Assessing the Casting of ABC’s Inhumans

Inhumans Royal Family

Don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard/read all that much about this upcoming series. I mentioned several facts that came out earlier in a post last November. Recently, though, there have been a few cast announcements and a couple of on-set pics from where they are shooting the show in Hawaii.

I’ve liked the Inhumans since I first read about them in “Fantastic Four” comics back in the 1970s. They had an interesting and isolated culture, cool powers & appearances, and an on-again/off-again, quasi-frenemy sort of relationship with our heroes (sort of like Namor has). I especially liked the core group of the Royal Family, which fortunately look to be central to the new show. So, of course, I want to see live-action versions that are faithful adaptations from the source material. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the actors who will be portraying these beloved characters. Here are my 2 cents…

Anson Mount as Black Bolt: I am not familiar with Mount (6′,b.1973). He has appeared in episodes of series I watched (e.g., “Smallville”, “CSI: Miami”, “Lost”, “Dollhouse”), but nothing stands out in my memory about him. He has been a regular in other series, most recently starring in the drama/western “Hell on Wheels”, but I am unfamiliar with them, unfortunately. Physically, though, Mount appears to be a pretty solid choice, both in face and build. Having looked at some photos, he often appears to have an intense and/or weary look, which should work well for the silent, burdened King of the Inhumans.

Serinda Swan as Medusa: The lovely Miss Swan (5’7″,b.1984) is quite a bit shorter than the comics version of Queen Medusa (5’11”). But, I think she has both the beauty (and curves) and physicality to do right by the role. You may remember her as the sorcerous Zatanna on “Smallville”, which I thought was terrific casting! She has also been on “Supernatural”, “Breakout Kings”, “The Tomorrow People”, “Chicago Fire”, “Graceland”. I don’t know that she has ever had to stretch her acting skills much, so I hope she can get a handle on the Queen of the Inhumans. I assume they will need to do her mass of prehensile hair via CGI, so it shouldn’t be a problem coloring it red.

Ken Leung as Karnak: The first time I remember taking note of Leung (5’7″,b.1970) was with his role in “Lost”. Of course, he has also been in such genre fare as Rush Hour, Spy Game, Saw, X-Men: The Last Stand, “Person of Interest”, “Zero Hour”, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, et al. He is the exact height that Marvel’s wiki lists for Karnak, and I think the martial-artist character is supposed to look like an Asian human. (He’s also supposed to have an unusually large cranium. I wonder if they’ll use CGI, prosthetic, or ignore that particular characteristic. Same question re the body tattoos the character acquired in later years.) Leung will need to portray a much more physical, analytical, and self-assured character than he usually does, but he may be able to pull it off.

Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon: I don’t believe I am familiar with Ikwuakor (6’3″,b.1984), though he has had small roles in “Castle”, “Hawaii Five-O”, “Extant”, “Colony”, “NCIS: Los Angeles” and appeared in a few movies (e.g. Ink). The comics version of Gorgon is Caucasian-looking but often with dusky complexion; so, if they’re going to make one of the characters black, Gorgon makes the most sense. (Note: “Black Bolt” is a shortening of “Blackagar Boltagon”, plus that character usually wears a black costume.) Ikwuakor isn’t as tall (6’7″) or bulky as Gorgon is usually made to be, but he is fairly tall and muscular. Maybe he’ll bulk up even more for the part? I hope he does a good job, since this could be a breakout role for him.

Mike Moh as Triton: As an Asian with martial arts expertise, Moh (5’9″,b.1983) would have been a good choice for Triton’s younger brother, Karnak. But, maybe his muscular-yet-lithe “swimmer’s body” was what they really wanted for the scaly, aquatic Triton. His genre credits include “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight”, “Supah Ninjas”, “Castle”, “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist”, “Street Fighter: Resurrection”, as well as the non-genre “Empire”. Who knows, maybe he’ll really “own” this part. I wonder how long he can hold his breath….

Isabelle Cornish as Crystal: This role calls for an attractive, young blonde woman about 5’6″ or so, and that’s what they found in Cornish (5’8.5″,b.1994). She doesn’t have near the resume of her sister, Abbie, nor has she been in any genre stuff. But, she was in several episodes of a couple of Australian dramas: “Home and Away” and “Puberty Blues”. I’m rooting for Cornish to make her mark with this role. It may seem like a small thing, but I just hope they make her hair the strawberry blonde color that Crystal is known for having. (That said, I realize that red-headed comic characters tend to end up as brunettes on TV. Grr! At least keep her blonde, OK?)

Iwan Rheon as Maximus: Rheon (5’8″,b.1985) is the guy who played the sadistic bastard Ramsay Bolton on “Game of Thrones”. Other than being shorter (5’8″) than the comics version (5’11”) and thus a little shorter than I’d prefer, he is perhaps the most perfect casting for Black Bolt’s scheming younger brother, Maximus the Mad, as I can think of. We already know Rheon can play a great, psychotic villain. Though also a ruthless prince trying to gain power, Maximus is a very different character in a very different situation. I just hope Rheon has the talent to keep them quite separate in both his and the audience’s minds. (Come to think of it, Maximus is quite Loki-like, and Tom Hiddleston might make a good candidate for him, as well.)

Lockjaw stand-in on Inhumans set

‘Lockjaw’ as Lockjaw: From the leaked tweet-pic (seen here, sort of), it looks like the most beloved Inhuman character, the huge, teleporting canine named ‘Lockjaw’, will be handled with CGI. Makes sense to me! I certainly wouldn’t want to be the casting director tasked with finding a real, live dog that size (let alone who can act), ‘cuz they don’t exist.

Well, that’s that. I wish I was more knowledgeable about some of these actors, so I could make better guesses about their suitability talent-wise. But, I guess we’ll see soon enough, come September. Here’s hopin’ that ABC/Disney puts out a quality mini-series that Inhumans fans can enjoy!

Oh, and here’s a CBR article you might like, too!: “Inhumans: 15 Things We Want From The TV Show”

Fan-Cast: FF Villains, part 2: Doctor Doom

“No one rivals Doom! NO ONE! Doom is supreme! There is no power on Earth, no intellect in all creation to equal mine!”  — Doctor Doom, FF #258

When people think of the Fantastic Four’s arch-villain, Doctor Doom is the only logical choice. (Assuming they can only have one, that is.) So, why did I wait until my second FF villains post to cast him? Simply put, I had Puppet Master written up and was finishing Mole Man, when I realized that I had plenty for one post. Plus, there was no reason I had to stress out over trying to get a third done in time, so… I held off ’til this week. Please forgive me. I hope it was worth the wait….

doctordoom_Doctor Doom

Victor von Doom was born & raised among the much-maligned and persecuted Zefiro gypsies in the small Eastern European country of Latveria. He lost his mother (a practitioner of sorcery) when he was four and his father (a healer) when he was eleven, both indirectly due to conflicts with the King and his soldiers. He spent his youth applying his amazing intellect to mastering both science and sorcery and even then vowed to use his knowledge to rule the world.

Doom’s early scientific feats brought him to the attention of both the U.S. military and the scientific establishment. He accepted a full scholarship to State University, where he met Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. The arrogant and reclusive Doom became intellectual rivals with Richards, their competition being quite tense yet productive. (Doom’s work in robotics and time travel were financed by the U.S. military.) Meanwhile, he also continued with his study of the mystic arts, and his experiments in this area sometimes included scientific apparatus. During one of these experiments, Richards happened by and noticed a calculation that was off. Doom refused to listen, and the experiment failed, scarring Doom’s face. He blamed Richards, and thus their rivalry became even more serious and, at times, deadly.

doom-throneGoing into hiding, Doom continued his scientific and sorcerous efforts, including a working prototype of his Time-Platform. A soul-searching trek in the Himalayas led him to a secret order of monks who saved his life. The monks were masters of both technology and mysticism, and he spent the next 5 years mastering all they knew and then some. He became their leader and insisted they call him “Doctor Doom”. When he heard about Richards’ experimental space ship, he became enraged. Then he designed his iconic armor, built by the monks, which serves to cut him off both physically and emotionally from the world. His impatience caused him to don the mask before it finished cooling, thereby grafting it to his face and causing incredible pain.

