Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Comic Book Wednesday - Phantasmas Casting Agency: X-Factor The Movie

I’ve been a huge fan of Peter David’s X-Factor since he first wrote the team back in the 90’s. His has always been a humorous and involving take on what are essentially cast-offs from the main Marvel mutant titles. So today I’m going to waste some time by writing about who I think should play whom in the X-Factor movie that is obviously never going to happen.
Actually, David’s current take on X-Factor deserves more than a mere two hours of theatrical presentation. It would require a television show to portray all of the characterization and complex storytelling that has been invested in these characters for the last twenty years (give or take). And unlike most properties, this one wouldn’t even have to be on HBO or Showtime. While often serious and sometimes edgy; Peter David’s work on X-Factor never dips into material that would require the no-holds-barred style of pay cable networks. Or even AMC or FX, for that matter. I’m not saying this would be a show for NBC, but you’re not going to have the gore, titties and profanity that a lot of adaptations I’d like to see would require.

Sometimes when I do this sort of thing I pull from actors across time and sometimes I try to stay realistic to what such a project might actually be able to get. Today I’m sticking with current actors but I’m going to just choose whoever I think would be great in the role.

Jamie Madrox/Multiple Man – Misha Collins

The center of the team and often the straight man to all of the improbable things that happen in the comic. I think Collins has the weird combination of gravitas and humor needed to not only portray Madrox properly, but also make him a likeable and sympathetic character despite some of the dickhead stuff he does (and has to do) sometimes. I’ve had Collins in mind for Madrox since he first popped up on Supernatural.

Teresa Cassidy/Siryn/Banshee – Karen Gillan
Gee. I wonder who I should cast as a beautiful Scottish redhead with an iron will and a fiery temper. This was the easiest decision on the list; but probably the least likely to actually happen.

Young Layla Miller – ?
This is where I need YOUR help, Phantomaniacs! I hit a wall on this one. I thought about Chloe Moretz or Abigail Breslin, but 1) They're both probably too big for my little show, and 2) They'll be too old to play young Layla by the time this thing went into production. I'm not overly familiar with young female actors. Maybe you guys could help me out in the comments?

Older Layla Miller – Kristen Bell
While I’ve seen Kristen Bell in plenty of roles, I have only recently gotten into the show that made her famous – Veronica Mars. The writing on the show is outstanding and Bell herself is remarkable. The lead character is almost a teenage female Batman – always prepared for any situation. In other words, she “knows stuff”. I’d love to see the former Ms. Mars in a meatier role than what I’ve seen her in lately, and I think playing the wiseass-but-burdened-with-too-much-knowledge Layla would be perfect.

Guido Carosella/Strong Guy – Kevin Nash
I struggled with this until I got over the idea of using CGI to make Strong Guy look as weird as he’s supposed to and just started thinking about huge dudes. And when you want a funny huge dude, you go for Kevin Nash. You might doubt a wrestler could hang with the rest of this cast – especially if you watched SyFy’s Thor movie – but I think Nash has the skills to pull this role off. He’s a genuinely funny guy who has played a cocky, self-assured character for two decades now – himself.

Monet St. Croix/M – Katrina Law
M has to be beautiful and sexy while still coming off as a young woman. From what I saw of Law on Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I think she can pull it off.

Darwin – Wilson Cruz
I don’t even know if Cruz is still acting, but I think he’s perfect for Darwin. You might know him as Rickie; Angela Chase’s gay friend from My So Called Life. I certainly don’t know him from that because I definitely didn’t watch every single episode of that show, but I hear he was really good. If he could bring the same pathos and identity struggle to Darwin that he did for his teen drama character I think we’d be in for some great angst.

Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver – Joey Kern
I was originally going to cast this guy as Rictor, but then I remembered Quicksilver was on the team for a while and Kern was a much better fit for that role. You saw him as the snide asshole survivor in Cabin Fever and he’s been in a few other things since then. Usually some variation of the snide asshole. Hence, Pietro.

Rictor – Brian Austin Green
Obviously I needed a new Rictor after that last one. My first instinct was Jared Leto, but then that would lead to Claire Danes as Rahne and AJ Langer as Layla and Devon Gummersall as Madrox, which not only wouldn’t have worked but would have been called My So Called X-Factor and been cancelled after 19/22nds of a season. Rictor is kind of tough because he’s sort of just this guy. He’s an ex-mutant, so his main characteristic for a long time is that he’s pretty depressed about not having powers anymore. But he’s not really tortured or anything. Plus we find out he’s gay later on, so he has to deal with that too; except that he doesn’t really because he doesn’t care about it and doesn’t expect you too, either. So I decided you need an actor who is interesting in his own right. I would never have picked Green with that thought in mind a few years ago, but after seeing him on Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and as Metallo on Smallville I think he’s the man for the job. He’s one of those guys that I want to see what he’s going to do next, which is how the character of Rictor needs to be.

