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While we long ago put to rest those rumors that Oliver Stone's forthcoming George Bush biopic W was a fantastically sophisticated April Fools gag on the media and all modest Americans of taste and discretion, it's not like Entertainment Weekly had to go rub it in with its new cover story. But there they are anyway: Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks as the President and First Lady, all set to ham it up in the drama Stone is apparently location scouting as we speak. Alas, with Stone swearing up and down he can have the film in theaters by election time, one critical vacuum remains: Who, who will play Dick Cheney?

W didn't just make studios nervous; the script gave lots of movie stars cold feet, too. Stone denies rumors that Robert Duvall turned down Cheney. And he won't comment on reports that he's talking to Paul Giamatti about the part. But casting has clearly been challenging. ''You'd be amazed how many male stars of a certain age in Hollywood are Republicans,'' says Bill Block, CEO of QED, one of the film's producers. ''I'm not going to name names, but a lot of them just didn't want to have anything to do with it.''

According to Stone, even some of the town's young Democrats couldn't be persuaded. ''They hate Bush so much, they can't understand why I'd want to make a movie about him,'' he says. ''They hate him so much, they can't even imagine themselves playing him or playing anybody around him.''

We agree Giamatti would make a decent Cheney, but we're for a little more adventuresome casting to wash out the flat taste of the script (the recently distributed version of which, EW also notes, is at least a couple of drafts old). On one hand, Woody Harrelson would seem to fit the bill with just enough irony to hold us over to the closing credits, but a Stone/Val Kilmer reunion would be truly Earth-shattering. Or, no! Get Javier Bardem, who conveniently just quit Rob Marshall's Nine and is Brolin's BFF anyway. Maybe Robert Downey Jr? Cate Blanchett? Hurry!

[Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly]