The 5 Best Choices to Play Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling In a New Biopic

Fantastic news from that eerie dimension of sound and mind called Hollywood: a Rod Serling biopic is in the works! Andrew Meieran and his Bureau of Moving Pictures have acquired the life rights to the man who created The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery (as well as the staggering boxing 1962 film Requiem for a Heavyweight, which began as a Playhouse 90 live TV drama in the '50s), and now we'll get to see Rod's haunting mug reinvented for the millennial crowd. But who should play the TV legend? Movieline offers five perfect choices ahead.

burrell-15.jpg5. Game Show Network personality Dylan Lane

You all probably haven't seen much of Game Show Network's fine, canceled revamp of the '80s game Chain Reaction. It ended in 2007, but host Dylan Lane's chiseled, Serlingian visage has not faded a bit. If producers are casting Serling based on facial vertices, knowing smirks, and searing glances, they should look no further than Mr. Lane, who could tell you that "Rod" may also proceed "lightning," "fishing," or "shower."


4. Johnny Galecki

I always root for CBS multicam actors to graduate to better, post-Chuck Lorre lives, even if they're paid barrels of cash to utter snark between gales of audience laughter. Galecki, who's watched Jim Parsons become the Emmy-decorated hero of the series, needs a surprising career turn. A crack at Rod Serling with those squinty eyes and rigid mandible may just do the trick.


3. James Franco

Look, I'm a human being and can't stand the sight of James Franco right now either. But in 15 months or so? I might forget his Oscar snafu and insufferable obsession with Rebel Without a Cause and perhaps reacquaint myself with Freaks and Geeks or 127 Hours. Then I'll take another look at his hard-jawed mystique and penchant for biopic roles and realize: Yep. He'd be perfect.


2. Mad Men alum Patrick Fischler

If you really think about it, all of Mad Men's best moments come courtesy of the guest-stars, who tend to put Don Draper in his place, enlighten Peggy Olsen, or confront Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with the reality of modernity. One such firestarter was Jimmy Barrett, a crude, misogynistic comedian who eventually scolded Don for sleeping with his wife Bobbie. ("You are garbage" is still the best line in Mad Men history.) The actor who played Jimmy, Patrick Fischler, possesses the perfect throwback looks for Rod Serling and the debonair smarts and delivery for his famous prologues. Yes, he also played Phil on Lost, but we're talking about anachronistic charm right now, OK?


1. Ty Burrell

We've been avoiding the truth. You know what Rod Serling is all about? Eyebrows, girls. Eyebrows. They're dramatic bricks of fuzz that jut and swoop like radical signs from ninth-grade algebra. They're wave readings of irregular heartbeats. They're as dark as a Night Gallery corridor, and the man who can replicate those brawny brows is Modern Family's Ty Burrell. Phil Dunphy's sly cool (and Burrell's stage cred) lead me to believe he's the single best thesp for the job. I'd believe him as a TV personality and as an accomplished writer. Bonus: Sofia Vergara or Julie Bowen could play the beautiful patient who is treated as a deformed monster in the "Eye of the Beholder" episode of The Twilight Zone.

Picture if you will a movie about Rod Serling [Deadline]

[Photo: Getty Images]


  • NP says:

    Patrick Fischler is the perfect choice I think. Loved his small role in _Mulholland Drive_ as well. His performances are just...always compelling.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    We can't be sure he'll be perfect until he hosts a Game Show Network revival, but I do adore him.

  • SBJ says:

    No doubt Fischler. Genius choice.

  • G says:

    How about Nestor Carbonell?

  • Jack says:

    The "leg of lamb" episode was not an episode of "The Twilight Zone." It was an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

  • ILDC says:

    That guy from those GEICO commercials?

  • Louis Virtel says:

    It sure is. I'm going to credit myself for realizing the mistake before you posted it, but it is changed now. Thank you, sir.

  • saftgek says:

    "Fantastic news from that eerie dimension of sound and mind called Hollywood?" Are you serious? Just who the _ _ _ _ is Louis Virtel, and why would he/she/it make such an outrageous blathering of a comment?
    As to the perverted person or persons who choose to spit on classic television entertainment, and the people who made it happen, a Pox On You! I have no idea who the person or persons may be who thought up this planned debacle, nor do I particularly care. I do care about their disregard for television history and the desecration thereof.
    It's a pity so many with so little have to live off the great icons of the small and big screens!

  • NP says:

    Mike McGlone, also seen in _The Brothers McMullen_, _The Bone Collector_, and TV show _The Kill Point_. Too distinctly Irish looking.

  • James P says:

    That's exactly what I said when I first read the headline.

  • KevyB says:

    PLEASE! The person to play Serling is Johnny Depp! Why? Because HE ALREADY PLAYED ROD SERLING!!! Don't believe me? You know how he always channels somebody when he plays a role (In the Pirates movies he was acting like Keith Richards. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory it was Carol Channing.)? Watch Secret Window (I know, just watch 10 minutes of it), close your eyes and listen. He was TOTALLY stealing Rod Serling's act!

  • blizzard bound says:

    I thought you woulda gone for Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm. Isn't he the go-to guy for everything right now?

  • annamorphos says:

    And where is Hugo Weaving in this listing?

  • Bob says:

    Agreed. He was already halfway there in the Matrix movies.

  • Crystal says:

    Johnny Galecki.

  • ann ominus says:

    Eugene Levy

  • ashleygunter says:

    The writer of Wall Street, Stanley Weiser will script the movie, including details of the Serling’s life before, during and after his television success.

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