From there, Doom reunited with the Zefiro tribe and managed to liberate Latveria from King Vladimir’s harsh rule. However, Doom’s rule has been at least as harsh on his subjects, if not more so. He demands absolute loyalty, immediate and unquestioning obedience, and will maim or kill anyone who disobeys or even annoys him. Doom went on to challenge and attack Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four multiple times over the years. In addition, Doom has fought many other superheroes and villains alike, often personally but also using his Doombots and/or via Machiavellian machinations behind the scenes. There have been occasions when Doom has allied himself with “good guys” to meet a mutual threat. (Current comics even have him forsaking his old ways and taking on the mantle of Iron Man in a quest for redemption and meaning!) But, Doom is at his megalomaniacal best as the incredibly cunning and powerful arch-villain with one of the most brilliant minds (and matching ego) in the world.

Historically, perhaps the three passions that most drive Doctor Doom are 1) his loyalty to Latveria and his Zefiro gypsy clan in particular; 2) his mission to retrieve the soul of his deceased mother from Mephisto; and, of course, 3) his all-consuming hatred for Reed Richards and the desire to prove himself Richards’ intellectual superior.

victor_von_doom_earth-616_from_thor_vol_1_600It has been said that Doom’s greatest weapon is his super-genius intellect, with which he has designed various versions of his amazing, nuclear-powered, titanium armor, which gives him superstrength, invulnerability, and several offensive and defensive weapons. With a knowledge-base that covered a wide breadth of scientific disciplines, he has also built many other weapons, a time machine, advanced robots (aka Doombots and the Latverian Servo-Guard), and other technological wonders. He is an accomplished martial artist, athlete, swordsman, painter and pianist. His will is so great that he has resisted psychic assaults and attempts at mind-control, though this may have been at least partially a side-effect of his mystical endeavors. Beginning with the mystic artifacts and affinity for sorcery inherited from his mother, Doom has at various times taught himself and been tutored by Dr. Strange and Morgan Le Fay. But, it was his diabolical pact with a trio of demons called the Hazareth Three that, for a time, granted him magical powers that put him on par with the greatest sorcerers. (At another time, he even acquired the Beyonder’s god-like powers. Yikes!)

We already know that Doom’s personality is that of an elitist, self-righteous tyrant. So, let’s move on to his physical appearance. Marvel’s wiki lists Doom as 6’2″ (6’7″ armored), 225 lbs. (415 lbs. armored), with brown hair and eyes. For many years he had facial scars, which were generally hidden beneath his mask. Aside from the scars, he is an attractive man, well-built and in excellent physical shape. The hair can always be dyed, of course, and muscle can always be added. I would prefer to keep our Doom over 6′ tall but probably not over 6’4″ — just enough to be imposing, especially when in full armor. Speaking of which, I have not been impressed with the two big-screen versions of Doom, and part of that was the attempt to merge him with his armor is some way, making him some sort of cyborg/mutant. (Don’t care for the early Ultimate version, either.) No, he needs to be a man in heavy armor — deceptively high-tech armor, but armor nonetheless — and it should look very close to the classic version seen in these pics. As for Doom’s age, I decided to go with a slightly older version (as I did for my FF casting), so somewhere in his mid-30s to mid-40s. Oh, and a nice baritone voice would be ideal, preferably with an accent that sounds like he is from Eastern Europe.

So, who might possibly play this iconic character?

First up is Goran Visnjic (6’4″,b.1972), the Croatian-born actor who became a TV heartthrob during his many years on the U.S. TV series “ER”. He has also appeared in The Peacemaker, Practical Magic, Spartacus (TV movie), Elektra, “The Deep”, “Leverage”, “Extant”, and is currently co-starring in “Timeless”. He has the Eastern European look, general build, and accent we want. Assuming he packs on a few pounds, I think he could be a great Doom.

Goran Visnjic in "Timeless"

Goran Visnjic in “Timeless”

goran-visnjic-black-shirt-arms-crossed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we have Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (6’1.5″or2″,b.1970), a square-jawed native of Denmark best known for his portrayal of Jaime Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, in “Game of Thrones”. His other genre credits include Black Hawk Down, My Name Is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure, Kingdom of Heaven, “New Amsterdam”, Blackthorn, Oblivion, A Second Chance, and Gods of Egypt. Denmark isn’t Eastern Europe, but having lived & worked in Europe, he could probably come up with a satisfactory accent. He’s not my fave pick, but he could do a good job.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in *Gods of Egypt*

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in *Gods of Egypt*

nikolaj-coster-waldau-sitting-three-piece-suit

 

 

 

 

Finally, I found another Eastern European candidate in Michal Zebrowski (6’2″,b.1972). I’m not familiar with this actor’s work, since most of it is in Polish, but he does have a few relevant credits. He was in With Fire and Sword, The Hexer (see pic), The Pianist, Army of Valhalla, and The Vulture (aka Sep). With dark hair and a few pounds of muscle, Zebrowski could be an excellent Doctor Doom!

Michal Zebrowski in *The Hexer*

Michal Zebrowski in *The Hexer*

michal-zebrowski-black-coat-and-scarf

 

 

 

 

 

Comments? Critiques? Not sure when I’ll get around to a “Part 3″, but I’m sure I will eventually. Which FF villains should I cast next?

P.S.  Last minute idea: For a 30-something Doom, what do you think of Superman himself, Henry Cavill (6’1”,b.1983)? Inspired casting or stupid?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2017.

Fan-Cast: FF Villains, part 1: Mole Man and Puppet Master

“You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.”  — Oscar Wilde

At the end of last week’s “fantastic fan-casting” exercise, I said I might do some villains next time. I was right! There are many to choose from, of course, but I picked three of the FF’s earliest foes, whom I also happened to have some pretty good candidates for. (Well, I think so, anyway.) While working on it, I realized I needed to limit this post to two and save the third for next week. As with the last post, I’m attempting multiple characters, so I’ll try not to expound too much on any of them. First off…

Puppet Master

Puppet Master

Puppet Master

The villain known as “Puppet Master” is Phillip Masters, a native of Transia whose boyhood hobby was sculpting figures from clay found near the base of Wundagore Mountain. Moving to America with his parents, young Phillip continued to sculpt as an escape from the bullying of his classmates. What no one knew at the time was that continued exposure to the slightly radioactive clay was causing a mental imbalance. (The clay was later revealed to have mystical properties, as well.) Following a difficult childhood, Masters studied biology in college and became business partners with his college roommate, Jacob Reiss. Reiss died in a tragic explosion, and Masters married his widow. His new step-daughter, Alicia, was blind but a very talented artist. Many years later, she would become the girlfriend of Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) and a trusted friend of the Fantastic Four. (Unfortunately, that also meant she would become a frequent pawn of her stepfather, despite the fact that he genuinely cares for her.)

Phillip, on the other hand, became increasingly unstable and criminal in his pursuits. He discovered that, by fashioning a “doll” from his special clay in the likeness of a real person, he could mentally control that person. By manipulating the doll, he could make the person move in the same way, even when many miles away. With enough concentration, he could completely take over the person’s mind and even alter his/her memories. I should also note that Masters became quite skillful at building toys, too.

Masters was always a bit strange, quirky, but his growing insanity over the years made him increasingly unpredictable and dangerous. Early depictions made him out to be rather “dumpy”-looking, and he wore colorful clothing. But, his more “classic” look is the slender, odd little man in the above pic, often wearing an artist’s smock. He is white, bald, and appears to have an unusually wide mouth. (Or, maybe it’s just his diabolical grin.) Marvel’s wiki page lists him as 5’6″. As for his age, I’d say somewhere in his 50s, maybe 60-ish.

I think the actor that comes closest to Masters’s unusual looks and also roughly the same height is Clint Howard (5’7″,b.1959). (Not sure how slim he is these days, though.) Howard, of course, is the older brother of actor/director/producer Ron Howard. He is known to Trekkies for playing a very odd child/alien in the TOS episode “The Corbomite Maneuver”. His adult credits in genre fare include The Rocketeer, “Space Rangers”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “The Outer Limits”, “Total Recall 2070”, “Star Trek: Enterprise”, “Heroes”, “Fringe”, etc. Now, if we wanted to go with someone taller and more sinister-looking, I think Mackenzie Gray (6′,b.1957) could be terrific! Seen recently as a Kryptonian in Man of Steel, Gray will also be a regular in the new “Legion” series. (Debuting tonight!) He has also been in “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues”, “La Femme Nikita”, “The Net”, “First Wave”, “Andromeda”, Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, “Knights of Bloodsteel”, “Smallville”, “Spooksville”, and he has done a bunch of voicework, too. (Somewhat ironically, he stars as a dying sculptor in a drama this year titled Heart of Clay.)

