Sunday, July 24, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: Trap Jaw

After going over who may be a good Sorceress, I'm going back to Snake Mountain today to talk about another of Skeletor's henchmen: Trap Jaw.

Trap Jaw was an interesting character. He's not as simple-minded as Beast Man, but he's also not exactly a rocket scientist either. He's kind of a middle-of-the-road villain in terms of his capacity to get things done.

 He's got some cool powers though, which makes me hope that he's got a role in the upcoming He-Man movie. Biting through metal and able to change out his right arm into whatever kind of weapon he'd like makes him a fun character and possibly formidable weapon in the upcoming movie.

Unlike some of the other characters I've blogged about already, Trap Jaw is pretty much depicted the same in all of the comics, books, action figures or TV shows that he's been featured in.  In the 2002 series, the size of his arm was a little more exaggerated.  He looked a little bit too much like Frankenstein though.  That's why I prefer the Filmation version a little bit more.

Anybody could probably play Trap Jaw because he's a blue half-man/half-machine with a green face and a machine jaw and arm.  There are a few specific actors who I'd like to see get the role though.

Elijah Kelley is one of the actors who could work in the role.  His IMDB Filmography list isn't incredibly large, but he's had a few big roles including starring in Hairspray and The Butler.  He's not a largely known name, from what I can tell.  That's got to be a good thing for those in charge of the budget though.

Born in 1986, Kelley is still pretty young, so he'd hopefully be inclined to sign on for a multi-picture deal (assuming that would be in the works).

These days a lot of casting tends to be going younger and younger, especially in super hero movies (see X-Men: Apocalypse and the Fantastic Four remake).  Kelley would fit right in with that group.  Since he was in Hairspray, I think he could handle the physicality involved with the role of Trap Jaw.  Have you seen some of those musical numbers?  They usually aren't done in one take and there's a lot of movement involved.

The only hesitation would be that Kelley is only 5'7" and probably about 170 lbs.  I'm not sure that he's got the size to play Trap Jaw.

Michael B. Jordan is another young actor who could do well in the role.  He was in the critically-slammed box-office bomb known as 2015's Fantastic Four.  I did watch the movie and it had it's problems, but Jordan's acting wasn't one of them.

There may have been issues with the plot being rushed and no explanation as to Sue and Johnny Storm being related (half-brother/sister?  adopted brother/sister?).  Jordan at least did a good job in the movie though.

The thing that Jordan offers over Kelley is that he's a bigger name and that he seems to be a little more physically fit for the role.  He's all about doing superhero movies, too.  As stated above, he already starred in Fantastic Four.  He also just joined the cast of Marvel's Black Panther movie.  I doubt he'll be Trap Jaw, but I'd be satisfied if he got the role.

One actor who has the jawline for the role and the size is David Boreanaz.  He's been busy on the small screen for most of his career, keeping busy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Bones.  Outside of that, he really hasn't been in any big-screen movies.

I can kind of understand why.  His acting hasn't really ever been that impressive.

However he's a recognized actor.  Bones is one of the more successful shows (and longest running with 12 seasons) on TV.  I'm not sure what his pay day would be, but I can't imagine he'd come at too high of a cost since he's a TV actor rather than a big screen one.  It's not as though he's getting paid millions per episode like the cast of Friends or Seinfeld were.

Seeing as how he's been around for a long time, it makes sense that he's 47-years-old.  He's older, but he's kept in good shape, so I assume he could handle any action sequences that would come with the role of Trap Jaw.

One of my favorites for Trap Jaw has to be Aaron Eckhart.  The 48-year-old actor has proven acting ability and did a good job playing Two-Face in one of the highest grossing films of all time: The Dark Knight (number 26, according to this list).

He may be 48-years-old, but he's kept in great shape over the years, so I'm not worried about him being able to handle any fight scenes.

I've got to go back to the acting as being his biggest draw though.  I like it when accomplished, respected actors sign on to play superhero roles because they give the characters a bigger sense of importance.  That's probably because they take the roles seriously, just as they would any other movie.  They don't look at it as a 'superhero movie.'  They look at it as a serious role and try to understand the character.

Eckhart may be a well-known actor, but he hasn't really been in too many headlining roles, so his price tag probably isn't too outrageous.  I hope they'd look at someone like Eckhart because he'd be a superb choice for the role of Trap Jaw.

Lastly there's the guy who would probably be the best pick: Jason Statham.  Just like Eckhart, Statham is 48-years-old, but you wouldn't really be able to tell if you didn't Google him.  When you talk about someone who is aging well, you've got to mention Statham.  He's in better shape than me and he's almost 20 years older than I am.

Obviously you wouldn't have to worry, at all, about Statham handling any action parts of the movie.  He's pretty much made his name by being an action movie star, filling the void once left by Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal.  Unlike some of those guys, though, Statham is probably a little more talented as an actor than they are.

I don't know if he'll ever win an Oscar, but he's probably a less one-dimensional than Stallone, Van Damme or Seagal.  Statham would have to be my number one choice to play Trap Jaw because he's really got the best mix of all the talents it would take to play the role well.

