Friday, January 15, 2010

JLA: The Movie – How it should be done (Part 3)

If you haven’t, please read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Most pressing issue: We don’t know who’s playing Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, or Flash.

But before we get to these decisions, we have to make casting choices for our alternates. By alternates I’m referring to those heroes who might make it into movie:


Gerard Butler comes off tough and Hawkman (in his post JLA days) is one really tough, ruthless, and uncompromising geezer. But maybe, part of Butler’s tough persona comes from his Scottish accent which sounds pretty rough and earthy. Don’t believe me? Get a Scotsman to say the words, “The Earth.” It’ll sound like he’s saying, “the airrrth.” And, no, Sean Connery doesn’t disprove this, for the simple reason that many native Scots can’t place his accent. No really, where’s Connery from?

I'll save the airrrth!

Viggo Mortenson could also do the tough Thanagarian flyer. Think of Aragon from Lord of the Rings. Yes, Viggo is Katar!

Carl Urban (as seen in Pathfinder and other movies) could also pull it. Perhaps I’m just nominating too many dudes who are used to having facial hair on screen.

Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation; Avatar, and Clash of the Titans [upcoming]) is an Australian, so we know he can act. In addition, he has this understated toughness that just screams bad ass! It’ll be Katar with shorter hair if he gets the nod.

Green Arrow:

Bradley Cooper strikes me as Ollie in his heyday (ladies’ man-wise, anyway). He would make a goatee work. I could picture him clashing with Flash.

Daniel Craig (best known as the current James Bond) might be a good choice. He resembles Green Lantern Alan Scott more strongly to me, though.

Josh Holloway (from Lost) may have Oliver’s verbal explosiveness down and gets many resemblance points (with the possible exception of his longer hair).

I’ve actually just thought of how Green Arrow can be used to greater effect on the Apokalips part of the mission. Picture this: Wonder Woman is fighting about half a dozen Furies and is going all Amazon warrior on their butts. It’s not every day, Diana can unleash like this, so she doesn’t hold back. She knocks out a couple. One particular Amazon K.O. victim catches Oliver’s eye (not in that way!). Her name is Artemis. She has a bow and arrow that Oliver simply must have. After Barda or Mr. Miracle checks that it doesn’t have that nasty ‘Darkseid is Love’ subliminal turn to the dark side effect, Green Arrow takes it to use in their battle. Now, for those of you are unfamiliar with Artemis’ weapon, her arrows are called synapse shafts and with good reason. She once shot Superman in the back and, although I doubt it pierced his skin, he fell from the sky screaming like a little girl that got startled by a spider. Yes, Ollie is going to have fun with them arrows!

Black Canary:

Scarlet Johannson? Cameron Diaz? But do they have the moxie / spunk / attitude to play Black Canary?

A slightly younger version could be Kristen Bell (former Veronica Mars)– she’s got that sass that Black Canary should have. You know, someone who isn’t afraid to put even legendary heroes in their place.


Aquaman would only work if the movie had a JLA home team and away team structure. In other words, there would have to be crises to averted on Earth as well as battles on Apokalips. Arthur would have to on the home (Earth-based) team, because if hunger dogs (slaves) have been made to fight over water on Apokalips, then I’m pretty sure that there isn’t enough of the stuff in which to swim.

Brad Pitt? Hey, if Brad signs up and demands to play Arthur, it might the only reason Aquaman is even in the movie.

Josh Holloway is also candidate for this role. Well, he did that aftershave ad for television that involved him diving into water and isn’t that what Aquaman does best?

The Atom:

We couldn’t an actor small enough...



Lance Hendriksen (Bishop from Aliens, Frank Black from Millenium) or that creepy actor from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers whose name I can’t recall.


Martian Manhunter:

He is the soul of the League. In terms of character, he’s a calm influence, a good leader, but also has other sides to him. Sometimes he comes off ‘all ET, but other times he’s straight out of aliens.’ This only occurs when necessary.
Hugo Weaving – Mister Weaving is a talented actor, but he’s also been mentioned as a possible Sinestro in the upcoming GL movie. Is there a rule about superhero double-dipping? Do the masses of make-up and CGI sequences required for both roles exempt him from such a rule?

David Boreanaz – As mentioned in Part One.

Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes, Spock from Star Trek) – He might have the character-acting chops to pull it off.