Clint Howard

Clint Howard

Mackenzie Gray

Mackenzie Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

harvey_elder_earth-616_from_official_handbook_of_the_marvel_universe_vol_1_7_0001

Mole Man

Mole Man

Harvey Elder is an overweight & squat, extremely near-sighted man, 4’10” tall, with poor posture and a humongous nose. Not surprisingly, he suffered a lot of ridicule both as a child and an adult. He became a skilled scientist, but the taunting and pity (including by the woman he loved) led him to quit is job. He traveled a lot, following legends to find a “land at the center of the Earth”. While he didn’t find quite was he was looking for, Elder did stumble upon Monster Island and later an underground realm dubbed ‘Subterranea’. In Subterranea he found a race of semi-humanoid creatures known as Moloids, who made him their king. He discovered and mastered some highly-advanced machinery long-abandoned in the caves by the Deviants. Elder has also encountered and learned to control several large, non-humanoid monsters within the wide network of caverns lying miles beneath Earth’s surface. Finally, he has somehow gained a measure of longevity and developed a “radar sense” of sorts, while living & working for years in his dark, subterranean empire.

Calling himself the Mole Man, Elder uses his monsters, Moloids, and advanced tech to wreak havoc on “surface-dwellers”, steal various objects, and, of course, get his revenge on his enemies and the world at large for treating him so poorly. His long-time enemies include the Fantastic Four, as he was the very first “super-villain” they encountered after gaining their powers. (Fantastic Four, vol. 1, #1) Elder may be sensitive about his physical form and a resentment for those who mocked him, but he has developed a superiority complex over those who live above ground. While not much of a physical threat on his own, his loyal minions, familiarity with the subterranean geography, and use of technology have made him a surprisingly dangerous and resilient foe.

Casting this poor guy is really tough, and obviously no one is going to be this short, fat, and ugly. (Not without prosthetics, at least.) I’m happy to cast a couple of talented actors who are somewhat on the short side, though. Paul Giamatti (5’9″,b.1967) played a (disappointing) variation of another Marvel villain, the Rhino, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 not long ago. He has had roles in Saving Private Ryan, The Negotiator, Safe Men, Planet of the Apes, American Splendor, San Andreas, and has done some genre voicework, as well. My second choice is Timothy Spall (5’8″,b.1957), whom you may remember as Wormtail in the Harry Potter movies. He has also appeared in Crusoe, Dream Demon, “Red Dwarf”, “Young Indiana Jones”, Immortality, Death Defying Acts, Enchanted, From Time to Time, and Assassin’s Bullet. (Downsides are that he’s about to turn 60, and he has slimmed down since this pic was taken a couple years ago.) I’d be quite happy with either of these guys.

Paul Giamatti

Paul Giamatti

Timothy Spall

Timothy Spall

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far, so good? Doctor Doom is up next, so, until next week…

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2017.

Fan-Cast: Fantastic Four

“[Y]ou didn’t think to account for our personalities. The inner strength that my family has, that I’ve seen grow with us through the years. You forgot to include that in your calculus. If we’re down, we rise. If we fail, we try again. If we lose the battle, we win the war. And that is what makes us… the Fantastic Four!”  — Mister Fantastic to the Quiet Man

I’m going to try something different this time and fan-cast a whole team in one post. To do so, I’m going to have to cut down on the amount of text. So, since readers of this blog likely already know who the Fantastic Four are and at least the basics of their “origin story”, I’m going to skip all that, along with most of their history.

ff-classic-artFirst, a few notes about physical appearances and ages. We know that all four of our heroes are/were attractive and physically fit — even moreso in later years. All four are Caucasian. The Storm siblings are blonde, whereas Reed and Ben both have brown hair, with Reed’s temples having turned white in his late teens. Reed’s build was originally on the slender side, though his powers allow him to look more muscular. Ben, of course, was always stockier and more muscular, even before he transformed into The Thing. Reed’s height is listed as 6’1″, Ben’s at 6′, Sue’s at 5’6″, and Johnny’s at 5’10”. I would prefer to stay within 2-3 inches either way for each of them. It should be no surprise that my casting choices try to retain the classic appearances of the characters, though I realize that some things (e.g., hair color, eyewear, muscularity) can be altered in the service of playing a role.

According to Marvel’s wiki page, Reed — of Prime Earth, not “Ultimate” — had attained four degrees by the time he was 18 years old. While working on his fifth, he roomed first with Victor von Doom and then with his soon-to-be best buddy, Benjamin J. Grimm. I’m not sure about Doom, but it says this was Ben’s freshman year, so he was roughly the same age as Reed. (However, I read elsewhere that Ben was a few years older. This may be an effect of ret-conning.) Ben later joined the U.S. Air Force, where he became a highly-skilled pilot, and Reed went on to build his first experimental rocketship.

While working on yet another degree at Columbia University, Reed’s landlady’s niece, Susan Storm, developed a crush on him. She was only 12 (though other sources say she was older), and I’m guessing Reed was 22 to 24 years old by then. When Sue started college, she went to California where Reed was working on his project, and they began dating. By the time of the ill-fated accident that gave them their powers, Sue was no longer considered a “teen”, so she must’ve been at least 20 years old. This would put Reed and Ben in their early 30s. Johnny Storm, however, was referred to as an adolescent teenager. My sense of him was that he was maybe 4 to 5 years younger than Sue, give or take. So, for argument’s sake, at the time of the accident they were 15 (Johnny, who we remember is Peter Parker’s peer), 20 (Sue), and 30 (Reed & Ben).

ff509That having been said, while it would be nice to see casting match these ages, it might not be all that easy, and I certainly haven’t come across 15 and 20 year olds that fit the bill for Johnny and Sue. So, I have no problem casting them both in their early- to mid-20s (though the actors might be slightly older), as was done in the last FF movie. I would also understand if those casting for the next screen version decide to make Ben a few years older, which would be believable for giving him time to become a noted test pilot/astronaut. Or, they could even make Reed and Ben in their late-20s, but I wouldn’t go any younger than that. This all assumes that the next movie begins with the FF’s “origin story”. But, it wouldn’t have to. The characters can be further along in their careers as heroes and, therefore, a few years older.

Personality-wise, we have 1) the super-brilliant, sometimes distant and absent-minded Reed Richards (aka the super-elastic Mister Fantastic); 2) the streetwise, cigar-chompin’, somewhat impatient but ever-dependable jock-turned-pilot Ben Grimm (aka the super-strong, rocky-hided Thing); 3) the empathetic, commonsensical, oft-maternal, stronger-than-she-knows Susan Storm (aka the mistress of invisible force-fields, Invisible Girl/Woman); and 4) the immature, thrill-seeking, sometimes hot-headed Johnny Storm (aka the aptly-named Human Torch).

Beyond all that, the most important thing is that the actors have not only the talent but the necessary chemistry together. After all, while only two are related by blood, these characters really do become a close-knit family, as well as a well-oiled team of explorers/superheroes. That family dynamic really needs to come across on-screen for any FF movie (or series) to work.

Now, rather than suggesting two to four candidates for each character individually, allow me to present to you two possible teams. Feel free to mix-n-match, though….

Tom Mison

Tom Mison

Greg Finley

Greg Finley

Eliza Taylor

Eliza Taylor

Lucas Till

Lucas Till

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first team has Reed and Ben in their early 30s, as played by Tom Mison (6’1″,b.1982) and Greg Finley (6′,b.1984), respectively. Mison is best known for the “Sleepy Hollow” series, but he can also be seen in Mysterious Island, an episode of “Inspector Lewis”, and various romance/comedies. Finley has appeared in several episodes of “The Flash” and “iZombie” lately, but he has also been in Hypothermia, “Star-Crossed”, and episodes of “CSI” and “Law & Order: SVU”. Then we have a 20-something Sue played by Eliza Taylor (5’5″,b.1989). She is best known in the U.S. for her starring role in “The 100”, though she’s also appeared in The November Man and Patrick. Finally, the role of Johnny in his early- to mid-20s goes to the youthful Lucas Till (5’10”,b.1990). Till, whom others have also suggested for Johnny, is known for portraying Alex Summers/Havok in the X-Men films and most recently in the title role of the new “MacGyver” TV series.

