RANDALL WINSTON & TYLER MALONE’S JUSTICE LEAGUE CASTING SUGGESTIONS
Two Comic Book Nerds Reveal Their Top Ten Casting Calls for the Upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie
By Randall Winston & Tyler Malone
Holy Casting Coup, Batman! Randall Winston and Tyler Malone, after hearing the rumors that Christian Bale may return as the Dark Knight in the upcoming Justice League film which will also star Henry Cavill (the new Superman in this Summer’s Man of Steel), decided to take it upon themselves to cast their dream version of the film.
In their ideal Justice League movie, we see classic team members like Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman–as well as more obscure heroes–join Supes and Bats in a battle against three of the DCU’s deadliest villains.
Here are their top ten dream casting calls. The guys and gals over at Warner Bros. would pay attention if they were smart. But then how often do Hollywood studio execs show signs of intelligence?
10. Steven Yeun as The Atom
“Aside from the polymathic aptitudes of Batman, a team with the logistical and technological needs of Justice League must have on their roster a purely scientific hero, with a specialized knowledge set that works well with his power–as is the case with the Atom, a hero that can alter his size to shrink down to the subatomic level while maintaining his original strength and mass. The Atom has utilized this power for a variety of unique tasks, from brain surgery to travel through phone lines. He’s a relative unknown outside of comic book circles, so we have a bit of leeway, but who should play him? My pick may cause a series of riots among the hardcore fanboy community, considering the move away from the Atom’s original alter-ego Ray Palmer to the more recent Ryan Choi character. However, Yeun’s popularity as Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead leads me to believe that he can bring the affable, heroic, occasional-badass qualities of that character over to a big-screen portrayal of a tech-savvy, science-minded League member that might be considered second-string, but could also serve as audience surrogate.” – RW
9. Alexander Skarsgård as Aquaman
“Aquaman is a crucial part of the Justice League, and thanks in large part to the Super Friends TV show, he’s one of the members with the highest public profiles, so I’d imagine he’ll find his way into any proposed Justice League movie. The question is: Who should play him? Even though his dad (the great Stellan Skarsgård) is in rival comic company Marvel’s Thor, I think Warner Bros. shouldn’t worry about Skarsgård family conflicts of interest, and cast Alexander as the king of Atlantis. I loved what he brought to the table in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, and his work on True Blood shows that he can do this kind of material, so I’d be really interested to see how he’d handle playing Orin. He seems to me to be perfectly suited to portray the misunderstood royal and lover of the deep.” – TM
8. Bérénice Marlohe as Wonder Woman
“Wonder Woman–one of my favorite character concepts–was one of the toughest roles to cast. To be perfectly honest, the character of Wonder Woman always seemed to be lacking the great stories of the male characters in the Justice League. Whether through purposeful design or absent-minded neglect in favor of other marquee characters, Wonder Woman hasn’t been treated as the major player that she has the potential to be since she first appeared on the comic book scene. Lynda Carter’s 1970s television portrayal in The New Adventures of Wonder Woman is considered classic, but its campy appeal only served to undermine the character’s potential as a fierce warrior that can take on any member of the League. The Warner Bros. animated Justice League series from the early 2000s crafted a character closer to the powerful superhuman combatant and symbol of gender equality that a Nolan-inspired Justice League movie would need. After initially going with MMA fighter / Haywire actress Gina Carano as the Amazonian warrior, I came to the conclusion that French actress Bérénice Marlohe (who shined as a Bond girl in last year’s Skyfall) has the right combination of intensity, allure, and poise to present a new Wonder Woman for audiences. That is, if she can be trained to convincingly kick some major ass.” – RW
7. Michael Fassbender as Martian Manhunter
“Michael Fassbender could play anyone. Seriously, Randall or I could have cast him in any of the roles we’ve chosen here, and he’d surely blow everyone away. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: he’s the best young actor working in Hollywood today. He could be Wonder Woman if he wanted, and it’d somehow work. In fact…wait…Randall are we sure we wanna go with Bérénice for Wonder Woman? I think Fassbender could do a great Amazonian warrior princess, no? OK, fine, maybe not, but there’s something about the stoic, detached, yet slightly comical green alien Martian Manhunter that makes me want to see Fassbender pull him off. I’m assuming, if they include Martian Manhunter (which they should), they’d likely CGI him, in the same way they did Dr. Manhattan in the film adaptation of Watchmen. CGI performances can be tricky, but I have the utmost faith in Fassbender’s abilities. He’s already played a mutant, an android, and a Spartan–not to mention Carl Jung and Edward Rochester–so why not try his hand at a big green guy from Mars?” – TM
6. Idris Elba as Green Lantern
“Yep. That’s right. Ryan Reynolds is out! I have nothing against ol’ RyReyn personally and, while I did NOT enjoy his turn as Hal Jordan in 2011′s Green Lantern, my problem with the film had less to do with him than it did with terrible writing and worse special effects. I would rather start from scratch with a different version of GL with an alter-ego that is popular in comic book lore (former Marine John Stewart) and gives me a completely credible excuse to cast the phenomenal Idris Elba. The Green Lantern Corps, the interstellar cadre of beings seen in the 2011 film patrolling the galaxy, are essentially a galactic police force. In his long list of intense roles, Elba’s unorthodox London policeman John Luther from the ongoing BBC series Luther arguably redefined the ‘rogue cop’ role for the 21st century. Not that the Green Lantern is a rogue cop (at least not this iteration), but Elba’s creativity and intensity in the role would add much needed flair to a character that can literally create anything his mind can imagine with his power ring. In regards to the stigma of the hero’s previous outing: perhaps the galactic cop simply needs a diverse team of superheroes and a new actor to give him relevance and context.” – RW
