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: Doctor Strange, part 2: Wong and the Ancient One

After fan-casting Doctor Strange last week, it seemed only natural (or, maybe supernatural?) to then fan-cast two allies that are integral to the sorcerer’s life and career — namely, Wong and the Ancient One. So, without further ado…

Wong

Wong - in the libraryWong (full name unknown) comes from a long, family line of firstborn sons pledged to serve the Ancient One. However, when he finished his training and came of age, he was instead sent to New York to serve the Ancient One’s protege, Doctor Strange. He has been with Strange for many years, loyally and faithfully acting as cook, butler, research assistant, and whatever else Strange needs. Wong is not formally trained in the mystic arts, but he has picked up a few things over the years with his “master”/employer. For example, he has apparently learned a spell to magically teleport, and he has wielded a few defensive spells, as well. His training at the monastery where he grew up included studying a local martial art discipline at which he was highly adept and became a master. He does not actively train in it anymore, and he is not on the level of someone like Daredevil or Iron Fist, but he is more than a match for most common threats.

Wong is a generally calm and patient person (as per his training), but he can be a bit sarcastic and has been known to get annoyed, particularly with people whom he sees as bothering or disrespecting his master or his master’s home (i.e., the Sanctum Sanctorum). He is a thoughtful manservant, often anticipating his master’s needs. Marvel’s wiki lists him at 5’8”, 140 lbs., so he is of roughly average build. As far as I can tell, he is always bald and has never worn facial hair. If a movie or TV series sticks to the source material, Wong would probably be about 20 when he first enters Strange’s employ. If the production takes place well afterward, he could be closer to 30. On the other hand, I think an older Wong — even by 10-20 years — would be an acceptable change and would only mean ruling out a couple of potential Wong-centric storylines from the comics.

I looked at several Asian actors, but I didn’t come across any in the 20-something age bracket, so my top 3 are all a few years older. (Frankly, I was pressed for time while putting this together, else I might have been able to find a couple younger ones.) In fact, two of them have the last name “Wong”. (Hmmm…) I considered Byron Mann (5’11”,b.1967), Byron Lawson (5’11”,b.1968), Rick Yune (6′,b.1971), Sung Kang (6′,b.1972), Tim Kang (5’8″,b.1973), Karl Yune (6’1″,b.1975), Brian Tee (5’11”,b.1977) — all decent actors. But, they were each rejected for being too tall (6′ or more), too pretty, or just not having the right look/vibe. Which leaves us with…

Emerson Wong

Emerson Wong

Emerson Wong (5’8″,b.1979) is no stranger to genre series & films, having performed stunts for several and occasionally taken a small (sometimes uncredited) acting role. The latter include “Rookie Blue”, “Nikita”, “Transporter: The Series”, “XIII: The Series”, and Pacific Rim. Emerson is the youngest of my candidates, he is well-trained in martial arts, and I’m sure he would do a fine job as loyal manservant Wong.

 

 

Terry Chen

Terry Chen

Terry Chen (est. 5’10or11″,b.1975) has been doing genre work for several years, and you may recognize him from recent roles in “Continuum”, “The 100”, and “The Returned”. But, he has also appeared in the recent Godzilla remake, Elysium, “Arrow”, “Nikita”, “Battlestar Galactica”, “Sanctuary”, “V”, “Defying Gravity”, I, Robot, The Chronicles of Riddick, and a host of others. Another great choice for Wong, if’n ya ask me.

 

BD Wong (rare bald shot)

BD Wong (rare bald shot)

Now, B.D. Wong (5’5″,b.1960) is a bit on the short side and already in his mid-50s, but he easily looks 10 years younger. Plus, he is arguably the most talented and accomplished of our three candidates. As for genre work, BD had early roles in The Karate Kid, Part II and Jurassic Park; then he appeared in Men of War, “The X-Files”, Executive Decision, “Oz”, Jurassic World, “Mr. Robot”, and has been a “Law & Order: SVU” regular for years. He has also done voice work in such productions as Mulan & Mulan II, “Jackie Chan Adventures”, “Kim Possible”, and the “Lego Jurassic World” game. Needless to say, Wong would be an excellent Wong.