James Badge Dale

James Badge Dale

Domenick Lombardozzi

Domenick Lombardozzi

Brittany Snow

Brittany Snow

Luke Bracey

Luke Bracey

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second team is a little older, with Reed in his mid- to late-30s and Ben pushing 40. Our stretchy team-leader is played by my first choice, James Badge Dale (5’10”,b.1978), whom you may recall from “24”, “The Pacific”, “Rubicon”, World War Z, and 13 Hours. The role of Benjy goes to Domenick Lombardozzi (6′,b.1976) from “The Wire”, “Breakout Kings”, “Boardwalk Empire”, Bridge of Spies, and “Rosewood”. (While looking for a photo of him for this post, I found that someone else cast him for Ben, too. Great minds…. I will note that I think Lombardozzi’s voice is all wrong for Ben/Thing, so he’d either need to learn to talk without his usual Bronx accent and/or someone else’s voice would need to be dubbed in.) Sue is in her mid- to late-20s and portrayed by Brittany Snow (5’4″,b.1986). Snow can be seen in “American Dreams” and the Pitch Perfect movies, along with such genre fare as Prom Night, Black Water Transit, and the upcoming Hangman. Sue’s younger brother Johnny is played by Luke Bracey (6′,b.1989), who is known for his roles in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The November Man, the Point Break remake, and the recent Hacksaw Ridge.

Alright, those are my picks for Marvel’s First Family — not counting Reed and Sue’s kids that come along later, of course. I’m thinking it might be time to fan-cast some villains next. We’ll see…

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2017.

Fan-Cast: Highlander Reboot

“There can be only one!”

Ah, the Highlander! Great concept, awesome film (1986)! (I’m sure I don’t have to explain what it’s about, right?) Perfect? No. But, despite a few flaws, I would easily rank it among my favorites. The sequels, on the other hand, left a *lot* to be desired. (Not sure I even watched the last couple.) The “Highlander” TV series was fairly popular — my brother was a big fan –, though I never watched much of it or the TV movie follow-up. I’m not sure I ever watched the (ironically) short-lived “Highlander: The Raven” spinoff series, either. (I found series star Elizabeth Gracen quite attractive, however.)

highlander-titleIn case you were unaware, Lionsgate has been trying since 2008 — when they acquired the rights — to breathe new life into the franchise. It was announced last month that Chad Stahelski, one of the John Wick co-directors, has signed on to helm the Highlander reboot film. This follows false starts with various other directors (e.g., Justin Lin). Also, Ryan Reynolds was once attached as the lead, Dave Bautista as The Kurgan, and Tom Cruise rumored for Ramirez. I hope we dodged that bullet! (I’m OK with Bautista, but I think the other two would be big mistakes.)

Here’s what Stahelski had to say:

“I’ve been a huge fan of the original property since I saw it in high school. Such great themes of immortality, love, and identity are all wrapped up in such colorful mythology. I can’t think of a better property that gives the opportunity to create interesting characters, mythic themes and action set pieces.”

The studio is looking for new writers to tackle the project. I know the screenplay probably won’t exactly mirror the original movie, but I really hope they keep at least the main story and characters, not to mention much of the look, feel, and themes of the original. Also, the music in the original was, I think, a big part of its appeal. So, I hope they re-use at least a couple of the Queen songs (e.g., “Princes of the Universe”, “Who Wants to Live Forever”). Unfortunately, Michael Kamen passed away several years ago, so they can’t bring him back as composer/conductor for the orchestral pieces. Maybe Danny Elfman? No news, yet, about potential stars, so I offer my suggestions below.

Note: I am limiting myself to the 4 principal characters — yes, I’m assuming they’ll still use ‘The Kurgan’ — but addressing them all in this one post. So, in an effort to cover multiple candidates for each, I will be much more limited than usual in the accompanying text. Slight change to format, too.

Connor MacLeod / Russell Edwin Nash

Using the 1986 movie as our reference point, the main character is a 30-ish-looking Scotsman, perhaps 6′ or a little less, with a fit but not overly-muscular build. (Christopher Lambert (5’11”,b.1957) was in his late 20s at the time and not particularly muscular.) I’d like to get a native Scotsman for the role, but the important thing is that he can do a good (and understandable) Scottish accent. (Almost anything would be better than the French(ish) accent that Lambert had. Was he even trying?!) Oh, and he should look competent wielding a broadsword.

Not being familiar with a *lot* of actors from the UK, I went looking at the cast of “Game of Thrones” and found one that might fit the bill. Gethin Anthony (5’9.75″,b.1983), who played Renly Baratheon, is the right build and just within height parameters. Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling (6’0.5″,b.1980) is my oldest candidate but can still pass for early 30s. He’s a fine actor and even has some Scottish heritage. Then, we have the Australian Jai Courtney (6’1″,b.1986), who is exactly 30 (at the moment, anyway). He is perhaps a little beefier than the other two, but that’s OK, and he has been racking up an impressive genre resume.

Gethin Anthony

Gethin Anthony

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

Jai Courtney

Jai Courtney

 

 

 

 

 


Brenda J. Wyatt

Miss Wyatt, the love-interest who first gets onto MacLeod’s trail in modern-day NYC, was a forensic scientist working for (with?) the NYPD. I hope they retain that aspect of the character, though “investigative journalist” — however stereotypical — might be acceptable. The only real requirements here are that she be attractive, roughly the same age as the lead, have on-screen chemistry with him, and be believable in the part. Without elaboration, I present the following three lovely and talented actresses who could fill the role: Scottie Thompson (5’7″,b.1981), Sarah Lancaster (5’8.5″,b.1980), Megan Markle (5’7″,b.1981).

Scottie Thompson

Scottie Thompson

Sarah Lancaster

Sarah Lancaster

Megan Markle

Megan Markle

 

 

 

 

 


Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez

Since my ideal pick, Ricardo Montalban, is long dead and gone, I’ve managed to come up with a few more suggestions for this Egyptian immortal who long-ago adopted a Spanish name & identity. I’m flexible regarding height and build, though within reason, but preferably reasonably fit and believable as a master swordsman. Sean Connery was in his mid-50s when he played the part. My preference would be to cast someone pretty close to that, but the right person might convince me to go younger or older. The actor must also be credible in the role of MacLeod’s teacher/mentor, of course, and Connery’s shoes — though he may have seemed an odd choice at the time — will be hard to fill.

Assuming the producers go with a Latino, “Game of Thrones”‘s Pedro Pascal (5’11”,b.1975) might be an interesting choice. The main drawback here is that he’s in his early 40s. Antonio Banderas (5’8.5″,b.1960), on the other hand, is a tad on the short side but might be just right. We know Banderas is adept at both drama and humor, often mixing the two. Also, like Pascal, he has some experience with swordfighting. Finally, while I couldn’t find an Egyptian actor, I found one who once played an Egyptian mummy. Arnold Vosloo (6’2″,b.1962), who is actually South African, could be a great Ramirez. He’s the correct age, and I know he’s got the talent. (Note: I purposely chose pics of Vosloo and Banderas with beards to show the gray, like Connery’s Ramirez, though he had much less.)

Pedro Pascal

Pedro Pascal

Antonio Banderas

Antonio Banderas

Arnold Vosloo

Arnold Vosloo

 

 

 

 

 


Victor Kruger / The Kurgan

The Kurgan, as played by the terrific Clancy Brown, is truly a great genre villain. His imposing physicality, deep voice, Goth-cum-punk appearance, ruthless and somewhat psychotic behavior combine to make him a beloved baddie. I don’t expect the reboot to have the Kurgan look and act exactly the same, but I hope he is still a mix of brooding and psycho-killer. (More than just a “Terminator”, anyway.) Brown (6’3.5″,b.1959) is actually a couple years younger than Lambert, putting him in his mid-20s during filming. However, I think it better to find someone who is in his 30s, possibly 40s. He obviously must be physically imposing, so I propose a few athletic candidates that are over 6’6″.