One actor I've seen thrown out there as an option to play Trap Jaw is Ron Perlman. He would've been a good choice about 15 years ago, but they've taken so long to get this He-Man movie off of paper and into production that the 66-year-old actor wouldn't cut it anymore. He's a large dude, but at 66, I don't think he'd be as good as someone like Statham and I don't think Perlman would be the best choice in 2016.

Related Content:
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Casting the He-Man movie: Mer-Man
Casting the He-Man movie: Man-At-Arms
Casting the He-Man movie: Beast Man
Casting the He-Man movie: Teela

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: The Sorceress

I've looked at a few different characters from the He-Man universe so far, giving my recommendations -- or my 'dream casting' --- for each of them.

Today, I'm taking a look at who could play the Guardian of Grayskull, perhaps one of the most crucial parts of the Masters of the Universe character list.  She's an interesting character.  While her powers leave her vulnerable outside of Grayskull, when inside the castle she is one of the most powerful people on Eternia.  She's also one of the most important, with the goal of keeping Grayskull's secrets safe and out of the hands of Skeletor.

She's been depicted in various ways.  She was quite different in each of her incarnations -- from the Filmation series to the 1987 movie to the 2002 version, courtesy of Mike Young Productions.

She was much too old in the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie.  They didn't cast her well at all there.  Besides that, she was weak.  Talk about a mostly useless pawn in the script they produced!  I don't know if she even had a speaking line in the entire film.  Her costuming was alright, but not indicative of the He-Man origins and history.

The 2002 Mike Young Productions version was much better, showcasing the Sorceress as a fighter and strong-willed woman.  The design of her outfit made her out to be half warrior and half angel, with a little bit of almost an Egyptian flair.

There are some other versions of the Sorceress, including the New Adventures of He-Man version, but my overall favorite has to be the Filmation version.  She took on the colors and attire of a falcon in her human form.  While they'll definitely have to update that version in the upcoming He-Man movie,  I'd like to see them adhere to some of the Filmation design.

Now, onto the actresses who could play her!

How about Cameron Diaz?  She's not my first choice.  Or probably my second, for that matter.  However, at 43-years-old, she's got a certain maturity to her now.  She's old enough to be the mother of a 20-something woman.  I don't know if she wants to play that part --- if she's secure enough in herself to play the part of a mother to a young woman.

When it comes to her acting ability, I think she could pull off the character.  She's got a bunch of acting experience, obviously.  It'd be nice to see a hell of an actress get the role and run away with it.  However, Cameron Diaz could get the job done.

I'm not sure about her demeanor.  The Filmation Sorceress had a very classy demeanor, even when faced with adversity.  The Bad Teacher actress is probably more suited to be in a screwball comedy than an epic hero adventure, but I'd be intrigued to see how Diaz would handle The Sorceress role.

Another option (one I like better) is Tilda Swinton.  I'd seen her here and there, but it was her appearance in the Dr. Strange trailer (yeah, it's ridiculous that she was cast for that role ... that's another story for another time) that had me thinking she would be a good Sorceress.

Swinton would not be as demure or elegant as the Filmation Sorceress.  Swinton would, no doubt, bring a little more edge to the role.  Maybe a little more like the Mike Young Productions version.  She's a good actress, though, and The Sorceress could use a little bit of an edge -- so long as they keep that falcon design.

Swinton is 55-years-old, which is a little bit more believable as the mother to Teela (hopefully that wasn't a spoiler!) than Cameron Diaz would be, especially if Teela was played by Scarlett Johannsson, who is 31-years-old.  She's played a variety of roles in a variety of movies, from dramas to comedies --- ranging from big-budget, studio-funded projects to independent films.  It's not out of the realm of possibility to think that she'd play a character like The Sorceress, especially given her upcoming role in Dr. Strange.

Swinton's take on The Sorceress could be a great balance of mystique and avant-garde.

One thing about the Filmation series is that The Sorceress looked more like a slightly older sister to Teela than a mother.  Maybe that has something to do with being a mystical creature.  Who needs face cream when you have the powers of Grayskull?

If we're going for a young actress, there's always Rose Byrne.  She's just 36-years-old.  A little young to be The Sorceress, but, again, if we're going the Filmation route, then why not?  An ageless Sorceress, or a slow-aging one (kind of like Wolverine in X-Men) would work.

While this isn't the route I'd probably go, I do think Rose Byrne would do an exceptional job portraying Grayskull's protector.  Byrne has a certain class to her.  If you've seen some of her movies, you probably know what I'm talking about.

Even if she's in a raucous movie like Neighbors or playing an undercover, lingerie-wearing agent like she was in X-Men: First Class, she's still got a certain quality to her.  Beautiful, intelligent, confident, sophisticated.  I don't know if Byrne is actually any of those things in real life (well, she is beautiful).  Certain people give off certain vibes though.  Those are the vibes she gives off.

In playing a character like The Sorceress, I think those qualities are important to have.  Byrne's real-life qualities could result in a very good portrayal of The Sorceress.

I think my number one choice would have to be Cate Blanchett, though.  Just like Swinton, Blanchett is sometimes more of a colder, edgier character.  She doesn't always give off the warmth, in her roles, that some other actresses do.  Even as one of the good guys as part of the Lord of the Rings series, she seemed a little intimidating.

