Fifteen DC Superheroes Who Deserve a Shot in the Spotlight
So, there’s a reason DC and Marvel comics are the “big two”. It’s not just that they’re the oldest. It’s WHY they’re the oldest. They beat the tar out of Quality, Whiz, and Charelton back when, and they dominate IDW, Image, and Darkhorse today. A big part of that dominance comes from franchise characters like Superman, Wolverine, Batman, Spider-Man, and recently (although it remains to be seen if it’ll last) Deadpool. These are characters who are not only recognizable (that list includes standbys like Wonder Woman, Thor, and Green Lantern), but who can, either by themselves or with help from their supporting/dependant (Robin, Steel, Venom etc.) cast carry multiple titles and make lots and lots of money for their publisher. Historically, it’s proven very difficult to “create” new franchise characters; there are, after all, only four true examples in the seven or eight decades since DC started up. Hell, you could make a case that Wolverine doesn’t even qualify, if you wanted, as most of his appearances are team books. The formula, if one exists, is difficult to replicate (I have some thoughts on that, but that’s another article).
At any rate, for a long, long time, this was the goal, and justifiably so. However, with the immense success of media adaptations from both Marvel (Iron Man, Spider-Man, and X-Men most prominently), and DC (The Dark Knight, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold being prime examples), and more in the pipeline, the game really should be changing; even the most profitable comic book makes chump change next to an even moderately successful film. The real money, now, is in adaptation, and the subsequent merchandising. And more characters means more movies/TV Shows/Videogames. But you can’t just throw any character up on the big screen and hope it takes (see Hex, Jonah). In addition to having a legitimately good (or at least marketable) media product, it helps to have a character who has at least some comic-book prominence. This benefits the companies in two ways; primarily, a character with more comic-book prominence helps at the box office, and saves on marketing. Nerd-culture being what it is, if news leaked that, say, The Question, was getting a movie, the internet would catch fire and most of the target audience would be sold without ever having seen a commercial. Obviously, the “target” audience is a minority of the box-office receipt, so they still need some advertising, and ultimately the geek market isn’t where they sell most of their tickets. This may seem to trivialize the importance of the geek market, but they have two things going for them that make them really, really valuable. First, obviously, is their online presence; free advertising, and, if the movie is any good, loads and loads of good reviews which jack up the scores on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic… which the so-called “regular” audience use to help decide if they want to see a movie. Secondly, and more importantly, the tickets the geeks do buy? Opening weekend. It’s no surprise that the top two, and three of the top five, opening weekends of all time were superhero films. All three films, including the almost universally despised Spider-Man 3, went on to make big, big piles of money largely thanks to those monster openings.
Secondly, and far less relevantly: the movies pay the comics back. Deadpool stumbled into his newfound prominence largely on the increased interest in the character following his appearance (kind of) in the awful Wolverine Origins, and the buzz for his upcoming solo feature starring Ryan Reynolds. Essentially, comics help launch movies, which help sell comics. Bottom line being: if DC/Marvel can create more characters with just enough following to launch a movie, the movie will not only make a ton of money (assuming they don’t, you know, hire Uwe Boll or something), but it’ll help elevate the comic book character, and sell more comics/action figures/tshirts/videogames/bootleg pornography. It’s all good news (yes, even the bootleg pornography. Turns out superheroes are generally pretty good looking).
So, now that we’ve established that, we come to the point: DC and Marvel need to build up more characters who can carry a flick. They’re only maybe five years off from running through their C- list (the A-list has already been tapped, and the B-list is getting there), and they’re going to need more than the six-ten franchises apiece that can support a film. They just found out what happens when you try to force it, with movies starring Elektra, Catwoman, and Jonah Hex tanking hard. Sure, the movies were crap, but so was Ghost Rider and it made enough to validate a sequel anyways, primarily on the popularity of the character. Now, both companies have libraries upon libraries of characters, and a lot of them are currently in the process of being built up to varying degrees of success (Marvel’s done a very good job of grooming War Machine for a potential spinoff, while DC continues to shoot itself in the foot with both Aquaman and Green Arrow).
At any rate, the point is this: sooner or later, it will behoove Marvel and DC to dig into their extremely deep character catalogues, and push some characters that have previously been, at most, supporting players. It’ll fuel the Hollywood juggernaut, which, in turn will translate to more comic book sales, and, with a little luck, re-invigorate a flagging industry; there’s a reason Batman/Superman/Spider-Man stay on top; they never spend very long out of the public eye. So, without (much) further ado, fifteen obscure DC characters who could benefit from a push*, and eventually make some money off the pages. I’m picking with an eye towards characters who are reasonably unique, and who have something cinematic about them, in hopes of minimizing the risk of pouring millions of dollars into a movie. And, just for kicks because I feel like it and it’s my article, I’ll include my thoughts on how I, Hollywood Nobody, would cast/approach the film adaptations of these Detective Comics D-listers. These aren’t in any order, but I made an effort to avoid anybody who’s already on the right track (the Question, for instance, has been steadily gaining popularity, despite dying, since JLU), already reasonably well known (although I personally think there are several contemporary actresses who’d be fantastic as Dinah Lance), or dependant on relationships to other heroes (sorry, Cassandra Cain). Additionally, the comic book industry is notoriously bad at marketing minority (and to a lesser extent, female) characters… but Hollywood isn’t. The specifics of why would constitute another article, but the simple version is that the comic book distribution channels lead to predominantly white markets, and they’ve made little effort to find ways of getting comic books into Asian, African-American, Latino, or Islamic households (or anybody I forgot). That being the case, making a smash hit out of a non-white character on the screen could, in a best case scenario, open an untapped revenue stream and reinvigorate the industry while simultaneously reducing the ethnocentrism of both DC’s universe and staff. So, you know, I made a little extra effort to put some really obscure (even relative to the rest of the list) ethnic heroes on the list, just in case somebody important stumbles across our silly little site and takes my word as gospel… But mostly I listed them because they’re legitimately good characters who deserve more attention and likely won’t get it anytime soon.
*Push defined herein as: consistently appearing in a starring or semi-starring role on at least a monthly basis and being portrayed by at least decent talent for a period of no less than three years.
