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.

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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.

Notes on Fantastic Four (2015)

Yes, I finally got around to watching last year’s disappointing reboot of the Fantastic Four. So, I put together a brief review in the form of a few notes, much like I’ve done in the past. I’ll try not to give away any major plot points or character-specific stuff….

As with its 2005 predecessor, the acting was fine (though not great) for what they had to work with, which was a so-so (definitely not great) story & script. Unfortunately, that meant that the characters were relatively dull, too.

Fantastic_Four_2015_poster1) Reed Richards — I don’t know. Miles Tellar is a good enough actor, but he didn’t quite look the part. He played “science nerd” OK, I guess. On the other hand, Reed seemed to be just a tad bit too socially well-adjusted. I always thought he was more socially awkward, especially in his earlier years, often distracted by scientific problems/projects. My guess is he would likely be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. (Just my take on it, of course.) Even without that consideration, some of his behavior was a little different than I think it should have been. Nothing major, though.

2) Susan Storm — Given that they were going with the brainier, scientist version of Sue (a la “Ultimate” universe), she was fine. I would have preferred a different look for her, though — like, maybe, Julianne Hough. I am guessing she was supposed to be roughly the same age as Reed (~18-20yo?), though she may have been a little older. The romantic interest between Sue and Reed was just barely hinted at, though mostly one-sided by him. Same goes for Doom’s interest in Sue. Sue’s relationship with her adoptive brother didn’t seem very close; or, maybe they just aren’t an emotionally demonstrative family.

3) Johnny Storm — Would have liked to see Johnny involved in more “adrenaline rush” activities and exhibiting more playfulness, which are essential parts of his personality. (This was a detail that the 2005/2007 films got right.) It was also a little odd to see him working with the team on the final teleportation device. (I think this may have been the case in the Ultimate version, too. Can’t remember for sure.) Given his interest in fast cars, I guess it does make sense that he had some skills in mechanics and/or engineering. To stay in keeping with the comics, it should have been made clear that he was a few years younger than Sue.

4) Ben Grimm — He may have been athletic, but he was way too small. Why couldn’t they get someone who was about 6′ or so and looked more like a stereotypical, beefy jock? His childhood/family life fits the character, though it would have been nice to hear a reference to Yancey Street and the gang. As for his “Thing” form, I liked it OK, though I prefer the classic, more “rounded” and heavy-browed version (as in the previous big-screen incarnation). This one reminded me of the Stone Men (aka Kronans) of the planet Ria. Also, his voice needed to be deeper — rumbly, even — to go along with the massive form.

5) Victor von Doom — They got this character all wrong, yet again. In appearance (pre- and post-transformation) and sound (no accent) and attitude (cocky, but not imperious) and abilities (some sort of freaky psychokinesis?), he still was not the iconic figure from the comics. Why?! Why is this so hard to do? Or, alternatively, why do the powers-that-be shy away from portraying him on screen the way he has always been written? Surely, there must be some 30-or-younger actor from Eastern Europe who could pull this off. Say,… Dawid Ogrodnik. On the plus side, at least he wasn’t some disillusioned computer hacker named Vic Domashev, as had been the rumor.

6) Dr. Franklin Storm — The comics don’t give him a lot of characterization, other than being a brilliant scientist who cares immensely for his children. He doesn’t often spend time with them or show affection in other ways, being very focused on administering the scientific think-tank at the Baxter Building. From what we saw and heard, this version of Storm is pretty much on target with that, though perhaps a little more attentive.

OK, now for a few more general comments about the film…

Fantastic_Four_(2015_film)_poster_0071) Given that Reed seemed to join the Baxter Foundation after high school, I am guessing he was about 17-18 years old. (Though, you’d think a brain like him would’ve skipped a couple grades.) Possibly more like 19-20yo, if he took some college in between times. Ben and Sue would’ve been roughly the same, Johnny even younger (16?), though Victor was probably a couple years older. However, all of the actors looked to be a few years older than those ages,… which they actually are, of course.

2) I recognized a couple early scenes adapted from Ultimate Fantastic Four, but they didn’t feel quite right. Lighting too dark; Baxter Institute looked/felt too “normal”.

3) Without giving anything away,… I’m not sure how I feel about the events that followed the accident. They didn’t follow either the original or Ultimate versions. The antagonism against Reed just felt… wrong.

4) There was no mention of “unstable molecules” (that I recall) in the post-accident uniforms’ composition. Plus, Reed was wearing something else, yet it stretched when he did. What’s up with that? If there is a sequel, will they reveal that he discovered something that allows uniforms to “cooperate” with their powers.

5) The fact that Dr. Storm and Johnny were not Caucasian was fine, of course, and the brief mention of Sue being adopted resolved that question.

