Comic Casting Couch: Justice League International
Here at Major Spoilers, we strive to bring you the best in news and reviews from the broad spectrum of the pop culture world. With all the excitement and speculation over the past month about a Justice League movie, as well as the Major Spoilers Podcast in which Stephen, Matthew, Rodrigo and Rob discussed how they would do a Justice League movie, staff writer Jimmy just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share his ideal Justice League movie – an homage to the classic Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire run.
We’ve seen movies that feature origin stories for the heroes, but with a cast as large as the Justice League International, it makes more sense to give an origin for the team rather than the individual character. This movie would open with some major eco-terrorism, blowing up dams and the like, somewhat similar to the heist-opening of The Dark Knight but on a larger scale, and it would go into less detail about the individual activities and focus more on the world-wide nature of the assaults.
The perpetrators would be a shout-out to the JLI of old—the Royal Flush Gang, who will be working for Manga Khan through his representative L-Ron to renew the natural resources of the Earth so he can harvest them. There would be four major locales for the attacks, one for each suit of cards. In the United States they’d blow up the Hoover Dam, in Brazil they would destroy a factory or work-site that was either polluting the Amazon River or cutting down the Amazon Rainforest, in Russia they would be destroying a mine, and in France they would attempt to destroy a nuclear power plant.
This would be the first three to seven minutes of the film, just showing some highlights of the action, partially through news reports by Jack Ryder (a reference that will delight true fans). He’ll end the report by calling out the United Nations to action, saying that “The American Justice League isn’t enough—we need something more. We need a Justice League International!” At which point we’ll go through an opening credit/montage where we’ll get a debate from the U.N. members about different superheroes, possibly using YouTube videos of the heroes saving people world-wide as a way to flash credits and introduce the audience to the cast.
One of the strengths of the Justice League International is something that in most movies would normally be seen as a weakness—the sheer numbers involved in the team. The Avengers handled this about as well as any movie could, which is why this movie would also rotate around six major team members, with several supporting (but important) characters.
THE CORE TEAM
Ryan McPartlin as Booster Gold
Fresh off a run as Devon Woodcomb, aka “Captain Awesome,” in NBC’s Chuck, McPartlin both has the good looks and the action experience and attitude to be Booster Gold. This iteration of Booster will be one of the jokers of the team, often ridiculed as being incompetent but striving to prove himself. One of the driving forces in the movie will be the interaction between Booster and the next member of the team…
Zachary Levi as Blue Beetle
Zachary Levi’s dynamic with Ryan McPartlin from Chuck will serve him well for playing the classic JLI Blue Beetle character, bringing the Bwa-Ha-Ha to the big screen. Levi has shown both comedy chops and an ability to perform as an action star, which will serve him well for the role. He also has some star-power that could help pull in an audience.
Salma Hayek as Fire
While Hayek is starting to get up there in age a bit, her appearance a couple seasons ago on 30 Rock convinced me she’s still got the looks to play the spicy firecracker of the team. Her Mexican heritage is certainly enough to convincingly play a Brazilian for most audiences, especially since most colorists in comics have drawn her as looking pretty white. Also I want to see Salma Hayek’s hair dyed green.
Allison Mack as Ice
I don’t know how well Allison Mack can do a convincing Norwegian accent (she was born in Germany, so maybe?), but of all the Smallville episodes I’ve seen (which isn’t terribly many; I’ve watched about three-fourths of the first season) Allison Mack was the most charming and underutilized actress on the show. And of course, because audiences love a bit of romance, and we need a member with some power, we’d include…
Joel McHale as Green Lantern (Guy Gardner)
Between Community (for my money the best show currently on television) and The Soup, McHale has proven that he’s capable of playing loveable jerks. McHale is also freakishly tall AND a former football player, so really he’s only an awful bowl-cut and dye job away from BEING Guy Gardner. He’s also 11 years older than Mack, but considering his relationship with Alison Brie’s character on Community is a fan favorite, and she’s 5 months younger than Mack, I think the “will they/won’t they” relationship between Guy and Tora will entice fans.
Adam Baldwin as Batman
I think Batman’s role in the first six issues of Giffen and DeMatteis’ Justice League as the straight man of the team, combined with the personality of his appearance in Formerly Known as the Justice League, would be perfect for this movie—for those of you who haven’t read the title, Batman had lots of fantastic one-liners that played off the typical seriousness of the character. Of all the casting choices, I think Adam Baldwin as Batman has the most potential—he has the ability to play a really confident and terse Batman—Baldwin’s “Hnnh” laugh as John Casey in Chuck is straight out of Morrison’s Batman, and that job along with his cult-classic performance as Jayne in Firefly have proven his abilities in the action hero role.