Of course, having just said all that, DC is cartoonishly bad at creating African American heroes (Marvel is better about it, having gotten most of their exaggerated racism out of their system with Luke Cage in the 1970s) and the few good ones I could think of are either a bit too well-known for this list (Steel, Black Lightning), or generally associated with team books (Mr. Terrific, Cyborg, Skyrocket). So none made this list, but I know for a fact there’s at least two on my Marvel list (coming just as soon as I work up the desire to write it).
Faust (Sebastian Faust)
Who he is: Son of the evil sorcerer Felix Faust (one of the dorkier looking silver age villains, and that’s saying something), Faust was born without a soul, on account of his dick dad trading it away to a demon for “untold power”, as dick dads who are also sorcerous supervillains do. But, demons are also dicks, and as a means of screwing with Felix, the demon gave the power to his infant son instead. And so, little Sebastian grew up being tutored in the use of his power by his dad, before doing the teenage thing and rebelling. In this case, the best way to rebel was to become a superhero, fighting against magical threats to humanity (about forty percent of the time, the threat turns out to be his dad). Faust, on account of having no soul, doesn’t feel emotions in any real way, so he’s guided by his principals (of which he has few), and his spite (of which he has plenty). He can also steal people’s souls, which lets him do all kinds of cool stuff like borrowing superpowers, but tends to come off as slightly evil (but really, he’s a good guy. I promise.). He’s snarky (and British), really powerful, and generally good fun. Also, he moonlights as a vampire hunter and hangs out in all the cool underground magic clubs.
Why It’d Work: At his worst, he’s Hipster Constantine, which, let’s face it, sells itself (just, you know, not to me). At his best, he’s the classic anti-hero, right down to that black trench coat look that always kills at the geek box office (Blade, The Crow, and, The Matrix). Two parts badass, one part solitary loner, one part bitter alienation, and with a dark past, perma-stubble, and a Brit accent, he’s out-of- the-box chick bait. Also, Hollywood is positively lousy with British leading men who are sick of faking American accents. Some of them are probably pretty down to play an ass-kicking magical anti-hero. And, seeing as Hollywood already shit the bed on Constantine, his biggest genre competition is *snicker* Ghost Rider.
How I’d Do It: For a director, you want somebody who can do dark, but funny. You want somebody who can do sarcasm, and still have a heart to it. And, obviously, he needs to be able to do a decent action scene too. My vote goes to Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang). He can write it, too. Plot-wise, it more or less writes itself as you pick up Faust in his early twenties, investigating some kind of mystic bad juju that his dad turns out to be behind, although whether you choose to bring old Felix in during the third act, or just use him to tease the sequel (there’s almost always a sequel) is dealer’s choice. Feel free to cram a love interest in there for some tension with the whole “does not have a soul” thing, but don’t take it so far that you stagger into depressing hyper-angst. You can probably get away with the James Bond approach to romance here (it’s there, it’s sexy, it’s not remotely important in the long run). For casting, I honestly have no idea who the hot, young British hearththrob is this week, so I’ll just say that if the first name that pops into your head is Robert Pattinson, you’re an idiot. Get off my website. Anyways, gun to my head, Matt Bomer looks the part, and could pass for the age, so assuming he can do British I’d go with him (he plays an alienated anti-hero badass pretty well in Chuck). Failing that, get an authentic up-and-coming Brit due for a breakout, just so long as he not one of those chumps from the Harry Potter and Narnia flicks. And then just pick your favorite badass old English guy to play his dad (I’ll go Patrick Stewart here, as he does “authoritarian lecturing” as well as anyone and never gets to play a villain, but there are plenty of other fine choices).
Janissary (Selma Tolon)
Who She Is: Selma Tolon was a Turkish surgeon working as a relief worker after an earthquake (or something). While digging through some rubble, she fell into a cave (sidebar: what is it with superhero origins and caves? Batman, Thor, Captain Marvel…) and found a book (which turns out to be Merlin’s spellbook), and a magic scimitar (which turns out to basically be Turkish Excalibur). So, picking them up, she becomes the Janissary. She gets super strength, flight, and the swordsmanship of the sword’s original owner (who, apparently, was pretty good at stabbing things with a sword). She can cast spells too, but the spellbook is in an ancient Turkish dialect, so she occasionally mistranslates, leading to either hilarity (accidentally turning badguys into doves) or catastrophe (Great. Now the evil skeleton warriors’ swords are on fire, too. Thanks, Janissary). Both those parentheticals actually happened, by the way. Anyways, she uses her powers to protect Turkey, most famously (read: in her one starring role) from a corrupt Turkish General who wanted to steal her powers and control the world or something. Also, Etrigan wants to mess her up (he’s Merlin’s brother, and I guess hates him SO MUCH he’ll even attack people he loans books out to), but because no writer ever uses the one super-powered Muslim chick in the DCU, she never actually ran into him.
Why She’d Work: Action movies set in the Middle East tend to do, to put it lightly, decently at the box office. That’s why there’s so many of them. Prince of Persia stunk big and it pulled in about 300 mil, so we know there’s a market for magical Middle Eastern (even if they’re played by Jake Gyllenhaal, but whatever) hero types. And everybody likes chicks with swords (I like them so much, in fact, there’s another one later on in this list). Anyways, beyond that, Selma as a character (yes, there’s more to her than just being Muslim and also a woman. By comic-book standards, this earns DC a big fat gold star), is a very open-minded, caring, and purehearted type. I mean, her dayjob is also saving lives. She’s got a sense of humor and a small side of charming social cluelessness (mistook Aquaman’s offer to join the JLA as asking her out, for instance). She’s kinda hard not to like, plus you get to riff on Arthurian legend, and between the spellbook and the sword, you can do whatever awesome action set-pieces your budget allows.
