I had a blog a few years ago called Troys Bucket where I and a few colleagues of mine would talk about movies/comics/sports etc., any and all entertainment. One of the more popular things we did was the casting calls, a little exercise where we act as the casting director and put our favorite actors and actresses in the role. Sometimes we would throw in a director for good measure. G.I.Joe, A-Team, Justice League, hell, I even did Leon Uris' Mila 18. So when I decided to start blogging here at Titan vs. Titan, that was one of the first things I wanted to tackle - and before the hype gets insane on this one, I wanted to do a proper League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In our previous post we discussed how to approach the franchise and who should be director in this installment we begin to build the cast:
MINA MURRAY: Mina is one of the most important characters in the league not only because she is, most of the time, the only woman but because she keeps this group of malcontent misanthropes from killing other people or most importantly from killing each other. She is the glue that keeps the league together. She is the leader of this rabble without question and it won't work unless that is the case in the film, they truly botched that in the last interpretation. Quatermain is not the hero he used to be and in some regards he's a whiny crybaby opium addict who is too haunted by his demons to function properly. Mina gets him through that. She also is able to compel Hyde, who is the most unpredictable in the group to control, to fight through his urges and work with the team. Mina is the former wife of Jonathan Harker from Dracula. She was traumatized by the event that went down between the Count and her she still carries the scars on her neck. She is strong willed, a bit presumptuous but very much a woman ahead of the time period she is living in. Which would need a great actress who can be vulnerable but strong in a fluid way. My first choice would be Emily Blunt. She's a fantastic actress can play any number of rolls but she can do this role in her sleep. Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario, Looper and Adjustment Bureau, she's capable of a wide range. Runner up I love Natalie Portman in a role like this but I hated her British accent in V for Vendetta, it was a bit distracting even though I did like her in the movie so it drops her to second.
ALLAN QUATERMAIN: Alan was a former adventurer you may or may not have heard of depending on what you read. Quatermain was a character created by H. Rider Haggard in 1885 called King Solomon's Mines and he appeared in various other works as well as serials and films most recently in the 80's with Richard Chamberlain in two films. Quatermain is a British big game hunter who lives primarily in Africa. He in part inspired Indiana Jones so he has some importance in the lexicon.
I think to start with you will need someone older but not too old, especially if he is to have a relationship with Mina it's distracting and plays into bad stereotypes of Hollywood. He should be a good deal older than her but not by an insane measure. Someone who can also be vulnerable and yet can have the spark of hero through his muddled opium haze. This can't be the super perfect hero Connery played in the first one. He has to be deeply flawed with elements of his old self. This is an aged hero looking for a reason to check out. He needs to be played that way. Sir Daniel Day Lewis would be fantastic in the role but he probably wouldn't do it. So you would need a big name and maybe age him up a bit more, the other Daniel, Daniel Craig. He can play rugged and sophisticated you can look at his Bond, Cowboys and Aliens and Lara Croft for examples. He's got the chops and I like him with Emily Blunt.
CAPTAIN NEMO: Nemo is a very interesting part of the League as he is has a more radical background than the others. Quatermain and Murray are both British loyalists but Nemo is anti-colonialist. His other name is Prince Dakkar, the son of an Indian Raja. A scientific genius who built the Nautilus submarine as well as other technical gadgets. He is always reluctant to help the British in anyway. More about the common good with him but he is still a bit of a pirate. Created by Jules Verne in 1870 in the book 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Whoever plays Nemo has to be sophisticated, can play the role of a scientist but also a cutthroat. Very difficult to portray but I think I have a great character actor in mind. Irrfan Khan. Khan certainly looks the part but he is an amazing actor from smart indie roles like the Namesake and A Mighty Heart and his turns in big productions like Life of Pi, Amazing Spider-Man and Jurassic World prove he can handle the big budget feature. This guy can do it all and he can and will make a compelling Nemo.
DR. HENRY JEKYLL/MR. EDWARD HYDE: Author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 wrote the very first fictionalized account of a doctor who drinks a chemical cocktail and a monstrous alter ego is born. You wouldn't have the Hulk, Red Hulk, Man-Bat, etc. if that crazy sexual deviant, bag of rage Hyde hadn't have come first.
