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.

THE TALE

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!

THE CAST

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.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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22 Comments

  1. June 17, 2010 at 11:35 am — Reply

    Is Ron Ely still available? He could play Clark Savage, Sr.

  2. June 17, 2010 at 11:47 am — Reply

    He is still alive, though he is 72.

    • Jack King
      May 31, 2011 at 11:19 am — Reply

      Perfect age to play Clark Sr.

  3. Astro Dinosaurus
    June 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm — Reply

    That’s, THAT’S GODDAMN BRILLIANT! We need this movie to happen right now. Oh and how about Ralph Fiennes as Johnny Sunlight.

    • June 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm — Reply

      Maybe in the sequel – John Sunlight didn’t appear until Fortress of Solitude.

      • Jack King
        May 31, 2011 at 11:22 am — Reply

        So? Like I said below, movies can be switched up. Create a script based on his adventures. They don’t have to be faithful, chronological adaptations of the books. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. Fantastic Four didn’t introduce Dr. Doom at first but that is their biggest villain so you use it in a film. Same with Doc and Sunlight.

  4. ErikaF
    June 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    I’ve had my heart broken too many times with almost-productions. I’ll believe it when they’re actually filming (lets face it, even if it’s not officially distributed and released true fans will find a way to see it!

    Good choices, tho.

    • June 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm — Reply

      No, I didn’t forget Pat Savage, Doc Savage’s cousin. She didn’t appear until Brand of the Werewolf – the 11th DS story. As I indicated in the pitch, this movie focuses only on the first adventure.

      • Jack King
        May 31, 2011 at 11:18 am — Reply

        That’s the great thing about movies, they can switch things around. I say have Pat in the first film and possibly more. The films don’t have to be literal translations of the books. Also, skip the first book. It’s already been done. Move onto other adventures. All he has to say is he inherited the gold mine in Hidalgo which is why he is rich. Done. Move on!

  5. Lou
    June 18, 2010 at 6:27 am — Reply

    hmmm, pretty good, pretty good. Doc is fine. Renny and Johnny are inspired! I just can’t see George Clooney as Ham. Ham is whippet-thin, and a real Beau Brommell. Color aside, Robert Glenister from “Hustle” would be perfect, but I am sure purists would never go for it, so how about Colin Firth instead. As for Johnny, Sam Worthington is just too beefy and muscled-up. Wouldn’t Bruce Campbell be fun? Johnny loved using all those big words and he could really pull that off comically. Just my opinion.

    • DoctorZen
      June 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm — Reply

      Actually I think the perfect Johnny is David Hyde Pierce. I think Chiklis is too big (and hairless) for Monk, but I can;t think of a replacement.

      • Lou
        June 19, 2010 at 7:24 am — Reply

        Yeah! David Hyde Pierce is a great choice, but I still think Chiklis is perfect. He is hairless, but that is what make-up is for.

      • Jack King
        May 31, 2011 at 11:24 am — Reply

        How can you be too big for Monk??

        • Doctor Zen
          May 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm — Reply

          Monk is described as “half a man tall and a man and a half wide.”

    • Jack King
      May 31, 2011 at 11:23 am — Reply

      I love the idea of Bruce Campbell. And that guy deserves to be in a big movie series.

    • Fantomex
      June 17, 2011 at 6:32 am — Reply

      Clooney will NEVER do another role like this (Schumacher spoiled Batman for him, and he’s also quite older now.) I’d suggest David Hyde Pierce as Ham Brooks

      Unless Pat has a scientific skill or some other skill, having her as part of the group’s just gratuitous and then some.

  6. Jack King
    May 31, 2011 at 11:15 am — Reply

    I like the suggestions (except for Doc), but Clooney and Worthington would never play sidekicks. They need to choose other talented character actors for those roles.

    As for Craig as Doc — NO! NO BRITS OR OTHER FOREIGN ACTORS! He ruined Bond and doe not need to ruin this.

    I suggest Josh Holloway (Sawyer from “Lost”) for Doc. He’s very talented, the right height (Doc needs to be 6’4″ at least), build and age.

    • Fantomex
      June 17, 2011 at 6:37 am — Reply

      Craig didn’t ruin Bond anymore than Roger Moore did-exaggerate much?

      I would suggest hiring a group of unknowns to play Doc Savage & the Famous Five, since any established actor would just bring baggage to the roles in question.

      • Jack King
        June 19, 2011 at 3:56 am — Reply

        Baggage?? So basically you feel every actor should do one role and that is it? They should never be hired again?

        Robert Downey Jr. had a hell of a lot of baggage — in his career and perpsonal life — but he played the perfect Tony Stark/Iron Man.

        And the prissy Roger Moore was the WORST…Bond…EVER!

        • Fantomex
          June 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm — Reply

          Baggage?? So basically you feel every actor should do one role and that is it? They should never be hired again?

          No, I feel that an actor should be able to do a role that suits them, and at this point in his career, playing Ham Brooks isn’t it for Clooney. Also, many movies have used unknowns before-look at how Christopher Reeve became Superman! As for Downey-it worked for him quite well, I have no problem with him playing Iron Man/Tony Stark.

          And the prissy Roger Moore was the WORST…Bond…EVER!

          I never meant to imply that Moore was the best Bond-he was the worst, compared to Connery, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig.

  7. Ryan
    December 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm — Reply

    All the choices where perfect. I even considered Anthony Chicklis as Monk myself. Though my brother resembles Renny pretty well too.

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