How I’d Do It: So, we’re looking at a swashbuckling fantasy adventure set ostensibly in the present, likely with flashbacks to the 1600s or whenever Merlin was hanging out in Turkey. The last thing we want is for this to become… whatever equivalent of “Orientalist” applies here. So my instincts run to a Turkish director, only I don’t know any, so I’m gonna go with an Indian one instead just to rile up my buddy Mutasim (fun fact: racism makes for wonderful inside jokes! Try it today!). Besides, India and Turkey are basically the same anyways, right? Sand, turbans, yada yada? I kid, I kid. Except about the Indian director part, because a visually striking movie with iconic, stunning action sequences, larger than life characters, and roots in both myth and history, is right up the alley of Tarsem Singh (The Fall). Go ahead and let him be the writer (or at least one of ‘em), too. So, moving on from my poorly conceived attempts at racial comedy, who do we cast? Well, again, if I knew a good Turkish actress who speaks English, I’d go with her, but I don’t, so… the chick from Slumdog Millionaire? Yeah? We’ll just make a whole Turkish movie out of Indian filmmakers. It’ll be fun. I promise not to suggest Jake Gyllenhaal for Etrigan. Anywho, let’s just accept that I know nothing about the Turkish film scene, so whoever the best Turkish actress is should play Janissary (we’re keeping Tarsem, though; The Fall was great). Etrigan should be the villain, because super-strong, firebreathing demons who only speak in rhyme aren’t in nearly enough movies. Tonally, you basically want to go with the high-fantasy feel the bulk of The Fall had, only without the depressing/dark frame story. It’s the time-tested archetypal classic story about a magical Turkish surgeon empowered by Arthurian relics who beats up a bad-poetry spouting demon from Hell, have some fun with it. Besides, Tarsem’s gonna make it look good no matter what, so it’s not like it needs a plot (Sucker Punch pulled 19 mil opening weekend, and Tarsem’s ten times the filmmaker Snyder is). Oh, and cast Viggo Mortensen as Etrigan. Nobody remembers because of Lord of the Rings, but Viggo plays a great hammy villain.
The Ray (Ray Terrill)
Who He Is: Ray Terrill did not see the sun until his eighteenth birthday. Told by his dad (mom died in childbirth) that he had some weird disease that’d kill him if he went outside, Ray became a tabloid sensation known as “Night Boy”. With limited contact from the outside world (aside from his neighbor, best friend, and eventual love interest, Jenny.), Ray was essentially raised by television and radio, and therefore has a pretty skewed view on things once he finally comes out in the open. See, turns out Ray’s not allergic to sunlight; it just gives him awesome superpowers. The list has grown with every writer who’s used him, but the default package let him control light to create illusions, transform into an energy form (and heal instantly from any wounds when he did), shoot lasers, make stuff out of “hard light”, and flight around at light speed. Also, his dad’s not his dad, but his uncle. His real dad is the 1940s superhero “The Ray”, and also a lying liar who lies a lot, usually while explaining one of his other lies. And his mom’s alive, too, although she was told HE died at childbirth because, again, his dad’s a liar, in case I wasn’t clear on that. So, you’ve got an eighteen year old kid with enough firepower to beat up Superman, no real-world experience, a sitcom worldview, and a family unit that takes dysfunctional way past Springer-land. Luckily for Ray (and the reader), Ray’s a pretty optimistic guy, and is generally pretty down with the whole “I have superpowers (and also light won’t kill me)” thing, and goes out into the world to be a superhero and create a life for himself. This journey of self- discovery includes exploring the universe, traveling through time, working at a fried chicken joint, and sleeping with Black Canary (which was a way bigger deal before half the DCU started doing it).
Why It Would Work: Ray, as a character combines the best aspects of Spider-Man and Superman. On the one end, he’s an insecure teenager who has no idea what he’s going to do with his life, and therefore pretty relatable to your target audience (Spidey), on the other, he’s got powers that let him do amazing things like fly to Germany whenever he feels like it or travel through time (Supes). Beyond that, his skewed worldview is a great lens through which to dissect pop-culture, and his similarities to Spidey extend to his sense of humor. On top of that, one of his major villains (who has probably never been written better) is Vandal Savage, an immortal supergenius caveman businessman who may have been Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar, plus he hung out with Hitler (sentences like this one make me glad I read comic books). That hits, like, seven or eight of the classic bad-guy tropes in one go. The fact that he’s able to sell himself pretty convincingly as a misunderstood good guy and his subtle sense of humor are just gravy. And he’s got style. Anyways, great hero + great villain + potential for awesome action AND comedy = awesome movie.
How I’d Do It: We may want to change up the origin and make his dad not a superhero, although I think it’s important to keep the hilariously sheltered upbringing. If we go that route (we can use any manner of stupid devices to explain his powers), my bid for the plot is to go with four primary influences on Ray: his lying liar who lies father, a naïve but well-meaning love interest (my vote goes for Jazz, but you could use Jenny or somebody original), Vandal doing his “I’m not a crook” bit, and another, much more obviously evil villain to drive Ray into dealing with Savage. The easy pick is Dr. Light, but he’s lame (and way too rapey for the tone we’re going for here), so my vote goes to Dr. Polaris, Master of Magnetism (also master of having too many personalities)! He’s smart enough to be a compelling threat, but dumb enough that Savage can use him to play Ray. Speaking of playing Ray, my vote goes to Zachary Levi, who’s basically playing the character already on Chuck, and doing a damned good job of it. Alternatively, if you don’t mind ticking off the racist comic book fanatics who flipped out over Idris Elba being in Thor (and you shouldn’t), Dani Pudi’s Abed from Community is already doing the “interacts with the world through the lens of television” bit really well. Halfway between the two characters is probably the best way to go, and either actor is talented enough to blend both. Alec Baldwin would be a great crappy dad (unless you pick Pudi, in which case I again concede my lacking knowledge of foreign actors), and I think Christian Slater could be an amazing Vandal Savage if he’s in half-decent shape and doesn’t mind rocking a beard. Failing that, Sean Bean would nail that part in his sleep. Actually, yeah, I’m gonna use Christian for something else later anyways, so Sean Bean gets the nod. For the love interest, it depends who you pick, but Mila Kunis could pass for either and has that “girl next door” charm that both roles need. Finally, whoever you pick for Polaris has to be able to play smart, evil, pathetic, and crazy, and play them all well. Hello, James Spader, welcome to our production of The Ray! We still need a writer and director, but this one’s running long so I’m just going to cheap out and pick Jon Favreau who already proved he can do a great action/comedy superhero movie full of daddy issues starring a flying guy in a helmet.
Who He Is: Basically, he’s DC’s Harry Potter, only he was created before Harry Potter, and he doesn’t suck. Long story (relatively) short, he’s the world’s next Merlin (I smell a Janissary crossover!). Because of that, all the bad guys in the DCU (and at least one of the good guys) want to kill him before he masters his powers and becomes Earth’s greatest champion. I stress again that he was created BEFORE Harry Potter. Deciding that Earth’s savior dying at the tender age of 14 would be a bad thing, John Constantine and some other dudes in trenchcoats team up to save him and teach him about magic. After that, he has lots and lots of adventures, discovers that he’s been accidentally creating parallel universes, then fights off his evil alternate self who’d been killing all his other alternative selves through each reality and absorbing their power (Tim also predates Jet Li’s The One), then went to wizard school and had more adventures.
