reach across the aisle, this is a no-brainer. Like Morgan Freeman and Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood epitomizes American toughness and cool under fire. Sure, there was that dopey chair moment at the Republican National Convention. But hey, this guy has conquered the worst of the Wild West as the Man With No Name in classics like “High Plains Drifter” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” taken down the bad guys as Inspector Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry” and its many sequels, fought for his country in “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Heartbreak Ridge,” protected the president in “In the Line of Fire” and even brought down a criminal president in “Absolute Power.” You can just imagine him at a congressional hearing, growling, “Make my day, Senator!”
Above: Clint Eastwood is seen speaking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30 in Tampa, Fla. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)
With Jason Bourne at the helm, who would be foolish enough to tangle with the CIA? Matt Damon ripped through the bad guys -- both theirs and some of our own -- in “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Yes, there is that little problem of amnesia, but he appears to be over it. And although he seemingly wanted out of the spy game, the country could use the genius he showed as Will Hunting in “Good Will Hunting.” Plus there’s the personal connection: Obama plays golf, and Damon had plenty of game as links prodigy Rannulph Junuh in “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
Above: Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. (Jasin Boland / Universal Pictures)
He’s already proved his ability to jump in and lead on short notice: Ben Affleck stepped in for the fatally wounded CIA director and saved the world from World War III as a young Jack Ryan in “Sum of All Fears.” Plus Affleck is up to date, currently starring as CIA operative Tony Mendez in “Argo,” in which he helps spirit six Americans out of Iran during the hostage crisis in the late ‘70s. Not to mention that naming Affleck would give the country a two-fer: Affleck is married to Jennifer Garner, who rose to fame on the strength of her role as CIA agent Sydney Bristow in “Alias.”
Above: Ben Affleck, center, as Tony Mendez in “Argo.” (Claire Folger / Warner Bros. / Associated Press)
OK, she’s a dark horse. Her resume can’t match some of the other candidates. But you gotta admit, Angelina Jolie would be, hands down, the best-looking CIA director of all time. And it’s not like she doesn’t have chops. Although she played a Russian, she showed plenty of moxy and fight as agent Evelyn Salt in “Salt.” And no one who saw her as Lara Croft in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” would doubt her ability to come out on top against all odds. She deserves a look if only to see what she would wear to those White House state dinners.
Above: Angelina Jolie in “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” (Alex Bailey / Paramount Pictures)
Cut from the Hillary Rodham Clinton mold, Glenn Close would be a nod to the baby boomers, who remember her fondly from “The Big Chill.” She’s not unfamiliar with the Oval Office, however, having been a take-charge vice president to Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” and a Nancy Reagan-like first lady to Jack Nicholson in “Mars Attacks!” And tough? Have you caught her act as lawyer Patty Hewes in “Damages”? Yes, Close has a flaw: Coming on the heels of David Petraeus’ affair, her star turn as the spurned lover in “Fatal Attraction” might be too much for some senators to overlook. On the other hand, given her history, would anyone want to risk rejecting her again?
Above: Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in “Damages.” (David Russell / DIRECTV)
Yes, his resume is thin, but not his physique. Mark Wahlberg merits a look based entirely on his role as Holbrooke Grant in “Date Night.” In that movie, he showed two things: He’s a tech-savvy guy who’s totally comfortable with the latest in spy gear; and he looks great without a shirt. Plus, remember that he had an Israeli girlfriend, showing he could work with America’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Above: Mark Wahlberg, right, as Holbrooke Grant in “Date Night.” (Suzanne Tenner / 20th Century Fox / Associated Press )