Flash (Barry Allen):

Jason Statham looks like he should wear the Flash costume. I’ve never heard him speak in another accent, though.

Timothy Oliphant (from Hitman) might also make the grade. I can see him clashing with a Bradley Cooper Green Arrow.

Ben Affleck. No, seriously. When Mister Affleck emotes, he primarily uses the bottom half of his face and with flash’s mask covering the top half *...Yes, with Affleck we’ll need to add in Wally West eye-shields as well...

*Through the 1truegl’s independent study, he has found that Affleck uses the bottom half, Clooney uses the top half (special emphasis on eyebrow motions) and, by far the most confounding result, Keanu Reeves uses NEITHER top or half of his face to emote.

Chris Pine (Kirk from the latest Star Trek movie) could also do it.

After a quarter-minute of thought, my eye-shields comment made me realise that close-ups of the Flash’s eyes will be an important emotive device in our movie and Mister Pine brings a subtlety to the art of using the windows to the soul to bear his soul (can't believe I just wrote that!). I’ve never really thought about this until now, but in the comics Flash is often used to focus the attention of readers. Maybe, it’s his red costume. Perhaps, it’s the idea that when someone who can skim a room as fast as he can simply focuses on a single image, the reader knows that whatever Barry sees is important. When Superman or Batman is featured in such a comic panel, it’s generally a single emotion such as terror or shock, but Flash is usually given a multi-tonal emotion to convey. Or at least I’ve seen more Flash shots like this...

Barry Allen as Flash presents requirements of its own. For example, you need to cast an actor who would have great chemistry with Hal (Nathan Fillion).

Bloggers note: Actually, Mister Fillion has great chemistry with everyone. Heck, I don’t know a single person that doesn’t instantly like the characters he portrays. The man made brown a cool colour. Brown! He’d do the same for green, if given the chance.

Flash (Wally West):

Where are all the red-haired actors? Okay, so if Flash is Wally West, the speedster never takes off his mask.

Ewan McGregor?

Me play Flash?

I can’t seem to think of any fiery topped actors. Weird.

How about Robert Pattinson (from Twilight)? That’ll get another demographic in movie seats. Truth be told, I kind of see him as Gambit if they ever make X-MEN ORIGINS: GAMBIT.

But will my hair fit under the mask?

Question: What happens when Darkseid’s Omega effect collides with Speed Force inside a boom tube?
Answer: For one thing, Hal Jordan screams, “Barry!”

Wonder Woman:

Jennifer Connelly is the front runner here. Flowing, black tresses are a must for WW and Ms Connelly is blessed in that department. This may seem like a superficial requirement in many respects, but may I point to Blond Kate Bosworth as Brunette Lois Lane in the awful ‘Superman Returns’ or Jessica Alba’s dye-job in Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Cobie Smulders (Robin from How I met your mother) has also been mentioned as a candidate. mean...Smulders plays a sweet Canadian in that show. Can she portray the role of ‘the amazon ambassador to man’s world’?

Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost) is quite familiar with physical acting, which Wonder Woman actress will have to do in spades. When I saw her on the very first episode of the first season of Lost, I remember thinking...There’s Wonder Woman in her ambassador / visiting lecturer outfit...folowed by...Wait, they crashed on Themyscira? The cleaned-up, off-the-island, Evangeline has an even greater resemblance to Diana. [Note to producers: Get the stylist from Lost (season 4 and 5)]. In addition, there’s a groundswell of support on the internet for her to be cast in the role, including petitions and fan sites. Did I mention Jennifer Connelly as the front runner? Maybe, there should be a rethink...

Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly and Serenity) might have actually been in contention for the Wonder Woman movie while Joss Whedon’s non-period movie script (as required by the Powers that be) was under consideration. However, then those same Powers decided to go with a period script. Last I checked, that is. Rambling a bit...Anyway, with Morena we’d have built-in chemistry with Nathan Fillion! That, and I have a MASSIVE crush on her – reason enough for any casting decision.

Actually, I have a crush on all the WW candidates.

The stylistic inconsistency in the artwork of Wonder Woman’s solo comic title has resulted in many varied looks over the years and may, to a small degree, explain the vast number of actress nominations one comes across for the role.