Why It’d Work: Well, Daniel Radcliffe’s shrieking female fanbase is going to need some charming British jailbait in glasses with magic powers to lust after, and turns out Hunter fits the bill. Heck, age him a few years you can let Radcliffe play him (only don’t, please). All joking aside, the “young kid who has incredible powers and must be protected until he can save the universe” formula’s worked out pretty well for Harry and Luke Skywalker, and launching Tim gives DC a mulligan on botching John Constantine as they can re-introduce the British one and pretend Keanu was one of Tim’s accidental universes.
How I’d Do It: This is right in Matthew Vaughan’s (Stardust) wheelhouse, as it’s a slightly snarky but generally optimistic story about a young British kid discovering a fantastic world of magic and adventure. Although we can probably do without Sky-Pirate Deniro for this round. Casting wise, we covered my lack of familiarity with young British actors with Faust, so, I dunno, that kid from BBC’s Being Human (IMDB says his name is Craig Roberts, which makes me think he’s actually, like, forty) could probably do it, assuming he can dial back the intensity a little bit. For Constantine (if they use him; the story’s easy enough to do without ‘im) I’d go with… Cary Elwes, who I think can toe the line of sarcastic, debaucherous, brilliant, scummy, and noble about as well as anyone. And, bonus points, this one’s actually English! Go me. I also think it’s a good call to only use one member of the Trenchcoat Brigade, even if it’s not Constantine, in the name of keeping the cast a reasonable size. Actually, make Mr. E the primary villain, stalking Timmy and Constantine (or whoever) through the story. I wouldn’t even get into the “alternate universes” stuff very deeply in the first movie, just hint at/touch on it. So you’ve basically got a story of Constantine trying to teach Tim about magic while evading Mr. E, and then at the end Tim has to stand up to E or face living on the run forever. Maybe throw in Zatanna for eye candy/ an alternative mentor to the admittedly trashy Constantine. I’d tab Selma Hayek to play Zee, mostly because I wanna see her in fishnets, and Hugo Weaving as Mr. E, because Weaving makes a great villain and his voice would be perfect for the well-meaning but psychotic religious fanatic that is Mr. E.
El Muerto (Pablo Valdez)
Who He Is: Mexican kid who died, randomly came back as a zombie, and decided to become a superhero. I’d tell you more, but he’s literally only showed up once (minus cameos) and had to share that appearance with two other new characters and Superman. He grew up idolizing Supes, if that helps, and then hated him for a little while after dying, but now they’re pals. And his costume is basically just a sack, which is hilarious and slightly awesome. Oh, and because he’s a Mexican comic book character, and comics have rules about these kinds of things, he is also a luchador, which may be slightly racist, but is also slightly badass.
Why It’d Work: Well, we know pulp stories set in Mexico about larger than life heroes fighting larger than life villains can make money. They’ve made Robert Rodriguez’s career. He’s a relatable character for a lot of the comic book reading public (an unremarkable teenager who wishes he was Superman), and he’s a zombie (they sell movie tickets) who fights evil with kung-fu (which also sells movie tickets). Also, remember that Latino market I was talking about in the intro? The one that singlehandedly keeps pro-wrestling profitable? Here’s your in.
How I’d Do It: I mentioned Robert Rodriguez above, and this movie is halfway between Robert Rodriguez’s favorite kind of movie to make, namely high-octane pulp action (Desperado, Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn), his second favorite kind of movie to make, namely superhero youngsters (Spykids 1-3), and his third favorite kind of movie to make, the kind with zombies (Planet Terror). He was born to make this movie. Casting wise, you’ve got some interesting options because of the mask. I figure hire an actual luchador for the stunts and the look, then have Antonio Banderas or somebody do the voice. For the story, you can take or leave his two superpowered compatriots, but assuming you leave them as we’re not talking about team movies, I think you just do the origin with him becoming a pretty barebones (har har) vigilante who ticks off the badguy who was dicking around with black magic and inadvertently gave him his powers. Try to resist the urge to make it a druglord, as I’m at least eighty percent sure there are bad guys in Mexico who are not drug lords. But if you have, to go nuts. Anyways, hire a good badguy actor (and it’s a Robert Rodriguez movie, so I actually just mean hire Danny Trejo), and have fun. You don’t need much of a plot to make this one a hit, you just need a lot of a superhero zombie luchador beating up bad guys to Tito & Tarantula songs.
Hitman (Tommy Monoghan)
Who He Is: Tommy said it best himself “My name’s Tommy Monoghan. I kill super people. For money.” His origin is stupid to the point of being funny and working on a parody level (bit by an evil alien superparasite, so he has X-Ray vision and telepathy). He’s also the fastest (or second fastest, depending on what you think of Ringo Chen) gun in Gotham, and despite being a hired killer he’s a pretty good guy, and a loyal friend. He’s a Garth Ennis (Preacher) character, so obviously he’s Irish, drinks a lot, and kills baddies by the fistful.
Why It’d Work: Sooner or later, Hollywood’s going to make enough bad superhero movies that the public is going to start to resent them. Happens with every craze. Enter Hitman, a gleefully vicious pastiche of the genre that revolves around Tommy gunning down the worst sorts of super people.
The character and charm of Tommy and his boys made the comic a hit (and roughly the same sort of relationships made Preacher a bigger one) and there’s no reason that shouldn’t translate on the big screen.
