There must be some kind of elation with producers of a movie when Morgan Freeman agrees to be in your movie. And even though Morgan seems like he'd make a regal President as he did God, there must have been some creative irony behind the actor portraying the Speaker of the House in a movie about a terrorist attack on the White House. It's that kind of casting that might make "Olympus Has Fallen" a much more fascinating what-if scenario than a competing movie that's nearly identical.
Its counterpart, "White House Down", has yet to release until June, though it faces being labeled a copycat due to "Olympus" having the upper hand. Although "White House Down" has one characteristic the other doesn't: A cast that looks a little too close to the current occupants of the White House. When you have Jamie Foxx playing a President of the United States, it spins a table on which film may have the strongest impact.
The above especially holds true if you've ever seen Foxx's impersonation of Barack Obama, which is arguably better than anyone else's. But then, with Foxx's movie looking a little too obvious, what will be the real success story out of these two competing movies? Ultimately, both may bring something much more concerning in depicting one of the scariest terrorist scenarios anyone can conjure.
Any good news for "Olympus Has Fallen" is the possible scenario of Morgan Freeman's Speaker Trumbull character being made temporary President during the White House attack. It may be a blunt reminder of the currently real and very tan Speaker becoming acting President if something ever happened to the first two leaders of the free world. Said scenario may be enough to unsettle "Olympus" fans with the realization that nobody as warm as Freeman will ever be chosen for that position.
For Freeman fans, it may also seem overly familiar to see him in an action thriller where he has to interact with a troubled hero. This time it's Gerard Butler playing a John McClane type Secret Service agent attempting to take down a mastermind terrorist force in the White House. In "Down", Channing Tatum seems to be playing a not so disgruntled hero who otherwise and initially loses out on being hired as a Secret Service agent.
In that regard, "Down" may end up being much more pedestrian in depicting the details of how the terrorists are brought down. "Olympus" has the feel of being slightly more layered with the characters based on the track record of the cast. Which one, though, would President Obama want to see first?
Will our real President want to see "White House Down" because it depicts an obvious nod to the real First Family? Yes, the film also has a first lady (played by Haitian actress Garcelle Beauvais) who could easily be associated with Michelle Obama. Or would the President prefer seeing more regal Freeman possibly stepping temporarily into the Presidential shoes with Obama-like Zen?
No matter what happens, having two films about something that could potentially happen in real life is treading on a slippery slope this summer. There could be real risk in having two high-profile films about terror in the White House giving ideas to terrorists. On the other hand, a double bill may convince Secret Service to scramble in stepping things up from the stunning security breaches they've had in the last couple of years.