Yao, the Ancient One

406px-AncientOne_HeadYao began life as a simple, 15th-century farmer in the mystic city of Kamar-Taj in what is now known as Tibet. His earliest forays into the use of magic led him to seek out and join an ancient order called simply “the Ancient Ones”, dedicated to combating evil sorcerers. Yao eventually surpassed the others in power & skill, becoming the first Earth mortal to meet with Eternity, the sentient embodiment of the universe, who presented him with the Amulet of Agamotto and charged him to become the Earth dimension’s first Sorcerer Supreme. Having already attained an extremely slow rate of aging, he also outlived most of his colleagues.

Ancient One, Strange, CleaFive hundred years later, he began looking for someone to train as his replacement. Potential candidates included Dr. Anthony Druid and Baron Karl Mordo, but ultimately it was Dr. Stephen Strange who was given the honor and title of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One effectively retired, but from time to time he either had to fend off attempts on his life (e.g., by Mordo) or aided his successor in fighting off particularly powerful, evil entities. In one such battle, the Ancient One’s body was possessed by a powerful demon, so he willed his consciousness to become one with the universe, thereby trapping the extradimensional demon in his dead body. When Strange later “fell from grace”, the Ancient One’s spirit used the Eye of Agamotto to appear to the Drumm brothers and grant them the title and position as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. (Daniel Drumm later went a bit over the edge, but Strange proved himself in battle and was awarded the Sorceror Supreme honor once again.)

The Ancient One was wise and noble, sometimes inscrutable, but in his later years he could also be cranky and irritable. (Most humans over 500 are.) Marvel wiki lists him as 5’11”, 160 lbs. Being that many Asians are shorter than this, I would not mind if he was cast shorter. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to go much over 6′. An average-to-slender build would be best, too. Since he is quite old, it is not surprising that the Ancient One doesn’t have much hair, and what he does have is stark white. He always appears with some facial hair, but the amount and style varies.

To be honest, I didn’t reject many actors, because the first “older” Asian actor I thought of was perfect for the job. (See below.) To be honest, not a lot of Asian actors are on my radar — probably since I don’t watch much Asian cinema — so that limits my choices. Of course, I considered a small handful in their 50s & up. For example, Chow Yun Fat (6’1″,b.1955), Ken Watanabe (6’0.5″,b.1959), and even B.D. Wong. I’m sure any of them would do a fine job in the appropriate makeup. But, I would prefer that the part went to…

James Hong (in the makeup chair)

James Hong (in the makeup chair)

The terrific James Hong (5’10”,b.1929) is an Asian-American icon, appearing in genre and non-genre productions dating back to the 1950s. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell at first, any fan would recognize him. Here is a small handful of the stuff Hong has been in: “The Man Called X”, “The New Adventures of Charlie Chan”, “Peter Gunn”, “Zorro”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “I Spy”, “Kung Fu”, “Wonder Woman”, Blade Runner, “Manimal”, “The A-Team”, The Perfect Weapon, Red Corner, “Millennium”, “Alias”, “Charmed”, “Chuck”, Safe, and most recently in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”. Plus, he has done a ton of voice work (e.g., a couple “Star Wars” series, “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”, “World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria”, “Archer”, “Jackie Chan Adventures”, Mulan). Hong is in his mid-80s and still acting. Give him white hair and some white whiskers, and he IS The Ancient One.

On the other hand, I’m not sure how spry Hong is these days. If there was a lot of action, and they didn’t want to keep switching to a double/stuntman, then it might make more sense to cast someone younger and age him with makeup. (Never quite looks realistic to me, though.) Same goes for casting a relatively young Yao, either for flashbacks or if the character is somehow rejuvenated. For any of these cases…

Daniel Wu in *The Man with the Iron Fists*

Daniel Wu in *The Man with the Iron Fists*

Daniel Wu (6′,b.1974) would be a great choice. His upcoming TV series is “Into the Badlands”, but he can also be seen in Purple Storm, 2000 AD, Naked Weapon, Blood Brothers, Triple Tap, The Man with the Iron Fists, Europa Report, etc. Wu definitely has the genre acting cred. In the right makeup and clothing, I think he would make a terrific Ancient One. (Heckuva lot more authentic than Tilda Swinton, that’s fer shur!)

 

Note: I just came across actor/writer Kenneth Tsang (b.1938) as a potential candidate for the Ancient One.

That does it for me, tonight. Maybe I’ll cast more Strange-related characters in the future. For next week, though, I have a “Supergirl” review to put together….

