Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Live Action Casting - Justice League: Aquaman

We continue out series of castings for our proposed run-up of movies introducing DC heroes that will culminate in the much anticipated live action Justice League film. This installment, we look at the protector of the oceans and the King of Atlantis… Aquaman!

For the title character, I was looking for someone to truly capture the essence of Arthur Curry. He is heroic, noble and a very strong leader. However, he can also be an arrogant prick. Above all, while many underestimate Aquaman as a joke, he is one of the most powerful beings on Earth and is driven to prove this to the world.

For the title role, I have chosen Alexander Skarsgard. Anyone who has seen his portrayal of Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood knows that he fits those descriptions to a ‘T.’ Northman is an alpha-vamp, a revered leader and also one of the most powerful “you don’t want to get on his bad side” characters on a show full of vampires, werewolves, witches and what-not. I think Skarsgard would be an awesome choice to play Aquaman.

Next, we cast Aquaman’s wife and queen, Mera. A powerful “hydro-kinetic,” Mera is no damsel in distress. She is beautiful, strong and capable. She rules Atlantis as an equal to her husband-king and also occasionally embarks on some heroics of her own.

For Mera, Jonny and I cast Jessica Chastain. Fresh off her Oscar-nominated performance in Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain has again proven her ability to play strong female leads. She is an excellent actress, not to mention attractive and a natural red-head! We feel she would only bring good things to the role and overall film. 

Next, we cast Aquaman’s protégé and sometimes sidekick… Garth (aka Aqualad, aka Tempest). I think that Garth will mostly remain a lesser supporting character, but will get some screen time with Aquaman and ultimately help in the movie’s climactic battle. What I am looking for with Garth is not necessarily a teenager, but just a young actor. Rather than use him as Aqualad, I would rather portray him as having moved on from being Aquaman’s adventuring sidekick and is on his way to becoming the mystical Tempest. (Plus, this allows for the newer Aqualad to debut in a sequel!)

I have picked Josh Peck for the role of Garth. This might seem like an odd choice considering most know him from Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh or that unnecessary Red Dawn remake, but Jonny and I know him from a 2008 indie flick called The Wackness where (alongside Ben “The Mandarin” Kingsley, Fanke “Jean Grey” Janssen and Olivia “Judge Anderson” Thirlby) Peck really impressed us.  He is presently 26, but like I said, I am aiming for a more mature Garth. Hey, if Andrew Garfield can play a high school student, Peck will be fine!

We now move on the villain of the film, Aquaman’s half-brother and sworn enemy… the Ocean Master. I figure the plot would revolve around the idea that Orm, the man who would become Ocean Master, was banished from Atlantis after challenging his brother Arthur to the throne and losing. Orm’s argument is that even though Arthur was the first born, he is only half-Atlantean (his father was human) and therefore is inferior and should abdicate the throne.

For Orm aka Ocean Master, Jonny and I want Callum Blue. Jonny enjoyed him as Zod on Smallville, saying his performance was a high point to the long death of the show at that stage. I loved Callum Blue on the erstwhile Showtime series Dead Like Me. Its believable that Blue could be Skarsgard’s half-brother and we both think he would be perfect for the part.

Orm, having taken the mantle of Ocean Master approaches the deep sea realm of the mysterious savage race known as The Trench.

I’m thinking that the Trench will be CGI. It would look better than hiring a bunch of people in rubber monster outfits.

Using technology at his disposal, possibly imitating Aquaman’s sea-life telepathic powers, he subdues them. Ocean Master makes a deal with The Trench. In exchange for acting as his army, Ocean Master promises that those who oppose him will provide The Trench with all flesh they desire.

So Ocean Master’s plan is to invade Atlantis with the help of The Trench and then usurp the throne. To ensure that Aquaman will be out of the picture, Ocean Master has set up a tsunami creating device on a science vessel in the Atlantis. Knowing that Aquaman will act to prevent tidal waves from destroying the United States eastern seaboard and killing millions of the land-dweller that he loves, Ocean Master places a large number of Trench at the science vessel to ambush and hopefully kill him. With Mera’s help, they defeat the Trench and disable the weapon. Unfortunately, though Mera uses her hydro-kinesis powers to stop most of the tidal waves from reaching the cities, one stray devastating wave strike Florida, causing massive destruction.

Aquaman and Mera return to Atlantis to find the underwater city under siege. With the help of Garth, they battle the Trench and manage to defeat them.  Mera and Garth drive the Trench back to the depths and trapping them under a collapse of rocks. Aquaman squares off against Ocean Master for the throne. He ultimately wins and has Ocean Master held for trial by his fellow Atlanteans.

The end of the movie has a reveal for the villain of the sequel. Having lost everything in the tidal wave, a brilliant but troubled man places his blame on Aquaman for using surface dwelling humans as pawns in his wars. (How he has this knowledge of Atlantis will remain a mystery to be explained in said sequel.) The man reveals this in a monologue as he fits himself with various weapons, ultimately placing an ovoid helmet over his head, a black helmet with two red glowing eyes… and Black Manta is born.

For Black Manta, I want Lennie James. 

Most may know him as Morgan on The Walking Dead. I loved him as Robert Hawkins on the short-lived but brilliant show Jericho. I love Lennie James and would like to see him get more work because he is a really good actor. 

Oh, and Jonny wanted a scene at the beginning of the movie where a couple of drug smugglers speed away from the authorities in a boat, only to be stopped by a ticked off Aquaman saying something to the effect of "I don't care what you surface dwellers want to do on dry land, but keep it out of my ocean."

As a little wink to the Aquaman movie storyline on Entourage, he wanted the smugglers played by Adrian Grenier and Jerry Ferrerra!

So there you have it, the Enigma Society pitch for an Aquaman movie. Come back next time for another Live Action Casting for “run-up” to the Justice League movie.

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