6) I thought the special F/X were pretty good, despite that being one of the facets the film got criticized for. Maybe I would change my mind upon a second viewing, when I had time to see them again?

7) The fights were rather lacking. I assume the original, one-by-one attacks on Doom in the finale were meant to show they couldn’t beat him on their own — which Reed stated explicitly a couple minutes later. (A bit on-the-nose, if you ask me.) But, then the coordinated effort, especially Ben’s haymaker, was telegraphed so obviously that Doom deserves to get beat for still falling for it.

Overall, a fairly interesting variation on the FF origin story, but not quite satisfying. Too dark, for one thing, both visually and in tone. (Might’ve worked a little better as a graphic novel.) Familiar characters weren’t left familiar enough to feel like the “friends” fans were expecting. Or, at least, not this fan. Still,… it didn’t suck as much as some of the reviews (when it came out) led me to believe.

736784-namor3What can we expect going forward? Well, at one point, it looked like Fox and Marvel had worked out an agreement that put the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, and Galactus back under control of The House of Ideas (i.e., in this case, Marvel Studios). But, more recent reporting indicates that Fox still has the rights and may try for a FF sequel or reboot around 2020. Of course, that could be inaccurate or could change in the future. One interesting piece of related news is that the rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner, are back with Marvel Studios. (Yet another imperious foreigner with a thing for Sue!) If Marvel also regained control of the FF, they could introduce Namor and the Atlanteans as the villain. He/they could return as an ally in a sequel down the road. This could be really cool, if done right and, of course, faithful to the source material. Keepin’ my fingers crossed….

P.S.  I really need to fan-cast the FF!

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 9.1

Addendum to last post…

Montoya and Allen

Montoya and Allen

As I was getting ready to go to press with last Wednesday’s post, I thought of another good candidate for the part of Crispus Allen. But, I was pressed for time, so I opted not to include him. Later that night, I was watching a movie (Death Race) and saw an actress who would make a great candidate for Renee Montoya. So, rather than add them to an already long post, I figured I’d write a separate post….

Natalie Martinez in "Detroit 1-8-7"

Natalie Martinez in “Detroit 1-8-7”

Martinez in "Under the Dome"

Martinez in “Under the Dome”

There are plenty of pics of Natalie Martinez (5’6.5″,b.1984) that show off her beauty & figure, but I included a couple here that better fit Montoya’s occupation. In addition to “Under the Dome” and “Detroit 1-8-7” (see pics), she has been in Broken City, “CSI: NY” (where I first remember seeing her, and in which she also played a detective), and the recent “Secrets and Lies”. She fits our height and age parameters, has played multiple police roles, and I think should would make a stunning Officer/Detective Renee Montoya.

 

DB Woodside in "Suits"

DB Woodside in “Suits”

Woodside in "24"

Woodside in “24”

Probably best known to TV audiences for his role on “24”, D.B. Woodside (6’3″,b.1969) has also been in “Murder One”, Romeo Must Die, “The Division”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, The Inheritance. Later this year, he will again play a detective in the mystery The Man in 3B. Woodside is slightly taller and older than my preferred parameters for the character, but as long as Allen was written well and true to the source material, I could overlook that. Give him some glasses and a cigarette, and I can definitely see him as Det. Crispus Allen.

Comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 9: Montoya and Allen

Renee_Montoya_(Injustice_The_Regime)

Renee Montoya

This week, I was finally able to resume my fan-casting of the major Gotham City Police Dept. characters — well, two of the top four, anyway. One of these days, I may get around to Sarah Essen, “Hardback” Bock, Josie MacDonald, and “Slam” Bradley. (I’ll probably include Maggie Sawyer with my Superman-related fan-casting, since I still think of her primarily as part of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.) For now, though, I’ll finish with Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen.

Det. Renee Montoya

Originally created for the Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Renee Montoya’s first appearance was actually a bit earlier in Batman #475 (Mar. 1992). Montoya began as a bright, eager young police officer assigned as Commissioner Gordon’s assistant. I wasn’t long before she was promoted to Detective and partnered with Harvey Bullock. They made a good team. When Bullock was promoted following “No Man’s Land”, Montoya was reassigned to work with Det. Crispus Allen. This was another good partnership, but various events — including being framed for murder and outed as a lesbian by Two-Face — caused Montoya to become more frustrated with her job and life, irascible, and violent. She began drinking heavily to cope. After the events surrounding Allen’s death (see below), Montoya quit the police force in disgust.

448px-Renee_Montoya_0006 - hammeredDuring the “52” storyline, Montoya was contacted by and (reluctantly) joined forces with The Question, looking into some things having to do with Intergang. Amidst their investigations, The Question (i.e., Vic Sage) revealed that he was dying and was recruiting Montoya to replace him as The Question. He passed away a few weeks later, and she honored his wish. But, I don’t foresee getting into any of that in a Batman TV or movie series. I would stick to her years as a police officer/detective.

