We made the mistake of asking readers who would play Mattis in a movie. The response was swift and decisive


Given that Brad Pitt has been cast as the Army’s Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a movie, we felt inclined to ask our readers on Facebook who could possibly play the role of Mad Dog, were he a character to be cast in a blockbuster film (certainly only a matter of time, right)?

In completely unscientific fashion, the results are in:

#1. James Mattis as … James Mattis james-mattis

The thread was pretty clear and near unanimous: only Mattis can play Mattis. But, clearly there were other candidates who deserved the spotlight as well.

#2. Clint Eastwood

Eastwood is certainly Hollywood’s gun toting, hard a**. Who could forget Gunny Highway. Although there was at least some indication that Eastwood may not be young enough to star as Mattis in a film. In which case …

#3. R. Lee Ermey Lee_Ermey

Seems an obvious choice. Ermey is among a handful of Marines to get promoted – to Gunny of all ranks – after ending his service. He’s also played a pretty famous role as Gunny Hartman, and he’s considerably obsessed with arms and munitions of various caliber, not unlike, one would suspect, James Mattis.

Honorable Mentions:

We heard names like Liam Neeson, James Cromwell, and Jack Nicholson. Notably, Robert John Burke (famous for playing a drunken, muscle-bound priest on the show Rescue Me) has actually already played Mattis, in HBO’s “Generation Kill.”

Rounding out the bottom of the list were these guys:

Kevin Bacon got a few shout outs, as did Jim Carrey. Chuck Norris, obviously. Bruce Willis, also pretty obvious. Any mention of George Clooney immediately met with harsh comment-section rebuke. There was a Channing Tatum shout out, hilariously enough. And finally someone needs to remind the crowd that Jason Statham, though imminently awesome, is also totally British, and thus arbitrarily not a front runner.

NOW READ: A epic piece by Marine Corps Times alum Dan Lamothe on “The Man. The Myth. The Mattis” >


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  1. Uh yeah who the hell with any interest in military, any branch for that matter, asks who Chesty is. I’m hoping that was a sarcastic comment because if not you need to stop reading these articles!

  2. Look at the picture of Mad Dog and the only person that comes close is Gary Sinise. He would be perfect for the part

  3. I was thinking maybe Harrison Ford. Just about the right age and has the nasty grimace. Imagine the line from Air Force One “Get off my plane” but with “Get out of my Corps!”

  4. I immediately recognized Burke as Mattis in Generation Kill. That show always makes me feel like I’m back with Killer Kilo.

  5. Gary Sinise starts him out and the General finishes himself. But get Hollywood to be truthful? You’ve got a better chance of seeing ELVIS.

    Ermey and Eastwood are too old. Interesting that they’re on the list, Ermey in the worst Marine Corps movie ever made “Boys in Co. C”; and Eastwood in the third worst Marine Corps movie ever made.

  6. Cannot be R. Lee Ermey, he kissed another man in a movie. I can never look at him the same again after that. Mattis, no matter what the payday would never have done such a thing.

  7. Chesty Puller, Was a MIGHTY Marine and A Mighty Marine was He, He called for his pipe, He called for his bowl and called for his Privates three………..

  8. Ermey is not too old and would be great, Eastwood IS too old. Mattis himself is NOT an actor…so he gets ruled out immediately. Boys in Company C had nothing to do with Ermey give bad credit to the producer. And saying Heartbreak Ridge was terrible….that’s blasphemy. They are MOVIES man get over it. Great entertainment.

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