Welcome to Dream Cast, a new series of articles where we examine questionable casting choices from Hollywood’s history of nerd-centric adaptations and try to re-imagine them in a perfect world where money is no object and egos don’t exist. Today’s subject: Fantastic Four.
What sadness it is to be an avid moviegoer and a diehard fan of Comic-dom’s first family. Fantastic Four may be one of the most celebrated and long lived properties in all of print media but it’s definitely been treated like hot garbage at the box office. Only The Punisher has been dealt with as badly, and even each of those movies were decent action flicks for their time and got a handful of the details right, and Frank’s looking sharp in those previews for Season 2 of Netflix’s amazing Daredevil series, The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal expertly cast in the role. FF on the other hand, has been reviled in three separate adaptations.
Everybody knows about the early 90’s Roger Corman debacle, then there were the moderately successful but still ridiculously insulting mid-aughts duo of films (notable for future Captain America Chris Evans’ solid take on Human Torch and Laurence Fishburne voicing a surprisingly respectable Silver Surfer if little else), and then of course that “Thing” (no pun intended) Fox shat out this past summer, just to keep the rights to a property that they can’t help but endlessly tarnish in the public’s opinion.
Fox’s problem is that they keep trying to shove a “young” team in our faces, when Reed Richards has always been something of an “elder statesman” of the Marvel Universe, and his wife Sue is only supposed to be a few years younger. The early aughts Ultimate Fantastic Four comics that featured a wholly young team were serviceable but not great, certainly not in the way that Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men were in their heyday, and the Ultimate take on Avengers, The Ultimates, complete with Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, is basically what Marvel’s in-house film division is currently using to light their cigars with hundred dollar bills. Fox isn’t going to score a home run like that adapting the Ultimate FF books because the quality sadly just wasn’t there with the source material in the first place.
So let’s get back to basics with FF, making them the “family” they were always supposed to represent and not just a bunch of attractive kids from central casting that nobody will ever buy as scientists. If you want to re-do the origin story for the umpteenth time, sure, what the hell, knock yourselves out. Make it a period piece and include all the whiz bang excitement of early space travel and cold war intrigue. Hell, it worked for X-Men: First Class. See that, Fox, you don’t have to suck all the time…
George Clooney as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Hollywood’s favorite cool uncle would make a great first father of comics. Forget about Batman and Robin, that was ages ago, and Reed’s a character that GC’s sardonic charm to really give a likeable spark to, unlike eternally grimdark ass kicking orphan Bruce Wayne, who George just made seem smug and slimy. Clooney’s grounded take on his similarly misunderstood scientific wunderkind character in the recent Tomorrowland elevated the entire movie from passable to genuinely good. Just make sure to give him a Fantasticar. Chicks dig the car.
Vera Farmiga as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman
Brains, beauty and badass, Susan Storm definitely needs to be more than just Jessica Alba in blue spandex in order to be represented respectfully on screen. A loving wife and mother but also one of the most deadly individuals in all of the entire Marvel Universe, able to turn invisible and also project force fields of any size or shape into, out of, and around both allies and enemies, sometimes even over their vital organs. Ouch. We think Vera Farmiga possesses both the warmth and gravitas to pull off the role perfectly. It’s not her fault that Bates Motel isn’t very good, don’t think about that.
Donald Glover as Johnny Storm/Human Torch
The internet popped it’s collective monocle when it was announced that Michael B. Jordan was cast as Human Torch in this past summer’s FF shit shingle. “Oh no! The Human Torch CAN’T be BLACK!” Why not? It worked for Harvey Dent in the ’89 Batman and also for Kingpin in the Affleck Daredevil. Maybe the problem was that they just picked the wrong black guy. Jordan is a fine actor but I don’t know if he’s very funny, and after Deadpool and Spider-Man, Johnny Storm is probably the biggest smartass in all of the Marvel Universe. Donald Glover was campaigning hard for the role of Peter Parker a few years back, and even though the world wasn’t ready for a Spidey of color, though he did inspire the bi-racial Miles Morales character taking up the mantle in the current Ultimate Spider-Man comics, we think Glover would fill the flaming boots of a wonderfully wisecracking Johnny Storm juuuuust fine.
Fred Tatasciore as Ben Grimm/Thing
A choice out of left field? Not so fast. Check out Tatasciore’s IMDB Page. He’s been Marvel’s go-to Hulk in everything animated or game related for years, also voicing similar super heroic hard cases like Juggernaut, Killer Croc, Bane and Solomon Grundy, and he was even the ever lovin’ good ol’ blue eyed Ben Grimm himself in the dearly departed nerd porn that was the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon. We don’t need another origin story, we don’t need any “Thing Rings do your thing” bullshit where he loses his powers or can switch back and forth. Let the giant, sentient, ass whomping pile of gravel be the giant, sentient, ass whomping pile of gravel, and give him a voice to match!
Mads Mikkelsen as Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom
Last but certainly not least, Hannibal himself. The current king of eurotrash psychopaths would finally give us a Doom we can all be proud of. Fuuuuuuuuck that guy from Nip/Tuck, and I don’t even know what that thing in the new movie was supposed to be. Mikkelsen’s post Hannibal future looks very bright with an unspecified role in one of the upcoming Star Wars spinoff films (please, please PLEASE be playing Grand Admiral Thrawn!), but I’m sure Mads would be able to make time for a Marvel movie, especially after regretfully having to give up the (admittedly thankless) role of Malekith in Thor: The Dark World to Christopher Eccleston. Come on Fox, give us a villain we can sink our teeth into, who can stand proudly next to the current pillars of the genre, Hiddleston’s Loki and Fassbender’s Magneto, give us Mikkelsen as Doom.
That’s our take on making Marvel’s first family of Comics a film that even Fox can’t fuck up. What’s yours? Casting idea? Future article subjects? Let us know via social media or email.