However, Blanchett, in real life, has a warmth and sense of humor to her that would work well in taking the Sorceress role.  She's 47-years-old, so she's kind of a healthy medium between Cameron Diaz and Tilda Swinton.  She's in good shape (which is probably a requirement, due to the costuming).  Athleticism doesn't really matter in this instance because The Sorceress doesn't go running around, wielding a sword.

Blanchett has all the tools to embody the strength, grace, and warmth of The Sorceress (without taking herself too seriously).

Related Content:
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Casting the He-Man Movie: Evil-lyn

One of the most entertaining characters of all of the Masters of the Universe is Evil-lyn, so her casting has to be spot on. She's essentially second-in-command, behind Skeleton, in terms of the villains.

 She's ambitious, always eager to move beyond Skeletor and rule Eternia herself.

 Due to her smarts and her powers, she's easily one of Skeletor's most valuable henchmen, despite her questionable loyalty.

Evil-lyn was in the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, played by Meg Foster. While that movie strayed from the classic Masters of the Universe cannon, Evil-lyn was one character they did well with. She wasn't precisely depicted as she was in the Filmation series and she wasn't nearly as powerful as she was in the Filmation series, but she was captivating.  The 2002 version of He-Man gave her much more respect than the Filmation series, showcasing the fact that Evil-lyn was, without doubt, smarter than any of Skeletor's other cohorts.

In terms of the design of her outfit, I don't know that they can really go wrong.  Even though they went a little different route than Filmation in the 1987 movie, that version of Evil-Lyn still looked awesome.  I guess I'm kind of a sentimentalist, so I'd go with the Filmation version and color scheme.

As far as actresses, there are several potential candidates.  Whoever plays Evil-lyn has to have the ability to play a wide range of emotions all at the same time.  Evil-lyn is all about subtlety.  She'll subtly cast Skeletor an evil glance.  Or she'll subtly plan Skeletor's demise while proclaiming her loyalty to him.  Other times she will be in your face about her dislike of Skeletor and her own selfish wants to rule the planet.

Despite her evil ambitions, at times, you did feel a little bit sorry for her.  She was a character that always seemed to have a smidgen of good in her.  Rather than being truly evil, she was simply overcome by her greed.

Who has the ability to play such a character?  How about Noomi Rapace?  For those who don't recognize the name, she was in Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

She's definitely got the looks.  She kind of looks like an evil sorceress in that photo, doesn't she?

Those eyes are piercing!

Rapace could, without question, handle the acting.  She's not necessarily a kick-ass fighter, but Evil-lyn usually relies on her magic powers rather than her physical strength.  Rapace doesn't bring a great deal of name value to the movie, but her acting ability and portrayal of Evil-lyn would easily win people over.  Some cool trailers that showcase her could generate some interest.  I'd be more than pleased if Rapace were to get the part, but I do have a few other suggestions as well.

Anne Hathaway is one of my other suggestions.  She has already played a misguided villainess.  I'm, of course, talking about Catwoman.  Hathaway is one of the bigger names in Hollywood, so her playing Evil-lyn would probably help bring some fans into the theater to see the movie.

Hathaway usually sticks to dramas and roles with some meat to them, but she did sign on to play Catwoman in the third Dark Knight movie.  Granted, it was a huge role with a guaranteed massive pay day.

Despite her impressive acting ability, the one thing I'd worry about is Hathaway's ability to play a hardened character like Evil-lyn.  I don't think that Catwoman was ever as evil as Evil-lyn.  Hathaway could handle the intricacies in the Evil-lyn character, but I don't know if she'd do as good of a job with the gleefully evil side of her.  Still, Hathaway playing Evil-lyn would do a world of good for the new He-Man movie.

See those eyes right there?  Olivia Munn could give you chills with the right look in her eyes.  That's what I'm afraid Hathaway would lack.  Olivia Munn has the look to her that would make for an impressive Evil-lyn.

She's definitely been on the rise in recent years, starring in movies like Magic Mike, HBO's The Newsroom, and a pair of sequels in Zoolander 2 and Ride Along 2.  I actually haven't seen most of her work, though I did see her play Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse.  I actually wasn't overly impressed with her in that.  She didn't seem to be a natural athlete.  In a superhero movie, that's sometimes a requirement.  Although, we already determined that Evil-lyn isn't always the most physical character.

What Munn lacked in acting ability in X-Men, she made up for with her screen presence.  Some people just grab your attention and Munn is one of them.  Munn could succeed with the role of Evil-lyn, though Munn's version of Evil-lyn would probably be more standard than someone like Hathaway or Rapace.

A huge part of me would love it if Jennifer Lawrence went bad and played the role of Evil-lyn.  She is, in essence, the Mystique of the He-Man universe and Lawrence has owned that role after filling some respectable-sized shoes Rebecca Romijn left behind.

Lawrence seems like too much of an obvious choice for a role in the movie --- since she's been in so many big roles already, but she offers a lot to the role.

She's young, so that means she'd hopefully be on board to play the character again if there are sequels.

I'm not sure if she's had her fill of action movies, but she's proven that she can handle some physicality, whether it was as the star of The Hunger Games or playing a combat-ready blue shapeshifter.  In terms of drawing power, she'd possibly be the best choice they could make.  With her legions of fans, the movie would sure to be successful.  Have I mentioned that that's important to me?  Have I mentioned that I want the movie to do really well?  I'm talking two or three sequels well.

