Comic Casting Couch: Doc Savage
Doc Savage is making a comeback, and over the next couple of years we’re going to see him not only in comic books, but in a movie that has been in the works for a while. Before official casting is announced, we thought we’d cast our net far and wide and pick our own actors to fill the major roles.
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Doc Savage is one of the greatest pulp heroes of all time, his adventures and the legend surrounding his legendary exploits inspired the likes of Superman, Batman, Buckaroo Banzai, Indiana Jones and many more. With increased interest in period-piece movies, Doc Savage could very easily trump anything other superhero movies hope to bring to the silver screen. It’s like Ocean’s 11 meets The Dirty Dozen, with a twist of Michael Bay thrown in to keep the audiences in their seats with plenty of fight scenes, explosions, and adventure.
Instead of reinventing Doc Savage from the ground up, it’s best to go back to the original source material. Set in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, Clark “Doc” Savage, physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and musician, is attacked in his home and headquarters on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. A rooftop chase reveals the attackers may have some ties into the recent murder of Doc’s father.
Vowing to bring justice to those that murdered his father, Doc sets off with his closest and trusted friends in tow. Following clues left in his father’s journals, Doc and crew trek through the Central American country of Hidalgo and discover ancient civilizations, the world’s largest gold mine, and an organized crime organization trying to keep the riches all to themselves.
The team must defeat the criminals, free the enslaved locals, and restore order in Hildago, or die trying!
There are any number of actors that could play the leads in this movie, but after careful consideration (and a few shots of Jagermeister) I’ve compiled my selection.
Daniel Craig as Doc Savage
While James Bama’s art and an editor’s touch created the Doc Savage most recognize today, Doc Savage is not some buzz-cut, muscled out slab of meat that can’t keep his shirt on for two minutes without it ripping. Instead, a piercing gaze, perfectly coiffed hair, and well proportioned build are what Doc Savage needs. Daniel Craig easily meets the physical description of Savage, and with a few apple boxes under foot, could easily tower over any other member of the cast. As James Bond, Craig proves he can handle action, and can bring a sense of mystery, intimidation, and stature to the character.
Michael Chiklis as Monk Mayfair
In the books, industrial chemist Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair is described as a stocky built fellow who has thick hair all over his body. The role simply screams for Michael Chiklis to be hired for the part of Monk. Chiklis can play a hard and intense character, but he’s proven lately that he can also bring the funny when needed, which is exactly what is called for as Monk bickers playfully with his good friend Ham Brooks.
George Clooney as Theodore Marley “Ham” Brooks
As an attorney, one might not consider Ham Brooks to be full of piss and vinegar, but when push comes to shove, Ham is always ready to whip out the sword concealed in his cane and go to battle. I’ve been a reader of Doc Savage books for 30 years, and as soon as I saw George Clooney for the first time, I always pictured him as Ham Brooks. Yes, you know, and I know that Theodore is British, but the average movie goer does not. Call it sacrilege if you want, but seeing George fighting with a sword would be awesome – especially with Clooney’s mad comedy skill peeking out here and there.
Adam Baldwin as John “Renny” Renwick
The largest of Doc’s companions, Renny Renwick is a civil engineer, who can put together any device at a moments notice. Think of Renny as the entire A-Team and MacGuyver rolled into one massive hulk of a man. As Jane in Firefly, and Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket, Adam Baldwin can easily play the part of Renwick; quiet most of the time, but full of action when needed. Bladwin is one of those actors that doesn’t command the spotlight until needed, and that is exactly what is needed in this movie.
Neil Patrick Harris as Thomas J. “Long Tom” Roberts
Don’t let the small frame or sickly look fool you, Long Tom Roberts can easily keep up with his team in a fight, and his electrical engineering background makes the pairing of Renwick and Roberts a force to be reckoned with. Ages were never a key factor in the make up of Doc’s crew, and depending on what books you’ve read, Doc may be the youngest of the group. Neil Patrick Harris is my choice here, as this movie needs someone who can bring this smart yet sneaky character to life.
Sam Worthington as William Harper “Johnny” Littlejohn
He’s an archeologist and geologist with an incredible vocabulary, but plays a key role in the science part of this film, filling the audience in with the necessary exposition of the region and clues left by Clark Savage, Sr. Sam Worthington impressed the heck out of me in Avatar, and while his physical self wasn’t present that often, he just might surprise the audience when he starts a long drawn out explanation just before bunching the bad guy in the chops.
THAT’S A WRAP
The last time a Doc Savage movie was made, it turned into a total disaster of historical proportions. When you learn the real story of why the film was a flop, you’ll discover that it wasn’t the actors, director, or producer who were to blame, but rather the studio who slashed the budget to almost nothing, forcing the production to cut corners left and right. Doc Savage could easily be a mega franchise providing the studio ponies up the budget needed to bring this action film to life.