You might not know his name, but Giovanni Ribisi just won the big casting fight of the week in Hollywood. Ribisi beat out Casey Affleck (Ben’s real-life brother and ”Good Will Hunting” co-star) for the right to fight crime alongside Claire Danes in MGM’s ”The Mod Squad,” scheduled to begin shooting April 27 in Los Angeles.
Ribisi, who plays Phoebe’s brother Frank on NBC’s ”Friends,” will star as Pete Cochran, the laid-back undercover cop made famous by Michael Cole on the 1968-1973 TV drama. MGM’s president Michael Nathanson noted that it was ”a tough call. They were both very good actors.” Ribisi just finished filming Steven Spielberg’s ”Saving Private Ryan,” with Matt Damon and Tom Hanks, for DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures.
The Pete Cochran role became one of the most desired in young Hollywood after Claire Danes was cast earlier this month. Producers Ben Myron, Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig, and director Scott Silver (”Johns”) will start looking to cast the Linc Hayes role on Friday. Of the original crime-fighting trio, only Clarence Williams III, who portrayed Linc, is definitely on board for a cameo — although the filmmakers are not ruling out appearances by Cole and Peggy Lipton.