5. Matthew Bomer as The Flash
“The Scarlet Speedster is often recognized as the first superhero of the Silver Age, and though he’s not quite up to the level of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as far as DCU popularity in general public, he’s pretty much the top of the next tier. All this is to say that he’ll inevitably get his own film, which led me at first to lean towards an actor like Ryan Gosling, someone that is box office tested and that the studio knows could carry his own film. But for some reason, I kept drifting towards someone else: Matthew Bomer, who just seems to me like the perfect Barry Allen. He can play charismatic (as he’s shown on White Collar), he can do action (as he’s shown on Chuck), and he’s got one of those handsome superhero faces (with that chiseled jawline and those longing baby blues)–not to mention that I think he’s a rising star (slowly trying to transition from TV to film, as evidenced by his role in last year’s Magic Mike).” – TM
4. Viggo Mortensen as Deathstroke
“While Deathstroke is a popular antagonist (and sometime anti-hero) in the Justice League / DC comics rogues gallery, he is not that well-known to the movie-going public. The biologically-enhanced mercenary and assassin has received some silver screen treatment on two popular CW prime-time series, Smallville and Arrow. However, the character has, like Wonder Woman, been more fully explored in animation series Teen Titans and Young Justice. In the two series, Slade is a tactical genius and master manipulator, whose physical prowess, vast collections of weapons and technology, and fighting skills are actually the least of the very real danger he presents to superpowered heroes. Viggo Mortensen, even when playing purely heroic characters such as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, presents a calculated danger and outsized power underneath a calm, composed exterior. His Deathstroke could act as Lex Luthor’s enforcer to take on any member of the Justice League, no matter the particular skill set (while potentially threatening Luthor’s plans with his own enigmatic agenda).” – RW
3. Brad Pitt as Green Arrow
“The ages of most of the superheroes in this version of the Justice League would likely be around late 20s to mid 30s. But Batman, if Bale is indeed playing him, will be decidedly older. I like the idea of having Batman and Green Arrow as both sort of the superpowerless elder statesman. They can represent the old guard, in a Watchmen-like fashion, of heroes that existed before a more ‘superpowered’ era. With that in mind, I think Brad Pitt could pull the Emerald Archer off nicely. Pitt also has the luxury of already being somewhat politically attuned to the character’s far left leanings. Green Arrow needs to be a leftist radical, as he is in the comics, calling the other superheroes on their fascist bullshit, and fighting for social justice. I don’t expect him to quote Žižek, but I wouldn’t mind a veiled political jab or two. Whoever is writing the movie better have read Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil’s brilliant over-a-decade-long run on the Green Lantern / Green Arrow series. Model this Green Arrow off that Green Arrow, and we’ll be all good. He is my second favorite DC hero (after the obvious first choice of Batman), so if you do Green Arrow wrong–and I’m talking to you directly now Warner Bros.–expect a bad movie review from yours truly.” – TM
2. Robert Carlyle as the Vril Dox Intelligence (aka Brainiac)
“When discussing our picks, Tyler made a great point that audiences will need a recognizable supervillain to tether this new Justice League property to previous and popular DC comics adaptations. However, we also decided this film needs a plausible cosmic-level villain that will close the power gap, counter high-level League members like Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, and present a global threat. Brainiac is a member of Superman’s rogues gallery, a Kryptonian super intelligence with full knowledge of Superman’s weaknesses. Above all, its primary quest is to acquire knowledge from every civilization he encounters, subsequently destroying any traces of life to make itself the sole source of knowledge in the universe. Along with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke, Brainiac would round out a trio of intelligent villains united against a common enemy, but possessed of their own competing agendas. I have been a fan of Carlyle since his brilliant turn as Begbie in Trainspotting and his recent roles in two genre-focused television series (SGU Stargate Universe and Once Upon a Time) demonstrate his continued appeal to today’s audiences. As the android embodiment of Brainiac, Carlyle could bring a detached menace to the interstellar villain.” – RW
1. Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor
“Besides the villains that make up Batman’s rogues gallery, the most recognizable supervillain in the DCU has to be Lex Luthor. Deathstroke and Brainiac are great villains, and will pose a major threat, but if Warner Bros. wants a hit on their hands they’re likely gonna have to go with something recognizable, and Lex Luthor is about as recognizable a villain as you can get. (Not only that, but using Luthor could potentially be a great lead-in to a second Superman film where whoever plays him reprises his role.) Ever since I started watching Breaking Bad, I’ve been in awe of Bryan Cranston’s acting abilities. Who knew the dad from Malcolm in the Middle had such range? With Walter White, Cranston’s proven he’s a master at menacing charm, and that is clearly Lex Luthor’s M.O. Not only that, we now also know that Cranston can pull off the shaved head look. Even if Warner Bros. mucks up all the other casting decisions, this choice alone would make the movie worth the price of admission (in my humble opinion). I can’t imagine a better fit for the Man of Steel’s ultimate nemesis.” – TM
Randall Winston and Tyler Malone are writers and comic book nerds.
Written by Randall Winston & Tyler Malone
Photography Courtesy of DC Comics
Design by Marie Havens
JLA, Photography Courtesy of DC Comics