If a Batman TV/movie series begins with Batman’s debut, Montoya should not be there. In fact, I would prefer to not add her into the mix until roughly Year 8, which is about when I think her comics debut fits into the comics Bat-timeline. But, a slightly sooner appearance would be acceptable. By my calculations, she is maybe 5 or 6 years younger than Bruce Wayne, which makes her about 27 or so when she debuted. She is an attractive Latina of Dominican descent with characteristically dark hair. DC’s wiki lists her at 5’8″, 144lbs. So, I think she would best be played by a Latina (or someone who can easily pass as one) in her mid-20s to early 30s, between 5’6″ & 5’10”, with an athletic build.

As I usually do, I considered more than just the three finalists I settled on below. Rosario Dawson (5’7″,b.1979) might be a good choice, if not for her being a little too old for Montoya during her GCPD career. Same goes for Michelle Rodriguez (5’5″,1978), who is also a tad under our height parameters. Speaking of too short, Alice Braga (5’4″,b.1983), Floriana Lima (5’4″,?), and Ilza Rosario (5’3″,b.1985) all look great and are in the right age range, but they are just too short, and no police officer or detective is going to wear 3-inch heels on duty, unless she’s undercover. (I have seen Dawson, Rodriguez, and Braga suggested by others, too.) Thus, I present to you my Montoya finalists…

Alyssa Diaz

Alyssa Diaz

Alyssa Diaz (5’6″,b.1985) has been in Ben 10: Alien Swarm, “The Nine Lives of Chloe King”, the Red Dawn remake, “Revolution”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Last Ship”, and “Grimm”, so she is definitely familiar with the genre. She barely meets our height requirement, is almost 30 (as of this writing), and reminds me of a slightly younger Michelle Rodriguez. She could fill Montoya’s shoes quite well.

 

 

Genesis Rodriguez

Genesis Rodriguez

You may remember that I recommended Genesis Rodriguez (5’7″,b.1987) for another Bat-family role: Helena Bertinelli, aka The Huntress. She has appeared in “Entourage”, Man on a Ledge, The Last Stand, Big Hero 6 (voicing Honey Lemon), and the recent Run All Night. I think she needs a regular role in a crime/adventure series, and Det. Renee Montoya could just be that breakout role.

Mercedes Masohn

Mercedes Masohn

Finally, I recommend Mercedes Masohn (5’9″,b.1982or3). She is of mixed heritage but can pass for a Latina, as she often does on-screen. I remember noticing her on “The Finder”, “Chuck”, and “NCIS: Los Angeles”. She has also been in “666 Park Avenue”, Sniper: Legacy, and will be a regular in the new “Fear the Walking Dead”. She often plays tough “chicks”, and Renee Montoya is definitely that. She’s a tad older than I’d prefer for the part, but I’m sure Masohn would be great!

Det. Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #742 (March, 2000). Gordon had just returned to duty after grieving his wife’s death during the events of “No Man’s Land”, and he was staffing up the GCPD after losing several personnel in the preceding months. Detective Allen transferred in from Metropolis, and he would prove to be a great asset to the Major Crimes Unit. Partnered with Montoya, Allen was an excellent detective who helped take down a lot of bad guys, from average skels to corrupt cops to “super-villains”. He was always a serious, analytical, “straight arrow” type, if a bit arrogant. As such, it is not surprising that he reluctantly accepted Batman as a “necessary evil” for fighting crime in a place like Gotham City. He was also a happily-married father of two.

In one incident, Allen shot and killed the Black Spider, who was about to murder Montoya. This began a course of events that led to Allen being killed by a corrupt crime scene tech named Jim Corrigan. Allen later became the new host for the Spectre, but those events are beyond anything I want to see in a Batman series.

allen - you're my partnerAs with Montoya, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, the Allen character should not be included. However, I don’t expect the events of “Knightfall/Knightquest” and “Cataclysm/No Man’s Land” to be adapted, so they could transfer him from Metropolis sooner in the Bat-timeline. I would prefer to see him introduced after Montoya has spent some time (as a Detective) partnered with Harvey Bullock, first. That said, he should be 40ish and, therefore, roughly 10 or so years older than Montoya. DC’s wiki entry for Allen does not give a height or weight, but I would say he’s roughly 6′, give or take, and in (very?) good shape. Appearance-wise, Allen is a Black man, bald with a trim “goatee”, and he wears rimless glasses. He is a sharp dresser — earning him the nickname “Peacock” by Harvey bullock — and is always seen wearing a suit, often a three-piece. He is sometimes seen smoking a cigarette, too. Obviously, any actor to be considered should be Black, early 40s, athletic build, look good with a bald head and “goatee”, and probably be between 5’10” and 6’2″.