Lawrence has got some huge appeal in that area.  She's an award-winning actress to boot and not without merit.  She's played a variety of characters over the past few years, cementing her spot as a top-notch actress.  If she were to accept the offer to play Evil-lyn, I think Lawrence would do the previous versions justice, yet still put her own spin on it, making the character even more interesting than she already is.

If we're talking about actresses who can put their own spin on things, how about Rumor Willis?  In life, Willis puts her own spin on things as a tattooed, topless rights activist (yep, you read that right).  I guess you can march to the beat of whatever drum you want to when you're the offspring of Hollywood heavyweights like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

In addition taking home the season 20 mirrorball trophy on Dancing with the Stars (which shows that she's got the athleticism required to play a superhero role), Willis has been acting since she was just a child.  Despite that, her most watched performances may be from House Bunny and her semi-regular role on the 90210 reboot that was cancelled after five seasons.  She's mainstream without being too mainstream.

Rumer Willis is the type of actress who could do a impressive job with the Evil-lyn character while taking it in a different direction than anyone expected.  What that direction is?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Despite some great actresses already listed above, my number one choice would have to be the incredible, amazing Charlize Theron.  Based on that sentence, you may think I'm a huge fan of hers.  I'm actually not.  I mean, she's OK.  I never saw Monster or The Cider House Rules or several of her other movies.  She's one of those actresses who is regarded as a true actress.  I know that.

I've seen Trail and Error (a good comedy flick if you haven't seen it before), Hancock, and Prometheus.  She did well enough in those movies.

What really convinced me that she'd be an amazing Evil-lyn, though, was her portrayal of the evil queen in Snow White and The Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter's War.  She absolutely, without a doubt, stole the show in both movies.  Granted, the movies weren't that great, but she made them worth watching.  The costumes and visual effects were impressive as well, adding to her exceptional portrayal, but Theron earned her keep in both of those movies.

On top of her acting ability, she's proven that she's more than willing to take on physical roles like she did in 2005's Aeon Flux.  I'm assuming she'll be doing a little bit of fighting in the upcoming Fast 8 as well.  Plus, Theron is the right age.  She's a very young looking 40-years-old.

Evil-lyn was never a 20-something character like Teela and Prince Adam were.  Evil-lyn was a little bit older, somewhat wiser and, of course, more maniacal.  I don't know if a younger actress would be able to capture that essence the way Theron could.

While I think Jennifer Lawrence, Rumer Willis and Noomi Rapace could all take the character to a great cinematic place, Theron could trump all of them.

Now, here are a couple of people who SHOULDN'T play Evil-lyn.  These are a few of the names I've seen floating around:

Angelina JolieGamesRadar threw this suggestion out there in 2012.  That was 4 years ago, so maybe then.  But, nah.  No.  She played the evil witch/misunderstood Maleficent, but she just does not fit the characteristics of Evil-lyn.  She could probably do the job well enough, I guess, but I'm just not feeling it.

Another option I've seen thrown out recently is Helena Bonham Carter.  Again, nope.  She plays a good villain.  Just take a look at Harry Potter and her role as Bellatrix Lestrange.  She was good in that role, but that role is more that of a stereotypical witch.  Evil-lyn isn't really your standard witch.  She's more of a super villain with witch powers.  At 50-years-old, I just don't see her being Evil-lyn.  I'm not an ageist, but I think she's probably a little too old for the job, especially without the athleticism of someone like Charlize Theron.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: Mer-Man

Alright, after going over casting choices for Teela, Beast Man and Man-At-Arms the past three days, it's time to take a look at Mer-Man --- another of Skeletor's henchmen.

 Given his prominent status among Skeletor's ranks, I feel that he should be included in the new He-Man movie.

Mer-Man got jipped the last time around. Evil-lyn and Beast Man both made it into He-Man's 1987 big screen debut --- even if Beast Man looked more like Grizzlor than Beast Man.

Now, in terms of the version that should be produced, there are pretty much two to choose from and both are similar. There is the Filmation version and the 2002 Mike Young Productions version.  There aren't a ton of differences between the two, but I'd much rather see the 1980's version.  The 2002 version (and mini-comics version, at times) looks too much like a duck.  The Filmation version really does look like a man-fish or a Mer-Man.

So, who to play Mer-Man?  The first name I'm going to throw out there is Elijah Wood.  I'm not entirely sure why, but he seems like an actor who could do well in a villainous role like Mer-Man.

He was Froto, of course, but, thanks to the ring, he was emo during half of that trilogy, so he could probably handle playing a convincing villain.

Wood is, by no means, a large man.  However, Mer-Man was never really a physical villain.  He was usually more underhanded and sneaky or he'd utilize weapons.

I always felt that Mer-Man was more of an analyst who capitalized on certain moments than he was a physical specimen or evil warrior.  I don't know what kind of salary Elijah Wood commands these days, but he does have some name value, so he's probably worth the price.  Elijah would get the nod from me.

Okay, this one is probably unlikely, but Idris Elba is someone I wouldn't mind playing Mer-Man.  He's probably more focused on getting that coveted James Bond role than he is on a He-Man movie that is seemingly destined to be in the pre-production stage.