Again the first film in 2003 had the very capable Jason Flemyng playing both Jekyll and Hyde. The only problem here was the CGI Hyde looked a bit like Flemyng but was also insanely stupid and terrible not to mention distracting for the audience. The effects for this kind of thing has gotten much better when you look at the Avengers and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes but I would prefer a real person so I'm splitting them in two.
So let's start with Jekyll first, an unassuming man, smart, seemingly harmless but already pretty screwed up due to his transformation problem. You don't need a celebrity in this role I think but someone who can bring the doctor's sensibilities with an air of mystery which is why I like Sean Harris. He was in the excellent BBC TV series Red Riding. Also in films like Prometheus and as the calculating bad guy in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
For Hyde instead of a CGI creation I think you need to have a real person. He doesn't have to be like the Hulk and you can use the power of cinema to enhance a regular big guy to make him look a little bit bigger if you really need to. Now you may not want to use his voice but you damn sure want to see this giant ass hole tearing it up around Victorian London. Of course I'm speaking of Robert Maillet. The guy is huge and he's no stranger to blockbuster movies. The recent Hercules, Sherlock Holmes, Immortals and 300. This guy knows how to play big and scary. But if you have to choose a big named bruiser Dave Bautista or Kevin Durand would be solid as well.
HAWLEY GRIFFIN THE INVISIBLE MAN: Created by H.G. Wells in 1897 the Invisible Man is a huge part of pop culture for decades. From the 30s to the present the Invisible Man has left an indelible mark in Sci-Fi and the comics world. In the League Hawley Griffin is a miscreant a true spy and is seemingly only interested in himself.
You probably wouldn't see him through the production but he would need to have a very distinctive voice. Someone creepy I would think. In this case I would go with Mr. Motion Capture himself Andy Serkis. His voice is definitely distinct and he can definitely be creepy. Just check out his work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit not to mention his Sith Lord Snoke in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
ORLANDO: Written by Virgina Woolf in 1928 Orlando is a unique and interesting character. He is born a man but when he reaches 30 he switches his sex to female. She discovers she is an immortal and this occurrence happens periodically throughout Her/His long lifespan. In the League, Orlando has been doing this for quite a long time and is very free in the sexuality department. Orlando is also one of the originators of the first League in the 1600s with Prospero of Shakespeare's the Tempest as its head. Orlando is noble and brave as well as a fighter and a bit of a smart ass. So who would be able to fill his/her shoes?
There are a few actors right off the bat that could pull off both male and female Orlando. Tilda Swinton being the best choice. She's made a career out of playing androgynous characters. There is also Eddie Redmayne who is also very capable of playing both as his newest film the Danish Girl will support. There is also Cate Blanchett who would always be great to do both, she played a version of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. Finally there is Jared Leto who has this ability as well from his Oscar turn in Dallas Buyers Club. I think in the end I'm going to go with Cate Blanchett. You aren't going to get a finer actor than her and she's already a pro at the big fantasy blockbuster from her stint on the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films.
PROSPERO: Now this role may not be as large as the other ones but it is still extremely important. Prospero was first realized in Shakespeare's The Tempest. He is the Duke of Milan and an experienced Sorcerer. He's also the one tasked by Queen Gloriana, of England, to create the first League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the 1600s. His presence has to be felt througout the whole thing even if he isn't in much of it. That's a big role to play.
There are quite a few spectacular actors I can see to play the role of Prospero and it has to be someone with presence. You have the standards who would do a fantastic job without question in this role Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart or Sir Anthony Hopkins. Sign any of these three up and you'll get the performance you want even if they all have tread on this type of character before. If you want to go outside of the box a bit I would love to put Idris Elba in this somewhere that guy would kill in this role and it would be very different from the other three. He totally crushed his role as Thor's Heimdall in the Marvel U. He would make this one his own and it will be memorable guaranteed.
Now if I wanted to this post could go on even longer as there are still about 10 or more League members we could explore. This is a whole Universe and I'm starting to understand Fox's interest in this. We are now in the age of world building but as Fox must understand now after their many failures from Daredevil to the Fantastic Four that a Universe is useless if no one wants to go there. Take heed Fox hopefully you'll see my suggestions because I think they can help otherwise you will be overseeing yet another 100 million dollar franchise right into the shitter.