THE ANCILLARY CHARACTERS
As anyone who’s read the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire series knows, no Justice League International film could get off the ground without…
Leonardo DiCaprio as Maxwell Lord
Max Lord has always been a smooth talker and a good looking guy, and who better to play him than Leonardo DiCaprio? I don’t really have a whole lot to say about DiCaprio, but his head is shaped exactly right to play Max, and if the movie is a hit, you could totally use this to launch a new DC movie universe; Justice League of America, Justice League of Europe, a new Batman franchise, followed by Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis, in which Leonardo DiCaprio would make a FANTASTIC villainous Max Lord. On the subject of the Batman reboot, not only would this movie establish a new actor for Bruce Wayne, but also a new…
Adam West as Alfred Pennyworth
I was forcibly reminded recently that I am starting to get old (at the ripe age of 21) when I saw Adam West’s cameo in an episode of 30 Rock and realized that he is now in his 80s. This makes for a perfect opportunity for him to play Alfred Pennyworth in a supporting role to the Justice League—he isn’t the “proper English gentleman” that Alfred is often portrayed, but I feel that fans would overlook that in their excitement to see Adam West on the big screen again.
Patrick Warburton as Manga Khan
As I mentioned earlier, the primary villain of the film would be Manga Khan, a hilariously melodramatic villain who is interested in stripping Earth of its natural resources (and so in the movie funds eco-terrorist groups like The Royal Flush Gang to reduce industrialization). Since Patrick Warburton will just be voicing him, he can also wear his Tick costume while on set, which would be awesome. Warburton has that deep, soothing but commanding voice that I always read Manga Khan with; a kind of voice that could flip from soliloquizing to liquidizing humanity at the drop of an oversized hat. And of course, Manga Khan would be nowhere without his loyal lackey…
Jim Rash as L-Ron
I’m a big fan of Rash’s work on NBC’s Community—it took him three seasons to win me over, but I think the guy is a comic genius now (and his appearances on Ken Plume’s “Bit of a Chat” podcast inevitably leave me rolling on the ground laughing, which is awkward and a bit dangerous as I’m usually driving while listening). I only recently realized that he was also the main villain’s sidekick in “Sky High,” which is a guilty pleasure movie of mine, and when I made that connection I knew that no one could play the role of L-Ron as well as Jim. If you’ve never read JLI, L-Ron started out as the lackey of Manga Khan and then joined the JLI as Max Lord’s personal assistant, never failing to bring the laughs.
Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
In classic JLI, when Hal Jordan hears that the team picked Guy Gardner as their resident Green Lantern he is shocked. As much as I liked the idea of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, DC failed to make the movie they should have, and I would image they probably want audiences to forget about that film. The best way to do that (in my mind) is to pick someone new to play Hal Jordan, and give him a brief cameo in this movie that can be expanded into a future Justice League movie or a new solo film—and Nathan Fillion is the perfect selection for that role. In fact, I would bet good money that Fillion would be happy to do the cameo for free, and his cameo in the film would bring on a ton of good will and free publicity through his Twitter feed (@NathanFillion).
Chris Hemsworth as Rocket Red
When the Royal Flush Gang is attacking Russia, we would see several Rocket Reds rising to the defense of Mother Russia. Dmitri Pushkin would absolutely have to be a member, and I’d love to see Chris Hemsworth play the part, if Marvel didn’t crucify him for working for the opposition, and if he could pull off a Russian accent. Rocket Red would be in the U.N. discussion montage though he would ultimately be vetoed from the team for the first film.
James Marsden as Elongated Man
Ginnifer Goodwin as Sue Dibny
During the Royal Flush Gang’s attack on Paris, we’d see Elongated Man trying to stop the attack, while Sue watched on, aghast. Marsden has experience playing superheroes, and if we got either a TV spin-off or a Justice League Europe sequel, the Dibnys would be major characters. If you haven’t seen Goodwin’s performance as Snow White in ABC’s Once Upon a Time, you’ve been missing out.
THAT’S A WRAP
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this Major Spoilers Comics Casting Couch for the Justice League International.