Mr. Elba has already portrayed Heimdall in the Thor movies, so it seems he's not opposed to being in a superhero movie franchise.  While he's got great presence as Heimdall, Elba's talents seem a little bit wasted in that minimal role.

I'd hope that his role as Mer-Man would give him a little more screen time than he's received as Heimdall.  Hopefully he'd have a few more combat scenes as well.  He seems to have the physical ability to do some cool action scenes.

The nice thing about Elba is that he's a big name, but he's not a massively big name.  He hasn't headlined his own box office film yet, so he'd hopefully be within the studio's budget to get.  After seeing what he could do with a minimal role in Thor, Elba could make the Mer-Man character a standout.

Someone who is kind of along the same lines as Idris Elba --- having made a bit of a name for himself in recent years --- is Luke Evans.  He was a fairly prominent character in The Hobbit trilogy before going on to star in the not-so-successful (but surprisingly good) Dracula Untold.  He was also in Furious 7 and is Gaston in 2017's live action Beauty and the Beast.

I'm not sure if he's too big of a name for the Mer-Man role, but I don't think so.  Just like Elba, I think he'd bring some attention to a role that has never been on the big screen before and was kind of underrated in the TV series.  The acting ability isn't really anything you'd need to worry about.  He's played a variety of characters already during his rise to prominence.  A villain in a He-Man movie would be within his wheelhouse.  It probably won't happen, but Luke Evans would be a great choice for Mer-Man.

Lastly, I'm going to throw Bradley Cooper's name into the mix.  He's probably the most recognizable name on the list.  He's a talented actor, having starred in his fair share of dramas, but he's clearly got a sense of humor.

Cooper starred in the Hangover movies and he's the voice of Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.  He's not above doing a little bit of superhero acting to make that box office buck.

I can't recall many full-on action movies that Cooper starred in, but, like I said earlier, Mer-Man isn't Beast Man.  He doesn't need to be a musclebound, dominant villain.  Mer-man is an entertaining character.  Cooper needs to bring interest and entertainment to the role.  I think he could definitely do that.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: Man-At-Arms

I'm back with another blog on how the He-Man / Masters of the Universe casting should go.

After looking at Teela and Beast Man already, today's focus is on Man-At-Arms. He's Teela's father and the inventor/gadgetry whiz of Eternia. He's one of the most trusted characters in the series and is always there to save the day with a new invention or weapon.

Basically, he's to He-Man what Alfred is to Batman or what Felicity Smoak is to The Green Arrow in Arrow.

His depictions in comics versus the animated TV shows are, more or less, the same.

Man-At-Arms in the 2002 Mike Young Productions version was, of course, much younger and more physical.  Filmation's version was never really intimidating, despite being muscular and skilled in hand-to-hand combat.  Man-At-Arms, in 2002, really was a Man-At-Arms.  He wasn't Capt. of the Guard, but he was always there with some kind of weaponry ready to aid He-Man.

I'm fine with whichever version they end up going with (since they're so close to each other), but the one thing they can't change is the mustache!  They thankfully kept the mustache in the disappointing 1987 Masters of the Universe movie.

Although, in the 1987 version, Man-At-Arms looked the part, he was too much of a wimp.  I felt that he should have been more intimidating a presence than they made him out to be.

To be honest, the 1987 movie version of Man-At-Arms was kind of a dorky version.  I don't recall him being of much use to have around.  Then again, neither was Teela.  So disappointing.  That's why I'm hoping for better casting, a better story, better costumes and a better movie, in general, this time around.

On that casting note, it begs the question: who should play Man-At-Arms?  Today I only have three choices for the job.

Billy Bob Thornton is one of them.  He's, perhaps, not the most conventional choice, but I'm kind of intrigued because of that.  I feel like he'd be able to take the character and do something different, yet impressive, with it.

He's a big, recognizable name, but it's been a while since he was in a major movie, so I'm assuming his asking price isn't too extreme.  I don't know what kind of budget the new Masters of the Universe movie has, but I'm assuming it's not as large as that of ... say ... Transformers.  Maybe a sequel or sequels would receive some funds, but the first one?  Probably not.

Thornton isn't terribly muscular, but he doesn't give off an elderly, feeble vibe either.  He seems like he could be a scrappy dude in a fight.

If you're not a fan of that suggestion, how about this one?  Tom Selleck.  I do have hesitations about this choice, however.

One thing is for sure: he's got the mustache for the job.  However, if Selleck were to be Man-At-Arms, his version would be more along the lines of the Filmation version -- knowledgeable and with rational thought.  Probably a gadgeteer, too, but the physical presence?

Selleck is 6'4, so he's imposing based on his height, alone, but he's also 71-years-old.  He still seems like he could play the role of a tough, old bastard.  A younger actor may be a little better though.  That's my only worry about Selleck.

His acting has been proven time and time again.  That, he could handle.

Lastly, there's the guy who would get my vote: Billy Burke.  He played Bella Swan's father in the Twilight series.  Besides that, he was in ... well, not too much.  He did have a few roles in TV shows like 24 and The Closer, but most of his other jobs have been bit roles.

5 (or 6, was it?) appearances on the big screen in the Twilight series is a pretty good resume filler though.

Burke has the ability to play a stern, yet caring character, which is kind of who Man-At-Arms is.  Man-At-Arms will get irritated with Orko and readily do battle with Beast Man or Skeletor, but he's also usually able to keep his cool and not make foolish decisions in the heat of battle.