How I’d Do It: Honestly, I’m tempted to go with Rodriguez again for the action, because nobody by John Woo is in his league with gunfights. So, pick whichever one of those two guys you like better. That out of the way, I’d actually look to Kevin Smith for scripting duties, as he’s a comic book lover who spends a lot of time writing about male friendship and has a sense of humor not far removed from Hitman’s. He’d probably lift most of the dialogue straight from the comics, which is a solid way to go. For casting, you’re going to need to be careful as the “core” cast is never really fewer than six major players. Assuming you *spoilers for the Hitman comics start in one word* kill off Pat early enough, you’re still looking at Tommy, Nat, Ringo, Hacken, and Sean, plus a love interest (Tiegel’s the easy call, but I’d actually start with Wendy for reasons mentioned below), and villains (I’d edge towards Moe Dubelz and Johnny Navarone, but the Mawzir could also work). You could cut Hacken or Nat or Ringo if you really wanted to, but it just wouldn’t feel right and I think you can introduce them without spending the whole movie on it. So, assuming that cast, my picks are: Timothy Olyphant for Tommy (he’s played his share of gunslingers, but more importantly he’s got the chops to play Tommy in his gleeful/morose moments when he’s not shooting people, and it’s hard to find someone who can do all three well; Olyphant’s done all of them many, many times), Forest Whitaker as Natt the Hat (best fat black guy in the business), Stone Cold Steve Austin as Hacken (he’s huge, and he’s actually got great comic timing), Chow Yun Fat as Ringo (because Ringo’s literally based off him and the age difference isn’t a huge deal), Josh Hartnett as Johnny Navarone (he’s played hitmen before, and played them well, and he’s got that quiet confidence that Johnny needs), Ray Liotta as Dubelz (because he’d excel at that sort of hamming, especially riffing on mob cliches), Kristen Kreuk as Wendy (because she’s got experience playing the “chick who doesn’t know what her boyfriend does for a living” bit, and she’s good enough to pull off the only demanding scene the character gets when she finally finds out, which I think is an important character moment for Tommy that earns Wendy the pick over Tiegel), and John Goodman as Sean Noonan (because he oughtta be right at home playing the ex-hitman father figure who own a bar and talks about the good old days). I could go on, but I’ll just keep depressing myself because that movie would never get made in a million years and now I really, really want to see it.
Note: Tarantino is the obvious pick here, and he’d do fine too. But I think Rodriguez/Smith would do better.
Doctor Occult (Richard Occult/Rose Psychic)
Who He/She Is: Raised together by a secret cult of good guys who taught them magic, Richard Occult and Rose Psychic started a Private Detective business together that specialized in the occult. They fell in love, then, depending which writer you ask, they eventually got trapped in the same body, with one of them in the “real world” and the other off in some limbo pocket dimension, essentially giving them both infinite blueballs. Anyways, they’re pretty good at the detective schtick, and they have something called the “Symbol of the Seven” that blocks magic directed against them. Oh, and they’ve magically slowed their aging, but their heyday was the 30s and 40s, so they’re noir to the bone.
Why It’d Work: Noir, without getting into nitpicky film student debates about what that constitutes, has been having a bit of a renaissance lately. Also, Richard was basically Harry Dresden before anybody pretended to care about Harry Dresden, and also if he was Sam Spade, too. And shared his body with a girl who’s also a psychic. Admittedly, we’re starting to lose the parallel, but the point remains: Dresden and those chumps on Supernatural have proved there’s still a market for supernatural detective stories. Also, depending which way you want to play it, you can have your main character be both a man and a woman, which is kind of cool.
How I’d Do It: Straight noir, just happens to have magic crap in it. And all sorts of angst/temptation with them being in love with each other, but unable to do anything about if physically, just ‘cause I’m a sadist like that. Basically do a classic Hammet/Chandler style detective bit, only instead of gunfights, people do magicky stuff to each other. They don’t have a “classic” villain, but they did help the JLA against a family of demonic mobsters called the “Diablos Family”, who seem pretty much tailor made for this sort of story. Crafting a compelling and fleshed-out “supernatural criminal underworld” is an important step, but for the sake of (relative) brevity we’ll skip it this time. For this sort of supernatural noir kind of vibe, I immediately think of Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) to write and direct. For playing Occult, I lean towards Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s just been consistently good in everything lately, and keeps flirting with noir (Inception, Shutter Island). For Rose, my choice is Winona Ryder, largely on the strength of her part in Sex and Death 101, wherein she was noir, she was romantically frustrated, and she was very, very good. For the head Diablos family, it’s hard to go wrong with Christopher Walken as a mobster (Suicide Kings) or a supernatural villain (The Prophecy). Toss in a few underling mobsters (maybe Adam Baldwin, Michael Pitt, and Ving Rhames), a femme fatale (Christina Hendricks is great at these), and you should be on your way.
Triumph (William MacIntyre)
Who He Is: Oh boy. Basically, he’s the guy who founded the Justice League, only nobody remembers him because on his first mission things went wrong and he got kicked out of the time stream for ten years. When he comes back, all his old teammates have gone on to be revered and nobody cares about him. He’s also an entitled and arrogant jerk, so he’s constantly wrestling with his bitterness (and the fact that he missed ten years of culture and news, and is therefore completely out of sync with the world around him), as he basically could have been Superman, except for that first mission. Only, he couldn’t have, because he’s got crap social skills and doesn’t know how to admit when he’s wrong. But, for all his flaws, he really does want to do what’s right, he really does want to be a hero, and even though he screws up (often), he always (eventually) sees the error of his ways and tries to make things work. Unfortunately, he’s also the universes’ bitch so stuff like his best friend accidentally selling his soul to the devil without his knowledge and consequently (comics are complicated sometimes, kiddies) erasing him from time again happens more often than it should. Power wise, he’s basically Superman and Magneto’s lovechild. Coincidentally, he’s also supposed to be gay, although some of his writers didn’t know that so depending on which stories you read he’s all over the sexuality board.
Why It Would Work: Obviously I’m breaking my own rule about not needing another hero for the story here, but I think it’d be easy enough to rework Triumph’s origin story to cut the Justice League, and just have one prominent hero (Superman or not) who took what Triumph sees as “his” place in the world while Triumph was out of the picture. Beyond that, you have a really, really dramatic movie about a guy who deep down wants to do the right thing, but between the world constantly dicking him over, and his own bitterness and egocentrism, it’s an uphill battle at best. I know it sounds like a rough sell, but Hancock was a similar premise with a crap script and few good performances, and it killed it at the box office. And ultimately, a well-intentioned fuck up like Will is more relatable to most viewers than a goody two-shoes like Superman or Captain Marvel.
