I’m sure you’ve read a gazillion of these “Casting the Justice League” articles by now, but bear with me — I think you’ll find my list well thought-out and devoid of the wishful fanboy casting that plague pieces like this. There will be no huge stars in this list; I’m going to choose actors whom I feel best embody the attributes of the characters, and who would realistically be willing to sign multi-picture contracts for sequels and spin-off films.
My Justice League lineup is also going to be small and obvious, with only the heavy hitters included: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash, and The Martian Manhunter. Right off the bat, I’m going to exclude Superman from my casting list, because I’m assuming Warner Brothers will bring Henry Cavill over to the film if he’s willing and if Man of Steel isn’t a complete disaster at the box office.
So, without further ado, I present to you my casting choices for the 2015 Justice League movie:[divider]
The Martian Manhunter – Peter Mensah
The role of J’onn J’onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, requires a commanding presence; an actor that instills respect and carries an air of wisdom about him. Peter Mensah – best known for playing Doctore, the relentless gladiator trainer in Starz’ various Spartacus series – would be absolutely perfect. The massive native Ghanaian cuts an imposing figure — he’s strikingly tall, impossibly chiseled, and has a powerful voice that demands attention and sends shivers down the spine.
Mensah is no stranger to geek culture films, lending his baritone voice to the video game Dead Space, and appearing in genre films and TV shows like 300 (he was the Persian messenger who got kicked down the well), True Blood, Avatar, and The Incredible Hulk. A subtle green paint job, a few well-crafted prosthetics, (or maybe a motion-captured CGI creation ala Avatar), and you’ve got yourself one fine Martian Manhunter.[divider]
Aquaman/Arthur Curry – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
The King of Atlantis is a blonde-haired, regal warrior of the oceans, with an air of confidence that borders on arrogance. And who brings those traits to the table better than Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the brash, cocky knight of the Royal House Lannister on HBO’s breakout hit series Game of Thrones? While he’s not a King himself (only a member of the Kingsguard), Jaime Lannister is a highborn Lord with a tongue as sharp and deadly as his sword.
With his chiseled looks and flowing blonde mane, Waldau certainly looks the part — I could easily imagine him emerging from the seas standing on top of a mighty whale, trident in hand. The only problem I can see with Waldau is his age. At 44, he’s perhaps a little long in the tooth to consider signing to a long-term deal, but the guy looks at least ten years younger than his real age, and besides, as the films go on Waldeau could easily transition into Aquaman’s kingly bearded look.[divider]
The Flash/Barry Allen – Ben Foster
Ben’s spent most of his career playing, well…wackos: Jake in Alpha Dogs. The Stranger in 30 Days of Night. Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma. Sebastian in Contraband. All of these guys are odd, creepy characters that always seem to have something “off” about them. But, they also have one very important thing in common: Foster’s acting talent makes them all so captivating that you can’t take your eyes off of them.
So, in light of that, I think it’s time this talented young actor started using his chops to play a completely decent human being; a wholesome, valiant, and heroic guy like Barry Allen, aka The Flash. Sure, Ben’s dabbled in the forces of good before, but he barely uttered a word in X-Men: The Last Stand as The Angel. He needs a superhero role where his skills can run free (pun intended), and the Scarlet Speedster might be the perfect fit. He often sports a blonde flat-top, so he’s a good physical match for Barry, as well.[divider]
Green Lantern/John Stewart – Idris Elba *OR* Hal Jordan – Ryan Reynolds
The Green Lantern movie was a crushing disappointment, both from a fan’s perspective, and in terms of box office performance. Audiences simply flat-out rejected the look and tone of the film, and it certainly didn’t help that the screenplay was a complete disaster. However, Green Lantern’s shortcomings should not be placed solely on Ryan Reynolds’ shoulders. I thought the young actor did an admirable job with material that was obviously ill-conceived from the start. Now that the clumsy origin story is behind him, I think Reynolds deserves another shot to play a more confident and mature Hal Jordan; a proud member of the Green Lantern Corps who has mastered the power ring and is eager to join up with his fellow heroes to combat whatever cosmic threat endangers the Earth. (Oh, and an actual costume, rather than the garish CGI construct in the solo movie, might be a better idea this time.)
If you still aren’t sold on Reynolds, another option might be introducing the John Stewart version of the Green Lantern, who is well-known to fans of the comics as well as the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series, where he was voiced by Phil LaMarr. Idris Elba, who played the powerful and enigmatic Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost, in Marvel’s Thor might be the perfect candidate to portray John Stewart’s steely coolness, unwavering loyalty, and profound sense of honor.[divider]
Wonder Woman/Diana Prince – Gina Carano
It’s an absolute embarrassment that moviegoing audiences have never seen the first and greatest female superhero of all-time on the silver screen in her own epic blockbuster film. This travesty will soon be rectified (hopefully) in 2015 when she finally takes her rightful place in the Pantheon of big screen superheroes, next to her peers in the Justice League of America.
The Amazonian warrior princess needs an actress with a statuesque physique and heart-stopping beauty to truly bring her to life. Luckily, we have the perfect woman in Gina Carano, a former MMA fighter who recently made the transition from the lights of the arena cage to the lights of the film studio in Steven Soderberg’s action/spy thriller Haywire. While she didn’t exactly light the world on fire with her acting performance, she wasn’t a complete stiff, either. Carano strikes the perfect balance between brutal physical power and stunning femininity. She’s an absolutely gorgeous woman who could believably stand toe to toe with other superheroes like Henry Cavill’s Superman (and probably mop the floor with him to boot!).
Batman/Bruce Wayne – Armie Hammer
Hammer was my number one pick to be the next big screen version of Batman in my previous feature article, Five Actors Who Could Play Batman In The Justice League Movie, so I’m plugging him in here to join this cast and complete my Justice League lineup. As I stated before, Hammer is a budding star with terrific acting ability, an imposing physical presence, and a deep, commanding voice. He could easily don the cape and cowl of the Dark Knight Detective, and when paired with Henry Cavill’s Superman, battle the forces of evil for many years to come.