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Beck Bennett Almost Played Sean Spicer on ‘SNL’

SNL Sean Spicer Beck Bennett Melissa McCarthy
NBC

This past weekend saw perhaps the culmination of Melissa McCarthy’s SNL Sean Spicer impression, as the real “Spicey” may not by Press Secretary by fall. Perhaps an even greater sign of McCarthy capturing lightning in a bottle; behind-the-scenes reports suggest Beck Bennett was first in line for the job.

The Hollywood Reporter published an in-depth look at what some would call SNL’s comeback year, including its complex relationship with the Trump administration. Among the many tidbits revealed, writer Kent Sublette recalled pitching the Sean Spicer impression to McCarthy, noting that Beck Bennett would otherwise have played the role:

We’re friends from The Groundlings, so I just called her up: ‘I have this crazy idea.’ She’d played Farley’s character Matt Foley on the show before, so I knew she wouldn’t be uncomfortable playing a man or being ridiculous. She asked some questions like, ‘How would that work? What would be the impression?’ I told her it was more about the attitude — the bombast and the anger. […]

If it hadn’t been Melissa, it would have gone to Beck. He has an amazing impression. In fact, he reads Spicer for the read-through because Melissa’s not usually there.

Of course, Bennett already portrays two key figures on the political landscape, including the bare-chested Vladimir Putin and Vice President Mike Pence. The oral history also offers a fascinating window into the genesis of characters like Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions, while others like Ivanka Trump have been played by a variety of actresses. Not to mention, there’s good reason we never saw Rosie O’Donnell as Steve Bannon, as explained by Leslie Jones:

I asked Lorne, ‘How come y’all aren’t bringing Rosie O’Donnell in [to play Bannon, per her plea on Twitter] or any of them to do it?’ And he was like, ‘When you’re playing a character, you can’t play it from hate. You have to play it from funny, because when you play it from hate, it looks like you’re just being mean.’ I love Rosie to death, but he might have been right on that one.

You can read the full history at the link above, and stay tuned for more on this week’s SNL finale with host Dwayne Johnson.

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