CASTING COUCH: The DC Universe Part 1 – Green Lantern

Posted: December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Back in the days of yore there was Wizard Magazine. One of my favorite features was the CASTING CALL. It was a feature where the staff picked a comic book and chose actors to play the characters. The actors weren’t always chosen realistically and the same actor was often used more than once (ie: Bruce Campbell) but it was a fun segment. So with that, I’m launching the first in a series that I hope to post weekly wherein I cast the DC Universe in an interconnected film series that follows the Marvel method and culminates with JUSTICE LEAGUE.

You may have seen my previous blog where I argued why DC and Warner Bros. need to combine their new Man of Steel film universe with their Arrow TV universe to successfully transition into their planned 2017 Justice League film. That argument obviously still stands as it directly relates to their current approach. This new series is more of a fantasy league or wish list. It has nothing to do with any existing film from the DC Universe. These will not be sequels or spin-offs in any way. It’s a brand new start. Think of it as The New 52 of the DC film universe. So with that, let’s get started.

One of the smart decisions by Marvel was to kick off their film franchise with Iron Man. As a character, he’s well known but not necessarily at the top tier for most fans. Logically and chronologically, if one were going to launch an Avengers universe they probably would have started with Captain America. But by starting with Iron Man, Marvel gave you a character you could relate to (in a sense) while establishing that certain fantastical things in this world are possible. It also built anticipation for what can come next. So transpose to the DC Universe, you might expect to start with Batman or Superman. However, Batman doesn’t establish what can be possible in this new universe whereas Superman establishes too much possibility all at once. You need to lead in with a strong, well known character that can kind of middle ground everything and build off of that in highs and lows like Marvel did.

So, for the first film in the New DC, I give you:

GreenLantern_TitleCard

The original Green Lantern film had some potential. But the creative team did, in my opinion at least, three things fatally wrong that lead to poor reception from both fans and critics alike. 1) Too much CGI. I’ll give them the obvious ring effect stuff and I understand why the suits were CG, but when characters like Sinestro, Abin Sur and Tomar-Re were animated over the actors portraying them it got to be too much. They need to rely more on practical effects so that the visual team could spend more time making the few visual effects look better. 2) Too much Ryan Reynolds – Not enough story. Green Lantern has a rich and slightly complicated story. They took what parts of it they wanted and cliff noted them in an ominous narration and spent the rest of the time watching Ryan Reynolds play every character he’s ever been (which is one character) in a CG suit. 3) They lead in with Parallax. The Parallax story is one of the best in comics and they flushed it away by making him the core villain of the first film. This film would have a more conservative main conflict, which would allow room to plant subtle seeds and undertones for stories to come.

While transporting the intergalactic war criminal, Atrocitus, to Oa – Green Lantern Abin Sur is fatally wounded and crash lands on Earth where fearless test pilot Hal Jordan is selected to replace him. Jordan is transported to Oa, citadel of the Guardians of the Universe and base of the Green Lantern Corps, to train. But Jordan must quickly return to Earth unprepared for the dangers ahead when he learns that Atrocitus is still on the loose.

And now, for the main event in 3… 2… 1….

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Guillermo Del Toro – Director

How good of a successful comic book adaptation was Hellboy? AND it used the hell out of some practical effects and everything looked great! Throw in films like Blade 2 and Pacific Rim and there’s no doubt that Del Toro is the perfect director to helm Green Lantern. His ability to tell a visual, character driven story around extraterrestrial and inter-dimensional themes with plenty of intense action is virtually unrivaled.

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Charlie Hunnam – Hal Jordan/Green Lantern

Having starred in Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, Hunnam has already proven his sci-fi/action hero chops as well as the emotional damage that would come with playing Hal Jordan. Not to mention the striking similarity and the fact that he can pull off wearing a sci-fi suit.