Ex-NFLer Matthew Willig (6’6.5″,b.1969), whom we saw as “Lash” on Season 3 of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, has the right look. Robert Maillet (6’10”,b.1969), from “The Strain” and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, has a similar look. Of course, Willig and Maillet are already heading into their late 40s; but, they are also still very physically fit and active. Oh, did I mention that Maillet went by “Kurrgan” when he wrestled for the WWF? Now, for someone younger, slightly shorter, but even beefier, there’s always Icelandic Strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (6’9″,b.1988), who played Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane in “Game of Thrones”. Not sure about Willig, but Maillet and Björnsson have each done some swordfighting, too.

Matthew Willig

Matthew Willig

Robert Maillet

Robert Maillet

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, that’s it for this Fan-Casting exercise. Let me know if you liked any of my picks, OK? L8r…

Fan-Cast: Green Arrow

“At my core, I wasn’t a hero. I was a hunter.”  — Green Arrow, Justice League: Rise and Fall Special (2010)

Given how popular the “Arrow” TV series is, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to fan-cast ol’ Ollie. Originally, I planned to do this last week, before season 5 started — just ‘cuz. But, then I watched Batman v. Superman and decided I needed to get my thoughts down about it while it was fresh in my mind. And then I had no time to write another post… Oh, well. No biggie.

I’ve stated before that I like the current show, though some of the liberties they’ve taken with the character’s appearance (inc. costume, associates, etc.) have bothered me a bit. I don’t claim to be an expert on the character, but I’ve read enough to know that the personality/behavior of the current, live-action incarnation doesn’t quite match the comics version. Of course, as usual, I’m basing my analysis and preferences on the pre-52, “New Earth” version. I don’t know what the current, “Prime Earth” version is like, except that the pic I’ve seen has him beardless, much like the on-screen Ollie.

Alright, here goes…

Green Arrow

green-arrow-by-alex-rossOliver Queen was a rich kid with a talent for archery and a “thing” for Robin Hood. He was your typical, shallow playboy, until he was shipwrecked and had to fend for himself on a remote island. Between fighting drug smugglers on the island and generally trying to survive, Queen became very self-reliant and perfected his already formidable skills with the bow. Once he managed to find his way back to civilization, he embarked upon a vigilante mission to clean up crime in Star City. Like Batman, he used his fortune to outfit an “Arrow Cave”, build an “Arrow Car”, and eventually took on a legal ward, Roy Harper, who fought alongside him as Speedy (later known as Arsenal, then Red Arrow).

Despite his affinity for trick arrows, some of them goofy, Queen has serious skills as an archer — speed, accuracy, trick-shots, often while moving. Many consider him to be one of the, if not the, best archer(s) in the world. In addition to his skills with the bow, Queen is proficient with the sword and various firearms. He has also become an expert acrobat and is accomplished in many forms of martial arts (e.g., judo, karate, escrima). The fact that he has earned the respect and trust of so many other costumed heroes, not to mention that he holds his own in battle alongside them, says a lot. Did I mention that Green Arrow has been a member of the Justice League and the Outsiders — off and on — for many years?

Queen has dealt with many hardships and tragedies in both of his identities, and he usually finds some way to blame himself even when matters were out of his control. His on-again/off-again romance with Black Canary is legendary, though their abiding love for one another — even while on the outs — has gotten them through a lot of tough times (e.g., loss of fortune, drug addiction, severe injury, deaths and (sometimes) rebirths). He is also best buddies with the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and they have had some quite memorable adventures together. As a civilian, Queen’s (in)famous, socially progressive, left-wing politics have both driven him and been a problem. He was even Mayor of Star City for a while, during which he also managed to regain his fortune (though the means were ethically questionable). On the plus side, his various personal and professional misfortunes have helped to temper Queen’s ego and matured him a bit.

hooded-green-arrow-with-compound-bowGreen Arrow, even when the name was temporarily adopted by someone other than Queen (e.g., Oliver’s estranged son, Connor Hawke), has always had a “Robin Hood” motif going on. Of course, there have been changes to the costume details now and then — e.g., the pointy, Medieval-style cap was replaced in later years with the hood. Queen has varied the amount and style of facial whiskers over the years, too. (I understand why they went with nothing more than scruff for the TV version, but it still irks me that we don’t get the iconic look.) Originally, he only used a longbow, but he eventually shifted over to a compound bow.

Queen often comes across as somewhat reckless and irresponsible, and he is… sometimes. But, he can also be quite serious, with a tendency towards the aforementioned guilt-ridden brooding surpassed only by Batman. In his lighter moods, he’s the type of guy that likes to kick back a few brews with the guys. (We never see that on “Arrow”.) Physically, Oliver Queen is an exceptionally fit white man with blonde hair and (usually) beard. He was probably in his early- to mid-20s when he began adventuring, but he could be played by someone 10-15 years older than that, assuming the story takes place later in his career. DC’s wiki page (where I stole the above quote) puts him at 5’11”, 195 lbs.; I think anyone between 5’10” and 6’2″ or so would work. (Note: Stephen Amell is 6’1″ and Justin Hartley is 6’2.5″.)

I didn’t really “pass up” other actors this time. Well, except for one, and oddly enough he is my first choice. Ever since I saw a bearded Charlie Hunnam (6’1″,b.1980), I thought he would be perfect for the role. Still do, especially if they use the whiskers. But, everybody and his brother has been casting Charlie as Ollie, too, and I wanted to focus on a few other actors that could possibly do a great job, as well. Thus, we have the following three candidates, just in case the powers-that-be decide to have a big-screen version of Green Arrow….

Garrett Hedlund

Garrett Hedlund

While checking out IMDB for this, I noticed that someone there suggested Garrett Hedlund (6’2.5″,b.1984) for GA, so I’m obviously not the only one thinking along those lines. I’m surprised he doesn’t have more credits to his name by this point in his career, but he does have some genre stuff. You may have seen him in Troy, Eragon, Death Sentence, TRON: Legacy, or maybe last year’s Pan. He has the looks, the build, and the talent to be a pretty convincing Oliver Queen / Green Arrow.

 

 

Matt Barr

Matt Barr

To be honest, I don’t remember what I saw Matt Barr (6’1″,b.1984) in, but I guess it was enough for me to take note. He has appeared in three “CSI” shows, “Harper’s Island”, Wreckage, 7 Below, and starred in “Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story”. One look at his stint on “Sleepy Hollow” (see pic), though, and I can definitely see a potential Oliver Queen. Heck, his pants even look green in that one! Btw, according to IMDB trivia, Barr was a runner-up to play Barry Allen / The Flash in “Arrow”.

 

Jason Mac

Jason Mac

Jason Mac (6’2″,b.~1985) hasn’t had many big roles, as far as I can tell. However, he has shown up in “The Vampire Diaries”, “Midnight Cabaret”, “It’s Supernatural”, “Revolution”, Infliction, and “NCIS: Los Angeles”, among others. I couldn’t find any images of him with more than a little scruff, so I opted to show his physique — slim but muscular. If he beefed up a little and grew out his beard a bit, I think he might make a fine emerald archer.

 

 

OK, folks, that’s another fan-cast done. Comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

Fan-Cast: Moon Knight

“I am vengeance! I am justice!”  — Moon Knight

Almost a year ago, I wrote a 2-parter called “7 Marvel Properties that Should Be on TV”, and the first property I discussed was Moon Knight. (If some of the text below sounds familiar, it’s because I “borrowed” from the earlier post.) In fact, there has been talk of a “Moon Knight” series being developed for Netflix since at least April 2015, though I am not aware of any confirmation of them moving into production. Not even a place-holder entry on IMDB. Still, it seems a (super)natural fit with the other Marvel properties that Netflix has been working on. And, naturally, I have a few ideas about who might portray our hero. But, first…

Moon Knight

moon-knight-5-moon-knight-finchI’ll keep the usual origin/history of the character a bit briefer than usual, ‘cuz I want room to present six candidates rather than the usual three.

