fancasting

Playing Robin Williams

Actor Jamie Costa dropped this the other day:

And it’s very good! I always admired Costa’s work, ever since I saw his Star Wars impressions. And I’d love it if he got a big break in mainstream Hollywood. But… If there ever was to be a Robin Williams biopic, and I’ve thought this for years, I want Will Forte to play him.

So there’s only a vague resemblance, I’ll grant you that. But Will Forte just has that same combination of manic energy and deep sadness Williams always had, I really think so.

Watching his work, especially The Last Man on Earth, I just get that vibe. I know this is a bit of fancasting that will probably never happen, and also I think the last word about whether there should even be a Williams biopic should be down to his children… but if there is, Forte is my pick.

Fixing Doctor Who’s Barrowman problem

John Barrowman has now been fired from Dancing on Ice (though curiously he continues to be employed by ITV) and it got me wondering. There’s no way in hell he’s coming back to Doctor Who now but… I like Jack. He had a big impact on my teenage self, he was Important in a way I couldn’t even explain. And of course he was in the middle of a return to the show when this happened, unlike DW’s other sex offender Noel Clarke. (God I still can’t believe I’m typing those words.)

At this point I have had a LOT of characters who I love turn out to be played by sex offenders and I have only one solution. Every time something like this happens, please listen to me TV show execs, recast. Even if the actor was beloved before. Even if they still have defenders. Even if everyone remains convinced that no-one else could play the character, because I assure you they can. And when it comes to the Barrowman problem specifically…

…Just like as with the Doctor, there are built-in ways Jack can easily be recast! Maybe the Doctor gives him some spare regeneration energy off-screen and his appearance changes. Or you can go the technobabble route, have him fall into some magic face-changing machine. No-one cares about the explanation, it’s Doctor Who! Or then there’s the easiest possible route and my favourite, just have him age. We know Jack ages, just very very slowly, that’s how the Face of Boe came about.

So how about, let’s assume that the next time the Doctor meets Jack it’s well into the future from Jack’s POV. Jack has aged and no longer looks like John Barrowman. Bye bye, Barrowman. Who could play Aged-Up Jack then?

Well, I have one idea that keeps coming back to me. I think if Jack was recast the most important thing to do would have him be played by an LGBT actor, for obvious reasons. An LGBT icon maybe. Who can act. And who is universally recognized for being able to act. And who would bring in more viewers. And is a British icon on top of all of that. How about…

Yeah… I want Sir Ian McKellen to play Captain Jack Harkness.



(side note: While writing this I had to check Jack’s increasingly convoluted Wiki page and turns out his real name finally got revealed as “Javic Piotr Thane.” Huh. Well, I want Sir Ian McKellen to be able to deliver that name in his magnificent speaking voice too, then.)

Casting Norman Osborn

There’s gonna be a lot of Spider-Man over the next few years. Obviously he’ll be getting more MCU screentime and hey! Apparently a new live-action series as well maybe!

So it is perhaps inevitable that Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, the Green Goblin, will pop up at some point. Lemme tell you about him. GG is much more frightening when he’s Norman Osborn. Norman Osborn is a power-hungry abusive misogynist with weird hair, almost like… you know… someone else. (Yes, Marvel really did kindasorta call it. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.) Woman-hating is built into his character, and was ever since he threw Gwen Stacy off that bridge.

So, what actors can pull off the Goblin’s particular brand of villainy? Obviously Willem Dafoe did it first and he did a great job. But try as I might I can’t quite see him as the casually demonic Norman of the 21st century Spider-Man comics. This ultra-manipulative bastard right here.

But you know who I think could pull it off? Bradley Whitford.

I’ve been watching him every Sunday in The Handmaid’s Tale and I’m constantly impressed by him. I keep seeing him in things now and damn, he is really good at being evil. But perhaps more importantly he’s good at being quietly evil. The sort of evil you don’t fully understand until it has its hands around your neck, which is exactly what Norman is.

But, I hear you say, Bradley Whitford doesn’t… actually look like that anymore. He got older and the Osborn-like red hair is gone. Well, yes. That’s true, and it’s rather unfortunate that it’s true because West Wing-era Whitford would have been pretty close to the character physically.

Obviously that’s not neccessarily a problem since Marvel is spookily good at de-aging their actors via CGI, but I reckon that 59-year-old Whitford could still do an incredibly good job. I mean I don’t know about you but to me this picture alone has major “I’m totally going to kill Spider-Man” vibes.

And if all the above hasn’t convinced you here are 20 seconds of Whitford being completely pissing terrifying in Get Out (a film I haven’t actually seen because I’m too scared, but I have at this point seen enough clips of it to be able to hold a conversation about the plot:)

Which leads in neatly to the other thing about Norman: his privilege. Dude is privileged on almost every axis: race, class, wealth. And boy, does he know it and boy is he not interested in discussing it.

And that’s something else Whitford can act very well.

So that’s my pitch! And don’t worry, I have considered the question, “No matter how good an actor he is, isn’t Bradley Whitford going to look pretty silly in a bright green goblin mask?” The answer is, if current events have proved anything, I don’t think the character really needs a mask anymore.

World War Z Fancasting

Summer Glau as Christina Eliopolis
Ken Watanbe as Tomonaga Ijiro
Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio
Masi Oka as Kondo Tatsumi
Salman Khan as Sardar Khan
Laura Linney as Mary Miller
Karen Gillan as Sharon
Song Kang-ho as Hyungchol Choi
Amandla Steinberg as Jesika Hendricks
Naveed Choudhry as Joe Muhammad
Geoffrey Rush as Terry Knox