Many Bat-fans have suggested Idris Elba (6’2.75″,b.1972) (“Luther”, “The Wire”, Thor) for the role. He’s a little taller than I’d like, but he’s the right age and build, and I agree he would be terrific. Still, I wanted to look into a few others. I’ve been noticing another “The Wire” alum lately, Gbenga Akinnagbe (5’10”,b.1978), particularly in “24: Live Another Day” and “The Following”, where he plays a federal agent in both. But, he is a little young for the part, and I’m not sure he has quite the right look. I also considered “The Blacklist”‘s Hisham Tawfiq (?,b.?). Again, not sure he’s old enough or has quite the right look. So, that leaves the following three:

Richard T. Jones

Richard T. Jones

I think Richard T. Jones (6’2″,b.1972) could play a great Crispus Allen. I mostly remember him from “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and more recently on “Hawaii Five-O”, but he was also a regular on “Brooklyn South” and “Judging Amy”, appeared in “Nikita” and “Revolution”, and he has popped up in movies (e.g., Event Horizon, Godzilla) and series for many years. He fits the appearance and age parameters, and I’m sure he would have no problem portraying the by-the-book Detective Allen.

 

 

Lamonica Garrett

LaMonica Garrett

Slamball champ-turned-actor LaMonica Garrett (6’2″,b.1975) often plays firefighters, military, or law enforcement roles. He has appeared in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “NCIS”, “The Game”, “Justified”, etc., but he may be best known as Deputy Sheriff Cane on “Sons of Anarchy”. Garrett is barely 40 and is probably the most athletic of our candidates. He doesn’t have as much acting experience as the others, as many of his parts are minor, but I think he could be a convincing Crispus Allen.

 

 

Brian White

Brian White

I’m not positive the first thing I saw Brian White (6’2″,b.1975) in, but what I remember him for are his roles on “Beauty and the Beast” and “Hostages”. He has also appeared in such genre fare as DOA: Dead or Alive, “Ghost Whisperer”, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, “Moonlight”, and “The Shield”. Like Garrett, White is barely 40 and in great shape. He would make a fine Det. Allen, especially since he has played police detectives before, so I can totally see him in the role.

 

 
As usual, I’d love to know what you think of my choices and if you have anyone else in mind that you think fits the bill(s)….

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 8: Harvey Bullock

Last week’s fan-casting for Commissioner Jim Gordon worked out pretty well. We’ll see how my attempts to find a Harvey Bullock pan out….

Det. Harvey Bullock

88096-128164-harvey-bullockDespite being a gruff, crude, slovenly, wise-ass pain-in-the-butt, Detective Harvey Bullock is another beloved(?) and integral member of the GCPD cast within the Bat-mythos. The pre-Crisis version of Bullock was thoroughly corrupt and often sabotaged investigations, but the post-Crisis/pre-52 character is generally clean, ethically speaking. Even so, he is often accused of taking bribes and other infractions. Couple this with his willingness to “do what it takes”, including roughing up perps, plus his general demeanor, and Bullock often finds himself under suspicion — even by his friends. When Officer Renee Montoya was promoted to Detective, she was partnered with Bullock. They remained together until an Internal Affairs investigation prompted Bullock to quit the force. Bullock spent some time as a Private Investigator, and, at one point, he even worked in some capacity for the governmental intelligence agency known as Checkmate.

Initially even more strongly against costumed crimefighters than Gordon, Bullock, too, developed a grudging respect for Batman et al. (Some more than others, of course.) Following the events of “Infinite Crisis”, he returned to the GCPD and was partnered with Det. Josie MacDonald. Bullock’s attitude toward Batman & co. has softened a little, and he now even assists them on some cases, however reluctantly.

Harvey_Bullock_0006Though trim and fairly muscular in his early days on the force (seen in rare flashbacks and back-up stories), the thick-necked, round-faced Bullock is usually drawn as anywhere from slightly pudgy to obese. The DC wiki entry lists him as 5’10”, 248lbs. For our purposes, a height range of 5’8″ to maybe a max of 6’2″ seems reasonable, with a weight anywhere from 200-300 lbs. (Though, an obese cop, especially one that might need to chase the occasional suspect on foot, is not a good idea.) Appearance wise, he has a signature hat, cigar, black hair & scruff, and usually a little food and/or drink dripped on his (usually bright/tacky) tie or other article(s) of clothing. Besides being a slob, he has also been known to hit the bottle — usually, but not exclusively, during his off-hours.