How I’d Do It: You need one Hell of an actor to pull this one off. Personally, I’d pick Matt Damon, as Will MacIntyre and Will Hunting have quite a bit in common, and Matt’s got the physique to do the superhero bit. He’s going to need a great script and director either way, and considering the retro subject matter, I lean towards Cameron Crowe. He’s done the “own worst enemy bit” before with Vanilla Sky and Almost Famous, and his love of eighties/nineties era music and culture puts him in synch with Triumph as much as any director. Hard to say how he’d do on the action scenes, but you can always bring in a choreographer for that stuff if you need one, and in this picture the focus is on Triumph. For plot, you have him trying to find his place, working with the team he put together in his miniseries (a classic “ragtag bunch” of mercs), eventually alienating them with is attitude, then finally opening up and allowing him to start trusting/depending on them to defeat the bad guy (probably Dr. Cobalt, as Triumph doesn’t really have any other villains). For Cobalt, he looks sort of like Gary Oldman, and Oldman can play anything, so he’ll do. For the team, Eddie X basically is John Leguizamo, Fang would be a natural fit for Alison Brie (who plays “excessively betrayed and emotional” as well as anybody), Father Rocko (a former mobster turned priest turned mercenary) would be a synch for Joe Pesci, and Wilma (think Oracle if she was a black guy and not crippled, who serves as the voice of reason amongst a group of unabashed nutjobs) would be easy for Donald Glover, who has the humor chops and charisma for it on top of a love of comic books. And I’m fairly certain that’s the most anybody’s ever written about Triumph who without being paid by DC to do it.
Who He Is: Depending on which continuity you favor (don’t ask) he’s either an old wise martial artist or a younger, more conflicted, but still pretty wise martial artist. Either way, he’s the guy who trained Batman. Either way, he has a very complicated relationship with Lady Shiva, the most dangerous woman on the planet. Either way, he’s awesome.
Why It’d Work: It’s like a normal kung fu movie, only set in the DCU. Normal kung fu movies work pretty well, so as long as you do it well, being set in the DCU is just a bonus. Worth doing in a shared universe especially as it can be tied in to all sorts of characters (Batman, Catwoman, The Question, Black Canary, and The Huntress are among his students), and can introduce Shiva and Bronze Tiger for later use in a Batman or Suicide Squad movie. He also has a memorable interaction with Neron (basically DC’s devil), though using that in the movie is a coin-toss. Plus, Shiva’s Leopard Blow (because if you’re the deadliest woman on the planet you just HAVE to name a few of your moves) is damned cool.
How I’d Do It: I’d go with Chuck Dixon’s version as it’s simpler and more movie friendly. Basic plot, Dragon’s best friend Ben Turner (aka the Bronze Tiger) tracks him down after an illegal pit fight and, after telling him off for shaming his Sensei/killing for money/generally guilt tripping him, tells him that the Six (really tough martial artists Dragon trained) are now doing bad stuff on behalf of Lady Shiva (Dragon’s love interest and mortal enemy). Dragon feels responsible, so he and Ben track down/take on the Six leading up to the climactic battle between Dragon and Shiva, and the ultimate salvation of Dragon’s soul. I personally would use the Neron plot, as it leads into a great ending, but you’d have to set it up early (possibly by way of a frame story) to make it work . I passed on the obvious Tarantino pick earlier, but when it comes to “frame story Western martial arts epic about a kung fu expert fighting through a carnival of killers to a final climactic duel with their love interest” he pretty much wrote the book. And he does love comics. I’d keep him away from the script, though, as this sort of tense emotional drama isn’t really his forte. Ron Shelton (Play It To The Bone) could probably work wonders with it, though. Casting’s a nightmare, because you need a white (actually justified just this once) actor who’s also a convincing martial artist and can sell conflicting love/hate/guilt/lust. There are white guys who can fight, and there are white guys who can act, but I’m drawing a blank on an age appropriate one who can do both. Fighting’s easier to fake than acting, so I’ll pick Daniel Craig (who can act, and even fight a little) with a great stunt double. But I’m not happy about it, and would love a better choice. Ben is Wesley Snipes or Michael Jai White, depending how old you feel like making him. Shiva’s Michelle Yeoh if we could make this movie fifteen years ago, but for today I’ll go Lucy Liu (this won’t be the last time I use her, either) and feel pretty good about it, as O-Ren from Kill Bill was pretty much Shiva-lite. For the Six, I’d say get six convincing martial artists, just make sure they’re as diverse as possible (in the comic they’re from all over). Off the top of my head, I’d go Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Ray Park, Jason Statham, Lateef Crowder Dos Santos, and Eliza Dushku (not a real-life fighter, but she’s decent at faking it and can actually act a little). And, since I’d use Neron if I had my druthers, bring in Bruce Willis, who never gets to play anything but cops, soldiers, or hitmen and deserves a juicy part.
Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro)
Who Is She: Tatsu was a nice Japanese girl with whom two brothers fell in love. She chose one of them, and they got married. The other one joined the Yakuza, because rejection makes you criminal, and then got hold of two magic swords and demanded the other one duel him. In the ensuing brouhaha, a fire got started, Tatsu’s kids died, and she ended up with her husband’s sword. She was awesome with swords (because she’s Japanese and in a comic book), so she disarmed the badguy, but her husband ended up dying anyways. Turns out the sword she was using was “Soultaker” though, so now her husband’s soul is trapped in her sword. Anyways, she decides this is a pretty good time to become a superhero and go around hitting badguys with a magic sword.
Why It’d Work: Because, again, it’s a hot girl in a costume having swordfights in a movie based off a comic book character. You’d have to actively try to lose money on that premise. She’s basically halfway between the Punisher (only with Yakuza) and The Bride (only this time the Asian chick isn’t the villain who rips off Lady Snowblood). Punisher sucked, and it still made money. Kill Bill didn’t suck and it made more. The math isn’t hard.
How I’d Do It: Running with the Punisher/Kill Bill comparisons, I’d basically treat it that way, with Katana waging a one woman war on the Yakuza until they hire Lady Shiva (Lucy Liu again, for continuity’s sake) to stop her, thus giving the film a second act before she finally tracks down and duels her dead husband’s douchebag brother and his magic sword. I don’t know Japanese actresses any better than Turkish ones, so whichever one is really good and can speak English will do. If we need a stunt double, I can deal. We’re not going Tarantino here, because we just used him on a similar premise and he’s already done his “vengeful kung fu girl with a sword” movie. Twice. Plus, this one would probably benefit from being played a little more seriously and meditating on what Tatsu’s lost and the ramifications of a sword that steals souls, so I’m letting Ang Lee out of my Hulk-themed doghouse just this once to try and win me over. Have David S. Goyer (the go to “acceptably competent” comic book screenwriter) help with the script to prevent too much navel gazing, though. I’m no expert on Japanese actors any more than I am actresses, so I’m abstaining on that pick, too.
