This week, I was finally able to resume my fan-casting of the major Gotham City Police Dept. characters — well, two of the top four, anyway. One of these days, I may get around to Sarah Essen, “Hardback” Bock, Josie MacDonald, and “Slam” Bradley. (I’ll probably include Maggie Sawyer with my Superman-related fan-casting, since I still think of her primarily as part of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.) For now, though, I’ll finish with Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen.
Det. Renee Montoya
Originally created for the Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Renee Montoya’s first appearance was actually a bit earlier in Batman #475 (Mar. 1992). Montoya began as a bright, eager young police officer assigned as Commissioner Gordon’s assistant. I wasn’t long before she was promoted to Detective and partnered with Harvey Bullock. They made a good team. When Bullock was promoted following “No Man’s Land”, Montoya was reassigned to work with Det. Crispus Allen. This was another good partnership, but various events — including being framed for murder and outed as a lesbian by Two-Face — caused Montoya to become more frustrated with her job and life, irascible, and violent. She began drinking heavily to cope. After the events surrounding Allen’s death (see below), Montoya quit the police force in disgust.
During the “52” storyline, Montoya was contacted by and (reluctantly) joined forces with The Question, looking into some things having to do with Intergang. Amidst their investigations, The Question (i.e., Vic Sage) revealed that he was dying and was recruiting Montoya to replace him as The Question. He passed away a few weeks later, and she honored his wish. But, I don’t foresee getting into any of that in a Batman TV or movie series. I would stick to her years as a police officer/detective.
If a Batman TV/movie series begins with Batman’s debut, Montoya should not be there. In fact, I would prefer to not add her into the mix until roughly Year 8, which is about when I think her comics debut fits into the comics Bat-timeline. But, a slightly sooner appearance would be acceptable. By my calculations, she is maybe 5 or 6 years younger than Bruce Wayne, which makes her about 27 or so when she debuted. She is an attractive Latina of Dominican descent with characteristically dark hair. DC’s wiki lists her at 5’8″, 144lbs. So, I think she would best be played by a Latina (or someone who can easily pass as one) in her mid-20s to early 30s, between 5’6″ & 5’10”, with an athletic build.
As I usually do, I considered more than just the three finalists I settled on below. Rosario Dawson (5’7″,b.1979) might be a good choice, if not for her being a little too old for Montoya during her GCPD career. Same goes for Michelle Rodriguez (5’5″,1978), who is also a tad under our height parameters. Speaking of too short, Alice Braga (5’4″,b.1983), Floriana Lima (5’4″,?), and Ilza Rosario (5’3″,b.1985) all look great and are in the right age range, but they are just too short, and no police officer or detective is going to wear 3-inch heels on duty, unless she’s undercover. (I have seen Dawson, Rodriguez, and Braga suggested by others, too.) Thus, I present to you my Montoya finalists…
Alyssa Diaz (5’6″,b.1985) has been in Ben 10: Alien Swarm, “The Nine Lives of Chloe King”, the Red Dawn remake, “Revolution”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Last Ship”, and “Grimm”, so she is definitely familiar with the genre. She barely meets our height requirement, is almost 30 (as of this writing), and reminds me of a slightly younger Michelle Rodriguez. She could fill Montoya’s shoes quite well.
You may remember that I recommended Genesis Rodriguez (5’7″,b.1987) for another Bat-family role: Helena Bertinelli, aka The Huntress. She has appeared in “Entourage”, Man on a Ledge, The Last Stand, Big Hero 6 (voicing Honey Lemon), and the recent Run All Night. I think she needs a regular role in a crime/adventure series, and Det. Renee Montoya could just be that breakout role.
Finally, I recommend Mercedes Masohn (5’9″,b.1982or3). She is of mixed heritage but can pass for a Latina, as she often does on-screen. I remember noticing her on “The Finder”, “Chuck”, and “NCIS: Los Angeles”. She has also been in “666 Park Avenue”, Sniper: Legacy, and will be a regular in the new “Fear the Walking Dead”. She often plays tough “chicks”, and Renee Montoya is definitely that. She’s a tad older than I’d prefer for the part, but I’m sure Masohn would be great!
