Of course, as soon as I get the first JLA Fantasy Casting post up featuring the heroes, I think of two casting options that I like better than my original choices. No offense to Kaley Cuoco, but I was never all that satisfied with my choice to cast her as Wonder Woman. I feel much more confident with Olivia Wilde (House) playing the Amazing Amazon. She looks more like her and she's a little more seasoned as a dramatic actresss. Matt Damon (who I had cast as Green Arrow) is certainly a seasoned actor, and I like to imagine actors in roles that I think they can pull off, but that would stretch them in a brand new direction. However, these leaps of faith must go out the window when someone occurs to you who was born to play the role. Such is the case here, as Steve Zahn (Treme) might never find another part he is more perfect for.
Now that our heroic revisions are out of the way, it is time to move on to this post's main topic, casting possible Justice League villain choices. With the heroes, we had a pretty good idea exactly who some of the characters would be, and a reasonable sized pool from which to select the other possible inclusions. Not so with the villains: there are literally dozens of options to choose from, and the likelihood is that only five to eight (or less) characters will be utilized per film. So, I'll just take a fairly wide selection of some of the most likely choices, or interesting ones, or those that I just had a great casting choice for. I promise not to say as much about MOST of these characters as I did the heroes. I apologize that those of you who were too cool to read comics growing up will not recognize all of these characters. I regret if being so cool when you were younger has made you feel excluded today...a little bit.
General JLA Rogues Gallery
1. Despero - Despero was the very first foe that the League faced as a team. He is an alien telepath who has grown in power and mania as the years rolled on. He feels a particular rivalry and a certain feeling of kinship with fellow telepath The Martian Manhunter. Despero is a giant hulking tank of a being that would definitely best be represented by motion capture animation. Despero is a giant boiling mass of determination and madness that must come across as both unimaginably intelligent and inhumanly savage simultaneously. Sounds like an excellent opportunity for the great Andy Serkis to upstage himself again.
2. T.O. Morrow and The Red Tornado - T.O. Morrow is perhaps the most respected (and feared) of all the DCU (DC Comics Universe) "mad scientist" villains. Able to glimpse visions of the future that helped him to perfect technologies that were light years ahead of what anyone else was working with. It even allowed him to create the sentient artificial intelligence known as The Red Tornado, who eventually broke free of his control, later joining the Justice League, an Android Trying To Be A Real Boy years before Star Trek:TNG. I think that Phillip Seymour Hoffman would be unbelievable as Morrow, and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) would be almost perfect as Tornado.
3. The Key - The Key is a man who became fascinated with opening all the world's doors, literal and figurative, most especially the doors to perception. He gained the power of perception, but the sheer amount of input that his brain processes at a time has driven him quite mad. Much more potentially dangerous than he sounds. Walton Goggins (Justified) could not only play the insight and madness stew brilliantly, he even looks a lot like The Key.
4. Dr. Destiny - This tortured maniac obtained a magical stone that allowed him to enter the dimension of the Dreaming, transport others there, and sculpt reality within his immediate surroundings inside the Dreaming. Waking mortals are not meant to interact with the Dreaming, and the whole thing has driven him mad and steadily compounded his insanity. It's rare that a role comes along that seems so precisely suited to highlight actor Crispin Glover's many peculiar eccentricities.
5. The Queen Bee - It seems that the JLA has always had SOME foe calling herself The Queen Bee, but my favorite version by far is the Grant Morrison era Queen. She flew around in an extra dimensional hive/ship with an army of drones, searching for worlds to colonize. Very creepy. Actress Summer Glau (Dollhouse, Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles) could easily turn this into a breakout Hollywood role.
6. Prof. Ivo & Amazo - One of the few scientists T.O. Morrow deems worthy of teaming up with from time to time Professor Ivo was a brilliant cyberneticist and crazed seeker of immortality who ended up turning himself into a hideous monster. His greatest creation was Amazo, a combat android that could replicate the powers, abilities, and weaponry of the entire Justice League. I'm interested in what Ewan McGregor might pull off as Ivo, and Armee Hammer would be a good choice for Amazo.
7. Prometheus - After watching his outlaw parents gunned down by the police as a small child, this sociopath devoted his young life to bringing down the forces of injustice. A brilliant, if twisted, tactician, armed to the teeth, this Bizarro Batman of sorts has taken on the whole League singlehandedly...and almost won. I think I saw enough in actor Alex Schaffer's debut performance in Win Win to gladly pick him here, hopefully in the second or third film in the franchise to let him age JUST a bit.
