…And we’re back!
The Story So Far: Last time on Crisis on Earth-T, John talked about what he wanted to see in a JLA movie. But just as he was about to reveal who he’d cast, John realized how long his column was getting, and that he’d better wrap it up for the day. So here we are with our JLA Roll Call!
Before we start, a quick recap of my rules:
- Every character is cast fresh, with no actors repeating from previous live-action DC adaptations.
- Casting is limited to present-day, currently working actors.
- No actors playing major roles in the MCU.
Note: I’ve listed the actors’ current ages for reference, and you’ll notice that several of them are a bit older than typical fan choices. That’s because I picked most these folks four and a half years ago, but what the heck, they all still look good for their ages. Besides, Robert Downey Jr. is 51 and Hugh Jackman is 48. If both of them can still be considered viable superheroes, I figure that my guys can sneak in under the wire.
Superman – Matt Bomer (age: 39)
White Collar and Magic Mike star Matt Bomer has an interesting history with the Man of Steel. Back in the early 2000s, he was the first choice to play Superman for a J.J. Abrams-scripted film called Superman: Flyby. Prospective directors included McG and Brett Ratner. It was to be the first of a planned trilogy, and Abrams’ script made some strange breaks from the established Superman lore (Lex Luthor was a CIA agent revealed to be a secret Kryptonian, and Krypton doesn’t blow up). Bomer beat out Paul Walker and Brendan Fraser for the part, and actually screen-tested in costume with Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Interestingly, future Supermen Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill were both also among the actors who screen-tested. The Superman: Flyby movie eventually fell apart due to budget concerns, and the project was ultimately shelved in favor of Superman Returns.
Bomer’s got that All-American look that you need for Superman. He did an excellent job with all of the action scenes he had to do on Chuck as superspy Bryce Larkin, and he’s even played the Man of Steel in some Japanese commercials and in the animated feature Superman Unbound. Beef him up a bit and we’ve got our Superman.
Batman – Jon Hamm (age: 46)
This one is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. Hamm is smart, a damn good actor, has a deep, commanding voice, can brood like nobody’s business, and he really looks like Bruce Wayne.
I’d like to see Batman played in much the same way that Grant Morrison used him during his JLA run — He’s the chessmaster who’s always two moves ahead, so much so that he can even make his teammates uneasy at times. When the League needs stealth or a foolproof plan, he’s the guy they call.
Hamm has confessed that he’s been up for a few superhero parts in the past (without naming which characters), but he’s glad he said no to them now. Personally, I think it’s a shame he never got to play the Dark Knight. He would have been a natural.
Wonder Woman – Jaimie Alexander (age: 33)
Blindspot star Jaimie Alexander played Sif in the Thor movies and she’s been talked up ever since to play the Amazing Amazon. It’s easy to see why. She’s a good actress, she can handle herself in action scenes, and she’s statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous besides. Sounds like Wonder Woman to me.
I see Diana as being both a team powerhouse and the team morale officer — She’s the peacekeeper, both inside the group and out. Every one in the group looks up to her and strives to follow her example. If there’s a peaceful solution to be found, she’s the one to find it, but if there isn’t one… Watch out.
Flash – Neil Patrick Harris (age: 43)
It’s a crying shame that NPH hasn’t been cast to play a superhero yet. He’s handsome, charming, funny and in great shape. I think he’s perfect for midwest science nerd Barry Allen. Plus, he’s already voiced Barry in the animated feature Justice League: The New Frontier, so (pardon the pun) he’ll be right up to speed.
Green Lantern – Bradley Cooper (age: 42)
Like Matt Bomer as Superman, Bradley Cooper came within a hair’s breadth of actually snagging this role. Cooper was one of the finalists for the part of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern when they made the GL movie in 2011, and he should’ve been the pick as far as I’m concerned. I like Ryan Reynolds, but he’s much better suited for roles like Deadpool or the Wally West Flash.
I think it’s important to have Green Lantern in the JLA film, because more than any other character, he represents the “Just Imagine” spirit of the group. GL should be utterly fearless, and the guy in the League who never says die. He should be all over the big effects sequences. Think about it — Green Lantern can create anything with that ring. He’s a hero who’s limited only by his imagination. And Cooper just plain exudes the cocky-but-likeable vibe that Hal Jordan should have.
Aquaman – Michael Fassbender (age: 39)
Fassbender was pretty great as Magneto in the X-Men movies, and I’d love to see him in a straight-up heroic role. He’s handsome and regal, and I can easily see him as the King of the Seven Seas. Give him the blonde Nordic look he had in Prometheus and we’re all set.
Mera – Alexandra Daddario (age 31)
Mera isn’t a Justice League member, but since Amber Heard is playing her in Snyder’s movie, I figured what the hell, I’ll throw her into mine as well. It’d be neat to see her in few scenes. And even though I think Heard looks great in the role, I’m pretty happy with my casting, too. With her sea blue eyes and killer curves, True Detective and Baywatch star Alexandra Daddario is a Nick Cardy woman come to life (And yeah, I know the art I used is Ivan Reis, not Nick Cardy. Sorry. it’s tough to find good high-res scans of Cardy’s stuff online).
