From Russia With Dumb: TPM Casts The Russian Spies Movie

July 9, 2010 4:16 p.m.

1||July 9, 2010: Eleven Russian secret agents — many of them rather incompetent spies posing as ordinary Americans — are deported from New York and swapped in Austria for captured U.S. spies. The Russian spies captured the hearts and minds of Americans, which got us thinking how ripe it is for a star-studded Hollywood movie. So here’s who TPM would cast in the inevitable film version…

Anna Chapman, 28, would be played by Amy Adams. The socialite, who was all over the news once her cover was blown, ran an online real-estate business in Manhattan, and met with an undercover U.S. agent posing as a Russian contact. Their conversations sound like they could go straight to the big screen: Undercover agent: “Are you ready for this [next] step?” Chapman: “Shit, of course.”||Newscom/Sipa/PHL&&

2||Mikhail Semenko is played by Hayden Christensen. Semenko was a travel agent based in Arlington, Virginia. The Seton Hall graduate was reportedly “pretty much just super socially awkward… He always said weird jokes that no one really got. Probably super smart though.”

Which, if you’ve seen the newer Star Wars movies, at least half-describes Christensen’s performance.||Via Gawker/ Newscom/Zuma&&

3||Christopher Metsos? John Malkovich. Metsos was arrested in Cyprus on June 29. Metsos is believed to have controlled the operation’s money, but fled after being released on $33,000 bail.

As a fugitive, Metsos has plenty in common with Malkovich’s character in Con-Air, who led a gang of prisoners to take over a transport plane. ||Newscom/Sipa/DPA&&

4||Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez, a married couple who lived with their teenage son in Yonkers, New York. Pelaez was born in Peru, and worked as a columnist for the Spanish-language paper El Diario La Prensa. In 2008, Lazaro taught a class on Latin American and Caribbean politics at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Douglas played a judge-turned-drug czar in Traffic; Zeta-Jones tried to track art thief Sean Connery in Entrapment — it’s time these two went over to the other side of the law. Plus they’re married in real life! Type-casting! ||ABCnews/Newscom/SPN&&

5||Richard Murphy has the pleasure of being played by Jon Hamm. Murphy was one half of a spy couple who lived with two daughters in the suburb of Montclair, New Jersey.

Just like Murphy, Hamm’s character Don Draper on the TV show Mad Men is protecting secrets underneath his suburban lifestyle and rakish good looks. ||ABCnews/Newscom/SPN&&

6||Cynthia Murphy’s played by Tilda Swinton. Murphy, the other half of the New Jersey spy couple, earned her MBA just before her arrest, and was working in lower Manhattan for high-priced accounting firm Morea Financial Services.

In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Swinton played the White Witch, who uses magic to bestow eternal winter on the land of Narnia. AKA Siberia?||Newscom/Zuma&&

7||Igor Sutyagin’s played by Rob Corddry. Sutyagin, an American arms control researcher imprisoned in Russia for the last 11 years, was among those swapped back to the U.S. in exchange for the Russians. Sutyagin had denied being guilty of espionage, but agreed to plead guilty in exchange for his freedom.

Aside from the physical resemblance, Corddry could provide some much-needed comic relief to the story, hilariously maintaining his innocence to a group of intimidating, yet ultimately lovable Russian prison guards. Or maybe he can use his Hot Tub Time Machine to time travel back 11 years, and never get arrested at all!||Newscom/TASSphotos/WENN&&

8||Anna Chapman’s attorney Robert Baum gets the Victor Garber treatment. Baum said in a press conference after Chapman’s guilty plea that his client was “somewhat disappointed” by her deportation, but “she was not afraid about going back home. She has no fear whatsoever.”

Garber has a lot of experience playing the father figure to troubled female spies, as he did to Jennifer Garner’s Sydney Bristow on the TV show Alias. ||Newscom/UPI/Pacific&&

9||William Shatner as rich New Jersey businessman Michael Bittan, who Anna Chapman reportedly told friends she was dating.

Shatner…is just Shatner. ||Newscom/Sipa/Zuma&&

10||And, of course, Vladimir Putin as…himself! The Russian prime minister openly criticized the United States for arresting the spies, though he had also expressed hope that the incident wouldn’t harm relations between the two countries. In a meeting with former President Bill Clinton, Putin even implied that he thought the arrests had been orchestrated and timed by “hawkish elements” in the U.S. government to embarrass President Obama.

Putin has been spotted over the years participating in every activity from badminton to horseback riding to skiing. One can only hope acting is next!||Newscom/TASS&&

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