8. Darkseid & Granny Goodness - Evil New God Darkseid is the lord of the planet Apokalypse and only The Joker rivals him as the DCU's prime personification of evil. Near omnipotent and invulnerable, he is far more powerful than any individual Leaguer. Darkseid has hordes of lackeys and underlings, so you have to figure at least one would be along for the movie. Granny Goodness is one of the highest ranking and most respected members of his organization, and I have a great casting choice for her. Darkseid is another character that would work best in mo-cap animation (although not the horrible CGI from when he appeared on Smallville) and I think Dennis Haysbert (24) would be a great choice to portray him thusly. And as for dear old Granny? Jackie Weaver.
Then there is The Injustice League. The membership is almost always different, and made up primarily of individual JLA member's foes who have banded together so as to take down the League as a whole. Some possibilities include.
We'll start with Batman because his foes are both the most plentiful and the most interesting, with the most consistantly and extensively developed personalities. Just sayin...
1. Scarecrow - Well, Ciaran Hinds already portrayed the master of fear in a uniquely captivating way, but if they break with that continuity in this film, well, they probably wouldn't use the Scarecrow. Too soon.
2. Mr. Freeze - I know that those of you who know these characters mostly through film and television just groaned a little. But the character can be quite heartbreaking and, well, chilling. Freeze deserves some redemption, and Christolph Waltz's version would surely blow Ah-nold's (poorly cast) version of years ago, out of the proverbial water.
3. Poison Ivy - Along those lines...Poison Ivy is an ecoterrorist, who has given up on humanity, quite frankly thinking that most of them should go for the sake of the rest of the planet. She has experimented on her own physiology to the point that she is now more plant than human, utterly toxic on cotact to people. Jessica Chastain has the look, and the seeming range to play anything. This would be a great chance for her to show us yet another entirely different side of what she is capable.
4. Clayface - An aged, washed up horror film actor becomes his greatest role and eventually
becomes a true monster, body, mind, and soul. John Lithgow (in motion capture) would serve both the old time melodrama and the terrifying mania of the role well.
1. Lex Luthor - The most frequent leader of the Injustice League by a mile, Luthor is the quintessential DC mastermind. I didn't expect to get to make a choice here, but evidently Man of Steel is going to be the first Superman film ever to not use the character. That's fine with me, because now I get to make the suggestion that they cast Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Drive) in the role.
2. Brainiac - Brainiac, the sentient computer that used to rule the planet Colu, is actually featured in the early Man of Steel promotionals, but I can't find a credit in the cast list. Certainly it's not all CGI, with a computer generated voice...maybe it is, we'll have to see.
3. Toyman - So, I might not have even included the mad toy maker if not for the acting range that Jonah Hill has been demonstrating in the last year, but he would be SO great in this role.
1. Circe - Enemy of the Amazons for centuries, this Greek sorceress of yore will do literally anything to attain her goals. Angelina Jolie would be ideal.
2. Cheetah - Feminist archaeologist turned bloodthirsty cat goddess. Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus) would rip this to shreds with six inch claws.
3. Dr. Psycho - Yes, a powerful, psychotic, telepathic dwarf is sort of the perfect vehicle for Peter Dinklage's (Game of Thrones) big film breakthrough.
1. Grodd - This hyper intelligent gorilla has battled almost every major DC hero at one point and time but his primary foe has always been the Flash. Arrogant and savage, I think that a motion capture Grodd performed by Mickey Rourke could be brilliant.
2. Zoom - Flash's evil mirror image used to be a psychologist, but after completely losing his mind, he became obsessed with being Flash's perfect foil in an effort to teach him to be a better hero. John Leguizamo would be great as this manic madman.
3. Sinestro - Even if they don't go with Hal Jordan for the League's GL, they could still use Mark Strong as Sinestro. He was easily the best thing about the new Green Lantern film.
4. Deathstroke - The immortal ultimate mercenary for hire has been at odds with any number of heroes, but lately his attentions seem particularly attuned to Green Arrow. I think John Hawkes would be perfect.
5. Solomon Grundy - This gigantic, elemental/mysticl undead swamp monster has been bouncing around the DCU since the 1940's. Ron Perlman with motion capture.
And that's it. Thanks for indulging my inner geek. I promise not to go QUITE there for a while.
Related articles: Fantasy Casting: The Justice League, Part 2 - Heroic Choices, The Dark Knight Transcends, Merchandisers Assemble (Avengers review), Beauty Wins Ground (Win Win Review)