Fan-Cast: Daredevil, part 2: Foggy & Karen

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 NelsonFoggy 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:

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen

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….

 

 

James Corden

James Corden

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.

 

Josh McDermitt

Josh McDermitt

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

Karen Page

Karen Page

Karen Page - daydreamingKaren 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:

Gillian Jacobs

Gillian Jacobs

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

Rachael Taylor

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.

 

 

Abbie Cornish

Abbie Cornish

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!

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Fan-Cast: Bionic Reboot, part 1: Jaime Sommers

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.

Lindsay Wagner from opening of "The Bionic Woman"

Smiling Jaime Sommers brushes hair behind her bionic ear

Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers

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 on the red carpet - smiling

Sarah Roemer

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.

 

 

 

 

Abby Cornish in dark top - smiling

Abbie Cornish

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 in pink top

Alexandra Daddario

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Darling as Peggy CallahanAs 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.

Emily Bett Rickards

Emily Bett Rickards

Brooke Nevin

Brooke Nevin

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.