At 49-years-old, Burke would probably be able to handle action scenes that require hand-to-hand combat or running whereas I'm not sure Selleck could.  Thornton could probably handle the action scenes, but would he be as convincing in a fight?  I don't know.

I think Burke offers a nice balance of the characteristics that Man-At-Arms is supposed to have, so Burke is my choice.

Related Content:
Casting the He-Man movie: Beast Man
Casting the He-Man movie: Teela
Pan - reviewed.
Captain America: Civil War – reviewed.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: Beast Man

Yesterday, we covered the casting of Teela.  One-by-one, I'll let you know my dream cast for the upcoming Masters of the Universe movie.  Today, we go to the villain side of things with Beast Man.

For those who don't know, Beast Man is one of the staples of Skeletor's evil warriors.  He's, as his name indicates, a man beast --- a Beast Man.  He's not the brightest person --- or man beast --- in the world.  He's not exactly loyal, but he's dependable because he's not bright enough to really throw a successful coup against Skeleton.  He's also not bright enough to successfully carry out Skeletor's missions.

So, it's kind of a take what you can get with him.

Beast Man has pretty much been depicted the same throughout the entirety of the Masters of the Universe franchise --- whether it be comics, mini-comics, books, the 80's animated TV show or the 2002 Mike Young Productions animated show.

Visually, things haven't changed much either.  In some versions he's more of a beast than a man.  Which version to use for the movies?  They're all pretty much the same, so let's stick with the 1980's Filmation version -- though there will probably be a little more fur and a little less orange in the movie version.

Now, onto the casting.  Who should play Beast Man?  I've got a few suggestions:

Paul Giamatti is one of them.  He may seem like an odd choice, but he's a great actor.  Whether he's been in comedy movies, dramas, or big-budget action movies, Giamatti always delivers.

He's 49-years-old, so he's not going to be a huge physical presence without some CGI and/or costuming, but he played Rhino (a character very similar to Beast Man, actually) in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, so it can be done.

In my opinion, Giamatti, with his acting talent, could really make a goon sidekick into something more meaningful.  In terms of Giamatti's name-value -- he's well-known.  However, I don't see a bunch of people going to the theater to see how he performs as Beast Man.  He's a great acting talent to have in a movie, but he's not really a headliner, so I'm not sure there's a huge advantage in having him in the role.

If he were to be offered and accepted, the MOTU fan in me would be very satisfied.

When talking about physical beasts, how about Tom Hardy?  He's a very good acting talent and he takes his roles seriously, as we've seen when he owned the role of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  In that same movie (as well as Mad Max: Fury Road and Warrior), we saw that he's no stranger to taking on physically challenging roles.  He can do an action movie just as well as someone like Arnold or The Rock or Stalone.

I'm not sure how much Hardy commands these days in terms of pay, but if they want someone who can bring a little name value and a heck of a work ethic to the MOTU project, then Hardy is a great choice.

At 38-years-old, Hardy is definitely young enough to handle the role for several installments, if it were to go that far.  Giamatti does a good job keeping in shape for his age, but physically he can't compare to Tom Hardy.

If we're going even younger than Tom Hardy (like a lot of movies are these days ... I think some actors in X-Men: Apocalypse are still in their early 20's), then Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a good candidate to look at.  He played Quicksilver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron and did a decent job in a lead role in 2014's Godzilla.

Of course, some of you may recognize him from the Kick-Ass movies, too.

I think he'd take the Beast Man role into a new direction --- kind of like Tom Hardy might.  Taylor-Johnson is a little out there -- in that he's not really cookie cutter.  For example, he married   a woman 22 years older than him (not that there's anything wrong with that) and then added her last name to his last name: Taylor-Johnson (not that there's anything wrong with that either).  He's not conventional, which makes for some good acting performances sometimes.

He's not exactly a big name in Hollywood so his price tag probably isn't too high.  The other side of that coin is that fans may not go just to see him.  That being said, I think he'd be a great choice.

If you're not satisfied with the options so far, how about Josh Helman?  Who??  I know.  I didn't know the name either, but I knew the face.  He was in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse (as Col. William Stryker).  That's primarily where I knew him from.

He's got the action movie thing down.  In addition to those two action movies, he co-starred with Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road and also had a part in Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise.  He is very physically fit and he's used to playing a bad guy.  He's had enough experience to be used to working in a studio with giant green screens as opposed to acting in real locations.

If we're looking at age, he's 30.  He could sign a multi-picture deal.  Looking at his IMDB page, he doesn't have a plethora of projects going, so it could work theoretically.  I would doubt that Helman is even on their radar, but I'd be all for him landing the role of Beast Man.

Lastly, there's the man who is probably my number one pick.  He's been building a name for himself as an actor since he retired from professional wrestling.  I'm not talking about The Rock.  I'm talking about Dave Bautista, better known as WWE's Batista.

Since he turned to acting, the incredibly in-shape 47-year-old has been in low-budget movies and blockbusters.  One end of the spectrum to the other, huh?  He was Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy (and will reprise that role for the sequel).

