Leaven Blog

“The Leaven Movie”

By Todd Habiger

Often something so bizarre comes up in The Leaven office that we are left muttering, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

The newspaper business introduces one to a strange new world. Someday, I’m going to jump in my car with all my weird stories and head to Hollywood where I will sell the powers-that-be a magnificent script that right now I’ll call: “The Leaven Movie.”

I’m sure this movie will attract Hollywood’s best and brightest, so to save the producers time, I have cast the movie myself. Below are the actors and actresses who I think should be cast in “The Leaven Movie.”

To anchor this movie we need a heavyweight actor towards which all the action and drama can flow. This person needs to be able to dominate a scene yet not overshadow his co-stars. So let’s go for broke.

Kevin Spacey as Father Mark Goldasich.

Kevin Spacey fits the bill as lovable Leaven editor Father Mark Goldasich. If you’ve ever seen Spacey in the underrated comedy “The Ref,” you know he has the range to capture the lighter, funnier aspects of Father Mark’s personality. Let’s face it, Father Mark has a great sense of humor. People love that about him. But, being a priest and editor, he also has to deal with situations that can weigh heavily on a man. Spacey has the dramatic chops to bring emotion to those more serious parts of being a priest/editor.

With such a strong and versatile actor as Kevin Spacey on board, you need someone who can keep up with him in dramatic scenes and not be overshadowed, which brings us to our next casting choice.

Meryl Streep as Anita McSorley

Why not go for the best? Meryl Streep might have to stand in hole to play 5’2”- Leaven managing editor Anita McSorley, but Streep has had more difficult tasks. The Goldasich-McSorely dynamic is an important one in the operation of The Leaven, so it’s bound to be a driving force in this movie. The three-time Oscar winning actress could stand toe-to-toe with Spacey for great dramatic effect. The “intense discussions” (picture boss fights in video games) between Father Mark and Anita are a mixture of high drama and low comedy (depending on the day), in the life of The Leaven, so two high caliber actors are needed to pull this one off.

Streep can capture the toughness that Anita has to show as a managing editor whose required to make tough decisions, but can also bring the softer side of Anita in her role as mother and wife.

Now to cast myself. I figured since Tom Cruise and I share a birthdate, that he would be perfect for the important role of Todd Habiger. But Tom likes to run from explosions in his movies, and I don’t anticipate any explosions in “The Leaven Movie.” That, and the fact that I can already hear the groans of my co-workers if Tom is cast as myself (shut up Bollig), leads me on to my second choice.

Jason Alexander as Todd Habiger

My whole personality is much like the infamous Seinfeld character George Costanza, so why not go after Mr. Costanza himself — Jason Alexander? Like George Costanza, I’m insecure, slightly annoying and horrified by my ever-receding hairline. My job at The Leaven, as well as in this movie, is to keep things light, while serving as a sounding board for the more dramatic actors. Jason Alexander can bring my funny side to light with his unique wit. But, beyond his Seinfeld role, Alexander has shown the ability to play more serious figures. He will need to rely on both of them to bring me to life. Get that Oscar speech ready, Jason.

Casting Joe Bollig was a tough task. Joe is not so much a character but a force of nature. He’s bizarre — bordering on insane — but at the same time has a brilliant mind. Who can pull that off? I think I’ve found the perfect choice.

Zach Galifianakis as Joe Bollig

If you’ve ever seen “The Hangover,” you know Galifianakis is a funny guy. Joe Bollig is a funny guy. If you’ve ever met Joe, it’s an experience, to put it mildly. For more that 20 years Joe has told people stories through The Leaven. He’s funny, but he’s also compassionate, smart, and really cares about, and loves, the church. I think Galifianakis has the acting range to bring The Leaven’s senior reporter to life.

For The Leaven’s youngest member, Moira Cullings, we need a fresh face who will not be overshadowed by the tremendous cast we’ve assembled.

Ellen Page as Moira Cullings

If you saw her in “Inception,” you saw an actress that kept up with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine and Thomas Hardy. Moira is like that in real life. With all the strong personalities at The Leaven, Moira is able to match each staffer snark for snark. Her wickedly dry sense of humor is already legendary, but she’s also sharp as a tack and incredibly talented.

Page brought a sense of youth and naiveté to “Inception.” She can do the same in bringing Moira to life on the silver screen.

For Leaven advertising representative Beth Blankenship, we’re going to go with another talented and versatile actress.

Annette Bening as Beth Blankenship

Bening has shown great range over the years, appearing in dramas and comedies alike. She will need to draw on both of those experiences as Beth Blankenship. The world of advertising can be a strong mixture of comedic and dramatic moments. Beth handles all these situations with ease. She’s lovable enough to deal with all types of people, but has an inner strength and strong will that’s sometimes needed in that job.

And finally, what would The Leaven movie be without an appearance from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann? For this small, but important role, we need an actor that can command a room when he walks in.

Jeff Daniels as Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Jeff Daniels has had a storied and varied career. If you caught him in “The Martian” or in the HBO series “The Newsroom,” you’ve seen an actor who looks and acts the part of the boss. For Archbishop Naumann, we need an actor who can look authoritative yet be a down-to-earth personality that people can relate to. Daniels can capture the archbishop at his best as the top dog of the archdiocese, as well as a compassionate, friendly figure whom people love and admire.

There you have it: “The Leaven Movie.” Coming soon to a theater near you. What did you think of my choices? Leave comments for who you think should play these wonderful characters in “The Leaven Movie.”

About the author

Todd Habiger

Todd has been the production manager for The Leaven since 1995. Under his direction The Leaven has won multiple design awards from the Catholic Press Association. Prior to working at The Leaven, Todd was an award-winning writer for The Catholic Key newspaper in Kansas City, Mo. Todd is married to Lori Wood Habiger, a former Leaven employee herself. They have two children — Paige and Connor, and one dog — Joli.

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