Question: Are we going to see any of the badass Wonder Woman who while fighting Medusa blinded herself and lopped off the Gorgon Queen’s head with an axe? For those not into mythology, looking into medusa’s eyes would turn someone into stone or some other sort of a statue (not 100% sure on that detail). Still, bad-ass, right?

In screenplay-related news:

I’ve had to fire a screenwriter yesterday, but I’m sure you’ll agree the transgression warranted such action. Here’s what happened (or rather what he wrote in the script):
HAL: “Barro’s back and streakin’ days are here again!”

Now, first of all, Hal would never call Barry ‘Barro’. Secondly, ‘Barro’ sounds like barrow (as in wheel-barrow). Lame. Lastly, and worst of all, I instantly recognised the line “Barro’s back and streaking days are here again!” as a deliberate cut-and-paste job from “Stretcho’s back and clobberin’ days are here again!” as said by Ben Grimm (a.k.a. Thing from FF) referring to Mr. Fantastic. Yet another Marvel infiltrator...The last time a Marvel fan screenhack got passed vetting, the Joker wound up killing Batman’s parents. Never again! Why do those ‘nutso true believer red team’ people always try to sabotage our efforts?

We’ve decided to have the movie’s opening set in Gotham, where the audience sees a chase scene from 1st person perspective as Batman (the chaser). Batman is running across the rooftops chasing the chasee (a running thug carrying a rectangular box under his arm in the alleys below). Batman jumps the dude from above, knocking the box from him and sending the guy crashing to ground. We cut to 3rd person perspective. Dude pulls a weapon on Batman. Batman evades and throws a batarang in one motion, dislodging the weapon from the thug’s hand, but not before the shot goes off. Not a gun, a laser or energy blaster. Luckily, as a result of the batarang, it goes high, only slightly touching the alley wall. Batman proceeds to lay this guy out, picks up the weapon, opens the box (marked with a weird insignia) to find an even deadlier-looking weapon inside, and turns around to see the alley wall completely scorched from the shot that barely touched it. We get a close-up of Batman’s face, which says it all: Can’t have that...not in my city!

Meanwhile in Central City, Barry Allen is processing a crime scene: Incinerated bodies, same insignia on a similar empty box, and general signs of mayhem. Hey, it’s movie. We’re expected to take some liberties.

While in Metropolis, Superman helps defuse a stand-off between the Special Crimes Unit and operatives using the same advanced weaponry. We find out that they’re Intergang members.

Later, at the JLA watchtower / orbiting retreat / JL embassy / JL satellite (take your pick of HQs), Blue Devil and XXXX have shown up for membership try-outs. We meet J’onn and then Wonder Woman. Superman, Bats, and Flash arrive and call a meeting to discuss the increased Intergang activity and where they could’ve gotten the advanced weaponry. Blue Devil and XXXX get brushed off by Batman. J’onn apologises and offers to reschedule, but Blue Devil offers his help. So, does XXXX. J’onn tells them that it won’t be necessary. That’s when the trouble starts...

Teaser: There are also a few scenes where J’onn sees the Martian god of fire (and death), H’ronmeer, in the fire pits of Apokalips. Is it real or in his head or is it part of a new gods attack strategy? I’m not telling...

In part 4: We find out who XXXX is and who’s playing that role as well as who should be cast as Darkseid!


  1. "How about Robert Pattinson (from Twilight)?"

    No no no no no no no no no NO no NO nono no no no NOOOOOOO.

    Was that a good enough argument against that guy?

    Evangeline Lilly I like a lot. She's a good actress, she's naturally beautiful (not many women can pull off the no-makeup look but she does it splendidly.) I'm not sure if she looks powerful enough, but I don't mind too much about that. Also like Jennifer Connolley, but she needs to gain some weight first. She's getting too skinny to play even normal roles.

    More thoughts later...

  2. Oh, and I like the Hugo Weaving idea for MM. I could see that working. Not sure about Zachary Quinto...I STILL haven't seen the new Star Trek, so all I can think of him as is the head-splitting Sylar.

  3. You know, it just hit me on the way home from work: part of me just wants to see motion-capture done for J'onn. So all you need to do is pick an actor with a really great (or unique) voice. Alan Tudyk, perhaps?

  4. Hi LissBird,

    Sorry about the response delay.