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Erica Durance – Carol Ferris

No stranger to the DC Universe, Durance played Lois Lane on TV’s Smallville. She has both the military brat attitude and sex appeal to easily play Ferris and the physique to throw down as Star Sapphire should the film franchise go that route with her character.

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William Fichtner – Sinestro

Fichtner is an amazing character actor that can pull off both action and drama. He’s still in great shape for his age and is even getting ready to throw down as The Shredder in the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (however ill advised that whole film may be). Throw on some practical effect makeup and a mustache and you have one hell of a Sinestro good for a whole trilogy.

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Will Smith – John Stewart

Probably the least likely to ever actually happen on this list but also (I think) one of the most spot on bits of casting. Smith has had a lot of trouble lately. He’s not the marketable action start that he used to be. I mean, After Earth was awful (although that’s probably more to the fault of M. Night Shyamalan) but he walked away from that sporting a dead ringer look for Green Lantern of Sector 2814.3. If he’s willing to play ball in a supporting role with this first film (he’d just be playing John Stewart – ex-military construction worker and helpful man on the street when crap goes down against Atrocitus) he could easily take a higher profile role down the line in the sequels and Justice League franchise.

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Jason Momoa – Atrocitus

Momoa is actually reportedly up for a role in Man of Steel 2 (possibly as Doomsday) but since none of those existing films and projects matter here he’s a clear choice for Atrocitus. Not only for his sheer size but he also proved to play a smart and methodically villain in the tremendously underrated Bullet to the Head. Then, of course, there’s his viciousness from Game of Thrones. Again, practical makeup effects are really all you need here. CGI enhancements at best but that’s all.

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Christopher Lambert – Ganthet

Here’s one of the few exceptions to using CGI. In this case you’d want an actor in a MoCap suit with the visage of the Guardians animated over them. Most of the Guardians can be throwaway actors as they wouldn’t need much screen time but Ganthet needs an actor that can display the stoic look of a being who’s suppressed his feelings as well as show that glimmer of light when hope starts to get renewed. Lambert has both of those qualities, plus a raspy voice that I honestly kind of hear coming from Ganthet.

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Clancy Brown – Kilowog (Voice)

Again, Kilowog is a character that would almost entirely be CGI, but with less effort focused on animating half the film the visual department can make him look really good. The late Michael Clark Duncan voiced him in the original film, and it was fine, but his voice was way too recognizable. It kind of lessened the illusion. If Clancy Brown can come up with a mix between the growling tone of The Kurgen from Highlander and the over-the-top authoritativeness of Drill Sergeant Zim from Starship Troopers then you have one hell of a Kilowog!

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Peter Mensah – Abin Sur

I mean…just look at him. The Spartacus veteran has this character written all over him. Right down to the jaw structure!Throw some magenta on him and you’ve pretty much got it handled.

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Doug Jones – Tomar-Re

Another Del Toro veteran, Jones has built a career out of wearing practical effects makeup and letting other actors dub over his voice. Although he actually got to lend his own voice to Abe Sapien in Hellboy 2. That said, just look at Abe Sapien, the Silver Surfer and The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jones totally has Tomar-Re in the bag.

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David Thewlis – Hector Hammond

I enjoyed Peter Sarsgaard’s take on the character in the original film, but for this time out it has to go to Harry Potter alumn Peter Thewlis. He has that wormy scientist look down while also demonstrating that soft spoken intellectualism for when he’s transformed by the meteor that powers Abin Sur’s ship. He’d obviously be a second tier villain to Atrocitus but a necessary part to a Green Lantern film nonetheless.

Green Lantern: The Emerald Dawn would be the first in a trilogy that interlinks with the rest of the DC Universe. The follow up films would be Green Lantern: Revenge of the Manhunters and Green Lantern: In Blackest Night (which would actually be based more on the fall of Sinestro and not the poorly received Blackest Night crossover series).

So what did you think? Interested to see where I go from here? Tune in next week for CASTING COUCH: The DC Universe Part 2 – The Batman!

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