Happy (fake) Presidents' Day!
Looking ahead to the 2013 Oscars this Sunday, we may be seeing Daniel Day-Lewis clean up for his portrayal of Honest Abe in Lincoln. But while plenty of actors have skillfully portrayed actual presidents over the years, there are just as many who have taken on fake POTUSes in roles that range from the dramatic to the hilarious.
Check out our roundup of the 10 best fake presidents of all time!
1. Michael Douglas, The American President (President Andrew Shepherd)
Before the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal made headlines, Michael played a widowed president who pursued a relationship with an attractive lobbyist while also trying to pass a crime control bill. Although the film received decent reviews when it came out, it has become even more revered over time and even made it on to the American Film Institute's list of America's Greatest Love Stories.
2. Terry Crews, Idiocracy (President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho)
There's never been a president before or after, real or fake, who's also a porn star and a five-time smackdown wrestling champion. But there should be.
3. Harrison Ford, Air Force One (President James Marshall)
Let's be honest: Harrison pretty much was the lone saving grace in this otherwise horrible movie. But when it comes to commanders-in-chief that don't take prisoners, few can hold a candle to President Marshall. All together now: “Get off my plane!”
4. Harry Shearer, The Simpsons Movie (President Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Austrian-born Schwarzenegger becoming the U.S. president is far from the least plausible thing in this movie, but it's definitely one of the funniest. Unfortunately, his boneheaded tactics throughout the movie weren't that far off from the real-life Schwarzenegger's run as governor of California.
5. Jeff Bridges, The Contender (President Jackson Evans)
Presidential genes seems to run in this family: Jeff's father Lloyd Bridges also played a POTUS in Hot Shots! Part Deux. Director Rod Lurie admitted that Jeff was far from his first choice for the role, but it definitely worked out in the end: The Contender was nominated for two Academy Awards and even Obama himself cites Evans as his favorite fictional president.
6. Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks! (President James Dale)
Even when he's playing the POTUS, Jack is pretty much playing himself in every film he does. That's definitely the case here, but the end result still give us some hilarious lines (“I want the people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.”)
7. Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove (President Merkin Muffley)
This is considered by many to be the greatest political spoof in history. ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!") President Muffley is determined to not go down in history as the worst mass murderer in history since Hitler. Because, you know, it's always good to have goals...
8. Morgan Freeman, Deep Impact (President Tom Beck)
It's official: not only do we want Morgan to read us bedtime stories, but we also want him to run for office. It takes a pretty special actor to play both God and the president over the course of their career...
9. Bill Pullman, Independence Day (President Thomas J. Whitmore)
President Whitmore gives one of the most stirring speeches ever made in film during this flick, to the point that we would have gone out and voted for him if it were an option. Over the course of the movie, he loses his wife, fights off a psychic attack from an alien and sees the White House get blown up. Oh yeah, and then flies a jet fighter into battle to save the day. It makes Obama's two terms in office seem pretty damn dull in comparison.
10. Danny Glover, 2012 (President Thomas Wilson)
If only all presidents could be this selfless. In this sci-fi disaster film, President Wilson stays behind to help survivors in need, only to meet his death when a tidal wave crashes into the White House. Reviewed by USA Today as the "mother of all disaster films," it grossed nearly $770 million at the worldwide box office and is one of the top 50 box office flicks of all time.
Who's your favorite fake president?
Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox, Orion Pictures, Touchstone Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinemas and United Artists