Moon Knight is part Batman, part Punisher, with some unique “issues” and abilities thrown in. Marc Spector is a former U.S. Marine-turned-CIA operative-turned-mercenary who died(?) and was brought back by the Egyptian moon god “Khonshu”, who inspired the Moon Knight persona for fighting crime (and Khonshu’s enemies). He also created for himself the alternate identities of successful financier “Steven Grant” and taxicab driver “Jake Lockley”, both of which serve his purposes as adventurer/vigilante. So, we have a rich guy with deadly skills and fancy toys who fights crime in costume (sound familiar?), who also struggles with keeping his multiple personalities straight; plus, there is the mystical connection with his serving as the “Fist of Khonshu”.

With friends & associates like Jean-Paul ‘Frenchie’ DuChamp and Marlene Alraune, and sometimes with other superheroes (e.g., Avengers) and vigilantes (e.g., Punisher), he has fought mercenaries, serial killers, assassins, mobsters, werewolves, and supervillains. It helps that he (or Khonshu) can increase his strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, durability, healing ability, resistance to pain, and his fractured psyche gives him limited immunity to telepathic control. Of course, he has plenty of other offensive and defensive skills from his training as a Marine, CIA operative, and merc — e.g., detective, pilot, marksman, interrogator, boxer, martial artist, and master of many weapons. His weapons of choice are a truncheon and throwing crescents. The toughest part of being the Moon Knight, though, may be simply holding onto his sanity.

Moon-Knight-IdentitiesAs I recall, the Marc Spector personality is somewhat gruff, whereas Grant is more refined and Lockley is friendly but a bit roguish. Moon Knight is often, though not always, the silent type, usually focused on a mission and/or vengeance, which tends to preoccupy him a lot. On the other hand, it has been ages since I read anything with the character, so I could be a little off. Anyway, as you can gather from this second pic, he is an attractive, well-built white man with brown hair and a scar over his left eye. Marvel’s wiki lists him at 6’2″, 225 lbs., so an athletically-built white guy in the 5’11” to 6’4″ range should work. The fact that he has already spent several years in the U.S. Marines, then in the CIA, then as a mercenary, tells us he was probably in his 30s when he gained his powers (and mission) from Khonshu. Theoretically, he could get all that experience while still in his 20s, but I always felt he was older. I would say anywhere from 30 to 40 would work, but my preference would be early- to mid-30s.

Normally, at this point I would list a few actors and/or athletes that I considered briefly but ruled out for one or more reasons. And, technically, I could have ruled out one on each end of my age parameters this time. But, I decided they were all worth presenting for your consideration. So, here is our six man line-up, in order of oldest to youngest…

gorham-christopher - shirtless, dogtags, camo pants

Christopher Gorham

You might remember Christopher Gorham (6′,b.1974) from “Odyssey 5” or “Jake 2.0” or “Covert Affairs” or maybe something of another genre. He has also done a little voice work, including as The Flash in a few animated Justice League movies and as the Wizard of Oz in “Once Upon a Time”. He may be on the slim side, but I used a shirtless pic of him so you could see that he’s in good shape. (Or, at least, he was a couple years ago.) And, yes, he is over 40, but he can pass for younger.

 

 

Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins (5’11”,b.1976) should be familiar to genre fans, ‘cuz that’s mostly what he does. For example, he has been in “Mutant X”, Unleashed, Undisputed 2 and Undisputed 3, The Bourne Ultimatum, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Expendables 2, The Legend of Hercules, “Metal Hurlant Chronicles”, Jarhead 3: The Siege, and he’ll be in Doctor Strange. He definitely has the look and the martial arts skills, but his acting is a little stiff. Just turned 40, too.

 

 

Dylan Bruce

Dylan Bruce

I have mentioned Dylan Bruce (6′,b.1980) in at least a couple other fan-cast posts. I know him from “Arrow”, “Heroes Reborn”, and “Orphan Black”, but he has also appeared in Unstoppable, “NCIS”, “Motive”, and “American Gothic”. He’s got the look and muscular build we need for MK, and he can do action. I don’t know if he has the acting range, but I’m willing to give him a shot.

 

 

Philip Winchester

Philip Winchester

Philip Winchester (6’1″,b.1981) is another beefy, square-jawed guy that could do quite well, I think, as our slightly unbalanced vigilante / “Fist of Khonshu”. I know him best from “Strike Back”, but he has also starred in the short-lived “Crusoe” and “The Player”. He also appeared in Solomon Kane, “Warehouse 13”, “Fringe”, “Camelot”, and “24: Live Another Day”. Winchester was classically trained in London, so I’m sure he can pull off the various personalities required.

 

 

Toby Kebbell

Toby Kebbell

Toby Kebbell (6’2″,b.1982) may be a bit of a surprise, but I think he could be an interesting choice. We already know he can play the brooding, unpredictable type. You may recall him from Alexander, RocknRolla, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Wrath of the Titans, or 2015’s disappointing Fantastic Four (which I recently reviewed). He was also in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Warcraft, though unrecognizable behind heavy makeup and/or CGI.

 

Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Youngest in our list is Oliver Jackson-Cohen (6’3″,b.1986), who I became aware of from his portrayal of a very intense contract killer in Faster (w/ Dwayne Johnson). He had some workout scenes that showed he was in very good shape (though on the lean side), and he became quite familiar with guns, too. He has also appeared in such genre fare as The Raven, “Dracula”, and the upcoming “Emerald City”. Not my first choice, but he could definitely handle the gig.

Well, I’ve given you more choices than usual this time. What do you think? Any of them strike you as a particularly good or bad fit?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

Fan-Cast: Jessica Jones

“#@&*%$!!”  — Jessica Jones, on any given day

Because no one demanded it, but I said I’d do it, here are my fan-casting efforts for Jessica Jones. When I did Luke Cage last month, I mentioned that I had skipped over Ms. Jones and would get back to her. I am actually following up on that sooner than I thought I would, for a change. As usual, I hope ya like it!

Jessica Jones

"The Pulse" cover by Mayhew

“The Pulse” cover by Mayhew

Once upon a time, Jessica Cambell was a sweet, young high-schooler and classmate of Peter Parker. Then, she and her family were in an auto accident, where they were killed and she was exposed to radioactive chemicals and fell into a coma. Months later, Jessica woke up, was eventually adopted by the Jones family, and soon discovered she had superhuman powers. Inspired by Spider-Man, she had a brief and not-very-successful career as a costumed superhero named “Jewel”. This ended thanks to an encounter with the supervillain “Killgrave, the Purple Man”, under whose psycho-pheromonal thrall she remained for eight months, and during which she fought a few of the Avengers.

After recovering from Killgrave’s influence, the psychologically-scarred and embittered Jones tried being a hardened vigilante named “Knightress”. That didn’t go well, either, but at least she met Luke Cage. Retiring the costume and alias, Jones started up a private detective agency called “Alias Investigations”. Many of her cases involved superhumans of one sort or another. So, naturally, she also crossed paths with several heroes — e.g., Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, various other Avengers and X-Men. She even briefly dated former Ant-Man, Scott Lang. Some in the superhero community didn’t like that she sometimes took on cases involving her former colleagues, but she also assisted the heroes on occasion. She also became best friends with Carol Danvers (aka Ms. Marvel, later Captain Marvel), and she worked with, dated, had a kid with, and married Luke Cage. At one point, she worked as an investigative journalist, doing research (among other things) for Ben Urich on stories involving superhumans. When Cage was leading a faction of the Avengers, Jones took up the identity of “Jewel” again for awhile, but then rechristened herself “Power Woman”.

Jessica Jones - smokingSome artists have drawn Jones as a typically gorgeous heroine with hourglass figure. Personally, I prefer a more realistic approach, such as Michael Gaydos’ version in the “Alias” series and the last few issues of “The Pulse”. I also really like Mike Mayhew’s covers (see first pic). She’s still quite attractive — what I would call “cute” — and has a pretty good figure, but she doesn’t look like a supermodel. When she was a private investigator (and maybe as an investigative journalist), she was rather rough around the edges — i.e., jaded, hard-drinking and smoking, swearing like a sailor. She may have let herself go a little physically, then, too. While I haven’t read very many stories of her life after having little Danielle, I’m guessing that she cleaned up her act a bit. Probably got in better physical shape, too. Not surprisingly, she is fiercely protective of her family; and, while a reluctant hero, she will put her life on the line when necessary.