Bullock’s age presents us with a bit of a problem. From all appearances and indications over the years, I would say that Harvey Bullock is several years older than Renee Montoya and probably older than Crispus Allen, but (unlike in the TV series) he is still several years younger than Jim Gordon — say, maybe 5 years or so. Therefore, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, Bullock might be in his mid-30s and possibly still a sergeant. Extrapolate out from there…. But, as I said regarding Gordon in the last post, it wouldn’t do too much “damage” to the character to adjust his age a bit for the movies (or a different TV series). That said, here are the actors I considered for the role….

One of my favorite choices was Jim Belushi (5’11”,b.1954), but he just turned 61 and is a bit too old. After that, we get into the same age-range as my fan-cast candidates for Jim Gordon. My next faves, then, are Bruce Campbell (6’1″,b.1958) and Michael Madsen (6’2″,b.1958). (I think I saw another fan cast Madsen for the part, too.) I looked at a few others but rejected them for various reasons (e.g., too tall, too “pretty”). On the shorter side, Pruitt Taylor Vince (5’9″,b.1960) and Michael Chiklis (5’8.5″,b.1963) are two very talented actors, each of whom might be an interesting choice for Bullock — assuming they don’t mind wearing a hairpiece. Finally, I thought supporting actor Bodie Newcomb (????,b.1963?), who appeared briefly in an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, could fill Bullock’s shoes nicely. But, for various reasons, I rejected all of the above — except for Campbell and Madsen under certain conditions — and came up with these three.

Mark Addy

Mark Addy

Everyone is familiar with Mark Addy (5’11”,b.1964) from his many comedic performances (e.g., Jack Frost, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, “Still Standing”). But, he has had many serious roles, including playing cops (e.g., “Band of Gold”), kings (Robert Baratheon in “Game of Thrones”), and legends (Hercules in “Atlantis”). I haven’t seen most of them, but I was impressed with his acting in GoT, plus he is definitely the right body type. If producers decided to go with a 50ish Harvey Bullock, Addy pretty much fits the bill.

 

 

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto (6’2″,b.1974) probably got his first notable role in Clueless. Over the next 20 years, he has appeared in everything from Suicide Kings to starring in the TV movie Jesus and “Six Feet Under”. His genre work includes Takedown, “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, One Point O, voice work for “Justice League: The New Frontier” and “Batman vs. Robin”, and currently starring in “The Returned”. Sisto is a tad on the tall side and perhaps a little too handsome. But, he has kind of a full face, and if he put on a few pounds to round out the rest of him, he could be a great, 40ish Harvey Bullock.

Matt Berry

Matt Berry

Matt Berry (5’10”,b.1974) is sort of a last-minute find. But, I think you will agree that he looks the most like Bullock of these three finalists and possibly of any others I mentioned. I don’t think I’ve actually seen him perform, but he’s a British actor/writer who has been acting on-screen for a little over a decade. He was in genre movies Braincell and Snow White and the Huntsman, did a little voice work for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Major Lazer”, and appears mostly in sitcoms for the U.S. and UK. Assuming he chunks out a bit and can play a convincingly gruff & obnoxious (yet competent) American city cop, he just might be an even better 40-ish Bullock than Sisto.

 

How did I do? Can you picture any of these guys as Det. Harvey Bullock? Let me know who you would cast. I’ll leave you with another cool pic of a bad@$$ Bullock….

Harvey_Bullock_0001

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 7: Jim Gordon

Can you believe it? It has been an entire year since I last fan-cast for a Batman small- or large-screen series. (Lucius Fox and Dr. Leslie Thompkins, to be precise.) I figured it was about time I addressed the primary characters from the Gotham City Police Department, so this week I’ll cast for Jim Gordon, and in the next couple weeks I’ll follow up with Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya, and Crispus Allen. I have to be honest, I am not quite as satisfied as I’d like to be with who I came up with, so I’m still on the lookout. But, in the meantime…

Commissioner James Gordon

40-something Lt. Jim Gordon

40-something Lt. Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon is, of course, a central and beloved character in the Batman mythos. When Batman first shows up in Gotham, Gordon is a lieutenant in the GCPD. Though he sometimes likes to put on a somewhat gruff exterior, Gordon is generally known for being even-handed, fair, even compassionate. He is extremely competent at his job, despite dealing with all of the horror, crime, & corruption that Gotham City is infamous for. Recognizing him as a crusader for justice and one of the few cops in Gotham who hasn’t been corrupted, Batman establishes a professional relationship and, eventually, a mutual trust with Gordon that would serve them both well for many years to come. They have saved each others’ necks on several occasions, and Gordon has come to a measure of peace about allowing — even aiding — the Dark Knight’s vigilante-ish methods. Gordon’s rise to the position of Police Commissioner gave him even more freedom to cooperate with Batman (and other masked heroes).

