In our last post we talked about how we might bring Thundercats to the big screen, some of the hurdles and what kick ass stuff we'd like to see in a live action version. Obviously the script is one of the most important parts of any movie. But for a movie like Thundercats where, obviously, they will require live action cat people. You're going to need to pull out all the stops to legitimize it properly. Which is why I want to go over the Thundercats themselves, who we think would be best to cast and why.
LION-O: Lion-O is the leader of the Thundercats. His role is complicated as he is a kid trapped in a man’s body. Lion-O is impatient and quick to attack, and at times extremely naive but he also has great empathy and strength and learns from his mistakes. It would be a mistake to just put a pretty face there and call it a day. To make this character truly come alive they would have to balance all of these things well. So Jill and I broke down three actors we think would effectively bring Lion-O to the big screen: Sam Heughan, Chris Wood and Richard Madden. Chris Wood has been making his bones on Supergirl and he has been one of the best parts of the sophomore season as Mon-El. He's a big guy and could look the part of Lion-O and he's just a big kid, or at least he convincingly plays on on tv, which is the perfect mindset for Lion-O. Sam Heughan from Outlander is another solid contender. He's tall, has great hair, and muscles for days! His character on the show is incredibly strong and tough, yet sensitive, loving, and very protective of those he loves. Outside of the show he's very active on social media and he's just an all around big kid! Super goofy at times, and very funny and playful. He's got a good mix and we feel he can portray Lion-O as strong, yet kid-like! And did I mention the muscles? He's also a very talented actor who is extremely versatile. In the end I think our standout is Richard Madden. He was fantastic as Rob Stark on Game of Thrones. He had to play a kid who was forced to grow up to fast. He brings the youthful energy, he was already the King of the North I think he could handle the throne of Thundera. He also gets extra points for his sophisticated and crafty turn as Cosomo Medici on the Netflix show of the same name. To top it off he's no stranger to a blockbuster movie, namely Disney's Cinderella. Frankly the guy has it where it counts and I think he can bring real meat to the role of the leader of the Thundercats.
PANTHRO: is really the defacto leader of the Thundercats because of Lion-O’s immaturity. He wears many hats. Not only is he the resident techie of the group he’s also their greatest warrior and he’s gotta be huge. He also has severe anger management issues so it’s gotta be someone who can play up the rage. We're looking at Boris Kadjoe, the "Rock" Dwayne Johnson and Jamie Foxx. Now I know for years people have tried to plant Vin Diesel here and yeah I can see why but the guy can only play one type of role. He'd be Dominic Torretto with Panthro face. So we're nixing that right now. Boris Kadjoe is a solid actor who hasn't really had a big enough break yet. He's been on some solid TV shows like Last Man on Earth and I liked him on Undercovers for two seasons playing a debonair spy. I think he could sell the look and personality of Panthro pretty well. Of course if I had my pick today, I’d prefer the Rock at least for personality and of course the look. I just always pictured Panthro as jacked and the Rock fits that bill. However Jamie Foxx brings the cool and Panthro was pretty damn cool. It's kind of a toss up for me but I'd probably lean toward the Rock on this one. Panthro is fucking smart he’s the tactician of the group and the scientist and he’s got to look like a bad ass when he throws down. All must be a requirement when casting this guy.
SNARF: We would need a voice actor for this role as Snarf will probably be a CGI character. At the moment I'm looking at Jim Gaffigan, Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. I know, these are all over the place but Snarf is a fucking annoying character yet so vital to the Thundercats. He’s kind of the C-3PO of the group. He takes care of Lion-O and tries to guide him but whines like nobodies business. The three comics I chose are the best in their field at whining while remaining hilarious and not annoying. I think this casting is what is going to make Thundercats different, a little weird but awesome. I think Jim Gaffigan could play it closest to the cartoon without wanting to tear your hair out plus I'm really dying to hear him just say - "Snarf, Snarf" a bunch of times when he's scared. Louis C.K. would be funny but probably more subdued and ironic Snarf - low energy rather than high pitched. Could work but it would depend on the actors he has to bounce off with. Honestly the most bankable out of this group is Kevin Hart he'd be out of left field but it'd be damn funny. Get him in full on complain mode and let him do his thing. Also I would love to get that interaction with Kevin Hart's Snarf and Dwayne Johnson's Panthro. Box Office Gold I tell you.
