Continuing on from last week’s post (not the Leonard Nimoy tribute), I’ve come up with some potential candidates to portray Foggy Nelson and Karen Page in a live-action adaptation of “Daredevil”. (What? There’s already one coming out next month on Netflix? Dang it!) I don’t know if any of them are “perfect”, but I think they’re pretty darn good!
Franklin “Foggy” Nelson
Foggy Nelson is Matt Murdock’s best friend from law school, confidante, law partner, boss (when Nelson briefly became District Attorney of New York City), and law partner again. They have been through thick and thin together (no pun intended), including many personal and professional ups & downs. Loyal friend that he is, Nelson also plays the serious “straight man” to Matt’s sometimes impulsive and/or irresponsible side and (once he was in the know) helps to keep Murdock’s secret identity safe. Physically, Nelson has been drawn as ranging from slightly to very “chunky”, though never (to my knowledge) obese. Marvel’s wiki lists him as 5’10”, 220 lbs, so that’s a pretty good place to start. I would broaden the height requirement to between 5’7″ and 6′ (or so).
It’s not enough to just cast a chunky guy for comic relief, else we could get someone like Patton Oswalt (5’3.5″,b.1969) or Jack Black (5’6″,b.1969). (Although, they are also too old for the part and below our height parameter.) Some have suggested Jonah Hill (5’7″,b.1983), but I’m not sure he’s believable in a serious role, especially as a competent attorney. As indicated above, the character goes through a lot, so the actor must be able to do comedy and drama, portraying a range of emotions believably. I considered Sean Murray (6’1.5″,b.1977) from “NCIS”, assuming he would put back on some of that extra weight he had in the early seasons. But, he is just a mite too tall and maybe too old. A pre-Guardians of the Galaxy Chris Pratt might have been a good choice, though I don’t know how much serious drama he has done. (He’s rather buff now, of course, and has his hands full with GotG and possibly an Indiana Jones reboot, among other things.) If we were casting this 10 years ago, I would consider Sean Astin (5’7″,b.1971), whom others have suggested, too. Since we aren’t, I’ve come up with these three, instead:
That’s right — Seth Rogen (5’11”,b.1982) of Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Interview fame. I know he usually does comedic stuff, but I think he might actually be able to pull this off, too. He has also been in “Freaks and Geeks”, Donnie Darko, The Green Hornet, and did voice work on things like Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs. Aliens. I’m not exactly a fan (except for that last movie), but at least he looks the part….
I admit, I wasn’t actually aware of James Corden (5’8″,b.1978) until I saw the ads and trailer for Into the Woods a few weeks ago. (Looks like a younger Andy Richter, no?) He’s older than I’d prefer but young-looking. He is a Brit, who has appeared in Heroes and Villains (actually a rom-com), Vampire Killers, Gulliver’s Travels, and “Doctor Who”. Even did a little voice work on Planet 51. I think he’d make a great Foggy Nelson.
If you are trying to place Josh McDermitt‘s (6’0.5″,b.1978) face, you are probably a fan of “The Walking Dead”. McDermitt has been playing the “odd” Dr. Eugene Porter — the man who knows the cure — since season 4. He is a stand-up comedian who only started acting a few years ago, but he has been in “Retired at 35” and a comedic video short called “Iron Man 2 Table Read”. Though the same age as Corden, he has also retained his youthful appearance, and I think he could be just right for ol’ Foggy.
Karen Page, of course, has a complicated and tragic role in the “Daredevil” mythos. She begins as a sweet, young secretary with a crush on one of her bosses, Matt Murdock. (Of course, Nelson also falls for her.) Often the damsel in distress who gets saved by Daredevil and/or another hero, Page does eventually become romantically involved with Murdock for a while. She later pursues an acting career, but, thanks to bad decisions and bad luck, she falls into prostitution, drug addiction, and pornography. Though she betrays Matt/DD, Murdock reconciles with her. Unfortunately, she is killed by the supervillain Bullseye. Depending on how closely the writers/producers stick to the comics version and how far/quickly into that life-arc the character progresses, there could be plenty of opportunity for an actor to portray (as with Nelson) a great range of emotional situations.
In the issue where Karen is originally introduced by Nelson to Murdock, the latter thinks to himself that she is 5’4″. But, Marvel’s wiki page lists her as 5’7″. That’s a pretty good height range for her, though I considered actors that are shorter (Elisha Cuthbert (5’2.5″,b.1982)) and a couple inches taller (Maggie Grace (5’9″,b.1983)). As for her age, she might be the same age as Murdock and Nelson, but she could also be in her early- to mid-20s when they all meet. One I considered on the younger end of the age range, then, is Margot Robbie (5’6″,b.1990), who recently nabbed the plum role of “Harley Quinn” in the Suicide Squad feature film. One actor who would be great for the role, except that she is already in her early-40s, is Melissa Sagemiller (5’6″,b.1974). (Could easily pass for 5 years younger, though.) So, I would like to present these three for your consideration:
Anyone who watches the sitcom “Community” knows the lovely Gillian Jacobs (5’4″,b.1982). As for her genre work, she has appeared in (or done voice work for) “Fringe”, The Box, “Robot Chicken”, “Tiny Commando”, and the “Monsters vs. Aliens” TV series. Though a little on the short side, I think Jacobs could probably handle all aspects of the Karen Page character very well.
Rachael Taylor (5’7.75″,b.1984) first came to my attention in last year’s TV drama “Crisis”, where she played a federal agent. The role of Karen Page would obviously be quite different. But, she has done plenty of other types of roles, including in Transformers, Ghost Machine, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Charlie’s Angels”. And, ironically, Taylor has been cast as Trish Walker (aka Hellcat) in the “A.K.A. Jessica Jones” series that will follow “Daredevil” on Netflix.
I brought up Abbie Cornish (5’8″,b.1982) before, back when I was fan-casting for Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman. She has appeared in Stop-Loss, Limitless, Sucker Punch, the recent Robocop remake, as well as a number of movies and TV series in her native Australia. Cornish has a pretty good range of work and would likely enjoy delving into the many facets of Karen Page’s life.
What do you think of my choices? Not bad? Suck? One o’ these days, I’ll get around to fan-casting Daredevil’s main villains (e.g., Bullseye, Kingpin, Typhoid Mary) and other supporting characters (e.g., Elektra, Rosalind Sharpe), though many of them cross over with the Spider-Man “universe”. But, at least I got the central players done.
See ya next week!