Brian Dennehy for Big Jim is a must. I doubt an outright cartoon character like Romeo Burpee will make it into the small-screen so I'm not sure why the OP included him.
big jim definitely M.C. Gainey
A couple of notes. Firstly, this cast is slightly more ethnically diverse than the the characters as they appear in the book. I think King said there were no black people in Chester's Mill at the time, but that a black family moved out only recently. But there are many very good PoC actors out there, and it wouldn't be the worst casting decision ever made in a Stephen King adaptation.
Secondly, I couldn't decide whether to go with a pragmatic "who the networks/studios would cast" list, or a fantasy "this is who I think would rock" list, so it's kind of both. It's also a blend between a cast for TV or film. I know it's been confirmed it will be a teleseries.
Dale Barbara - Honestly, is this important? He's the typical King protagonist. Any competent handsome 30-something actor person would do. I know he's done <i>The Mist</i> but Tom Jane springs to mind, as do people like Sawyer from <i>Lost</i>.
Jim Rennie - Tom Hanks. Bear with me. He's got the chops to play a bad guy, but because he's, you know, Tom Hanks, you can completely buy him as the charismatic aw-shucks Middle American Hero that a community would trust and look to in a crisis, but has a nasty streak and something just <i>wrong</i> going on about him that a few characters are sucpicious about, but not enough until it's far too late.
Julia Shumway - She's pitched as about 40 in the book, but I think it's a given that if this is made the studio or network will want someone younger and TV-hot, as she is a love interest to Barbara. Like Barbara, really any generically attractive but competent 30-something actress could do it. I actually see someone like Sarah Michelle Gellar managing it. She's older now, and still doing this genre of stuff.
Rusty Everett - Really he's "King Protagonist Second Fiddle" and again, any competent good-looking 30-something actor could play him.
Linda Everett - When I was reading the book, I kept seeing Melissa George. Don't know why. Oh yeah, I do, because she played a cop in <i>30 Days of Nights</i>. I dunno. You just need an actress who's okay, and has enough strength that you can buy her as a small-town cop who's also a loving wife and mom of two young kid.
Rose - Chandra Wilson, aka Dr Bailey from <i>Grey's Anatomy</i>. I know that King didn't write her as a Black character, but this is honestly who I saw in my head when I read the book, and even while listening to the audio book I still saw her.
Andy Sanders - In an ideal universe, William H. Macy. But someone like Jeffrey DeMunn, or William Sadler (also from <i>The Mist</i>) would be good as well - a good character actor who looks like he could be puppet-mastered into being voted First Selectman, yet come off as completely ineffectual and then suddenly <i>turn</i>.
Colonel Cox - Ed Harris or similar. really all you need is a recognised face on an older but still-got-it actor who would look great in uniform and be a face on the outside that the audience hopes will be able to take care of things, and be a strong enough force to antagonise Rennie.
Sammy Bushey - Amber Benson, aka Tara from <i>Buffy</i> would be a good choice, if perhaps a little too old for the teenager as characterised by King. But she fits the bill for me, in that she's striking but not a cookie-cutter starlet, and could play the emotional breakdown after Sammy's rape perfectly.
Junior - This will be the suggestion that will get piled on, if anyone reads this: someone like Ashton Kutcher, ie a pretty boy actor playing against type. Rennie shouldn't look like a slavering maniac from the get-go. He's expressed an interest in playing a serious role, he's got the physical size, and you could buy him as someone who was once the golden boy, but physically and mentally falls apart.
Jackie Wettington - Gina Torres. Why the eff not?
Carter Thibodeau - Daniel Franzese. He just played a blood-chilling skeeze of a rapist in the 'I Spit on Your Grave' remake and he's got the physical heft required.
'Chef' Bushey - Matt Frewar. Guy's a competent character actor and can look mega unhinged. Someone above also mentioned Lucas Black and, yeah, I could see something like that too.
'Duke' Perkins - James Cromwell or similar. He has done King telemovies, he's a face you trust, and has enough gravitas that audiences who don't know the story would be startled when he buys the farm so early on.
Just finished Under The Dome. It was a good read but I was a little disappointed by all the maneuvering that ended up being pretty useless. Anyways had to post in this thread because through the book the only person I could picture as Big Jim is:
Brad Leland, he played Buddy Garrity in the TV series of Friday Night Lights.
Same for 'Duke Perkins,' if it even needs to be anyone at all famous. Depending on how they scale down the filmed version, Perkins may only be in it for two minutes tops. But again, size matters. Randolph thinks to himself as he sits in the big concave shape in the Chief's car driver's seat formed by Duke Perkins over the years that he isn't meant for the job. I guess what I'm saying is size matters for these two characters, and wiry actors can't cut it.
Here are my suggestions for the characters I can visualize:
Big Jim - Brian Dennehey (sp?)
Junior - Seth Rogan - don't ask me why but this is how I picture Junior
Barbie - Timothy Olyphant
Julia - Jillian Anderson, Maria Bello or Diane Lane
Sammy - Amber Benson from Buffy
Sooooo when are they actually going to make this series?
:S series or a movie.. :S it would work better as a series.
I think it works better as a miniseries, like It or The Stand.
The one I have most difficulty casting is Barbie, but how about Colin Hanks, who performed wonderfully as the young priest on Mad Men.
For Julia, my first, second, and last choice was and is Dana Delany. Julia is in her mid 40s - smart, sassy, and has a heart of gold. Dana is past 50, but could play in her 40s. Her recent role as Special Agent Jordan Shaw on a two episode arc in Castle showed she could still deliver the smarts and the sex appeal. I think it's important to the story that Julia be considerably older than Barbie.
Someone suggested Gregg Henry as Big Jim Rennie. I agree. He can play the heavy well, but he also can show many sides.
I think William H Macy is one of the best actors we have, but I don't he's exactly right for Andy Saunders. Andy has to be someone less shifty looking, and I still view Macy as the used car salesman from Fargo. Maybe Anthony Michael Hall?
Thurston, the English prof turned Medic, should be played by Richard Jenkins (best known as the father on Six Feet Under).