He was also the non-speaking Bond villain, Mr. Hinx, in Spectre.  Besides being a retired pro wrestler (where he had to play a character as well), that's two (soon-to-be three) big movies he's been in.  Looking at those qualifications, he definitely fits the bill, huh?

I don't know that his acting would be on par with a Tom Hardy or a Paul Giamatti, but Beast Man isn't going to be delivering soliloquies or reciting Shakespeare.  When it comes to acting ability, I think Dave Bautista can get the job done as Beast Man.

I'd honestly be happy with any of these other four guys (or several others, for that matter) getting the role, but Dave Bautista has drawing power right now and he fits the bill.

Related Content:
Casting the He-Man movie: Teela
Captain America: Civil War – reviewed.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3 finale - reaction (yes, there are spoilers in here)
Pan - reviewed.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: Teela

I'm a huge fan of He-Man.  I should've done this a long time ago, but, with the Masters of the Universe movie progressing (seemingly), I figured it was time to do my own dream casting.

I've seen every episode of He-Man (even the dull ones that didn't include Skeletor) and read the mini-comics and the books.  I'm pretty much a fanatic.  At one point I owned all of the toys.  I still own a dozen or so action figures along with Battle Cat (and a lunch box) because I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them.

Given how big of a fan I am, I really want the new MOTU movie to be incredible.  I'm hoping for Transformers-level success.  We'll take it one movie at a time though, right?  That is, assuming there is even a sequel.

In order for there to be a sequel, we need a good cast.  A good script, of course, would be helpful, too.

Let's start with the casting of Teela.

To begin with: what version of Teela should end up on the big screen?  The 1980's Filmation version?  The 2002 Mike Young Productions version?  Or maybe something similar to the impressive artwork that is showcased above?  I'd go with a mixture -- but leaning more towards the 1980's Filmation version.  I felt that Teela should be a woman rather than a teenager.  She's Captain of the Guard.  You don't get there by being a 17-year-old.  Of course, the outfit is a bit dated, so something along the lines of that artwork above would be preferred.

So, onto the casting options!

In a previous blog, I'd mentioned that Amy Adams looks similar to Teela.  She might not be a bad candidate, to be honest.

However, with her pretty much tied up in the D.C. Cinematic Universe for the next little while as Lois Lane, I don't know if her taking on Teela as well would be the best idea.

She's a big name, so that's a good thing.  At this point she's a recognizable name and could draw some people into the theater to see the movie.

In remembering that the success of this movie is crucial to a sequel, I must admit that getting a few big names to play some parts in the movie is important.  Of course, big names means big money, so kind of a catch 22 there.

The other negative thing about Amy Adams is that I'm not sure she'd be up for what would be a physically demanding role.  They could use a stunt double, of course, but these days it's nice to have actors who can do the majority of the stunts themselves.  It doesn't limit the filming as much with actors who can do their own stunt work.  So, at the end of the day, I'm saying 'pass' on Amy Adams.

Natalie Portman is another possibility.  She brings to the table a lot of the same things that Amy Adams does.  She has name recognition.  She's a good actress.  She's not opposed to being in big, franchise movies (Star Wars, Thor).

However, rumors are that she's ready to be done with the Marvel movies.  That's apparently why she wasn't in any of The Avengers movies so far. Then again, maybe those are just rumors.  Let's say the He-Man movie is a success, though.  The studios would want to make sequels.  Would Portman commit to those sequels?

The other bad thing about Portman is that she's an actress -- not an action star.  She's in shape, sure, but would she be able to handle combat scenes and fight sequences?  I'm not sure.

Natalie Portman wouldn't be a bad choice, but, overall, I'd pass.

Another actress who could potentially play Teela is the redhead (at one time anyway) Emma Stone.  She's another good actress who is open to playing roles in superhero movies.  She was Gwen Stacy in two Spider-Man movies, after all.  Her role in that movie was largely a non-physical one, though.

I have faith that Emma Stone could handle the physicality that would come with playing Teela though.

Stone is younger than both Portman and Adams, so if there were more movies to be made, she'd hopefully agree to being in them.  You've got to look at the future when making casting decisions.

In terms of how she'd handle the role, I think she'd bring some sarcasm and humor to the role --- in addition to the physicality.  Teela did have some one-liners and a bit of a temper when having to deal with Prince Adam's laziness.  Emma could definitely bring those characteristics to the big screen.  So, I say, sure.  I'd be happy with Emma Stone getting the role.

Speaking of young actresses.  How about Jennifer Lawrence?  She's award-winning.  She'll draw people to the theatre.  She can handle physical roles.  She bring emotion to roles that may be looked at as simple.

What's not to like about Jennifer Lawrence playing Teela?  Given that she's already been the defiant, butt-kicking Katniss Everdeen and the misguided mutant villain that is Mystique, I almost feel like she's too much of an obvious choice.

I almost want someone lesser-known or without as many big roles on her resume to play Teela.  At certain points, after seeing actors take on several superhero roles, it becomes a little too repetitive.  It's a nitpicky complaint, but I do nitpick at times.  I'll own up to that.

The major positive, of course, is that she's a big name right now, so her being in the movie means people showing up in the theaters to watch it --- leaving MOTU fans with a greater chance of one movie becoming a trilogy or a movie franchise.

Overall, she offers more positives than negatives, so if Lawrence were cast, the MOTU moviemakers would get a thumbs up from me.