Resurrection Man (Mitch Shelley)
Who He Is: Mitch Shelley died. Then he came back and had no memory. Then he died again, and came back with superpowers. Then he died again, and came back with different superpowers. Repeat. He fights Vandal Savage sometimes, as well as two hot female mercenaries called The Body Doubles and a crazy guy who also can’t die named, and I shit you not, “Hooker”.
Why It’d Work: First of all, the villain’s name is Hooker. That’s gold right there. Second of all, it’s an amnesia story that actually works, and it’s got a cool gimmick that lets you kill off the main character whenever you feel like it. This hurts you on narrative tension, but luckily he’s usually got detective Kim Rebecki with him who’s a lot easier to kill, and the audience can worry about her instead. Ultimately, you’ve got a *spoilers for Resurrection Man start pretty much now* bad guy, who doesn’t remember being a bad guy, being a good guy, while he tries to remember who he is, which is what the kids are calling “Dramatic Irony”. Also, he got killed the first time by his wife and best friend, who are banging. And there’s a crazy sci-fi conspiracy behind why he won’t die, though that’s probably best left for the sequel. And the bad guy is named Hooker.
How I’d Do It: Well, I’d leave the crazy sci-fi conspiracy for the sequel. Ditto for Vandal Savage. Movie one, you’re getting the Body Doubles, Hooker, and that’s pretty much it for villains unless you count his wife and friend. Maybe throw in that Inspector Javert type detective that’s always chasing him, if there’s room. You could go two ways with the script, I think, either make it really investigate the ramifications of a fresh start and immortality (leaning towards Charlie Kaufman) or try to emulate the comic’s weird blend of noir and adventure-comedy (in which case I’d go with the Coen Brothers). Let’s go with the latter, so my brain doesn’t explode. They can direct, too. Michael Wincott is my pick for Mitch Shelley and I don’t care how old or obscure he is, he’s the man for the job. Rosario Dawson could do a good Kim Rebecki, and whoever the two hottest girls on Saturday Night Live these days are should be the Body Doubles, who only work if they’re funny and gorgeous. Don Cheadle would be an amazing Hooker (and looking like he does, he’d probably make bank doing it. *rimshot*). If you throw in the detective whose name I can’t be bothered to look up, it’s Denzel, ideally.
Anarky (Lonnie Malchin)
Who He Is: Simplified version: anarchist teenage supergenius who fused the left and right hemispheres of his brain together, which makes him, I dunno, more of a
supergenius. He hates corruption in all its forms, reads a lot of philosophy, and annoys Batman (who puts up with him because the kid’s got a good heart and means well). Plus, he’s a good enough martial artist that it’s really just too much of a hassle for Batman to bother stopping him most of the time. His best friend is a sentient A.I. he created and named M.A.X. Also, he has a dog named Yap, which is wonderful. And he’s the son of the Joker, but it’s literally only been mentioned once in the character’s 20+ year history.
Why It’d Work: Anarky was created to be the teenage version of V (from V for Vendetta). He’s a nicer, somewhat saner version of the character that made big piles of money for the Wachowskis, who then sank that money into Speed Racer. More than that, though, he’s a guy who talks about Aristotle vs. Plato while he beats up corrupt politicians, which is something that’s both fun and educational.
How I’d Do It: Assuming no shared universe, leave Batman and friends out of it and just have him go after one of DC’s corrupt rich-guy types. A cultured one would be best, but Luthor and Ras are already spoken for and we gave Vandal to Ray. Let’s say corrupt stock trader Warren White, we’ll turn him into the Great White Shark as we go. As Anarky is basically the heroic version of Jason Dean from Heathers, I say you have him written and directed by Dean’s creator (and Batman Returns scribe) Daniel Waters. Once you get the origin out of the way (however you feel like doing that, just do it quickly), have him target, ruin, and indirectly trigger the origin of Warren White. Spend the second act evading the cops, talking to his dog, debating his motivations/actions with M.A.X. , and being targeted by an increasingly high number of mercenaries/thugs, leading him to discover the re-invented Warren (now Great White Shark) has performed a basic hostile takeover of most of the city’s organized crime using corporate tactics (corporations are bad, you know), leading up the final theoretical debate/battle, which Anarky wins, but end the film on a downer note as he ponders the ramifications of his actions and philosophies after making a hard choice (doesn’t even matter what he chooses) over whether or not to kill Warren. Joseph Gordon Levitt is *just* young looking enough to play Lonnie, and is therefore my choice. Suggesting Cera or the McLovin kid is grounds for a nut-kick. White’s tricky, being both ultra-slick in the first act and ultra-scary in the third, so in keeping with our Heathers theme, I’m going with Christian Slater. The voice of M.A.X. shall be played by Sean Connery, because if you were a super smart teenager, who would you program YOUR computer best friend to sound like? Morgan Freeman is an acceptable backup.
Fire (Beatriz Da Costa)
Who She Is: Started out as a Brazilian runway model, then she became a top secret agent, then something stupid happened on a mission and she got fire based superpowers. So she started flying around in a revealing costume (or less) and shooting fire at bad people. There’s a lot more after that, but it’s mostly about her hanging out in the JLA or Checkmate, which doesn’t really matter much for our purposes.
Why It’d Work: Did you miss the part about her being a Brazilian runway model who flies around in a revealing costume? Besides that, you know, spies are cool, and she’s got a pretty cool personality, and- SHE’S A BRAZILIAN RUNWAY MODEL WHO FLIES AROUND IN A REVEALING COSTUME (or less). Why are we still talking about this? You have any idea how much time American males spend staring at Brazilian runway models who DON’T fly around and wear a superhero costume (well, some of them probably wear superhero costumes, and less, but still…)?