Black Canary – Yvonne Strahovski (age: 34)
Strahovski’s been my choice for Black Canary ever since the first season of Chuck. Anyone who’s seen that show knows that she’s great at the action scenes, and her traffic-stopping good looks don’t hurt. Black Canary gives the League more female representation, and it’s good to have another non-powered, earthbound hero to team up with Batman. And speaking of earthbound heroes…
Green Arrow – Charlie Hunnam (age: 36)
Green Arrow is a hero who makes it into the JLA just by personality alone. GA is the smartass, the malcontent, and the conscience of the League, all rolled into one. At any given moment, he’s probably upset with someone else in the group, and he’s not shy about letting them know. And yet, for all of his bitching and bellyaching, he’s one of the guys who will always get the job done. Add in his passionate but volatile romance with the Black Canary, and you’ve got loads of story potential.
I’ll be honest. Arrow‘s Stephen Amell is a decent actor, but I’ve never really been able to buy him as Green Arrow. The guy on TV is so serious and mopey. He’s nothing like the sarcastic, cocky, and lusty guy I fell in love with from the comics. And, most damning for an Emerald Archer portrayer, his goatee game is pretty weak. Sons of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam has been a fan-favorite for Ollie Queen for a while, and with his good looks and blond beard, it’s easy to see why. Regrettably, he’s recently stated that he has no interest in the part. Thankfully, I’m not bound by reality.
Hawkman – Joe Manganiello (age: 40)
If we’re going to have Green Arrow, we’re going to need a Hawkman for him to feud with. Hawkman is the ultra-serious space cop who always pushes the League to do better. And since he and Green Arrow don’t see eye-to-eye on anything, fireworks happen whenever these two are in the same room together.
Physique has to play a major part of this casting, since Hawkman would spend most of the movie with his shirt off, not to mention having a big enough frame to wear those gigantic wings. Manganiello is 6’5” and is in spectacular shape. I honestly have my doubts about Hawkman ever working in live-action (let’s face it, all of the attempts we’ve had so far have ended up looking pretty goofy), but if anyone could pull it off, Manganiello could.
Hawkgirl – Olivia Wilde (age: 33)
Olivia Wilde is another one of those people who’s so gorgeous I’m amazed she hasn’t played a superhero yet. She has the sort of lithe figure that would look great taking flight, and she’s great at playing people who don’t take any shit. I’m seeing Hawkgirl as having the same sort of tough spirit as the Bruce Timm version from the Justice League cartoon — She’s the girl next door who turns into Wolverine in combat. Wilde can pull off both sides of that with ease.
Atom – Patrick Wilson (age: 43)
Wilson did an impressive job as Nite-Owl in the Watchmen movie and he just missed being a part of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, so I say it’s time to give him a shot at a size-changing superhero of his own. His intelligence would be a great fit for physicist Ray Palmer, and Wilson would be equally at home teaching a college class or going sub-atomic.
And last but not least…
Starman – Jason Schwartzman (age 36)
Like I said above, I think an outsider’s perspective on the JLA is important. And I think that Starman Jack Knight could fill that role very nicely. Starman’s name is an iconic one with a long history in the DC Universe, he has an interesting weapon in the Cosmic Staff, and Jack Knight has a unique outlook as a second-generation hero who’s not entirely sure he wants the job. As an audience surrogate, he could have that same “I can’t believe I’m here. It’s like being asked to jam with the Beatles” attitude that made Kyle Rayner work so well in Grant Morrison’s JLA run. And I think that his plainclothes, do-it-yourself hipster look would provide a nice contrast with the sleeker costumed members of the JLA.
I wasn’t sure who to cast as Jack Knight at first. He can’t be a traditional leading man type. He’s got to have a bit of quirkiness that makes you say, “What the heck is he doing here?” Back in the 90s, I would’ve cast John Cusack in a heartbeat, but he’s aged out of the role now, especially if you’re positioning Jack as a younger, less-experienced hero. But then I saw a Starman fan cast that had Rushmore and Bored to Death star Jason Schwartzman as Jack Knight, and I thought, “Hey, that’s not bad.” So Jason Schwartzman it is.
With Schwartzman as Starman, that brings us up to an even 12 members of the JLA (and a cameo appearance by Daddario as Mera). That’s certainly plenty for one movie, but I’m personally not happy with this lineup in terms of diversity. When you think about it in terms of the variety of places they’re from, it’s not bad, but still… it’s a lot of white faces. And I wouldn’t mind having another woman in the group, either. Soooo, let’s add one more person to the group, someone with cool powers, a history with the League, and loads of untapped potential:
Vixen – Gina Torres (age 47)
Yeah… 47. I couldn’t believe it, either.
Anyway, Firefly star Gina Torres has experience with Vixen, having voiced the character on Justice League Unlimited. And c’mon, who could see that picture of her and not cast her in the role?
I’m not going to pretend that that 100% fixes the problem, but it’s better than nothing. I’m very tempted to get Black Lightning and/or John Stewart into the group as well, but 15 Leaguers is really pushing it, and honestly, I don’t have any idea who I’d cast as either of them at this point. If any of you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
So that’s my fantasy JLA movie! What do you think? Am I totally off-base? Got any better ideas for casting? And would you folks like me to do something like this again? Let me know in the comments! But I’m pretty happy with how this one’s turned out. I’ve searched around the internet and I haven’t found any ideas for a JLA film that I like nearly as muc–
…You know what? I take back everything I just said. I think they should just go with this version.
See you next week!