Of course, Gordon is the uncle and adopted father of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, who was crippled by the Joker and later became Oracle. Gordon’s second marriage was to his former partner, Sarah Essen, who temporarily succeeded Gordon as Police Commissioner and was killed by the Joker during the events of “No Man’s Land”.

50-something Commissioner Gordon

50-something Commissioner Gordon

Physically, Gordon is fairly trim and in good shape. DC’s wiki lists him as 6′ tall and about 168 lbs., though I’m sure the weight varied a little over the years. A height between 5’10” and 6’2″ is probably a reasonable requirement. Gordon has reddish hair that turned white in middle-age, as well as a bushy mustache, glasses, is often seen smoking a cigar or cigarette, and he typically wears a trenchcoat while “in the field”. By my calculations, Gordon is ~15 years older than Bruce Wayne, give or take, making him about 40 when the Batman debuts. If a TV or movie series begins around this time, then obviously the actor to play Gordon should be roughly 40 years old. Unfortunately, the youngest candidate I’ve come up with so far is already 54. So, assuming such a production sticks to post-Crisis/pre-52 continuity, these actors would be better cast for much later in Gordon’s life & career. (In fact, I think the events immediately preceding the “new 52” reboot would make Bruce Wayne about or almost 40, putting Gordon in his mid-50s.) BUT,… the writers/producers could simply make Gordon about 10 years older than his comicbook counterpart without changing much of significance about the character, which would make the actors below within acceptable age parameters.

First, a few that I rejected. With the possible exceptions of Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck (both of whom would’ve been in the running several years ago) and Burt Reynolds, nobody rocks a full mustache better than Alex Cord (6′,b.1933), who you might remember as “Archangel” in the ’80s TV series “Airwolf”. But, he’s over 80 now, so he’s obviously out of the running. I also think Kent McCord (6’2″,b.1942) — from “Adam 12”, “SeaQuest 2032”, & “Farscape” — could’ve made a great James Gordon… 20 or 30 years ago. I really like James Remar (5’10”,b.1953) for the part, too. (Remember him from “Dexter”? He’s also done a lot of genre voicework.) But, I’d like to limit it to those under 60 — at the moment, anyway. Kevin Bacon (5’10”,b.1958) fits this parameter and he even has red hair, but something about him keeps me from seeing him as Gordon. (I thought Gary Oldman was fantastic, btw.) So, we’re down to my favorite three (for now):

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

I’m not the first to suggest him for the role, but Bryan Cranston (5’10.5″,b.1956) would be great! I mean, look at this image from Trumbo. The hair may be a little dark, but that’s Jim Gordon! Cranston has been around for quite awhile, including playing the dad on “Malcolm in the Middle”. But, he has done a lot of genre stuff, too, including the recent Godzilla, which I finally saw the other night. Of course, he became most widely recognized with his starring role in the hugely popular “Breaking Bad” series.

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen

Can you imagine Viggo Mortensen (5’11”,b.1958) — Aragorn/Strider himself — as Commissioner Gordon? I can (obviously). He always brings such an intensity to his roles, and I think he would do great as a frustrated and weary Gordon. He’s also played lawmen before. There are older pics of him with a bigger mustache (and longer hair and/or a beard), but I wanted a fairly recent one. Just imagine the mustache bushier… and glasses.

 

 

Elias Koteas

Elias Koteas

The youngest of my trio is Elias Koteas (5’10.5″,b.1961). Besides playing Casey Jones in two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies in the ’90s, you might have seen him in Cyborg 2, Gattaca, Skinwalkers, “The Killing”, or any number of other things. Koteas is a wonderful, underrated actor, who I think could play a terrific Jim Gordon. He’d need to wear a toupee, of course, but that’s not a big deal.

 

The more I think of it, the more I like these candidates — assuming, of course, that the character is written to be about 10 years older than he is in the comics. Bullock, on the other hand, is a bit tougher. You’ll have to wait until next week to see my potential candidates for ol’ Harve, but here’s a nice pic with him and the Commish to hold you over….

James Gordon and Harvey Bullock

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Jack Reacher

Two weeks ago, I talked about three book series I enjoy reading and their respective main characters: Vince Flynn’s “Mitch Rapp”, Brad Thor’s “Scot Harvath”, and Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”. Last week, I attempted to fan-cast the first two, and today I’m gonna try the third. And it ain’t easy! As you probably know, there was already a Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise. But, I prefer to think of it as belonging to an inconsequential, alternate universe. If there is any chance of a new movie or TV series starring Reacher, I have a couple ideas about what kind of person should be cast. (Hint: No one under 6’4″ allowed!)