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Doctor Strange, part 1

I confess, I was never a huge fan of Doctor Strange or the other mystical elements of the Marvel Universe. (Same goes for DC or any other fictional universe.) But, Strange is an important character and, therefore, worthy of casting attention. Plus, there’s that movie starring that Cumberbatch guy coming out in about a year. But, while I think BC is a great choice, he wouldn’t be my first choice. So,…

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange 2Dr. Stephen Strange is Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme… except when he isn’t, as has temporarily been the case on at least a couple occasions since he originally attained the honor & title. If you aren’t already familiar with his history, here’s the short version. Strange was a brilliant young neurosurgeon whose wealth & fame were matched only by his arrogance and cold dispassion. Much of his egotism, emotional distance, and materialism was really only masking intense feelings of guilt and frustration over the losses of loved ones over the years.

While in his 30s, Strange survived a car crash that resulted in severe nerve damage to his hands, thereby ending his surgical career. Not satisfied with consulting or teaching, he exhausted his fortune vainly searching for a cure. Eventually, he sought out a powerful mystic in Tibet — the then-Sorcerer Supreme known as the “Ancient One”. Although his hands were not cured, Strange witnessed great mystical feats by the Ancient One and his duplicitous apprentice, Baron Mordo, and decided he wanted to become a sorcerer. The Ancient One agreed to teach Strange the mystic arts, since he had already sensed Strange’s potential. Before departing Tibet many years later, Strange defeated the avatar of Death itself in a test, granting him a greatly extended lifespan, like his predecessor.

doctor-strangeHeadquartered at his Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village with his trusty manservant, Wong, Strange became known as the “Master of the Mystic Arts” and developed an impressive reputation as a consultant on the occult — first with private individuals and law enforcement, later with the superhero community. In fact, at various times he has been either a part of or aided several teams — e.g., Defenders, Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men — and has been instrumental in protecting Earth and her heroes from many mystical/extradimensional and alien threats — e.g., Dormammu, Asmodeus, Mephisto, the Undying Ones. When the Ancient One finally left this plane of being, Strange inherited the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, much to the resentment of Mordo. He is an incredibly powerful sorcerer, having accumulated mystic artifacts and mastered spells that few ever have or could.

Whoever plays Strange in a movie or series needs to be able to convey that upper-crusty arrogance and emotionally cold personality, while hiding a deep guilt over not being able to save the lives of family members (and at least one lover). Beginning with his mystic training and over the years, Strange learned to be a bit more personable, even compassionate. So, there will be some personality change in the character, assuming the production in question spans enough time to show him evolving. Also, assuming it at least shows a bit of Strange’s “origin” (i.e., famous neurosurgeon, car crash, travel to Tibet), the actor should not be any younger than mid-30s. In fact, 40ish would seem to work best, if you ask me, so mid-40s would probably be the oldest we want. (Keep in mind that he may have actually been in his 50s when he returned to NYC, but he looked a bit younger, thanks to that extended lifespan.) Strange is known for having gray at the temples of otherwise black hair (like Mr. Fantastic), but I’m not sure when that appeared. He characteristically wears a horseshoe mustache, though he has also worn a circle beard. Marvel’s wiki has him at 6’2″ and a slender 180 lbs. I think a height range of roughly 6′ to 6’4″ is reasonable for our search.

When Marvel was casting for the movie role, we heard names like Joaquin Phoenix, Patrick Dempsey, Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, Justin Theroux. Some of them were rumored to have been “in talks” at one point or another. But, we all know that Benedict Cumberbatch got it. Of those I just listed, imho, Cumberbatch is probably the best choice. (We already know he can play cold and arrogant, for instance.) But, I cast my net a bit further. For example, one of the older gents I considered was Dr. Who’s Peter Capaldi (6′,b.1958). But, if I was casting a 50-something Doctor Strange, I would go with the extremely talented Michael Eklund (6′,b.1962). When watching “Eureka” a few years ago, it struck me that Ed Quinn (6’4″,b.1968) might make a pretty good Strange. But, he’s a tad older than I’m looking for, too. Another interesting choice would be Oded Fehr (6’1.5″,b.1970), who I’ve enjoyed ever since seeing him in The Mummy (1999).

