Who'll Play Elian? TIME.com Casts the Movie

As three rival film projects race to be the first to tell Elian's story, TIME.com decided to help out with casting advice.

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"A little boy is trapped in the middle of the ocean and watches his mother die, then he's saved by a fisherman and becomes the center of a political conflict between the U.S. and Cuba. It's a terrific story... Imagine 70 soldiers attacking a home to capture a little boy." Thus ran the probable Hollywood pitch by legendary schlock producer Menahem Golan for his Elian Gonzalez biopic, currently in production in Cuba and the odds-on favorite to beat rival projects from CBS and the Fox Family Channel onto screens.

CBS had been first out of the gate in April, initiating a two-part movie to air sometime in November, and Fox moved to scoop them by planning a project to air by September. But Golan, better known for such cinematic gems as "Death Wish" and "Raid on Entebbe," is notoriously quick at rushing stories to screen — his most recent effort was a low-budget screamer about the Miami shooting of Gianni Versace. So although Golan promises to be first and claims to have presold "Elian: The Gonzalez-Boy Story" (yes, that's the title) in five countries, including Germany, its real revenue stream may lie in its potential to be rented for years after by a cult audience of college-age stoners.

You Be the Casting Agent

"Who should play Elian? What about Marisleysis, or even Fidel Castro? Herewith, TIME Daily's suggestions for characters and actors; please send us yours for posting on the site:

Elian: Frankie Muniz
Juan Miguel Gonzalez (Father): Oscar De La Hoya
Lazaro Gonzalez (Great-Uncle): Alfonso Arau
Marisleysis Gonzalez (Second Cousin): Mira Sorvino
Armando Gutierrez (Family Spokesman): Cheech Marin
Greg Craig (Father’s Lawyer): Ron Eldard
Janet Reno: Fred McMurray
Fidel Castro: Edward James Olmos
Donato Dalrymple: Keanu Reeves
Diane Sawyer: Diane Sawyer
Bill Clinton: Jon Voight
Al Gore: Tony Danza

Randy Draper suggests:

Elian: Danny DeVito
Juan Miguel: Antonio Banderas
Lazaro Gonzalez: Jabba the Hut
Marisleysis: Cheri Oteri
Armando Gutierrez: Al Sharpton
Greg Craig: John Laroquette
Janet Reno: Will Ferrell
Fidel Castro: Janet Reno
Donato Dalrymple: Ricky Martin
Diane Sawyer: Martha Stewart
Bill Clinton: Jim Carey (try and get THAT image out of your mind tonight!)
Al Gore: Bob Newhart, Charles Grodin, A 2" x 4", ......Take your pick.

Kathy Gambrell suggests:

Elian: The kid from "The Sixth Sense"
Juan Miguel Gonzalez (Father): Jimmy Smits
Lazaro Gonzalez (Great-Uncle): Hector Alonzo
Marisleysis Gonzalez (Second Cousin): Rosie Perez
Armando Gutierrez (Family Spokesman): Cheech Marin
Greg Craig (Father's Lawyer): Ron Silverman
Janet Reno: George C. Scott
Fidel Castro: Edward James Olmos
Donato Dalrymple: Tony Danza
Diane Sawyer: Diane Sawyer
Bill Clinton: John Travolta
Al Gore: Bernie, from "Weekend with Bernie"

‘Bsugano’ wrote:

"In true Hollywood fashion, have some mixed-race (with no Hispanic blood and who speaks terrible Spanish) or white kid (who speaks no Spanish). Have some brunette play his mother and speak broken English with a heavy Cuban/Mexican/South American/Italian accent when everyone is supposedly speaking Spanish."

Matthew Garbin:

Elian: Hervey Villechez (Tattoo)
Juan Miguel Gonzalez (Father): Mr. "T"
Lazaro Gonzalez (Great-Uncle): Gonzo (the Muppet)
Marisleysis Gonzalez (Second Cousin): Phyllis Diller
Armando Gutierrez (Family Spokesman): Peter Lorri
Greg Craig (Father's Lawyer): Sting
Janet Reno: B.B. King
Fidel Castro: John Lovitz
Donato Dalrymple: Robert Anton Wilson
Diane Sawyer: Louis Black
Bill Clinton: Gary Oldman
Al Gore: Walter Mondale

F. Gomes suggested "Elian: The Musical" be cast thus:

Elian: Enrique Iglesias
Juan Miguel: Julio Iglesias
Lazaro Gonzales: Shayenne
Marisleysis Gonzales: Jennifer Lopez
Greg Craig: Ricky Martin
Janet Reno: Celine Dion
Fidel Catro : Carlos Santana
Donato Dalrymple: Emilio Estefan
Diane Sawyer: Britney Spears
Bill Clinton: Tony Benett
Al Gore: Tom Jones

Ed Moreno suggested:

Elian: Bart Simpson "Ay caramba"
Juan Miguel: Desi Arnaz Jr.
Lazaro Gonzalez: Saddam Hussein
Marisleysis: Monica Seles
Armando Gutierrez: Cheech Marin
Greg Craig: Richard Gere
Janet Reno: Judge Judy Scheindlin or K.D. Lang
Fidel Castro: Any member of ZZ top
Donato Dalrymple: Dustin Hoffman
Diane Sawyer: Sharon Stone
Bill Clinton: Ron Jeremy
Al Gore: WWF CEO Vince McMahon

L. McQueen suggested:

Elian: Gary Coleman (whatchu talkin ’bout Fidel?)
Juan Miguel Gonzalez: Ricky Martin
Lazaro Gonzalez: Regis Philbin
Marisleysis Gonzalez: Kathy Lee Gifford
Armando Gutierrez (Family Spokesperson): Cheech Marin
Greg Craig (Father's lawyer): Ed Begley Jr.
Janet Reno: Bea Arthur
Fidel Castro: Edward James Olmos
Donato Dalyrymple: Jeff Goldblum
Diane Sawyer: Cameron Diaz
Bill Clinton:John Travolta
Al Gore: Keanu Reeves or Abraham Lincoln

Arthur Lara suggested:

Elian Gonzales: Buckwheat
Juan Miguel (father): Oscar De La Hoya
Lazaro Gonzales (great uncle): John Belushi
Marisleysis (second cousin): Mary Tyler Moore
Armando Gutierrez (family spokesman): Sinbad
Greg Craig (fathers lawyer): Leslie Nielson
Janet Reno: Jack Palance
Fidel Castro: Dr. Evil (Mike Myers)
Donato Dairymple: Chevy Chase
Diane Sawyer: Victoria Jackson
Bill Clinton: Hugh Hefner
Al Gore: Rodney Dangerfield