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More casting news for Red State

For the second week in a row, Kevin Smith’s newest podcast Hollywood Babble-On (co-hosted by KROQ’s Ralph Garman) has revealed a cast member for his next film, Red State.

Last week, Smith announced the casting of Kevin Pollak, which piqued my interest a little bit. This week, he dropped another name: yep, John Goodman will be in Red State.

Details of Pollak’s casting came out last week when Smith read back a series of text messages between himself and Pollak. The exchange went like this:

Smith: You busy? Can you do a few days on my new flick, 10/18 to 10/22? No pressure, and no worries if you’re busy.
Pollak: My captain, as always, I will carry a spear for you whenever I can. Which neck of the woods do you need me? Is this the hockey flick?
Smith: LA, sir. Whittier to be precise. Not hockey, Red State.
Pollak: I’m in.

That seems pretty reliable. Not an official contract or what-have-you, but barring an unforeseen scheduling issue, it looks like Pollak will be in the film, albeit in a small role. Exactly who he’s playing isn’t known yet, but he’s a versatile guy, having played a cop, a criminal, and many other things in between. So I think he’ll fit in where ever he’s used. I’m definitely a Kevin Pollak fan, so his casting is good news in my book.

Smith didn’t go as in depth about how Goodman came to join his project, but he seemed very excited about the prospect of working with him, saying, “I just love John Goodman in everything.” I’ve got to agree. Of all the names announced so far for Red State, this one has me the most pumped.

So that’s the new news. Now let’s step back a second to recap what we know, and clear some things up.

So far, Michael Parks is the only cast member of Red State whose role is known (he’ll be playing the central, Fred Phelps-like figure). But there’s been a lot of interest about who else might be involved, and what characters they’ll be playing.

Last month, entertainment website The Wrap broke a story listing a bunch of actors who were apparently in talks to co-star. The actors in question were: Dermot Mulroney, Kyle Gallner, Michael Angarano, Steven Root, and Melissa Leo. Kevin Smith responded to the article via Twitter, writing, “Not bad, but off by one, guys. Not gonna tell you who.”

After some further digging, The Wrap determined that Mulroney actually wasn’t in the mix, and updated their story to that effect. But many other movie blogs had already picked up their initial report. Naturally, these blogs didn’t fact-check it (or read the correction). As a result, they’re still listing Mulroney as part of the cast a month later. Oh, internets…

Anyhow, I could go off on a rant about some bloggers being lazy journalists, but let’s save that for a rainy day.

The point here is, based on Smith’s tweet, the actors listed above (excepting Mulroney, obviously) appear to be all but officially confirmed. The four of them make an interesting group. Root and Leo are well-established, acclaimed actors, while Gallner and Angarano are moderately recognizable, but still trying to make names for themselves.

In terms of the film as a whole, I’m hopeful, but I’m still not totally sold. I like the idea of Smith casting mainly casting outside his circle of friends. I like the idea of him doing something dark. I just hope he goes all-the-way dark, and doesn’t pull any punches or resort to cheap gags like he does in his Askewniverse movies. I think he can pull it off, but for now we’ll have to wait and see.

(Note: This is an updated and re-organized version of a previously published article.)

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