This brings us to my Top 3 candidates…

Jack Huston

Jack Huston

Jack Huston (6′,b.1982) was rumored to be up for the part of Strange back around Aug. 2014. He has appeared in such genre fare as the Spartacus TV movie, Outlander, “Eastwick”, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, “Boardwalk Empire”, and even did a little voice work for an episode of “TRON: Uprising”. Frankly, I don’t remember him from Outlander, and I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else. But, from what I understand, he is quite talented. He could certainly portray the young Dr. Stephen Strange, who finds his life turned upside-down, then embarks on a mystical journey.

 

 

Richard Armitage (GQ)

Richard Armitage (GQ)

Richard Armitage (6’2.5″,b.1971) is my oldest candidate and closest to the comic version in height. You may recognize him (or not) as “Thorin” in the Hobbit trilogy, though the first thing I remember his name from is the first season of “Strike Back”. He has also appeared in “Ultimate Force”, “Robin Hood”, “MI-5”, Captain America: The First Avenger, and “Hannibal”. Though I usually think of him in more typical action roles, I think he could pull off the Master of the Mystic Arts just fine.

 

 

Luke Evans as Aramis

Luke Evans as Aramis

Many fans have cast their vote for Luke Evans (6′,b.1979). Frankly, I’m torn between him and Armitage. Evans has starred or appeared in the Clash of the Titans remake, Robin Hood, Blitz, The Three Musketeers remake, Immortals, The Raven, No One Lives, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, and Dracula Untold. So, he is certainly familiar and comfortable in the sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure genres. This guy has the look and talent to make an awesome Sorcerer Supreme.

 

 

Do you like any of these guys as much or more than Cumberbatch? Who else do you think might have been a good casting choice for the good doctor? The all-seeing Eye of Agamotto shall reveal the truth….

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Martian Manhunter

Guess what time it is…? Yep, fan-cast time. While I already had some ideas about this character, I got thinking about him some more a few weeks ago while working on the “7 DC Properties that Should Be on TV” posts. I guess that’s to be expected, since I was proposing a “Martian Manhunter” TV series, which requires finding someone to play the guy. Let’s get started, shall we?

(The) Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter - painted with MarsAs anyone familiar with the pre-52 version of the character knows, Martian Manhunter is J’onn J’onzz, “last” survivor of the inhabitants of Mars. I put “last” in quotes because, as with Superman, who was also thought to be sole survivor of his native planet’s race, he turned out to not be the last. A handful of Green Martians have popped up over the years. One of those is J’onzz’s evil twin brother and arch-nemesis, Ma’alefa’ak (aka Malefic), who also survived the extinction-level event known as “H’ronmeer’s Curse” that he himself caused. There were also pre-Crisis Yellow Martians on Earth-One, and a race of nasty, war-like White Martians were revealed many years later in our preferred “New Earth” continuity.

J’onn J’onzz made his home on Earth, adopting the identity of policeman “John Jones”, and was one of the founding members of the Justice League of America. (For awhile, he actually maintained several human identities, which he used for various activities around the world.) His many superhuman powers have come in quite handy when dealing with human, superhuman, and extraterrestrial threats over the years, whether as a cop or as a costumed crimefighter in the JLA and a few other groups. On the other hand, his weaknesses include 1) a genetic aversion to and extreme fear of fire, 2) a nearly debilitating anguish & sorrow over the loss of his wife and child (not to mention the rest of Green Martian civilization), and 3) an unusual obsession with the Oreo-like “Chocos” cookies. The Martian Manhunter became the “heart and soul” of the Justice League, beloved and respected in the metahuman community of Earth (and elsewhere), and instrumental in many victories. Sadly, he was tortured and murdered by Libra and the new Secret Society of Super-Villains during the “Final Crisis” events. Fortunately, he was also one of many who were resurrected during the events of “Blackest Night”.

185px-MartianManhunterCv2Despite having the typically “somewhat cold and stoic demeanor” of those of his race, J’onzz is extraordinarily kind, noble, wise, and self-sacrificial. He has also demonstrated incredible willpower, as well as a subtle sense of humor. J’onzz is several decades old but still appears to be in the prime of life. As a powerful shapeshifter and telepath, he can look and act like just about anyone. When working as Martian Manhunter, though, he usually either puts on his “public” form (i.e., that which he would wear in public on Mars) or a combination of that and a more human appearance, along with typical Martian garb. That form is tall and powerfully-built, with DC’s wiki listing it at 6’7″ and about 300 lbs. But, his human identity doesn’t have to be big, because his height & build are adjustable with his malleable body. In that case, I suppose they could get an actor that is not nearly so tall or muscular and just CGI a larger body for costumed action scenes. However, I would still prefer to see someone over 6′ tall and with a fairly muscular build play the role, regardless of how much CGI is used in the action scenes. Also, at least when “in costume”, I think he should speak with a deep voice, possibly with an accent of some sort. So, I would try to cast a Black or white man, roughly 6’2″ to 6’7″ with a fairly muscular build, in his mid-30s to mid-40s. It would help if he looked good bald, too.