Jack Reacher sketch

Jack Reacher sketch by illustrator (and fan) Howard Chaykin

When Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” novel series begins, it has been only a few months since his discharge from the Army, and Reacher is roughly 36 or 37. By the time of the events of Echo Burning (Reacher #5), based on a few comments Reacher makes, he is 40 — maybe 41. Whether they start a new TV/movie series with the story from Killing Floor (Reacher #1) or a little later, we probably don’t want anyone younger than 35, unless they make him up to look just a little older. Plus, he needs to have a certain “hardness” about him. On the other end of the age scale, a youthful 45 is probably our maximum, if we want to stay reasonably close to the source material. (I’m actually more flexible on the age issue for Reacher than I am on his physical size & build.)

He is described as being neither ugly nor exceptionally attractive. He is 6’5″, very solidly built and mostly muscle, but he doesn’t work out and would not have much muscular definition. Thus, he should look more like a slab of beef than a chiseled bodybuilder. He weighs at least 250lbs (“18 stone”), sometimes closer to 270lbs. It’s also said he has a 50″ chest (though that might be slight exaggeration), dirty blond hair, and blue eyes.

I know this will sound like a pun, but it’s absolutely true: Reacher’s size is a big part of who he is as a character. (On the other hand, he shouldn’t be too tall, either, so I did not consider anyone over 6’7″.) As I indicated in my very first post for this blog, it is for these reasons (and others) that I would never have cast Cruise in the role, no matter how “big” a star he is. He doesn’t fit for so many reasons. Then again, who does? This role is much harder to cast for than Scot Harvath and at least as hard as casting the dusky-skinned Mitch Rapp.

Of course, attractiveness is a subjective thing, but whoever gets cast for Reacher might need some makeup to make him less handsome. Also, a lot of guys this size, whether in show biz or sports or both, work out to try to get more definition, so some candidates might actually have to stop working out for awhile or do something else to reduce the definition, probably by adding some body fat. (Six-pack abs not allowed!) Joe Manganiello (6’5″,b.1976) would have been considered, but he spends a lot of time on sculpting his body — I recently saw a new book (Evolution) he has about his workouts, and he is definitely “cut” — and would probably not agree to erasing all of that hard work. But, I do have a few ideas for who might.

First, though, I’ll mention that Dolph Lundgren (6’5″,b.1957) would have been considered if he was 20 years younger. Same goes for Brian Steele (6’7″,b.1956), who has played a ton of Hollywood creatures over the years. Conrad Goode (6’5.5″,b.1962) would have been *perfect* — check out some of his IMDB pics — but he’s over 50, now, too. Any of them would have been great. I looked at Rory McCann (6’6″,b.1969), but I don’t think he has the right look. I considered Derek Mears (6’5″,b.1972), who is in his early 40s (but might still pass for a few years younger), but I’m not sure he has the right look, either. On the other end of the age scale, I thought Yuriy Kolokolnikov (6’5″,b.1980), who recently played the leader of a tribe of cannabilistic warrior mercenaries in “Game of Thrones”, was worth a look. But, even if he bulked up quite a bit, he is too young-looking. This brings us to my final three candidates to play our reluctant hero….

Jack Reacher

Marc Gibbon - b&w portfolio shot

Marc Gibbon

Mark Gibbon in weird armorMark Gibbon (6’5″,b.1970+?)

I could not find anywhere online that gives Gibbon’s birthdate or approximate age. But, based on his looks and length of career, I am guessing he was born around 1970 — give or take a couple years. This just barely keeps him in the running. He has a good look for the part and is big without looking like he works out all the time. (Maybe some, but not much muscular definition.) Gibbon’s genre work is extensive and includes appearances in “The X-Files”, “Stargate SG-1”, “Smallville”, as well as in movies like The Chronicles of Riddick, Underworld: Awakening, and Man of Steel. He is known for his deep voice (and has done genre voice work), which I think would be great for Reacher.

 

Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere - casual

Wladimir Klitschko - in red trunks and pumping fist

Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko (6’6″,b.1976; heavyweight boxing champ)

Klitschko may seem like an unusual choice, and he does have very limited “acting” experience (e.g., Ocean’s Eleven, Pain & Gain), so he’ll need some lessons (and a voice coach). But, he is definitely the right size and build; and, as a heavyweight boxing champ, he is obviously in good shape and should be up for a very physical role. Obviously, he works out, but he’s not overdeveloped, and I’m sure he could lose some of it for the role. He is the youngest of the three and, of course, he is also known for dating actress Hayden Panettiere (seen pic). I wonder what he would look like as a blonde….