Next up, Cobie Smulders.  If I'm looking for someone with less experience playing superheroes, she'd be a good candidate.

She's got some superhero experience, starring as Nick Fury's right-hand woman in The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Though she wasn't doing hand-to-hand combat in either movie, she fired off some weapons and showed that she could hang in the big leagues in terms of big budget movies.

Outside of her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Smulders is best known for her time on the small screen in 9 season's of How I Met Your Mother.  The entire cast of that show can handle wit, sarcasm and comedy, so no issues with her delivering the assertiveness that Teela has, yet having the ability to still bring humor to the character too.

At 34-years-old, Smulders is young enough to be Teela.  She doesn't have any commitments (that I know of anyway) that would prevent her from signing a multi-picture deal.  That's two more positives there.  That settles it.  It's a 'Yes' to Cobie Smulders.

Another woman who has spent several years on the small screen is Sarah Drew, who you may recognize from ABC powerhouse Grey's Anatomy.  The show, of course, is a great mix of drama and comedy --- mixing the two seamlessly.  Drew has displayed that same great mix in her acting ability as well.

Like Natalie Portman and Amy Adams, the 35-year-old Sarah Drew may struggle a bit with the physicality of the role, so that's a downside to her.  Then again, she could surprise me.  Sometimes it's the people you'd least expect to excel in a role who end up actually doing just that.

Another downside is that she's not a very well known actress.  Grey's Anatomy fans would recognize her, I'm sure, but she's not about to bring in legions of fans just by being in the movie.

I highly doubt Drew would get the role of Teela, but I wouldn't complain if she did.

Let's see who is next on my list (I actually do have a list written down in a notebook --- I'm old fashioned like that).  Ah yes, Mrs. Justin Timberlake aka Jessica Biel.  I've got to be honest right off the bat: this wasn't my idea.  I saw her mentioned in a He-Man 'dream casting' article that's published somewhere on the Internet.

In the spirit of honesty, I'll be equally honest about her acting ability: it's not that good.  I remember several cringe-worthy moments during her time on 7th Heaven.  Granted, maybe it was the wholesome family writing that hindered her.

She did much better in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and The Illusionist.  She handled the fast-paced action well enough, though, in the largely awful Total Recall remake.  She's another 34-year-old on this list.

She's got some name recognition.  Certainly, she couldn't compete with Adams or Portman or Lawrence in that category (or maybe even Stone), but she's got an acting career that spans 20 years at this point, so she's not an unknown.  I feel like Jessica Biel would probably be more one-dimensional in her performance than some of the other women on this list, so I'll pass at this point.

Another woman who I saw someone else mention was Olivia Wilde.  Hey!  She's 32 -- not 34.  Got some variety, finally.  I'm not completely familiar with Wilde.  I've seen Tron: Legacy, The Change Up and In Time and I didn't walk away thinking 'Gosh.  She's awful.'  So, there's that.

I've talked a lot about action and physicality in this blog.  I think it's a given that being somewhat athletic would be needed to be Teela.  Wilde was in Tron, so she's got a little bit of experience there.

She's more of an actress than an action star, but she's someone who I think would put in the dedication to make the fight scenes come together.  With some training, I think she'd pull off the physicality just fine.  Yeah, I'd go with Olivia.  Whoever it was who thought her up as a choice --- kudos to you!

She's not my number one choice though ...

My number one pick -- in an ideal world --- would be Scarlett Johansson.  It's probably not a realistic choice given that she's already pretty much dedicated to Marvel for how many more years?  However, if Marvel won't pull the trigger and give her a solo Black Widow movie, why not join MOTU and be Teela -- another strong, independent female character?

Just like Lawrence, the downside with Johansson is that she's so widely known as Black Widow that it may be hard for fans to watch her playing another butt-kicking redhead and NOT see her as Black Widow.

Then again, she was the lead in Lucy and I don't think people saw her as Widow at that point.  Then again, she had blonde hair there and not red.  Sometimes it's those little similarities that make it hard for people to see different characters in actors.

Another downside, besides her Marvel schedule and her being synonymous with Black Widow is that she's got a hefty price tag, especially after being named the highest-grossing female movie star of all time this year.  Granted there's a big asterisk there.  Having roles in the massively successful Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War have A LOT to do with that success.  That being said, Black Widow has been a favorite in those movies, so it's not like she hasn't helped Marvel become the movie juggernaut that it is.

For all of those reasons, I'm sure she probably wouldn't accept the role, if she were even offered.  Those in charge of casting the MOTU movie may not even offer the role to her, thinking she wouldn't do it anyway.

However, I think she'd be great in the role.  She can obviously take on the physicality.  She's got the acting chops to make the role bigger than just a sidekick in an action movie that's a throwback to the 80's.  She'd also bring fans into the theater, which would make me happy as a massive He-Man fan.

Without a doubt, Scarlett Johansson is my top choice to be Teela.  No question.  Everyone else is waaaaay down the list.

If not her, I'd like to see Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde, Cobie Smulders or Jennifer Lawrence in the role.

Tesla, of course, is just one character in the very large He-Man universe. We'll cover another one tomorrow.

Related Content:
Captain America: Civil War – reviewed.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3 finale - reaction (yes, there are spoilers in here)
Pan - reviewed.