Cort Freeman

Cort Freeman

Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell at a press conference. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

One day, a movie will be made on the Detroit Lions. It’ll be a story of a team overcoming the odds. Going from the bottom all the way to the top. When that day finally comes, these are the actors I would cast in the Detroit Lions movie.

Of course, casting a biopic is never easy. Sure, Austin Butler made a great Elvis. Yes, Rami Malek was a terrific Freddie Mercury. However, for ever success story there’s a miscasting. For every Austin Butler as Elvis, there’s a Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor. Likewise, for every Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, there’s a John Wayne as Genghis Khan. Yeah, that actually happened.

Very rarely will a movie get the casting 100% correct. As you can tell, I’m padding myself for the ridicule that’s certain to come for my casting of the imaginary Detroit Lions movie. Most of the time, there is some sort of mix of solid casting choices and questionable calls. I get it. Often, you have to embellish or find a spot to insert some humor where you wouldn’t normally find that.

Casting a sport movie, especially football, is even more difficult because it calls for a very specific type of actor. The audience needs to believe that this person could actually be a football player. Having Christopher Mintz-Plasse play a quarterback is a way to get some laughs, sure, but c’mon. I don’t see anybody believing he’s an NFL quarterback. At the same time, you can’t have the entire cast be huge WWE stars like Dave Bautista or The Rock. You need actors who can…for lack of a better term: act. You can see, there’s a delicate balance at play.

When casting a movie, you’ve also got to keep the budget in mind. I can’t cast all A-list actors for this movie. The studio can’t afford it, and I’d never be invited back to cast a movie again. We can’t have that! So, keep that in mind as you go through the list of my casting. I’d love to find roles for Leo, Clooney, Downey Jr., and Crowe in this movie. I’m sure they’d be perfect. However, I lack the budget. Thus, I’m left with this casting. Let’s get to the list. Roll credits!

Casting The Detroit Lions Movie

  • Charlie Hunnam as Dan Campbell

    Actor Charlie Hunnam

    Charlie Hunnam would play Dan Campbell. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images for Netflix)

    10 or so years ago, Jeff Bridges would have landed the role without even auditioning. However, in 2023 I don’t think he’s the best choice. I’m going with Charlie Hunnam to play the Head Coach. Hunnam is ripped, so believing he was a former NFL player is not a stretch. He also does resemble Campbell a bit. I think with a little makeup we’re all set. You need a big name to carry the movie, and I think Charlie Hunnam has the resume. I see Dan Campbell being the main character in the film, and I think Hunnam is a great pick to be the face of the movie.

    Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell

    Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell at a press conference. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

  • Mike Colter as Brad Holmes

    Actor Mike Colter

    Mike Colter as Brad Holmes (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

    This was a tough casting, but I’m awarding the role to Mike Colter. Colter is probably best known for playing Luke Cage in the Marvel Universe. He’s no stranger to action movies, so he can bring the intensity to the role of General Manager. Additionally, he’s likable. I think that’s a key part of capturing Brad Holmes. You need the intensity but it can’t be over done. I think Colter has the ability to do it all. Sterling K. Brown was a runner-up for the role. I also considered John David Washington, but he’s still too young. I think this role, as far as the movie is concerned, needs someone who looks like they have more experience. Thus, Mike Colter has been cast as Brad Holmes.

    Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes

    Detroit Lions General Manager Brad Holmes at the NFL Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

  • Amy Poehler as Martha Ford

    Amy Poehler

    Amy Poehler as Martha Ford (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for CDG)

    Like I said earlier, sometimes questionable choices are made during the casting process for the sake of comedy. I think Amy Poehler in makeup would be hilarious playing Martha Ford. She’d have to be used sparingly, but wouldn’t it be hilarious? She’d be a scene stealer. Every movie needs comic relief, and in the Detroit Lions movie a lot of that humor will come from Martha Ford. I know Sheila is running things now, but in my movie Martha will be the central figure running things. Don’t like it? Cast your own movie!

    Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford

    Can you see Amy Poehler playing Martha Ford? Think about it… (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

  • Zach Gilford as Ben Johnson

    Zach Gilford

    Zach Gilford as Ben Johnson (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Television/Spectrum Originals)

    Zach Gilford is the perfect choice to play Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson is currently viewed as a bit of a whiz kid in the NFL for his play calling and schemes. This offseason, his name is sure to draw much attention for a potential head coaching gig. He’s young and the it kid, and I think Gilford could portray that to perfection. He’s young, handsome, and likable. I think that will all play into the vision the movie has for Ben Johnson. Plus, they really do sort of look alike don’t they? Every movie needs a little eye candy.

  • Lil Rel Howery as Aaron Glenn

    Lil Rel Howery

    Lil Rel Howery as Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

    The studio wanted Idris Elba for this role. However, we couldn’t afford him. So, we made the decision to go with Lil Rel Howery. Howery is hilarious and always is great in support roles. For this Detroit Lions movie, we’re going to have to make Aaron Glenn a funny character. I’m not sure how humorous he is in real life, but in our film he’s going to be funny. Howery will play up the “former athlete” angle who has gotten a little out of shape since his playing days. “If it weren’t for this knee!” He’ll rock this role. I apologize we couldn’t get our first ask, but it will all be worth it. Martha Ford can’t be the only funny character in this movie.

    Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn

    Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

  • Will Poulter as Jared Goff

    Will Poulter as Jared Goff

    Will Poulter as Jared Goff (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

    This isn’t going to be a popular choice, but cut me some slack. I know Jared Goff looks a lot like Ryan Gosling. However, Gosling is 42 years old! Ten years ago he would have landed the role. Not today, though. We went through extensive auditions before landing on Poulter. After the process, it’s clear he’s the right choice. He’s fresh off a Marvel movie and has proven he can do the action thing and look buff. He’s also shown, in movies like We’re The Millers that he can be goofy and funny. This Detroit Lions movie is going to play into the “aw shucks” side of Jared Goff, and Poulter can clearly do that. Additionally, he’s over 6 feet tall so it’s believable that he can be an NFL QB. Other actors considered were either too cool to play Goff or not athletic enough. I think we found our safe middle space.

    Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff

    Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

  • Marcus Scribner as Amon-Ra St. Brown

    Marcus Scribner would play Amon-Ra St. Brown

    Marcus Scribner as Amon-Ra St. Brown (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for ELLE)

    This was a difficult casting, but Marcus Scribner came out on top. He’s best known for playing Andre on ABC’s Black-ish. He does share some features in common with Amon-Ra and he stands over 6 feet tall, so I think the appearance all makes sense. St. Brown can have swag and can be a little awkward in some interviews, and I think Scribner can capture that perfectly. Algee Smith was considered for the role, but at 5’5 the casting department decided to go with someone a bit taller. No disrespect to the short kings out there, I feel you.

    Amon-Ra St. Brown celebrates a Detroit Lions win at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI

    Amon-Ra St. Brown celebrates a Detroit Lions win at Lambeau Field (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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