Sunday, October 2, 2016

Casting the He-Man movie: King Randor and Queen Marlena

Two characters in the 1980's Filmation Masters of the Universe series who were somewhat underused were King Randor and Queen Marlena --- the parents of Prince Adam/He-Man.

Of course, due to them being the King and Queen of Eternia, they were fairly prominent in terms of their status.

 They certainly had more appearances than someone like Ram Man or Buzz-Off, but what they contributed to those episodes was usually fairly minimal.

The 2002 Mike Young Productions writing team seemed to focus a little more on Randor and Marlena --- treating them more as a king and queen, showcasing how they made decisions on Eternia and had parts in peace treaties. It was definitely a little more realistic than the more kid-friendly Filmation version.

As far as costuming goes, I think Randor's depiction in MYP is the way to go over the very jester-looking depiction in Filmation.

Marlena is a different story. She looks extremely bland, to me, in the MYP version. She stands out a bit more in the Filmation version with the long green gown and the orange hair.

In terms of casting, there are actually several options. Let's explore the possibilities for Marlena first:

Tilda Swinton

If Tilda Swinton isn't cast as The Sorceress, as I suggested previously, then she'd be a decent choice for Queen Marlena.

 I don't know for certain that Swinton can portray the serene, compassionate presence that Marlena usually had, but she likely could pull it off.

It might be a good change of pace to have Swinton, known for her avant-garde style, to play Queen Marlena.

Swinton's style might make Marlena stand out a little more in what is sure to be a bit player in the movie.

Sandra Bullock

This might seem like an odd choice, as Bullock is usually in a starring role than a supporting one. She still looks pretty young, but she is 52.

Just like Marisa Tomei (age 51) is portraying a younger version than the usual depiction of Aunt May in the new Spider-Man movie, Bullock would give more of a youthful look to the role than one might expect.

Bullock obviously has the acting ability. People know who she is, too. Granted, I don't know that He-Man fans will rush to the movie theaters to see Sandra Bullock as Marlena, but she'd bring some credibility to the movie with her acting ability and her name alone. It would help set it up as a legitimate movie (like Iron Man or The Avengers) rather than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-type of movie.

Bullock is also in great shape, so she could handle some physicality if they wanted to make Marlena have a more active role in this movie. Bullock's widespread appeal is the biggest benefit to her being in this role.

Geena Davis

At age 60, Geena Davis is the oldest possibility on this list, but she's got a great resume behind her. That compassion I was talking about earlier? Davis can definitely portray that. There's just something in her nature that seems to project that.

I don't know that her name would appeal to anyone in a younger generation, but Davis in the role of Queen Marlena would ensure that the role is in good hands and that the acting would be believable.

Anette Bening

Speaking of a good actress, there's always Anette Bening. She was very good in Being Julia, American Beauty and, of course, The American President.

She's pretty much in the same league as Davis in terms of acting ability and career longevity. She does well in her co-starring roles as well.

She can stand out without taking attention away from the rest of the cast.

That being said, she wouldn't be my first pick. I think she could However, she certainly wouldn't be a bad choice.

Julianne Moore

Truth be told , Julianne Moore has always been a little bit annoying to me. Maybe it's because one of my first introductions to her was in 2001's Hannibal, where she took on the role that Jodie Foster did so well in the previous versions. Moore was stepping into an impossible role of replacing Foster and it did not work.

 I remember thinking, 'Who the hell is this lady supposed to be?' Then I saw Laws of Attraction, which wasn't a good movie -- at all. Then it was The Forgotten (meh). She was OK in Don Jon and did very well in The Hunger games movies, though.

I also watched the Jurassic Park movies recently (yep, for the first time). Moore did a decent job portraying the eager scientist in the sequel.

I don't know that she has the acting ability or the appeal to be a key player. Moore does best, actually, when she's in an ensemble cast and not the main focus. She could handle the role as Marlena. She may not be my first choice, but she'd make it work.

Marcia Cross

It's been a while since I've seen Marcia Cross do anything. Since Desperate Housewives ended, Cross seems to have been keeping a relatively low profile.