Shatterstar – Zack Ward
I’ve been a fan of Zack Ward since he was the stoner brother on Titus. Now, after showing up in countless genre projects, too many Uwe Boll productions and the two most action-packed episodes of Dollhouse; we know that the guy can be a badass.

Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane – Michelle Williams
Rahne is probably the most emotionally challenging member of the X-Factor team. Her faith has always been at odds with the life she has to live and that makes for a character full of conflict and heavy emotion. When you want that kind of character, you get the best if you can. Plus, I’ve always just liked Michelle Williams.

Longshot – Thomas Dekker
This one took me longer than any of the others to figure out. Slyness and innocence and utter lack of fear are things that not a lot of actors could pull off, but Dekker displayed all three on the tragically short-lived Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. I think he’d make a great Longshot. This bit of casting only came to mind after I came up with Brian Austin Green for Rictor.

Pip the Troll – Martin Klebba
Pip was only recently introduced as a member of the team, but I like the idea of this weird, cosmic character playing receptionist for a bunch of mutant private investigators. Klebba gets the role because I loved him on The Cape.

Damian Tryp – Mark A. Sheppard
Because Mark A. Sheppard should be in everything.

Valerie Cooper – Elizabeth Mitchell
I’m trying to go for a hot blonde that is both dignified-looking and can play a severe bitch. I think I got it. Cooper may not have factored (Ha! See what I did there?) into the comic as much lately, but I would definitely work a little government-sponsored pressure into the show if I was running things. I think Mitchell would be great for the character of Cooper because she’s one of those actors that had a natural empathy. Valerie Cooper is not entirely likeable, but the audience should understand she has a job to do.

Arcade – Tom Lenk
Because I want to see Arcade basically be Andrew if he were a bad guy. Yeah, I know Andrew started off as an antagonist; I mean a real bad guy.

Cameron Hodge – James Spader
Hodge hasn’t been used in David’s recent run (yet!), but I’d shoehorn him into the show if I could. I mean, you’re going to need more than a few villains, right? Spader has been Cameron Hodge in my head for a very long time now. He could start off as sort of a sidekick to Valerie Cooper and gradually become the foul, nasty villain we all know and hate.

In creating this list, I pretty much decided that I would mix up storylines from David’s original run and now. I really like the idea of the government fucking things up for Madrox and company. It would be kind of cool to reverse the narrative and have the show start with X-Factor Investigations and maybe with the second season (yeah, right) have them brought under government jurisdiction for one reason or another.

Heck, I might do a whole second post laying out a plot for this show that I would love but will never happen. What do you think?


  1. Excellent casting choices, overall (seriously - I think you nailed it on almost everybody, or at least came quite close), but I do have one nitpick: Monet. She's black, muslim, and proud, so shouldn't she be played by a strong black woman?

    I don't know who would be a good choice for her (though I'll let you know if I think of anybody), but, IMO, Ms. Law isn't it.

    As far as a fantasy plot summery? Sure, that would be fun to read. :)

  2. M is certainly Muslim (though that is immaterial for casting purposes)but I'm not sure where you get the idea that she's black. I don't recall that ever being stated and she certainly isn't drawn as such. A quick internet search brought up no references to her race other than a vague reference to her father being Afro-European, which I guess could mean black but sure is a wishy-washy way of saying it. In all the years I've been reading comics about St. Croix I have never once thought of her as black, but I suppose that's probably the fault of the artists. I'll be sure and ask Peter David about it next time I see him. I just hope he isn't a dick about it. A guy that can be a jerk while you're telling him how much you love his work can probably be an amazing prick if you're asking a question he thinks is stupid.

  3. After looking more closely at some wiki pages and some marvel pages, it seems we're both half right. As best as I can tell, her father is black (or, at least, he sure as hell is colored that way in the panels I was able to find picturing him), but her mother is white, so she would be mixed, thus the ambiguity in coloring.

  4. Sofia Boutella for Monet St. Croix because she is algerian and muslim in real life

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