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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Aquaman Casting Call Conest - Conclusion!

sgWelcome to the conclusion of The Aquaman Shrine Casting Call Contest!

The Shrine received a lot of entries, some from longtime F.O.A.M.ers and some of people who have never made contact with us before, and before we get to everyone's individual choices I want to say how much I appreciate anyone who took time out to send me a list.

Looking over all the entries, I didn't find one list that I thought was heads and fins above all the others; rather, I found most of them had at least one or two choices that were really inspired. If you took each list's best suggestion and combined all those into one list, you'd have one hell of a cast for an Aquaman movie!

So instead of breaking down the list of "winners" by the people who sent them, I'm going to go through each character I asked to be casted, and then select what I think was the best suggestion for each.

Of course, let's start with Aquaman:
Vincent Bartlucci and Joe Mello (F.O.A.M. members both) suggested Neal McDonough, who I first saw as Lt. Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact. He has the rugged good looks and heroic demeanor that I think would be a good choice as the Sea King. He also has a slightly other-worldly feel and look, something I think would be vitally important to casting a man of two worlds.

And while my instinct is to go with someone younger (which is the same instinct I'm sure Hollywood producers have), its always predicated on the notion that if you get a young actor, you can sign them for 4-5 sequels before they get too old. But let's face it, can you name a superhero franchise that even made it past three films, let alone three good films?

No, I'd rather see an actor perfect for the part star in one or two good Aquaman films rather than casting a nineteen-year old in the hopes you can still have him around for Aquaman IX: The Search For Topo, know what I mean?

But there were other really good suggestions: Sage Ricci suggested Daniel Craig (that would be one butt-kicking Aquaman!), and Chad Corey picked Chris Pine, which I thought was a cool idea (hey, if Ryan Reynolds can be both Deadpool and Green Lantern, the same guy can be Captain Kirk and Aquaman!)

Many people suggested Gerard Butler for the Sea King, presumably from his work in 300, and others offered Grey's Anatomy and Rome star Kevin McKidd. F.O.A.M.er Rick Phillips suggested Aaron "Harvey Dent" Eckhart, an intriguing choice. From Gotham to Atlantis! Dave Marshall thought The Lord of the Rings' Sean Bean should be the Sea King.

F.O.A.M.er Cindy Healy suggested The Mentalist star Simon Baker, also an excellent choice. Darlin' Tracy thinks he's a hottie (I so love hearing that), and I'd certainly want women to want to see an Aquaman movie, too, so this suggestion may be better than I can fully appreciate.

Next up: Mera!
This was a tough one, since there were many good selections sent in. Sage Ricci suggested Emily Blunt, which I thought was a really good choice, and in the end it was a toss-up between her and Amy Adams, suggested by Alexander Adcock and F.O.A.M.er Christopher Chance.

So I looked both actresses up on IMDB, and saw that Adams is about five years older than Blunt, making her closer in age to my selection for Aquaman, McDonough. And since I find movies where a much younger lead actress is romantically paired with the lead actor skeevy, I went with Adams. Plus, she's been exceptional in a lot of different movies lately, so why not give her the chance at a superhero/fantasy film?

(Cindy Healy suggested Debra Messing--"Like a Nick Cardy drawing come to life. Nuff Said!", which is an extraordinary compliment to Ms. Messing, although I'm sure if she heard that, she'd have no idea what it means)

Next up: Lorena, aka Aquagirl!
I thought this one was the easiest to cast, and F.O.A.M.ers Andy Luckett and Joe Mello seconded my emotion, casting the funny, tough, and sexy Rosario Dawson.

But there were a lot of other great choices sent in, like
Nick Allen and F.O.A.M.er Dennis Doucette's pick of Michelle Rodriguez. (I'm not sure what to make of Mike Jones' suggestion of Christina Ricci--although I think his admission that he "adores her" had something to do with it!)

Butch Rosenbaum suggested Megan Fox, which would certainly add around $30 million to any Aquaman movie's box office take, but I'm sticking with Dawson. Plus, since Ms. Dawson is an avowed comic book fan, she'd be a perfect person to go around and do press for the film. Can't you just picture her at an Aquaman: The Movie SDCC panel? Drooling Room Only!

