Sunday, April 21, 2013

Live Action Casting: Justice League - The Flash

 The next installment to our run-up to a Justice League movie is the introduction of the Scarlet Speedster… the Flash! Since the current Flash in DC Comics is Barry Allen, and the overall purpose of super hero movies is to generate interest in the actual comic book, we will go with Barry as well. So who do we cast as our Flash? None other than Patrick Wilson…
 Patrick Wilson is no stranger to super hero films as he was already Nite Owl II in the Watchmen movie. What we like about Patrick Wilson is that he has that nice guy persona about him, which is a major aspect to the character of Barry Allen. Sure, he can be aggressive if necessary, but Wilson, like Allen, has all the qualities we are looking for in the character; he’s attractive, he comes across as straight laced and above all a normal guy. That was one huge point to the character of the ‘Barry Allen’ Flash. He may be surrounded by aliens, Amazons, fearless aviators and brooding, obsessed vigilantes, but Barry Allen was just a normal guy, a forensic scientist working for the Central City Police Department who, through a freak accident, happened to become the fastest man alive.
 Next we cast the Flash’s love interest, Iris West. Since Iris works for a Central City television news station as a reporter, she would cover the various robberies by costumed rogues and in turn Barry would most likely break police rules and gives her scoops based on forensic evidence, just to butter her up. It could be revealed that they met a year ago at one such crime scene, setting up an anniversary date that Barry ends up being late for… a common theme to his character and one of Iris’ pet peeves about him. (Perhaps he’s late because of the accident that grants him his powers?) I’m not looking for anything major for casting Iris. She needs to be pretty and capable and smarter than the stereotypical damsel in distress.
So for the part of Iris West, Jonny and I choose Rachel McAdams. She is pretty and not a half bad actress. I enjoyed her in the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films. Also, she already played opposite Patrick Wilson before in Morning Glory, as a television news personality no less. She would be great for the part.

A major side character in Barry Allen’s life is Iris’ adoptive father Ira West. Ira is a professor at the local university. He is a brilliant physicist, but a bit scatterbrained at times. Above all, he is a kind and trustworthy man that Barry Allen, a former student of his as well as his daughter’s boyfriend, has come to view as a father figure. What’s important is that Barry ends up revealing to Ira his super speed abilities. Ira West helps Barry develop the Flash persona by creating an expanding friction resistant costume for him to wear and a ring that can conceal or expel the costume to quickly change into his heroic persona.
Jonny and I both fell in love with casting Henry Winkler as Professor Ira West. He’s the right age and seems like the nicest guy, not to mention that he can totally play the father figure type (remember him opposite Adam Sandler in The Waterboy?)  Above all, he seems like a guy you could trust your super hero secret identity to. Jonny and I would.

There will probably be a flashback or two involving Barry Allen’s father Henry Allen. Henry was a police officer that was accused and imprisoned for the murder of his wife and Barry’s mother Nora. Henry Allen was a huge role model for Barry even after he was found guilty and sent to prison where he died. One of the reasons for Barry’s work in forensic science is to try to exonerate his father from those charges.

This part could easily be cast by an unknown, but Jonny, likely due to his nostalgia for Magnum P.I., wants to cast Tom Selleck as Henry Allen. That works for me.
 In an attempt to sow some future seeds (and establish a Teen Titans movie down the road), I want a cameo from Iris’ nephew Wally West. I’m guessing he would show up later in the movie once the Flash has been established as a super hero in Central City as in the comics Wally was a huge fan of the ‘Scarlet Speedster.’ Of course, super speed is something of a destiny for young Wally, but that will be in another movie.
 For Wally West, I want Colin Ford. You may have seen him in We Bought a Zoo. I know him as young Sam Winchester on Supernatural. From what I’ve seen, Colin is a good actor and has a great look. I think he would make a great Kid Flash. 

When casting the villainous Rogues, Jonny and I wanted to go simple, since a good chunk of the movie was already being spent of Flash’s origin. We decided to go with Rogues that required the least explanation. With this, we start with arguably the greatest and most obvious to put on film… their leader, Captain Cold.
 Len Snart, aka Captain Cold, is one of Flash’s greatest villains and a pretty complex one at that. He leads the Rogues with a code of honor such as no drugs and no killing women or children as well as to look out for one another like a sort of super villain union. For Captain Cold, I want an actor who can play a smart but often ruthless criminal.
 Jonny and I agree that the right man for the job is Jason Clarke. We’ve seen him in movies like Zero Dark Thirty, Lawless and Public Enemies. He is a really good actor with a lot of range and can easily play a ruthless leader. Just watch his ‘discomforting’ interrogation scenes at the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty and you’ll agree.

I do like the Captain Cold character, but I just don’t think he can carry a Flash movie as its only villain, not to mention that there are so many Rogues it seems a shame to limit the film to just one. Again, Jonny and I wanted Rogues with basic explanations, nothing too elaborate that could get lost in Flash’s origin story.  So to illustrate the camaraderie of these Rogues and their ability to team up to make Flash’s life a living hell, the Captain will be joined by three others.
 The first is George “Digger” Harkness, better known as Captain Boomerang. His backstory is basic and his weapons are pretty self explanatory. Plus, Captain Boomerang is a well known Flash antagonist that will be great to see on screen.