I considered Dennis Haysbert (6’4.5″,b.1954), Kevin Grevioux (6’3″,b.1962), Christopher Judge (6’2″,b.1964), but they are all too old. Raw Leiba (6’3″) has the build, but I’m not sure he has the acting skills. Vin Diesel (5’11.75″,b.1967) might be good, but he’s too short, a little too old, and not quite right for it. Kevin McKidd (6′,b.1973) is too short, and Armie Hammer (6’5″,b.1986) is too young and boyish looking. I looked at a few others in the 6’4″-6’5″ range, but they were either too old, didn’t look right for it, or I was afraid they didn’t have the acting chops for this complicated character. A few years ago, actor/stuntman Jeff Chase (6’7″,b.1968) might have been a good choice, and they wouldn’t have needed any CGI. But, he is too old now and a bit round in the middle. (Not sure about his acting range, either.) LaMonica Garrett (6’2″,b.1975), who I suggested for Det. Crispus Allen a few weeks back, might be good; but, I had to eliminate him to get to… my top four candidates:

David Ramsey - shirtless pose with green lightingDavid Ramsey (6’2or3″,b.1971) is the shortest of the four, but he may actually be my favorite. I think he was the first person I came up with when I started thinking about casting the character awhile ago. The biggest problem with this choice, of course, is that he currently has a regular gig on the ever-popular “Arrow” series. He is also known for recurring roles in “Dexter” and “Blue Bloods”, as well as appearances in shows like “Space: Above & Beyond”, “NCIS”, “CSI: Miami”, “Charmed”, “Journeyman”, and “Ghost Whisperer”. Plus, we already know he has the physique and martial arts skills to play the action hero. If they decide to kill off John Diggle anytime soon, they should grab Ramsey to play J’onn J’onzz. I think he has the look and versatile talent to do right by the Martian Manhunter!

Ryan McPartlin - shirtless with gunKnown to “Chuck” fans as Devon ‘Captain Awesome’ Woodcomb, Ryan McPartlin (6’4″,b.1975) has also appeared in Super Capers, “CSI: Miami”, “Daybreak”, “Sequestered”, and even plays a detective in the comedy “Mystery Girls”. He also voiced the titular hero in Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers. Of course, he has the height & build needed to play J’onn J’onzz, too. I’d like to see McPartlin in a regular, dramatic, possibly action-oriented role, and the lead in a “Martian Manhunter” series might be just the opportunity he needs to shine.

36-MARTIANMANHUNTER-SIMMONSJLE-36Nowadays, fans can see Henry Simmons (6’4″,b.1970) playing ‘Mack’ on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, and it looks like he’ll be there at least through season 3. But, if they write off the character after that, maybe Simmons could be persuaded to switch to DC…. Simmons has been in Spartacus (TV movie), “NYPD Blue” (in which he played a detective for several seasons), The Insurgents, “Shark”, “Ravenswood”, and the recent Synapse. He also voiced a character for Superman vs. The Elite. He has the necessary physical traits and acting experience to make a darn good Martian Manhunter. Based on the pic I found, I’m not the only one to think so.

Daniel Cudmore - gym t-shirtBoth the youngest and the tallest of my candidates is former X-Man “Colossus”, Daniel Cudmore (6’6or7or8″,b.1981). In addition to three X-Men films, Cudmore has been in four The Twilight Saga films, Alone in the Dark, Merlin and the Book of Beasts (TV Movie), The Killing Machine, Rites of Passage, “Fringe”, The Baytown Outlaws, and “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” (TV mini-series). I haven’t seen him in anything else, so I’m not sure of his acting range, but physically he certainly fills J’onzz’s shoes, and he’s used to working with CGI. He might actually be a surprisingly good Martian Manhunter.

As I have said before, with the right take on the character, Martian Manhunter could be a very good cop/superhero show. Any of the above actors might have the required balance of physique and talent — not to mention a deep voice — to do J’onn J’onzz justice.

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

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.