    I saw the first Twilight Movie and the movie is a lot better than the book, which was terrible because of the whole exclamation-muttering-murmuring-whispering Meyer writing. Pattinson is okay, but sometimes when he says "Bella" he sounds like Fat Tony from The Simpsons :)

    Evangeline Lilly is also my favourite for WW. Also, Connelly prefers slightly depressing movies (where people are depressed and not eating and crying half the time).

    I wrote this post in a good-actor-or-possible-candidate-or-perhaps-not-always-my-pick-or-presents-marketing-fanbase-opportunities vibe. So, it's a bit of a mix. Hence Pattinson's inclusion.

    Quinto does a good job as Spock. The movie made the franchise fun again. It's action-packed, has some romance, drama, but it wisely uses little bits of humour to show characterization. Quinto and Pine play well off each other as do the rest of the cast.

    Motion-capture might work well. Tudyk or Weaving. Both could make it work.

    I'm really starting to like Pine for Flash - he wears his heart on his face (if that makes sense).

    What do you think about the direction of the movie?

  5. That's okay!

    Yeah, I better not go off on Twilight. You will not like me when I start talking about Twilight...I'm surrounded by people who are obsessed with that book, which wouldn't bother me as much if the demographic weren't twelve-year-old girls.


    LOL @ the Jennifer Connelly comment. She does play angst pretty well, doesn't she? Now, how do you want your WW to be played? Lighthearted? Regal? Warrior? Or as an outsider to Man's world? I could see Evangeline Lilly as the gentle working-for-peace interpretation of WW. Connelly could be more the outsider/warrior. I don't know about badass Wonder Woman. I don't think you have to be a badass to be strong...or be like a man to be strong. I don't know. Wonder Woman is a very tricky character to define, in my opinion.

    I really need to see Star Trek. Especially considering that I am a ST fan. I just rarely get to see movies in the theater, and the video rental near me shut down. Quinto looks a little bit like my brother, so maybe that's why I'm balking at him as J'onn J'onnz. (You know, the whole EWWW MY BIG BROTHER AS MY FAVORITE COMICS CHARACTER!1!!!1! reaction.) I like Weaving or Tudyk.

    From your picks I like Scarlet Johannson as Canary. I think. I'm not sure if she can be tough enough, though. I think Canary needs to be more womanly and less cutesy. Kristen Bell is I think too sweet for the role. :)

    Brad Pitt? Oh, no.... :P But that's only because of my personal bias against Brad Pitt.

    Chris Pine I think would be a great choice for Flash. (Heart on his sleeve, maybe?) :) Flash has got to have a big heart.

    Oh, and Fillion would be great. He may not look exactly like Hal, but so what. It's all about the personality. (And, yes, sadly, I have not seen Serenity OR Firefly. I'm going to lose my geek street cred soon if I don't.)

    You've got to vet your screenwriters more carefully. You should get the actor who's playing Batman to hang him off the side of a building. That way, your Batman actor gets a little method acting. Your screenwriter gets vetted. It's a win-win.

    I'm liking it so far, especially the appearance of H'ronmeer in the fire pits of Apokalips...that makes perfect sense. I know you're not telling, but could this be a telepathic attack against the Manhunter from Mars? Will there be battle scenes completely in the mind as well as in the real world? In your continuity, was Darkseid partially responsible for wiping out Mars?

    Also, what tone are you going for? Action? Noir? Mystery? Caper?

    I have a few theories as to who your mystery character are...hmm...

    Can't wait till Part 4!

  6. There's some subtle, disturbing stuff in Twilight...Basically an 70-year-old (?) guy who's dating a teenage girl, but possibly more troubling is how Bella loses herself so completely in this love. Another reason I never read the books was that someone mentioned that at least 40% of the first book was Bella describing how beautiful Edward looked.

    WW: I was kind of putting the warrior or badass or regal or outsider or diplomatic question out there. I was thinking that WW would have more than one side to her: ambassador-lecturer / royal warrior. With WW, you play with the New Gods - Greek Gods mythology: The source.

    Your Bro looks like Sylar???

    Firefly is just 14 epsidodes. So it isn't like twelve seasons to watch. After that you must watch the Serenity movie. In that order.

