Peter Gallagher played Guido—whom Vince renames Caesare—as a rough-around-the-edges busboy, who gets plucked (not entirely willingly) into the role of Elvis-esque heartthrob. Garrett Hedlund (On the Road) is rough around the edges. He's a heartthrob whether he likes/knows it or not. He's actually got an amazing voice (Country Strong). He has worked with Timberlake already (Inside Llewyn Davis), and, to say the least, he can act. Picturing this reprisal is all too easy.
Now we know Ryan Gosling isn't officially attached to the project anymore, but it's been almost two years in development now and if he cleared the time for it, he really could be the perfect Vince. Vacarri is a character who, like real-life Mancucci, didn't think he had the looks or the talent to make it as a rock star, but pursued the dream vicariously and overbearingly through his young protégés. (This doesn't exactly apply to Gosling, but he knows how to ug himself up.) Vacarri's role requires genuine charisma and charm, but also a certain amount of danger and overzealousness that should read as frightening to the audience. Gosling depicts those two tones—the magnetic, and the overly intense—in almost every role he chooses.
Ellen Fields was played by Maureen McCormick, better known as Marsha of the Brady Bunch in the original, and she's Caesare's love interest. Now we swear we're not typecasting Alexandra Daddario just because she's currently kicking ass as Woody Harrelson's mistress on True Detective, but she does have something alluringly coy about her that translates well on screen. A feature role like this could serve as a deserving gateway to the title of lead actress.
Melissa Leo (Prisoners, The Fighter, Treme) is one of a few actresses with the ability to be at times immensely vulnerable, and at others ridiculously frightening. That kind of nuance could come in handy playing Vince's mother Mrs. Vacarri, a sweet woman who somehow produced such a charming, yet tragically dictatorial son.
Tommy Dee is the young saxophonist whom Vince spots and convinces to try his hand at pop stardom. Tommy inevitably stops conceding to Vince's manipulation as his star rises, and he begins to forget how, and who, got him there. Kenny Wormald played the lead in Brewer's remake of Footloose three years ago and he used to be a back-up dancer for Timberlake, so he's clearly got the dancing ability to play a Frankie Avalon imitation. He's also got the Northeast accent and charmingly boyish face to make him convincing as a naïve, young musician who gets swept up into his own hype.
Carey Mulligan played her small role in Inside Llewyn Davis (with Timberlake and Garrett Hedlund) with such biting sarcasm and on-screen magnetism that she stole each scene she graced. Brenda Roberts is a similarly supporting role, as the girlfriend and dubious critic of Vinnie Vacarri. Mulligan's got established chemistry with Gosling (Drive), and the combination of his intensity and her searing believability could probably carry just about any movie. These two should star together more often.