[Btw, here’s what the executive producer of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” had to say about F-bombs and skin… “Melissa Rosenberg Reveals What Marvel Wouldn’t Let Her Use in ‘Jessica Jones'”.]

Cover by David Mack

Cover by David Mack

Jones is a fairly slim, white female with varying shades of brown hair (or pink, when adventuring as “Jewel”). Marvel’s wiki lists her as 5’7″, 124 lbs. Obviously, we want an actress to portray her who is at least in the ballpark heightwise — say, 5’4″ to 5’9″. Her age could vary, depending on how early the writers/producers want to start the story. The Netflix show opted to hire someone in her early-to-mid-30s (Krysten Ritter, 5’9″, b.1981) to play Jones close to that age — 30ish(?). That’s fine, though given that she was probably still a teen during her time with Killgrave, I figured she was in her mid-20s when she started the P.I. gig. So, I could also see casting someone under 30 who can pass for mid-20s.

Who do I have in mind? Glad you asked…

The first person I ever thought of for this role was Linda Cardellini (5’3″,b.1975), known for roles in Scooby Doo movies (live and animated), “ER”, and recently as Hawkeye’s wife in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Alas, she is both too old and too short. Sarah Jones (5’3″,b.1983) of “Alcatraz” and “Vegas” could be great, but she’s too short and too classically pretty. I think Jamie-Lynn Sigler (5’3″,b.1981) could be great as Jessica Jones, too; but, I had to cut her due to her height, too. Chloe Bennet (5’6″,b.1992) of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” also has the right look, she fits the younger age requirement, plus she’s right in our desired height range. But,… she’d have to pull double duty as two Marvel characters, and that would be weird. And, that brings us to our 3 finalists…

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Genre fans will, of course, recognize the appropriately-named Jewel Staite (5’5.5″,b.1982) from her roles on “Firefly”/Serenity and “Stargate: Atlantis”. She has also appeared on “Warehouse 13”, “Supernatural”, “The Killing”, and “Legends of Tomorrow”. I tend to think of her as sweet Kaylee from “Firefly”, but she has played more mature characters, of course, even those with a bit of a hard edge. So, I think she could pull off the “Jessica Jones” character just fine.

 

 

Vanessa Ray

Vanessa Ray

Vanessa Ray (5’4″,b.1981) came on my radar in the first season of “Suits”, but then she got the regular gig as a police officer on “Blue Bloods”. She’s cute/pretty with a slightly funny nose, such that she reminds me of a cross between Gaydos’ and Mayhew’s versions of Jessica Jones. She barely meets our height requirement, but I think her look is just perfect for the role. (Assuming she goes brunette, of course.) I’d love to see her sink her teeth into a darker, edgier character like Jones.

 

 

Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte

Youngest (and slightly tallest) of my candidates is Tamara Duarte (5’6″,b.1991), who I first saw on a few episodes in the final season of “Haven”. She has also appeared in shows like “Warehouse 13”, “Being Erica”, Dead on Campus, and “Longmire”. I think she has a really good look for “Jessica Jones”, and her character on “Haven” shows she can play cynical, bad attitude. If a series or movie was in need of a 20-something version of Jones, Duarte might be their best bet.

Alrighty, that’s another Fan-Cast down and out for the world to see. (“Down and out”. Heh!) Got problems with my choices? Fire away!

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

Fan-Cast: Luke Cage

“Sweet Christmas!”  — Luke Cage, very 70s-sounding catchphrase

Naturally, when I started fan-casting the stars of the Marvel/Netflix series, I began with Daredevil and his primary supporting characters. For some reason, I skipped over Jessica Jones, but I’ll get back to her. Then, due to some attention he/it was getting in the press, I jumped to Iron Fist, even though his series won’t debut until 2017. Now, I decided to go ahead and fan-cast Luke Cage, whose series will debut at the end of this September.

Of course, we have already met the live-action Netflix version of Luke Cage in the “Jessica Jones” series, as played by Mike Colter. As I said in my review of that series, “Mike Colter is a better Luke Cage than I had anticipated, though ideally the character should be a little taller, have more muscle mass, and act/sound a bit more “street”, in order to be faithful to the source material.” I stand by that. However, it is becoming increasingly evident how difficult it is to find someone who has the right look, build (especially w/ big muscles), and has any acting talent. (More on that in a moment…)

Luke Cage

Luke Cage - old-styleFor those who aren’t all that familiar with Luke Cage from the comics, I’ll try to boil it down for you…. Carl Lucas was a gangbanger from Harlem who eventually tried to go straight. His best friend, William Stryker, was still in the gangs and made the mistake of ticking off the Maggia (aka The Syndicate). Maggia thugs gave Stryker a serious beating, until Lucas stepped in and fought them off. Unfortunately, Stryker blamed Lucas for his girlfriend breaking up with him, so he framed Lucas for heroin possession. Lucas went to prison, where he was consumed with rage and resentment, and he was not exactly a model prisoner. After a transfer to Seagate Prison in Georgia, he also became the target of a brutal prison guard. Lucas agreed to be experimented on by Dr. Noah Burstein, who had developed a variation of the Super-Soldier process. The sadistic guard tried to sabotage the experiment, in hopes of injuring or killing Lucas. In the end, the experiment was more successful than anticipated, and Lucas gained superhuman strength (which has greatly increased in the years since), stamina, and durability (including bulletproof/knifeproof skin).

Luke-Cage-Marvel-Comics-Max-era-aLucas used his new powers to break out of prison and escaped to New York, where he adopted the name “Luke Cage” and worked as a “Hero for Hire.” For awhile, he gave himself the professional moniker “Power Man”, but he later dropped it. Over the years, Cage has battled many conventional and costumed and/or powered criminals, including his old friend Stryker. He was eventually cleared of criminal charges and became friends and even colleagues with many superheroes — e.g., Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Punisher, etc. He has worked in various incarnations of the Defenders, Avengers, and (briefly) Fantastic Four. But, he is best known for his repeated partnering with Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, sometimes under the business name of “Heroes for Hire”. Cage and Rand are also frequently joined, personally and/or professionally, by the bionic-armed Mercedes “Misty” Knight (who will debut in “Luke Cage”) and the katana-wielding Colleen Wing (who will debut in “Iron Fist”). In later years, Cage met, befriended, dated, fathered a child with, and then married the superpowered Jessica Jones.

Luke Cage - very ripped white t-shirtLuke Cage is a very tall (6’6″), heavily-muscled (400+ lbs.), African-American male. The early 70s version (see 1st pic) has him with a short afro, and in the early 2000s (see 2nd pic), it was a bit closer cropped. Nowadays, he shaves his head and sometimes has a little facial hair (see 3rd pic). He is generally a pretty laid-back, cool cat (does that sound 70s?). But, if he gets ticked off, look out! He is a “self-taught hand-to-hand combatant with years of street fighting experience” and additional training with Iron Fist. He can also toss around Mack trucks and go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest superpowered bruisers out there. He has a big heart (metaphorically speaking) and is steadfastly loyal to his friends, come thick or thin. He is smart, self-educated in the law, knows several languages, and is an inspiring and charismatic speaker. But, any portrayal of the character should not forget that he spent several years in a criminal gang in Harlem, and he feels most comfortable on those streets.

