Over the past few decades, Hollywood studios have grown increasingly uncomfortable with taking chances on original screenplays. Instead, execs remain in charted territory for a safer return on their investment. Adaptations of novels and comic books, tend to get greenlit sooner than what could be the next Star Wars, Beverly Hills Cop, or Ghostbusters.
But as the legions of nerds with disposable income increase in number, Hollywood’s interest in adapting popular graphic novels has been a unanimously welcome form of innovative recycling. Nerdcore resistance to artistic liberties aside, the effort to bring comics to life continues to be appreciated, if only as negative blog fodder (hell, even I thought The Watchmen was disappointing save the opening sequence).
But if a few unsuccessful attempts mean that we also get to watch a live-action version of The Walking Dead or World War Z (pleeeeeease don’t turn out to be terrible), then Hollywood can produce as many Superman Returns as they want to without any judgment from me (well…not a LOT).
This growing trend of graphic novel screen adaptations certainly aids in an age-old nerd pastime of discussing how it should be cast. And in this first installment of MDM Dreamcasts, the conversation focuses on the popular Garth Ennis title The Boys.
The Boys follows a ragtag group of CIA subcontractors, whose job is to police superheroes who use their abilities to take advantage of the rest of humanity. Rumored to have been in the works for a few years, the ultraviolent action project might not secure the budget it deserves unless they sacrifice adult content for a more family-friendly rating.
BUT, that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine. So let the geek-out begin! I give you my dream cast for
A favorite choice of other internet commenters is Clive Owen. And while he is an exceptional actor, Clive Owen may not have the added layer of intimidation that Jones emanates every time he is on screen.
The Butcher’s backstory is sympathetic enough to justify the possibility that he may knock someone’s head off without so much as a warning. Such choices coming from the Vinnie Jones persona seem too natural to ignore, much like if he walked into a casting room, told the director that he wasn’t auditioning because the part was already his. No argument here, mate.
Wee Hughie – Martin Compston
Fans of The Boys already know that actor/comic book nerd Simon Pegg’s likeness inspired Hugh Campbell’s. And no one would deny that Pegg would do an amazing job as the hapless, vulnerable Campbell. Alas, every movie cast has a controversial choice. And going with Scottish actor Martin Compston would stir up just the right amount of internet chatter that would cause people to pay money to see for themselves whether the unlikely casting decision was as bad as people have been saying.
With well over two dozen screen credits, the 28-year-old Compston has the experience and the age appropriateness to fill this role. And what he doesn’t have in the area of resemblance to Campbell/Pegg, his authentic Scottish accent will help audiences forget. Add in the potentially captivating dynamic between the gritty Vinnie Jones and the boyishly handsome Compston, and you have a duo that you and your female date will enjoy (no offense, Simon, but I don’t know many women who’d bang you if you weren’t famous…and hilarious…and…nevermind; I don’t know what I’m talking about. Why shouldn’t they want to? You’re cool as hell!).
No-brainer with this one. Big Dris has developed more crossover appeal over the past decade than most white actors worldwide thanks to The Wire, Luther, and Prometheus. His blend of smooth, elective sophistication and I’ll-beat-your-assitude typifies M.M. to a tee.
Much to Ennis’s relief, Elba would add dimension to the character that has yet to come to the fore in the graphic novel. And anyone who depicts M.M., what with his personal issues, will need the benefit of the doubt before unsuspecting audience members sit down. In other words, watching Terry Crews drink breast milk would never be taken seriously.
The Frenchman – Vincent Cassel
This choice feels a bit like cheating because Ennis uses The Frenchman to give a shout out to Cassel (in the form of a war cry) in an issue of the comic. But when thinking of a lithe French actor with a wry sense of humor and a convincing mean streak (have you SEEN La Haine?), no one fills the role more clearly than the professional thief who made Ocean’s Twelve even remotely watchable.
Okay…confession time: the real reason Cassel is the odds-on choice is because he’s married to Monica Bellucci. The pictures of her at the red carpet premiere alone would land him the role. “No disrespect, Vince, but [insert lewd comment about wife here].”
Most actors hate typecasting, but hopefully Kuriyama will make an exception and agree to play the silent but deadly Female. Easily the strongest and most dangerous of The Boys, The Female deserves to be brought to life by the woman who held her own in Battle Royale as a teenager, then went on to build a cult following as Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill, Vol. 1.
Most Kill Bill fans took a morbid pleasure in watching Yubari display her penchant for hurting people despite her being a villain. And Kuriyama can use that same magnetism to steals scenes while sitting on a couch and not saying a single word until, of course, she literally eviscerates someone.