Next up: Black Manta!
A few people, like Mike Allen and Vince Bartilucci, suggested Denzel Washington, which is a fine choice, but F.O.A.M.er Wil Radcliffe plus Joshua Rainey and Sage Ricci offered Idris Elba, who played the villainous Stringer Bell on The Wire. I've only seen bits of that show, but from what I've read he was the epitome of evil in that series.

I can believe that, since I thought he was creepy and menacing during his turn on The Office, and that's a comedy show! Some people suggested Terrance Howard, but I wouldn't want to have to replace him in Aquaman 2: The Wrath of Orm with Don Cheadle, so I'm going with Elba.

Next up: Ocean Master!
This one was the toughest for me to cast, since most of the suggestions were of actors I was unfamiliar with, so I had to go by their general looks and their filmography.

Ocean Master also seemed to inspire the most diverse choices--I don't think any two entries listed the same actor. Sergio Martinez suggested Sean Bean (who also showed up on the list for Aquaman, see above), and F.O.A.M.er Joe Mello suggested Bean's fellow The Lord of the Rings castmate Viggo Mortensen.

Rick Phillips picked George Clooney who, after Batman & Robin, has probably instructed his agent to throw any further superhero movie screenplays in the circular file.

But I really liked Joshua Rainey's pick of Dominic West--not only does he look (to me) a lot like Neal McDonough (a plus when you're playing brothers) but he's got some good tough guy credentials, having appeared in The Wire and 300, so I'm going with him.

...and finally, Tom Curry!
I had my own ideas for this role--as did most of you--but when F.O.A.M.er Andy Luckett suggested Robert Forster, I roared back in my chair, yelling "Great Neptune, that's perfect!"

I thought it was so perfect that it completely obliterated my own long-held pick (Jeff Bridges), and now I can't picture anyone else but Forster in the role. He's got a wonderful, weathered look, and a weary but warm voice, and I'd love to see him as Aquaman's gruff but loving father.

Sure, he's a little old for any scenes involving the young Arthur, but maybe they can use that young-ifying CG effect they did in X3 on Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen (and that's the only thing from that movie the Aquaman movie should copy).

But, as much as I love the pick of Forster, there were other great ideas--Chad Corey suggested Kris Kristofferson, Luke Jaconetti picked Dennis Quaid, Sergio Martinez suggested Liam Neeson (Ra's Al Ghul as Tom Curry? It could work!), Wil Radcliffe went with Michael Keaton(!), Joshua Rainey tapped Jonathan Frakes, Dave Marshall thought of Gary Oldman (you've got Batman, why not Jim Gordon?) and Christopher Chance almost won me over with his pick of the star of I,Claudius, Derek Jacobi.

...and even though I didn't ask for this, Sage Ricci blew my mind casting Aquaman's trusted friend Vulko with...Ricky Gervais!:
Vulko, as a character, toggles between serious adviser and comic relief, and with all the heavy handed emotional drama any good Aquaman movie would have to have, I can totally see Vulko as the comic relief character, brought to life by the stuttering-yet-officious Ricky Gervais. Nice job, Sage.

When it came to the "Bonus Question", who should direct the film, there were lots of names bandied about, many of whom have previous experience helming a superhero/sci-fi/fantasy franchise: Tim Burton, Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau, Sam Raimi, The Wachowski Brothers, and Wolfgang Peterson. I almost took Vince Bartilucci out of the contest entirely for suggesting Stephen "Van Helsing" Sommers, but then I had a beer and calmed down.

Cindy Healy suggested Steven Spielberg as director--"Dream big!", she says. That's more than dreaming big, Cindy--that's dreaming at a Little Nemo-esque scale. Just imagine the shark scenes!

My immediate thought was indeed J.J. Abrams, since he pulled off the impossible with Star Trek. He and Whedon would both be great, I think, because of their facility with action as well as strong female characters. One name I thought of no one else did was Kathryn Bigelow, the director of crackerjack Action Movies With a Brain like Near Dark and this summer's The Hurt Locker.

Ultimately, I'd pick Abrams, but if he did do an Aquaman movie, that'd take him away from future Trek films, and I'd hate to see Brett Ratner take over the Trek franchise. So maybe Joss Whedon's the best choice.

