Fan-Cast: Moon Knight

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

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

Moon Knight

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

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

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

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

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

gorham-christopher - shirtless, dogtags, camo pants

Christopher Gorham

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

 

 

Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins

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

 

 

Dylan Bruce

Dylan Bruce

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

 

 

Philip Winchester

Philip Winchester

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

 

 

Toby Kebbell

Toby Kebbell

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

 

Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Oliver Jackson-Cohen

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

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

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.

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Fan-Cast: Jessica Jones

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

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

Jessica Jones

"The Pulse" cover by Mayhew

“The Pulse” cover by Mayhew

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

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

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

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

Cover by David Mack

Cover by David Mack

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

Who do I have in mind? Glad you asked…

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

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

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

 

 

Vanessa Ray

Vanessa Ray

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

 

 

Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte

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

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

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2016.