Since the post that led to this exercise was about the 2007 version of the “Bionic Woman”, we’ll begin by casting the role of Jaime Sommers for a proposed new series. (As far as I know, though, I’m the only one proposing it, at this point. Please see the aforementioned post.) As a big fan of the original, I loved Lindsay Wagner as Jaime and she will always be Jaime. But,… a reboot requires a “replacement”, so we must try to find someone that adequately fits the bill.
First, I know it’s fairly trivial, but I think Jaime should remain blonde. More generally, she should have a similar physical build as Lindsay Wagner — tallish and slender but physically fit. Regarding height, Wagner is 5’9″, so I think a range of 5’7″ to 5’10” makes for fair search parameters. Regarding fitness, the character was originally a tennis pro and, while I don’t think this necessarily would have to be the case in a reboot, I do like the idea of Jaime being into sports/fitness. It would help explain her physiological and psychological ability to survive the accident (whatever it is), surgery, and subsequent therapy.
Personality-wise, Jaime is smart, compassionate, and has a joie de vivre and a fun sense of humor. (At least, that’s what I remember from the original series, and I’d like to see it retained in a reboot.) The actress portraying her needs to be able to convey all of these, as well as both strength and vulnerability.
As far as age goes, Wagner was about 26/27 when she first portrayed Jaime in “The Six Million Dollar Man”, and I assume the character was supposed to be about the same age. This is a tad younger than I would prefer. Given the timeline proposed in the previous post, the character should be about 30, give or take a couple years. Of course, actors often play characters younger than they are, so I’d be willing to cast a young-looking 35-year-old.
When I first starting thinking about this, the two actors that came to mind were Jennifer Morrison (5’5.25″,b.1979) from “Once Upon a Time” and Yvonne Strahovski (5’9.25″,b.1982) from “Chuck”. Unfortunately, Morrison is shorter than I thought and Strahovski, well, it seems too easy casting her in another kick-butt, super-spy role. (Same goes for Rachel Nichols (5’10”,b.1980) of G.I. Joe and “Continuum”.) I looked at several others that I like, but they are either too young, too short, or both. For example, Chloe Bennet (5’5.75″,b.1991) of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”; Jessy Schram (5’7″,b.1986) of “Falling Skies”; Sarah Jones (5’3″,b.1983) of “Alcatraz”; Vanessa Ray (5’4″,b.1980) of “Blue Bloods”.
The next batch of possibles included Jaimie Alexander (5’9″,b.1984) of the Thor movies; Mary Elizabeth Winstead (5’8″,b.1984) of “Wolf Lake” and Final Destination 3; Rachael Taylor (5’7.75″,b.1984) of “Crisis”; and Jaime King (5’9″,b.1979) of “Hart of Dixie” and the Sin City movies, who was actually named after the ‘Jaime Sommers’ character. But, for one reason or another, I just wasn’t sure about them. So, I think I’ve narrowed it down to these three:
Sarah Roemer (5’7.5″,b.1984)
I first saw Roemer in the short-lived series “The Event” a couple years ago, where she displayed many of the qualities I am looking for in Jaime. She was also in Disturbia and the current series “Chosen”. Though she is a just a tad shorter than I’d like, I think Roemer has the best look, and I know she has the talent. She is my favorite of the finalists.
Abbie Cornish (5’8″,b.1982)
Cornish is an Australian export who has been in Limitless, Sucker Punch, and the recent Robocop remake. I haven’t seen the last one, yet, and I honestly don’t remember much about her characters in the other two. At this point, I’m just trusting that she would have sufficient talent to do Jaime justice.
Alexandra Daddario (5’8″,b.1986)
I enjoyed Daddario’s performance in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and also in her recurring role of Kate on “White Collar”. (Lately, she has been in “True Detective”, but I haven’t been able to check it out, yet.) She can play tough and sweet, and those amazing eyes have got to be worth bonus points!
As sort of a last-minute addition, I want to add a favorite supporting character: Peggy Callahan, originally played by Jennifer Darling. She was Oscar Goldman’s secretary and actually got involved in a few cases. She was short, cute, had kind of a funny/husky voice, reliable but sometimes flustered. She may have only appeared in 7 episodes of “The Bionic Woman” (and 4 episodes of “The Six Million Dollar Man”), but she was fun and a good friend to Jaime, so I figured I’d try to cast her, too. I’m not even gonna try to duplicate the voice, but the overall character shouldn’t be too hard: sweet-n-spunky, quirky-but-lovable, dependable friend and gal-Friday.
The person I immediately thought of was Emily Bett Rickards (5’5″,b.1991), who plays Felicity Smoak on “Arrow”. In some ways, the Felicity character is similar to Callahan, so it isn’t surprising why I thought of her. Another possibility is Brooke Nevin (5’4.5″,b.1982) from “Cracked” and “Breakout Kings”. She’s about the same age as Jaime (as was the original Callahan), so their friendship might be a more natural bonding. Nevin also seems to have some of the same qualities I was looking for for Jaime; if she wasn’t so short, she’d be in the running for the lead.
Alright,… How’d I do? Good choices or outta my gourd?
In Part 2, I’ll try a little bionic matchmaking to find a new “Steve Austin” for our “Jaime Sommers” and possibly cast a favorite villain from the original series….
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2014.