Like I said above, there was no one list that I thought was 100% perfect down the line, but several people made more than one great choice, so
out of those names I picked the five winners of copies of The Wolverine Files hardcover book. They are: Andy Luckett, Joe Mello, Wil Radcliffe, Sage Ricci, and Joshua Rainey!

With our grand-prize winner, winning both a copy of the book and an as-yet-undecided AquaPrize is: Andy Luckett!

It was a close call, really close, but Andy's suggestion of Robert Forster to me is what these silly little "What's Your Dream Cast?" contests are all about--finding someone so out-of-the-box perfect that you can't imagine anyone else afterwards. Congratulations Joe, Wil, Sage, Joshua, and Andy! Please email me your mailing addresses so I can have Simon & Schuster send you your copies of The Wolverine Files.

But I'm not yet done giving out "prizes"--I didn't mention this on the original post, but I so appreciated anyone who took the time to send me a list (especially since they required pics and/or reference links), that I'm inducting everyone who sent in an entry into F.O.A.M.--anyone who took the time to enter, making this contest just a little more fun, is truly a Friend of Aquaman.

So congratulations
Alexander Adcock, Nick Allen, Chad Corey, Luke Jaconetti, Mike Jones, Dave Marshall, Sergio Martinez, Joshua Rainey, Sage Ricci, and Butch Rosenbaum, and welcome to F.O.A.M.!

Thanks to everyone for playing, I hope you all had fun, I know I did. And who knows? Now that we've learned there's an actual Aquaman movie tentatively moving forward, maybe some of these suggestions will end up on the silver screen!


Wil Radcliffe said...

Yeah! Thanks, Rob!

I have to admit, as much as I liked my own choice of Michael Keaton, Robert Forster is perfect for Tom Curry! Lots of other great choices in there that totally went under/over/past my radar!

Let's hope Mr. DeCaprio takes note of our dream cast and gets inspired to start filming our undersea saga!

Saranga said...

Wow. Excellent suggestions all round. Ricky Gervais as Vulko is especially inspired.

Orin's Dad said...

I have to agree with Saranga; the Ricky Gervais as Vulko is sheer genius.

Anonymous said...

Had never thought of Neal McDonough as a good choice for Aquaman but now that it's been mentioned I can totally see it. He really does have an otherworldy look to him and he's both very handsome and creepy looking. Perfect for a man of two worlds.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

I knew I was in for grief the moment I hit ‘send’. :-)

I can’t really argue about Van Helsing. It did, sorta, run off the rails. But, in my defense, I thought Sommers’ The Mummy was a rollicking good time. Just the sort of light action / adventure movie that I think would be perfect for Aquaman. Of course, I’d prefer a huge, sweeping origin tale like Richard Donner gave us in Superman the Movie but Hollywood doesn’t really make those types of super-hero pics anymore.

That picture of Neal McDonough just screams Aquaman – hurray for Joe and I. In a perfect world, McDonough would be filming an Aquaman movie right now. Of course, in a perfect world Sean Bean would have played Constantine and Karl Urban would have starred in Daredevil.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re good choices all. Congrats to the winners. Elba is a great fit for Manta although I think that Washington would bring a level of star power that the movie would otherwise lack, at least when you consider that some of my other casting choices were more obscure than folks like Rosario Dawson and Amy Adams.

One casting choice strikes me as odd, though. One of your reasons for choosing McDonough is a certain other-wordly quality you see in him. Yet your choice for Mera, who is actually of another world, is ‘girl-next-door cute’ Amy Adams. Explain please, Mr. Kelly!

Ah, I’m just messing with you ...

And if Patrick Duffy isn't Tom Curry he's gotta at least get a walk on ...

rob! said...


Your point re: Amy Adams is a good one. It was a real toss-up for me between Adams and Blunt--like a 55/45 thing--and there probably are better choices out there.

But I will not back down on Stephen Sommers--I really couldn't stand those Mummy movies, and my loathing for Van Helsing knows no bounds, so the idea of him directing an Aquaman movie sends a cold shiver down my spine.

Your other point about the star power Washington would bring to the movie is well-founded. Maybe Aquaman could meet King Neptune and have him be played by a CGI Marlon Brando!

Wings1295 said...

WOW! Thanks, Rob!

Some great selections there, many better than my choices. Glad you liked McDononogh though, he is great for our hero!

Thanks for choosing me! Very cool, indeed!