I’m pretty sure Cage was in his early 20s when he got his powers. For a live-action depiction of his “origin”, I certainly wouldn’t want the actor to be over 30; mid-20s would be better. But, given Cage’s physical attributes, it is hard enough to find someone that comes close, no matter what age. And, of course, it would be nice if he had some acting talent. As usual, I considered several actors and athletes, most of which I rejected for being too old, too short, too pretty, too ugly, not black enough (e.g., “The Rock”), etc. I figured my best bet was to ease up on the height requirement — say, keep it to at least 6’2″ — and then find someone under 40 with some muscles and, if need be, hope he is willing to bulk up even further. Terry Crews (6’2.5″,b.1968) looks great and is in amazing shape, but he’s already in his late 40s. Similarly, wrestler Bob Sapp (6’5or7″,b.1973), whom I suggested to play “B.A.” in The A-Team, though he is a few years younger. Others I looked at include Henry Simmons (6’4″,b.1970), LaMonica Garrett (6’2″,b.1975), Mario D’Leon (6’5″,b.????), Boris Kodjoe (6’3.5″,b.1973), Billy Brown (6’2.5″,b.~1970), Michael Jai White (6’1″,b.1967), Erik King (5’8or10″,b.1963), Mark “Rhino” Smith (5’10”,b.1969). Then, I went looking at a few more wrestlers, bodybuilders, even football players. [Note: It is amazing how many professional bodybuilders are/were under 5’9″!] I found Quentin “Rampage” Jackson (6′,b.1978), Bobby Lashley (6’1″,b.1976), Phil “The Gift” Heath (5’9″,b.1979), Lee Haney (5’11”?,b.1959), Ettore Ewen (aka Big E Langston) (5’11”,b.1986), Lincoln Brodrick (6′,b.1984), and, finally, my top three candidates for Cage…

Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo (6’3or4″,b.1986) obviously has the required minimum height and muscles, accompanied by athletic prowess. He is a linebacker who played several years with the Washington Redskins, before moving to the Tennessee Titans in 2015, and he is known for both his speed and strength. But, his main advantage here is his youth. On the other hand, as a professional football player, he has the least experience as an “entertainer”. I have no idea if he has any acting talent.

Titus O'Neil

Titus O’Neil

Titus O’Neil (6’4″ (billed at 6’6″),b.1977) — real name Thaddeus Michael Bullard Sr. — is a retired pro-footballer who is now a popular wrestler with the WWE. He is older than I would prefer. Otoh, he is (obviously) another biiiig dude who could play our hero. The fact that he is used to playing a role and performing for the audience gives me hope that he might have some acting chops, as well. O’Neil and Orakpo both have fairly deep voices, too, which I think Cage should have.

 

 

Ezekiel Jackson

Ezekiel Jackson

Rycklon Stephens, aka Ezekiel Jackson (6’3or4″,b.1978), is another tall and (very) muscular wrestler — formerly WWE, now independent — who just might do “Luke Cage” justice. He is the most massive of our three candidates, which works in his favor for this role. As with O’Neil, I am cautiously optimistic of his acting ability. Unfortunately, his voice isn’t as deep as those of the other two, which works slightly against him. Still, can you imagine finally having a superhero on-screen with a physique like that?

Comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

Fan-Cast: A-Team Reboot, part 2

A-Team - Season 5 DVDContinuing from last week, I am re-casting for the in-development “A-Team” remake/reboot. Don’t know for sure how many of the original characters will return, let alone in what gender, but I’m sticking with a “traditional” casting. In the original show, I think “Hannibal” was 10-20 years older than the other three core members. So, these should be experienced soldiers who are (or look) in their mid-30s to mid-40s.

B.A.

First, the muscle of the group: Sgt. Bosco Albert “B.A.” Baracus. As per the original, he’s gotta be big and black and have a “bad attitude”. But, the character also has a soft side. Not sure if the overabundance of gold chains would still work, but maybe. Anyway, I considered both Michael Jai White (6’1″,b.1967) and Terry Crews (6’2.5″,b.1968). Either would be great, I’m sure, but they are a few years older than I’d prefer.

Bob Sapp

Bob Sapp

"Kimbo Slice"

“Kimbo Slice”

Instead, I suggest Bob Sapp (6’5or7″,b.1973) or Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (6’2″,b.1974). Both Sapp and Ferguson are in their early 40s, fit the physical requirements, and are even more muscular than Mr. T was. As wrestlers, they are used to playing very physical, over-the-top characters and could have a lot of fun with the “B.A.” role, I’m sure. Ferguson is my preference, mostly ‘cuz he has that “wild man” sort of persona.

 

“Faceman”

Templeton Peck may be a soldier, but he is also somewhat of a con artist, who uses his (very) good looks and charm to convince others to do or give him just about whatever he wants. He’s a snappy dresser, likes fast cars and expensive things. He’s roughly 6′ tall, in good shape but more lean than muscular. I considered both Max Brown (6’2″,b.1981) and David Paetkau (5’10”,b.1972) but eventually decided on three others as better choices.

Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs

Ian Anthony Dale

Ian Anthony Dale

Ian Anthony Dale (5’11”,b.1978) should be a familiar face to genre fans, having had starring or supporting roles in “Charmed”, “Surface”, “Day Break”, “The Event”, “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”, and now “Hawaii Five-O” and “Murder in the First”. He’s also a great looking guy and would be believable as Peck, who continually amazes with his ability to acquire whatever is needed for the mission. Former model Taye Diggs (5’10”,b.1971) starred in “Day Break”, Equilibrium, has played a lawyer in a couple shows, as well as voiced Marvel’s Black Panther, and now stars in “Murder in the First”. He would also be quite believable as the charming and resourceful “Faceman”.

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

My third choice is Michael Weatherly (6’2″,b.1968), who will soon be leaving “NCIS”. When I first started thinking about re-casting “The A-Team” a couple years ago, Weatherly was the first guy that came to mind. His “NCIS” character is a bit of a handsome rogue, after all. Yes, he is already in his late 40s, but he can pass for younger, and I just think he would be perfect to play the “Faceman”.

 

 

Murdock

They don’t call H.M. Murdock “Howlin’ Mad” for nothing. Sometimes he seems quite sane — almost normal, even. Other times, he’ll go off on some oddball, Shakespearean rant or maybe demand at the top of his voice that he be given every trash bag in the place. He isn’t violent, just weird, unstable, and definitely unpredictable. On the other hand, he can fly just about anything with wings and/or rotors, which makes him quite valuable to the team. If we stick with Dwight Schultz as the model, Murdock should be lean, wiry, and quite physical.

Naturally, the first actor who came to mind for this was Jim Carrey (6’2″,b.1962). But, a) he’s too old, b) too expensive, and c) he’d probably steal the show (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing). I know there are more comedic actors out there who might be a good fit, but I had trouble coming up with many. I did, however, think of two that fit the bill. They are both in their mid-40s, which is a little older than I’d prefer. But, as long as they are fairly fit….

Silas Weir Mitchell

Silas Weir Mitchell

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lillard (6’4″,b.1970) does a lot of voice work these days, mostly as ‘Shaggy’ on various Scooby-Doo productions. But, he can also be seen on “Bosch”, and in the past he has been in “The Bridge”, Deep Dark Canyon, Return to Nim’s Island, Messages Deleted, In the Name of the King, Thir13en Ghosts, Wing Commander, SLC Punk, Scream, Hackers, etc. Some of his characters are just weird, even nuts, so… I thought of him. Silas Weir Mitchell (6’2.5or3″,b.1972or1969) is seen regularly as beloved blutbad ‘Monroe’ on “Grimm” these days, but it was his role as the psycho inmate named ‘Haywire’ on “Prison Break” that made me first think of him as a potential ‘Murdock’. Just f.y.i., he has also appeared in “Dark Skies”, The Patriot, “The X-Files”, “The Pretender”, “24”, “Birds of Prey”, Fist of the Warrior, The Gray Man, the Halloween II remake (2009), and three CSI series. On the one hand, Mitchell would make a great “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock; on the other, I’d hate to seem him leave “Grimm”.

Before we go, let’s throw in an attractive female journalist, a la Amy Allen or Tawnia Baker. I came up with two actresses I thought would do a great job in the role, though I’m sure there are others….

Scottie Thompson

Scottie Thompson

Shantel VanSanten

Shantel VanSanten

Scottie Thompson (5’7″,b.1981) has been seen in “NCIS”, “12 Monkeys”, “Zoo”, “The Blacklist”, “Nikita”, Skyline, Star Trek (2009), and others. I can definitely picture her as an intrepid, investigative journalist who finds herself aiding-and-abetting a group of framed do-gooders. Same goes for “One Tree Hill” alum Shantel VanSanten (5’8″,b.1985), who was most recently in “The Flash”. Prior to that, you may have seen her in The Final Destination, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Glades”, Something Wicked, “Gang Related”, or “The Messengers”. She’s another one that I can see as a “plucky reporter”-cum-sidekick.

That about does it, ladies ‘n gents. As always, let me know what you think. ‘Til next time…