Casting Call: American Idiot

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

When Green Day’s Grammy-winning rock-opera American Idiot was released in 2004 (a modern day Tommy by The Who, if you will), it reached the top of the Billboard charts and received overwhelming universal praise. It spurred a plethora of constantly-on-radio-rotation songs, such as the titular first track “American Idiot,” “Holiday,” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” instantly recognizable by their politically charged lyrics and post-punk beats. In the process, it also revived the popularity of the punk-rock trio—consisting of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Trè Cool—who hadn’t had a commercially successful (well, platinum) album since 1997’s Nimrod.

Clocking in at 57 minutes, the album tells the story of Jesus of Suburbia (“I’m the son of rage and love / The Jesus of Suburbia / From the bible of none of the above”), a small town anti-hero who escapes to the big city seeking a more exciting and fulfilling life. He subsequently meets St. Jimmy (“Cigarettes and ramen and a little bag of dope / I am the son of a bitch and Edgar Allan Poe”) and Whatsername (“She’s a rebel / Vigilante / Missing link on the brink of destruction”) two hedonistic and freedom fighting characters that expose Jesus of Suburbia to a new pleasure-seeking way of life. What ensues is a classic journey to eventual self-discovery, complete with drugs, alcohol, and lost love.

After a few needed tweaks, a musical adaptation premiered in 2010 at the St. James Theatre in New York City (with The Newsroom’s John Gallagher Jr. in the starring role), before traveling on a national and international tour in 2011. The success initially prompted Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone to express an interest in a film adaptation, but the idea never fully took off. This year, however, playwright Rolin Jones revealed that the project was still very much a go, and that he was nearly done writing the film’s screenplay. Although nothing else has been publically divulged, we already have a few casting suggestions in mind. 

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.