CASTING CALL: PART 2 - THE THUNDERCATS

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.jpg

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. 

CASTING CALL: THUNDERCATS

Nothing screamed 80’s Saturday Morning Cartoons more than the Thundercats. With that insanely detailed open - the Sword of Omens brilliant light - Lion-O bouncing around like a bad ass. Panthro, Tygra and of course Cheetara running and spinning her bo like a pro. Between Thundercats and Silverhawks the 80’s kids cartoons was all about “sleek running” and “dramatic jumping.” Created by Tobin “Ted” Wolf, written by Leonard Starr, produced by Rankin Bass and directed by Katsuhito Akiyama. Thundercats went for four seasons and passed through three major production studios in that time. From Rankin Bass, which became Lorimar Productions into Warner Brothers. But that didn’t kill the mighty cats from Thundera as they enjoyed multiple stints in comics from Marvel to Wildstorm, which is really an imprint of DC Comics, owned by Warner Brothers. So if a Thundercats movie were to get a green light it would be at the WB, home of DC’s greatest heroes. Not to get too divergent but what an amazing combined universe that would make. Warner Brothers did attempt to reboot the series in 2011 by making an updated version - it lasted a season. Timing is everything I guess. I have heard many times over the years about a possible Thundercats live-action movie and it always dies out. It’s been sitting in Development Hell for decades. The problem with a live action Thundercats is two-fold: The Thundercats themselves, their design would have to be amazing given they aren’t really human but cat people, done poorly it’ll look goofy or weird real quick. But I think films like Avatar prove you can have non-human characters that look legit without being distracting. Also the plot to Thundercats, since it was a kids cartoon, was fairly simple and yet at times convoluted with some generic heroes and villains. I think J. Solo and I could come up with a coherent and intriguing idea to make Thundercats relevant again with a solid story, exciting action and of course a cast to be envied. So in this first installment, we’ll discuss the plot for our hypothetical adaptation of Thundercats and how we draw our ideas from the source material while creating some new threads. 

 So let’s start with the origin of the Thundercats, as we think we can keep most if not all of that securely in place. Thundera is in deep shit. Much like Superman’s homeworld of Krypton, Thundera suffered some form of planetary disaster that wiped the planet all together. The evil Mutants from Plun-Darr attack the fleeing Thundercats who are trying to start a new life on Third Earth causing some issues for them along the way. I think that would be a good idea to establish off the bat that the Mutants of Plun-Darr are evil a-holes who should not be trifled with. On the show they were a bit goofy and extremely non-threatening. I think our first changes here should be the war with the Mutants have decimated Thundera to the point that it is no longer habitable. The remaining Thundercats escape under fire in order to reach their new home on Third-Earth. The Mutants destroy the entire fleet and attempt to board the flagship containing the heir of Thundera, the child Lion-O and his family legacy the Sword of Omens.

 The Sword is very powerful as it contains the heart and soul of the planet Thundera within the ruby eye at its hilt. This is the source of the Thundercats power. The Mutants led by Slithe, a reptilian creature, hates the Thundarans and covets the Sword of Omens. He and his Mutants destroy every ship in the fleet save the flagship. The Flagship gets away just in time. Unbeknownst to the Thundercats, Slithe had, during the battle, planted a few of his Mutants on board the Flagship where they promptly disable the ship from the inside. The Thundercats appear to be helpless as they have taken to their hibernation pods, all but one. The elder Jaga. He fights the Mutants killing them, but not before they damage Lion-O’s pod forcing Jaga to move Lion-O to his pod and sacrificing himself in the process. Because Jaga’s pod is programmed for him it is later discovered that it has slowed allowing Lion-O to grow to adult size while still retaining the mind of a child. Jaga pilots the ship to Third-Earth but dies of old age once they arrive. Lion-O and his Thundercats explore Third-Earth and all of its strange inhabitants like the Warrior Maidens, The Robot Bears, The Fishmen, the Brute Men, and of course it’s most dangerous inhabitant, the evil Mumm-Ra. The evil one learns of the Sword of Omens from the Slithe and his Mutants, who have been pursuing the Thundercats all this time. They join forces in order to take the sword and conquer Third-Earth. I think you can really explore some interesting ideas with Lion-O, a child trapped in a man’s body, kind of like Big in a much more perilous surrounding.

In our next installment we'll discuss the characters and the actors we think would be best for the roles, as well as a kick ass director that can set the Thundercats loose!

Ghost in the Shell - Whitewashed

Well let me start off by saying I was way way off of the number GITS actually ended up with last weekend for its opener. Yikes! so I thought it might open to 37 million and end up at 80 million but that is completely not in the cards for this movie. In my previous post about this I speculated about the whitewashing controversy with the film and that Scar-Jo was playing with fire by taking the role from an Asian actress. There may be something to this as of the three films (Dr. Strange and Great Wall) that were mentioned this one was considered the most grievous. Mostly because it’s an adaptation of an Japanese anime film and it takes place in Tokyo and according to the film hardly anyone lives there that is actually Japanese. In fact the spoiler apparently makes the case of whitewashing even more plain. But as this is not a review don’t worry I won’t reveal that here. It is possible that audiences had no appetite for sci-fi. Sony’s Life, a sci-fi horror movie fared equally badly. Perhaps it will make it back in the international arena where it is already at 92.8 million. I would imagine that’s still a pretty weak number as it looks like most of the major countries are accounted for here. So for a movie that cost over 100 million to finance it looks like Paramount will take a pretty costly hit for this one. The website Independent claims Paramount admits this is probably going to happen to the tune of at least 60 million. Ouch!!

For last weekend the Boss Baby with Alec Baldwin kicked everyone’s ass including Beauty and the Beast, Ghost in the Shell, Kong: Skull Island and Logan. The Baby made 50 million dollars for number 1 and it put March over a Billion; $1,148,058,562 which puts this year as 53 million more than last year at this time. Man March is starting to look a lot like summer these days.   

The Flash - Music to my ears - Alternate review

So I finally watched the musical episode of The Flash, and I do differ slightly from Jeff.  I mean, even though he's a professional tap dancer and singer, he was a bit harsh on this one.  Ha. Ok, so he's not really.  Where was I?  Oh right, my review of the ep.  Was it cheesy? Yes. But I kinda feel like it was meant to be.  I actually enjoyed it, cheesy and all.  But then again I love musicals and singing and dancing and Broadway.  I was a big fan of the tv show SMASH, and also GLEE.  And with some of these actors coming from GLEE, it was pretty cool to see them together again!  I personally loved all their voices, and the dancing number between Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist was super cute.  I also liked the old timey dialogue and “accents.”  It was cheeky for sure, but a very cute episode for what it’s worth.   I think it was supposed to be a bit out there, because for a superhero show to suddenly pull a musical out, you kind of have to not take it too seriously.  Which I definitely did not.  I admit there really wasn’t a point to the show per se, and it didn’t even move the plot along, other than have a crossover with Supergirl, but I do love when they have crossover episodes.  The casts play well together and have some fun chemistry.  Was it amazing? No. Was it enjoyable and fun to watch?  For the most part, yes; in my opinion.  And of course that last scene where Barry sang to Iris and then proposed? Yes, it brought a tear to my eye.  I mean, c’mon, how cute and sweet was that!  - J. Solo