JAGA: I think for Jaga we need to class it up a lot so that would mean these guys - Idris Elba , Bryan Cranston, Gary Oldman and Ken Watanabe. Jaga of course is the Obi Wan Kenobi who is important as he comes back as a force ghost to instruct Lion-O at times. He’s also got to sell the opening origin story as he is the principle. He is noble and wise and is a bad ass warrior. He is the keeper of the secrets of Thundera and is crucial to making the history of the Thundercats believable and interesting. These actors above will be capable of doing all of that while bringing their own styles to the role. This one is going to be tough because Jaga is crucial to the movie but he's only going to be in it a short time even if he's brought back from time to time as a force ghost (see he really is Obi Wan Kenobi). I think all of the guys we chose would do the character proud. Idris would kill it and he's no stranger to obscure sci-fi movies. Gary Oldman would be great too but maybe too intense and distracting. Bryan Cranston is larger than life and would bring that crusty wise Jaga to the fore in a really cool way. But I keep coming back to Ken Watanabe. The guy is all nobility and he's a great actor and has a strong presence from his roles in Inception to Last Samurai. I think I like him best of all for this one.
TYGRA: Tygra always came across as bland on the show so I was finding it difficult to get someone good for him. Tygra is a scientist and an architect as well as a kick ass warrior. (aren’t they all?) He has a strong mind and Lion-O trusts him even over Pathro and has mentioned from time to time that if he were to fall it would be Tygra who would take command. He also has some form of mind powers. It is also suggested that he may be a relative of Lion-O and in the newest animated cartoon he’s his brother. I like Garrett Hedlund from Tron: Legacy and he was really funny and intense as Dime in Billy Lynn's Half Time Walk. Although he does tend to go wooden at times in most of his films or annoyingly over the top in movies like Pan. Which, in my mind, hurt his chances. Zac Efron definitely has the chops and the build and even though he's been doing dumb comedies of late like Baywatch and Dirty Grandpa he could be a scene stealer in a role like this. But in the end I'm leaning more toward Scott Eastwood, I mean look at this guy he's a dead ringer for his daddy Clint and he's a pretty solid actor in his own right. He's had small roles up to this point in big flicks like Suicide Squad and Fury and held his own with the likes of Jared Leto and Brad Pitt. While taking lead roles in straight to video flicks like Diablo. He's paid his dues I think. The guy seems to have the right amount of toughness and pathos to pull off the character.
WILY KAT & WILY KIT: Jacob Tremblay, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobbie Brown, Mackenzie Foy. So these kids are a few years younger than Lion-O and are orphan Nobles who left Thundera with the rest of the Thundercats. Since Lion-O’s body has aged and theirs hasn’t it brings some context to their problem and reminding everyone that even though Lion-O doesn’t look it he’s only a year or so older than them. Wily Kat, the male, is a bit cautious while Wily Kit, female, is wild and somewhat rebellious. I think you would have to up the cute factor a bit but these kids aren't just a bit of fluff from the show. They are the future of Thundera. There is no more of their kind after the destruction of their world so keeping them alive is a huge part of the struggle in the film I would think. So I threw out a couple kids that could work but honestly this needs to go to Jacob Tremblay, the kid from Room. I think that speaks for itself. Hadn't seen a performance like his since Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense. For Wily Kit I'd go with Millie Bobbie Brown, she's talented and tough and she's adorable. She killed it on Stranger Things by owning her role as eleven. Also I can see her doing crazy gymnastics flying through the air throwing those multi-colored bomb things they have.
CHEETARA: Cheetara is a highly skilled warrior with lightning fast speed and agility. She was trained by Jaga and acts as Lion-O’s bodyguard. She’s the most accomplished fighter of the group and she’s got that bad ass bow she fights with. She’s a smart tactician and relentless. She’s empathetic and extremely reliable. We've scoured the field and narrowed it down to these kick ass women: Keira Knightley, Rebecca Ferguson, Eiza Gonzalez and Emily Blunt. These actresses can handle the physical and emotional quotient to bring Cheetara to life. But there can be only one. Keira Knightley is solid as an actress and is a veteran of blockbusters from Pirates of The Caribbean to Love Actually and the Queen of art in Atonement and Begin Again. I always had a tough time believing her in action roles like Domino and even sometimes in Pirates, however - that would be true if she were playing a bruiser. Cheetara is lean, fast and agile. So that makes some sense for her. Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson have proven their action cred in two films starring opposite Tom Cruise. Blunt for Edge of Tomorrow where she played a tough as nails warrior who takes no prisoners. Ferguson played a double agent in the last Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Both are extremely capable and would own the role. But again I think I'm going to go with a relative newcomer, Eiza Gonzalez. She's stunningly beautiful but after watching her recently in Baby Driver I love the attitude that she would bring to Cheetara. She can certainly handle the action and I think she would definitely be a show stopper if chosen.
In our next post we'll tackle the Villains of Thundercats. As we all know every great hero has to have a fantastic complex villain to foil.