A casting call for Barbara and George Bush look-alikes for The Naked Gun II 1/2: The Smell of Fear (once again starring Leslie Neilsen and Priscilla Presley) was a wild ride for casting director Mindy Marin. ”We got hundreds of photos from around the country,” Marin says. ”Women from all over were just putting a string of pearls around their neck and snapping photos.” Even people who don’t look like either of the Bushes got in on the act. ”Someone wrote us, ‘We don’t look like George and Barbara, but our dog looks like Millie,”’ Marin reports.
Barbara’s role finally went to Margery Ross, a nonactress from Los Angeles who has been in such demand as a look-alike she is making a career of it. The search for George, however, goes on. Five candidates were flown to L.A. to test for the part, but none was elected. ”We needed an exact knockoff,” says the casting director. ”Not just the look but the voice, mannerisms, the way he moves his hands.”
Other world figures have been just as tough to duplicate. Marin failed in her search for a Winnie Mandela clone and struck out with one performer who was perfect for another role. Tip O’Neill was asked to play himself but, says Marin, the retired Speaker of the House said it was ”not a good career move at this time.”