How I’d Do It: Now that I’m done being a sexist asshole, I’d actually deviate from the comics a bit and have her get the powers earlier, then spend most of the movie on her evolution from spy (working for some evil subsection of the government) to hero (for the people), which is a fun story that really doesn’t get told on screen enough, because we’re still early in the superhero phase. It’ll be done to death in a decade or two, but for now it’s still awesome. I’m at sort of a loss for supporting cast (because I said no other heroes) and villain (because she doesn’t have a lot of solo appearances), but as long as we resist the obvious temptation to saddle her with Killer Frost or Captain Cold, we should be ok. Actually, having the Brazilian government hire Deathstroke to come after her once she starts to turn would be awesome, as she’ d have to use her spycraft as much as her powers to stay alive, driving home the point that it’s not just her powers that make her a hero. Yeah, I’d spend the first half of the movie developing her turn, having her fight other spies and such as she comes to understand her powers and distrust her superiors, then sic Deathstroke on her. For creative team, I never saw Alias or La Femme Nikita, so I have no idea if anyone involved with those was any good. My first instinct said Christopher Nolan, but I can’t think of a single good female character he’s written, so he’s out. I’ll roll the dice on Kurt Wimmer, who’s made as much crap (Ultraviolet) as he has good stuff (Equilibrium), but strong women and evil governments are pretty much his go-to moves, and he’s not too shabby when it comes to action scenes. Stick him with Goyer or somebody from keeping the script from turning to mush. For Fire herself, Morena Baccarin is the only Brazilian actress I know off hand, but she’s also great, beautiful, and has nerd-clout from Firefly so she’s perfect. For Slade, Bruce Willis is the natural pick, but we used him above so I’m going to go with Harvey Keitel, since the mask means we can use a stunt double for all the action stuff.
Vril Dox II (Braniac 2)
Who He Is: The clone/son of evil smart guy Braniac, Vril rebelled, and decided to try and get out of his father’s evil shadow by starting the universe’s largest and most effective peacekeeping force (largely edging out the Green Lanterns on account of Hal Jordan’s tendency to punch his superiors and murder his teammates (but not really, because “a giant yellow space bug made him do it and he’s the bestest hero ever”, so sayeth Geoff, age 12)), L.E.G.I.O.N. It stands for something, but rest assured, it’s not important. Anyways, Dox, despite being a dick, is arguably the smartest cat in the galaxy so he collects a bunch of superpeople from different planets and starts saving the universe, mostly by manipulating and using absolutely everyone he meets and not feeling remotely bad about it, because, hey, he’s saving the universe. His staff are constantly on the brink (and occasionally over it) of mutiny, which doesn’t bother him, because he’s really a lot smarter than they are.
Why It’d Work: He’s basically Keyser Soze if he was a good guy and also in space. Every single part of every single word in that sentence is made out of happiness and joy. On a more serious note, everyone loves a good “smart people outsmarting each other” movie, and everybody loves a good cosmic sci-fi adventure movie, so putting them together, if done well, should please all the people all the time. Or at least please me, which is really the important part.
How I’d Do It: For the purposes of this article, let’s say the supporting cast is Gavin Bek (the unfortunate unpowered administrator), the Durlan (shapeshifer), Captain Comic (heroic , squarejawed Earthman), Lady Quark (superpowerful extra-dimensional Queen with a stick up her ass), Lyrissa Malor (sexy alien chick who tries to reconcile her idealism with Dox’s pragmatism), and Stealth (sexy alien chick who bristles at Dox’s Machiavellian ways). Add more aliens as the script allows. Baddie should be one of the heavy hitters, let’s say three-eyed tyrant Despero, and we’ll have him bring Braniac on as counter- tactician to Dox halfway through. A script this complex is where you DO bring Christopher Nolan in, but you’ll want a more action-oriented director, who also happens to have been behind my favorite Sci-Fi movie ever. Luc Besson is the guy. Bonus points, he’s really good at juggling loads of characters. For the cast, the really important ones are Dox, Braniac, Despero, Stealth, and Bek, so we’ll start with them. In a perfect world, Dox and Braniac look similar. William H. Macy’s brilliant manipulator from Sports Night sticks with me to this day, so he’s Braniac. Josh Brolin looks close enough for jazz, and if you dye them both green, who’s gonna say anything? More seriously, he’s a damned good actor who’s done damned good work and I think he could do the “smug, detached, brilliant” thing pretty well. Don’t have a good reason for thinking that, just a gut instinct. Kiera Knightly’d fit Stealth great, mostly because she’s really good at looking ticked off which is about half of what Stealth does. Alan Tudyk’d be great as the put-upon Gavin Bek. Michael Clarke Duncan is the scariest big guy in Hollywood right now, so he’s Despero. Filling in the second tier, Tricia Helfer for Quark (she’s a tremendous ice-bitch), Freida Pinto for Lyrissa (she’s good at looking conflicted, and just plain good looking), Nathan Fillion for Captain Comet (squarejawed is his thing, and he loves comics), and a bunch of special effects with the voice of David Hyde Pierce for the Durlan. And, because somebody will ask me if I don’t, in case Lobo’s there, he’s Oliver Platt if he’s in shape, and Mickey Rourke if he’s not.
Who He Is: He’s an alcoholic talking chimpanzee that’s also a detective.
Why It’d Work: He’s an alcoholic talking chimpanzee that’s also a detective.
How I’d Do It: Gotta be animated, I think. Even if not, you’ll need a voice for the Chimp, and John Cusack’s right on the money for a world-weary, self-loathing good guy with a drinking problem and endless romantic frustrations. Depending how straight you want to play it (and in the comics he’s usually played surprisingly straight), your villain could be anyone from Lex Luthor to Monsieur Mallah. We’ll split the difference and say Gorilla Grodd, who should obviously be voiced by Maurice LaMarche. Actually, throw Mallah in there too; I have a plot idea. An intelligent gorilla has killed Congorilla (because he sucks), and Mallah/Grodd/Gorilla Boss/Ultra-Humanite are all trying to pin it on each other, and Detective Chimp, a friend of Congorilla’s (‘cause he doesn’t suck that much) sets out to solve the mystery. Gorilla Boss is voiced by Pacino (he’s a mobster gorilla, if you weren’t sure), Mallah is voiced by Gerard Depardieu (evil French Gorilla), and Ultra-Humanite, the douchebag delusional villain in a gorilla’s body *skipping easy jokes at the expense of Charlie Sheen Michael Douglas Hulk Hogan some famous guy* Dan Aykroyd, because he works so damned well with Cusack.
Well, that was probably a colossal waste of your time. The Marvel list will be up just as soon as I forget how long it took me to do this one. Also, I’m appalled that I didn’t use Bill Murray anywhere, so he’s going to get double duty on the Marvel list. Also shocked that I didn’t find a spot for Amy Smart, who’s usually my go-to when casting love interests. Ah well, maybe in Marvel. Feel encouraged to comment and disagree, but don’t ask me where a character/plotpoint is from unless you’ve already googled it.