Det. Crispus Allen
Crispus Allen’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #742 (March, 2000). Gordon had just returned to duty after grieving his wife’s death during the events of “No Man’s Land”, and he was staffing up the GCPD after losing several personnel in the preceding months. Detective Allen transferred in from Metropolis, and he would prove to be a great asset to the Major Crimes Unit. Partnered with Montoya, Allen was an excellent detective who helped take down a lot of bad guys, from average skels to corrupt cops to “super-villains”. He was always a serious, analytical, “straight arrow” type, if a bit arrogant. As such, it is not surprising that he reluctantly accepted Batman as a “necessary evil” for fighting crime in a place like Gotham City. He was also a happily-married father of two.
In one incident, Allen shot and killed the Black Spider, who was about to murder Montoya. This began a course of events that led to Allen being killed by a corrupt crime scene tech named Jim Corrigan. Allen later became the new host for the Spectre, but those events are beyond anything I want to see in a Batman series.
As with Montoya, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, the Allen character should not be included. However, I don’t expect the events of “Knightfall/Knightquest” and “Cataclysm/No Man’s Land” to be adapted, so they could transfer him from Metropolis sooner in the Bat-timeline. I would prefer to see him introduced after Montoya has spent some time (as a Detective) partnered with Harvey Bullock, first. That said, he should be 40ish and, therefore, roughly 10 or so years older than Montoya. DC’s wiki entry for Allen does not give a height or weight, but I would say he’s roughly 6′, give or take, and in (very?) good shape. Appearance-wise, Allen is a Black man, bald with a trim “goatee”, and he wears rimless glasses. He is a sharp dresser — earning him the nickname “Peacock” by Harvey bullock — and is always seen wearing a suit, often a three-piece. He is sometimes seen smoking a cigarette, too. Obviously, any actor to be considered should be Black, early 40s, athletic build, look good with a bald head and “goatee”, and probably be between 5’10” and 6’2″.
Many Bat-fans have suggested Idris Elba (6’2.75″,b.1972) (“Luther”, “The Wire”, Thor) for the role. He’s a little taller than I’d like, but he’s the right age and build, and I agree he would be terrific. Still, I wanted to look into a few others. I’ve been noticing another “The Wire” alum lately, Gbenga Akinnagbe (5’10”,b.1978), particularly in “24: Live Another Day” and “The Following”, where he plays a federal agent in both. But, he is a little young for the part, and I’m not sure he has quite the right look. I also considered “The Blacklist”‘s Hisham Tawfiq (?,b.?). Again, not sure he’s old enough or has quite the right look. So, that leaves the following three:
I think Richard T. Jones (6’2″,b.1972) could play a great Crispus Allen. I mostly remember him from “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and more recently on “Hawaii Five-O”, but he was also a regular on “Brooklyn South” and “Judging Amy”, appeared in “Nikita” and “Revolution”, and he has popped up in movies (e.g., Event Horizon, Godzilla) and series for many years. He fits the appearance and age parameters, and I’m sure he would have no problem portraying the by-the-book Detective Allen.
Slamball champ-turned-actor LaMonica Garrett (6’2″,b.1975) often plays firefighters, military, or law enforcement roles. He has appeared in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “NCIS”, “The Game”, “Justified”, etc., but he may be best known as Deputy Sheriff Cane on “Sons of Anarchy”. Garrett is barely 40 and is probably the most athletic of our candidates. He doesn’t have as much acting experience as the others, as many of his parts are minor, but I think he could be a convincing Crispus Allen.
I’m not positive the first thing I saw Brian White (6’2″,b.1975) in, but what I remember him for are his roles on “Beauty and the Beast” and “Hostages”. He has also appeared in such genre fare as DOA: Dead or Alive, “Ghost Whisperer”, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, “Moonlight”, and “The Shield”. Like Garrett, White is barely 40 and in great shape. He would make a fine Det. Allen, especially since he has played police detectives before, so I can totally see him in the role.
As usual, I’d love to know what you think of my choices and if you have anyone else in mind that you think fits the bill(s)….
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.