Actress/comedienne Rosie O’Donnell was eager to play the role of White House strategist Stephen Bannon on “Saturday Night Live,” but the show’s producers declined.
Now that its 2016-2017 season is over, “SNL” cast member Leslie Jones gave “The Hollywood Reporter” the skinny — and she got it straight from executive producer Lorne Michaels’ mouth.
In early February, O’Donnell said that if called for the role, she would serve.
@calvininsf – i am here to serve – alec has trump – melissa has spice – i would need a few days to prepare – so if called – i will be ready
— ROSIE (@Rosie) February 7, 2017
As late as last month “SNL” fans called upon O’Donnell for the Bannon role.
— Aras Naujokas (@BaconandButter) April 12, 2017
So what happened? Jones explained.
“I asked Lorne, ‘How come y’all aren’t bringing Rosie O’Donnell in [to play Bannon, per her plea on Twitter] or any of them to do it?’ And he was like, ‘When you’re playing a character, you can’t play it from hate. You have to play it from funny, because when you play it from hate, it looks like you’re just mean,’” explained the comedienne. “I love Rosie to death, but he might have been right on that one.”
After hearing the “can’t play it from hate” reasoning, one person had this question.
“When you’re playing a character, you can’t play it from hate.”
You mean like Alec Baldwin? https://t.co/6IKVP1vNPy
— Chuck Cloyd (@Chuck_Cloyd) May 16, 2017
O’Donnell wasn’t the only celebrity showing an eagerness to play Bannon — or any other member of Trump’s inner circle, according top producer Lindsay Shookus.
“We’ve gotten a lot of pitches from people, big people, like ‘I can play this person on the Cabinet, or I can play this person,’” she explained. “It’s in the vein of Melissa [McCarthy] and Alec [Baldwin] and Larry David, and it’s never happened before. We got a lot of Kellyanne and [Steve] Bannon pitches. But the casting has to make sense. You don’t want to make a splash to make a splash. That’s not what we do.”
So who ended up portraying Bannon on the “SNL” sketches? Mikey Day — or more accurately Day portraying the Grim Reaper as Bannon. Michaels may want to re-think that “can’t play it from hate” excuse. It’s wearing a bit thin.
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