 On the show she displayed her range of ability, going from comedy to drama in the same episode at times.

She's got the poise and regal look to her that would be required to portray the Queen of Eternia. She also has the experience working in an ensemble cast.

Of all the choices on this list, I think Cross would be my first. Cross has the look and the acting ability to be Queen Marlena.

Now, let's turn to King Randor. There are also several possibilities to play that role. He's got to be someone with a strong on-camera presence who can be bold and maintain a level of authority. Here are some of the choices I came up with:

Pierce Brosnan

Just like with Julianne Moore, I've been hot and cold on Brosnan over the years. His Bond movie with Halle Berry was awful.

 He did a great job playing the new boyfriend in Mrs. Doubtfire, though. He wasn't really a jerk in that movie, but he was the new, unwanted boyfriend, so, as a viewer of the movie, you had to be against him.

How could you not root for Robin Williams' character in that movie?

As good as he was in Mrs. Doubtfire, he was also in Laws of Attraction (again, not good) with Moore. Maybe it's just that movie that put me off to both of them?

Much like his co-star in Moore, Brosnan was always better off in an ensemble cast. He was never the steak dinner. Just the potatoes and gravy. He's British, isn't he? So I guess he'd be the bangers and mash then?

George Clooney

Eh. I'm torn on this one. George Clooney is a huge name, but he's had his fair share of duds. Then again, those movies are usually ones he's directed or assisted creatively.

He was in 2015's Tomorrowland and did a very good job -- in a movie that had a somewhat lackluster script. Gravity was different.

Not really stellar, but good. I gave the movie a 4 out of 5 stars in my review a few years ago.

Other actors on this list have acting ability that's up there with Clooney, but Clooney may be the most bankable name. He may also come with the highest price tag. For someone who will be a co-star, I don't know if Clooney is the best option when, especially when there are cheaper and better alternatives.

Russell Crowe

He'd do a really good job as King Randor! His work in Man of Steel proves that. I don't know that I want him to be King Randor because of that though. I hate when actors are in repeated roles that are so similar to each other.

 Being the father of Superman and then being the father of He-Man? Very similar.

I'd overlook that though because he did do a very good job as Superman's dad.

 He was also great in a string of other movies, of course. A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator, Les Miserables, and 3:10 to Yuma all come to mind. Whether he's a villain or a hero, he can put on a heck of a performance.

Crowe would make an awesome Randor. I just worry that it'd be too similar a role to Jor-El in Man of Steel.

Viggo Mortensen

Mortensen isn't someone that came to mind immediately, but, after looking at a few of the options, Mortensen seems like a decent candidate. I'm probably the most familiar with Mortensen due to his role in Lord of the Rings.

I've seen bits and pieces of other movies, but the Lord of the Rings movies are probably the only movies of his I've seen all the way through.

I don't know that you need to see much more though.

 The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the extended versions) pretty much equal out to 9 or 10 hours. That's like seeing 5 normal movies.

I wasn't blown away by Mortensen in any of his work, but he's solid. He's convincing. Mortensen could successfully play King Randor.

Hugh Jackman

He's giving up the role of Wolverine because he is, after all, mortal. He's getting older. He's not a real-life mutant. Maybe he could move onto more of a supporting role as King Randor?

Jackman has shown that he has no issues being involved in a major motion picture, big budget franchise.

He's got the acting skills. More importantly, he can make what would be considered, by some, a goofy comic book role into a legitimate, action-packed, drama-filled movie character. Not all actors can do that. Have you watched a few of the superhero television shows on the CW Network? If so, you know that's a true statement.

Jackman wouldn't be a throne-sitting Randor. I think Jackman would be a mace-wielding King who would be smashing Skeletor's robots, just like he did in the Filmation series.

Jackman would be my ideal King Randor. He's the best overall package and he's easily the best choice for the job. It's probably a long shot, but I'm hoping it happens!

So that's it. Hugh Jackman as King Randor and Marcia Cross as Queen Marlena. Make it happen, producers! Make it happen.

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