For Captain Boomerang, I am going with Simon Baker. You may know this Aussie from The Mentalist. Not only will he have the necessary accent, but he has the acting chops to be that second-in-command to Cold and a strong on-screen presence to face off with the ‘Scarlet Speedster.’
 Next is the Trickster. I am going with the newer version of the Trickster, the Axel Walker version, because he is current in the comics. Plus, I came to love this Trickster from the Final Crisis supplemental mini-series “Rogues Revenge.” He was just so irritating. So to add some comic relief to the villains, I want to find an actor who is adept at humor but can also be annoying as hell.
 Yes, that is a picture of Lucas Cruikshank. No, I have not lost my mind. Here’s my reasoning. Everything I have seen Cruikshank in (and by seen, I mean commercials) he is playing an extremely annoying character. Whether it’s that high talking idiot man-child Fred or his current Mork from Ork the planet of morons character Marvin Marvin, his Nickelodeon shows always seem so stupid that to even attempt to watch them would kill more brain cells that crack. That’s why he’d be perfect for the part. Lucas Cruikshank already looks a little like the Trickster with the blonde hair and skinny build, the guy obviously has some level of comedic timing and we know he can play an annoying prankster that can be a thorn in the Flash’s side. Besides, it would bring me great joy to see Cruikshank’s Trickster get smacked upside the head by Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang!
 The last Rogue to round out this group is Mick Rory, better known as the pyromaniac Heat Wave. As with the others, Heat Wave doesn’t require much of a back story. He’s a flame obsessed psycho who became a villain to have an excuse to use fire for nefarious reasons. Honestly, Heat Wave could be cast using an unknown since he is one of the lesser known Rogues, but to keep with the spirit of Live Action Casting, I have decided to use an actor who brings with him a bit of a cult following from the television show Supernatural.
 Yes, I have cast Heat Wave with Jensen Ackles. You may know him as Dean Winchester from the aforementioned show. Ackles can bring the character a kind of intensity that he has mastered from killing demons for several seasons. I think he would be a great fit for Heat Wave. 

As far as the plot for the movie goes, we would find out that Central City has been besieged by a crime wave courtesy of costumed criminals referred to by the media as “Rogues.” These criminals are armed with unique and often brilliant weaponry used to outsmart and overwhelm the police. It would appear that the city his helpless against these super villains.

Barry Allen works for the Central City P.D. as a forensic scientist who is tasked with trying to piece together how these crimes are being committed and the technology being used. While working late one stormy night, Barry is severely burned after being doused by chemicals struck by a bolt of lightning.  (I would probably tweak this origin slightly to create a slightly more plausible scenario without straying too far from the comics.) He wakes up in the hospital with doctors fearing he has severe nerve damage and will require plastic surgery. However, Barry is fine and completely healed with no sign of the accident having occurred. After leaving the hospital (and a lot of baffled physicians), Barry discovers he has the power of super speed. I’m sure what will follow will be that whole “Oh my God, I can’t believe I can do this!” part which is standard in any super powered super hero movie.

Concerned for the well being of the police officers attempting to stop these Rogues, Barry decides to wear a ski mask and use his gift to stop a bank robbery from none other than Captain Boomerang.  Part of Boomerang’s gang is Len Snart, who was hired to create a particle accelerator device to break into bank vaults. Captain Boomerang and his gang are defeated by what witnesses describe as being so fast it “moved like a flash!” Len Snart manages to escape.

With Central City buzzing about the “Flash,” Barry Allen reveals his super powers to his former professor (and girlfriend’s father) Ira West and asks his help in creating a costume to conceal Allen’s identity. Soon, the Flash is busting up more robberies. We see him thwart the Trickster and Heat Wave. Contrary to how most vigilantes are received, the Flash is viewed as a hero by the citizens of Central City. Even the police are hesitant to bring the Flash up on criminal charges. However, Len Snart sees his opportunity for power and wealth.

Snart uses cyclotronic particle accelerator technology to create a freeze gun that can stop the Flash dead in his tracks. He uses this gun to break Captain Boomerang, Trickster and Heat Wave out of Iron Heights prison under the condition that he becomes their leader and is addressed as Captain Cold. Together, the four Rogues create a plan to trap the Flash. Captain Boomerang, Trickster and Heat Wave will lure the Flash in where he will unsuspectingly be frozen in a wall of ice by Captain Cold. At that point, the Rogues will have the city at their mercy. Iris will probably somehow end up being the Rogues’ hostage as further bait for Flash to confront them. Inevitably, the Flash defeats the Rogues and all is well.   

As a bonus, Jonny wants some sort of after credits cameo by Green Lantern to tease the Justice League movie. Plus, it establishes that Green Lantern and Flash already know each other before that movie begins so there is less to explain. It also helps set up the classic “Brave and the Bold” team-up between the two.

So that’s what our movie of The Flash would look like in a nutshell. Catch our next Live Action Casting for the Justice League movie as we reboot a ‘dark’ franchise into a whole new direction.

Until then, stay strange!

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