Filming has wrapped in Anniston for The Devil All The Time, the Netflix flick that’s not about the Anniston City Council. But imagine if it were.
First, you’d need a cast, as hypothetical as it is.
Gary Sinise — who once portrayed George Wallace — would play Mayor Jack Draper, the attorney-turned-politician from a prominent Calhoun County family whose voice never raises as he tries to calm the chaos that frequently erupts on Gurnee Avenue.
Clarence Williams would star as Councilman Ben Little, the preacher/Army veteran/demagogue with the booming voice and commanding presence and penchant for litigation and hyperbole.
Jussie Smollett would play Councilman David Reddick, a Navy veteran who joins with Little to form a boisterous two-man team whose overriding goal is to see every council decision through a lens of race, even if such viewpoints are unnecessary and detrimental to all.
Susan Sarandon would be cast as Councilwoman Millie Harris, the body’s only female member and frequent foil — and target — of Little and Reddick.
Jason Statham would star as Councilman Jay Jenkins, an architect whose attempts to horse-trade in ward politics with his argumentative colleagues gets overlooked amid the council’s nuttiness.
Donald Sutherland would play City Manager Jay Johnson, a veteran government administrator who Reddick is trying to run out of town.
Second, you’d need a script, which wouldn’t be a problem. Just pull the council-meeting minutes.
Third, you’d need a director, someone who could see the value of a story involving small-town politics, race and personal vendettas. Ron Howard grew up, figuratively, in Mayberry. He’s the choice.
Fourth, you’d need money to bankroll the project.
And that, like so much else in Anniston, is where the project will stall. Perhaps it’s for the best.