 

Adam Copeland - sitting, jeans, leather jacket

Adam Copeland

Edge autographed 8x10Adam Copeland (6’5″,b.1973)

I’m not a big wrestling fan, but if you are, you might know Copeland as “Edge” from WWE/WWF. Copeland has had a recurring role on the TV series “Haven” since 2011, which is where I became aware of him, but he also appeared in the series “Sanctuary” and starred in the movie Bending the Rules. He’s been trying to get more acting roles, so maybe this is it. He has the height and build for Reacher; plus, unlike the other two, he wouldn’t need to dye his hair. (And, he’s not a jerk like his wrestling character.) Copeland is square-jawed, barely 40 (but can pass for younger), and as of now, he is probably my favorite choice to play Reacher. (Although, a combination of Copeland and Gibbon would be better.)

There are other muscular guys of roughly the desired height, of course. But, they are either way too huge or “ripped” (e.g., Dwayne Johnson, Rob Archer), have no acting experience (e.g., various athletes) or desire to, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong age, or some combination thereof. So, given the limited choices, I think the candidates I came up with are pretty good. I’ll stay on the lookout for “the perfect Reacher”, though. Do you have any suggestions?

EXTRA BONUS: Here is Duncan Munro, “the Aussie Jack Reacher”, roasting Lee Child while in character (sort of) as Reacher!

Fan-Cast: Scot Harvath

Continuing from my last post, I am attempting to cast actors in the roles of some of my favorite thriller novel characters. I did Vince Flynn’s “Mitch Rapp”, and next week I’ll try Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”. Today, though, Brad Thor’s “Scot Harvath” has my attention. But, first…

Back in 2010, Warner Bros. acquired feature rights for the Harvath novels, with the hopes of making them a new action-thriller franchise, a la Robert Ludlum’s “Jason Bourne”. The Lions of Lucerne (aka Harvath #1) was to be the first produced. But, the following year, it was announced that writer-director Ryan Craig (who looks kind of like Jason Statham, btw) had been hired to adapt the fifth Harvath novel, Takedown, presumably for the big screen. I haven’t found any more recent updates on either one, but IMDB does list The Lions of Lucerne as “in development”.

In that first novel, our hero is described thusly: “At five feet ten and a muscular one hundred sixty pounds, with brown hair and ice blue eyes, the handsome Scot Harvath looked more German than Scandinavian.” (I’m guessing it’s the brown-vs-blonde hair that makes the difference?) The Olympic-skier-turned-Navy-SEAL-turned-Secret-Service-agent is also, I believe, in his early- to mid-30s. Since I usually try to stick as close to the source as possible (or, at least, reasonable), I limited my search to those between 5’9″ and 5’11”. Age-wise, I considered anyone between (a relatively mature) 30 and (a youthful) 40. So, who fits the bill?

If you check out the fans’ comments at that IMDB entry for The Lions of Lucerne, you will see lots of names thrown around: Kellan Lutz, Mark Valley, Chris Pine, Bradley Cooper, Stephen Amell, David Boreanaz, Karl Urban, Ryan Reynolds. Most are too old and/or too tall and/or just don’t look right (for this role) to me. Other than that, of those just listed, I might consider Lutz (though he is a tad young; 6’1″,b.1985), Pine (6′,b.1980), or Amell (6’1″,b.1981). But, here are the three recommendations for Harvath that I came up with….

Scot Harvath

Mike Vogel - scruffy in t-shirt

Mike Vogel

Mike Vogel in uniform on Pan Am

(publicity shot for “Pan Am”)

Mike Vogel (5’10”,b.1979)

If you’re trying to place him, Vogel was in the 2006 Poseidon remake, Cloverfield, and recently the “Under the Dome” series. Darken his hair a couple shades, give him a little time to “buff up”, and he would be perfect. He even has the right color eyes, too, so no contact lenses required.

 

 

Luke Hemsworth - portfolio pic

Luke Hemsworth

Luke Hemsworth with gun on The Anomaly

(still from “The Anomaly”)

Luke Hemsworth (5’10.75″,b.1981)

Hemsworth, older brother of the better-known Chris and Liam, could be a great alternate choice. He is about the right size and could use a breakout role beyond Australian TV (e.g., “Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms”, “Neighbors”).

 

 

 

Rick Cosnett - publicity shot for The Flash

Rick Cosnett (publicity shot for The Flash)

Rick Cosnett - in the gymRick Cosnett (5’11”,b.1983)

Cosnett, from “The Vampire Diaries” and the upcoming “The Flash”, might be a decent Harvath, too. He’s got the right look & build, so… darken his hair a little, add a few pounds of lean muscle, and he could be it.

 

 

 

Honorable mention goes to Channing Tatum (6’1″,b.1980), though he is a bit tall for Harvath. I’m not sure if his complexion can be made “dusky” enough for Rapp, either. Beyond those factors, he has the right basic look, age, and athletic build for either role.

If you are familiar with Rapp and/or Harvath, what do you think? Pretty good? Too many restrictions? If you have someone else in mind for the role(s), I’d love to hear it!