  7. Chris Pine I think would be a great choice for Flash. (Heart on his sleeve, maybe?) :) Flash has got to have a big heart.
    - I was trying to refer to his facial expressions, so I adapted the expression to 'Heart on his face'...but the heart part is often overlooked when doing any multiple hero adaptation. Flash removes doubt from the minds of the audience via his reactions and responses to situations.

    Well, the blue team eventually got their revenge on the red team for the whole Joker-kills-the-Waynes thing by having Michael Buble sing the unsaveable Spiderman theme song (does whatever a spider can...hehe)that was originally written by a blue team fan.

    A lot of the movie continuity is up for internet debate, really.

    Apokalips is a great choice, because the evil gods like to screw with the minds of the heroes or take advantage of a mind-screwing event/memories.

    Tone: Action with bits of mystery, but subject to change.

    XXXX? Who could it be? Do I even know yet?

  8. I think Edward is like 100. And why does he keep going to high school? I mean, won't he get bored after 50 years of high school? It makes no sense. Not to mention how short-tempered he is with her, drags her around, and the things he does to control take the engine out of her car to keep her from going anywhere. I don't like to see my students looking "up" to a character who treats a girl like that. *shudder*

    So Flash is the guy whom the audience should empathize the most with? I rather like that. He's a very accessible character. Even though it's Wally, in that JLA fiction book I had mentioned a little while back, Flash is shown as the moral compass of the League.

    I like the regal warrior princess/diplomat version of Wonder Woman, I think. I think they got her right on the JLU animated show. The once scene that stuck in my head for some reason was where WW went out to the mall and was perplexed by the makeup counter and asked why any woman would cover up her natural beauty. (To which the reply was something like, well that's easy for you to say.) But, anyway, I think of her as a sister to all women, level-headed and easy to talk to.

    Yep, Sylar looks like my big brother, especially from the nose up. My mother doesn't really think so, but I have a weird talent for pointing out who looks like whom and I do it all the time.

    My favorite version of the Spiderman song is the one the girl sings (or can't sing depending on you look at it) out in the street with the violin in the first Spiderman movie. I actually like Bublé...though not so much lately since it all went to his head. And not singing the Spiderman song. (Homer Simpson FTW, though.)

    As for continuity, I like sticking to the "classic" League. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, J'onn, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen. But, on the other hand, I miss seeing characters like Hawkgirl and Canary. And I love all the fringe characters like Blue & Gold, Rocket Red, The Question, Adam Strange, and so on.

    I hope the tone also has a good balance between psychological as well as the external action, but without being angsty. If you know what I mean...

    XXXX=Booster Gold? Kyle? Blue Beetle? Firestorm? Huntress? Huntress would be pretty cool...I always liked her.

  9. 100 years old, even worse. Your point about Edward controlling Bella is spot on - the mark of an abuser (emotional / physical).

    Flash and J'onn are the moral core. Bats, Supes, Hawkman are three absolutists (although three very different types of absolutists). Wonder Woman and Aquaman's worldviews are so coloured by their cultures and the weight of leadership / royalty...Seeing them function as a team will be entertaining no matter what the cast. JLA classic VERSUS JLA fringe...decisions, decisions...

    No, I like Buble as well (the stuff he's written not the standards). I just think that the Spiderman song lyrics are unsaveable (especially in a Crooner style).

    It'll be 90% external (real world) action, because I dislike those "the character was just insane" fake-paranormal fare that's so popular in hollywood.

    I'm considering a few options for XXXX. Could be contraversial.

  10. "Seeing them function as a team will be entertaining no matter what the cast." That's always great to see. I love seeing an ensemble cast interact, as long as it's not a petty argument. E.g. "Batman trusts you more than me!" or something along those lines. I have no idea who would say that, but you know what I mean. I think.

    I like the standards. That is perhaps because I share Frank Sinatra's birthday and I'm Italian. Crooning is in the blood!!

    Though I agree about the "character was out of his mind" cop-out-type-story, I do like psychologically-disorienting-noir-type-stuff. I don't think that's quite the right tone for a JLA movie, but for a solo Martian Manhunter story, it fits. (Like Martian Manhunter: American Secrets. One of the most underrated comics ever.) As long as it's character-driven, I don't mind explosions and fights and car chases and all that good stuff, especially when there's a little humor in the mix. (Thinking True Lies, for example.)

    XXXX is controversial...hmmmm...can't wait to see who that might turn out to be.