A few months back, Disney bought Marvel Entertainment. Almost as soon as this was announced, Fox announced plans to reboot its Fantastic Four franchise, which (in case you don’t know) is based on a Marvel comic about the greatest superhero team ever assembled. Ever. The first two movies weren’t exactly critical or financial successes–partially, I think, because the public is retarded and people think that every comic book is dark and broody, like Batman, or tackles serious social issues, like X-Men. Personally, I thought these two movies–despite less-than-perfect casting and occasionally shaky special effects–captured the light, sitcom-like feeling that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby intended when they created the characters over forty years ago. So, while Fox tries to crank out one more movie before they lose the film rights to Disney, I thought I’d give them a hand and cast the thing for them.
The Plot: First of all, DO NOT RETELL THEIR FUCKING ORIGIN!!! Comic book movies that simply tell the origin of the heroes are lame. You waste two-thirds of the movie watching characters wander around and talking about shit before you actually get to see a costume or a fight. Lazy writers produce scripts that simply rehash the origin. (The only exception is Iron Man…because, let’s be honest, we all want to watch a dude build robot suits.) The Fantastic Four have no secret identities, so you use the opening credits to show them on a talk show or something, where they are forced to tell the story of Reed Richards’ failed experiment in space travel and how they were bombarded by cosmic rays and gained superpowers. Done. Now, let’s punch some fuckers.
The Cast: Like I said, some of the casting of the actual FF movies sucked. Some did not. Ioaaiuen Gryffiphaueuoud (did I forget a vowel or two?) was horrible as Reed. And, are we supposed to believe that enough years separate Jessica Alba and Chris Evans for the Storm siblings to have actually developed a parent-child relationship?
THE MAIN CAST
Hugh Laurie as Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards
Hugh Laurie is awesome, which is really the only excuse you need to cast him in anything. However, we’ve also seen that he can play the smartest guy in the room on House. And, for those of you who don’t remember anything past the last three years, I’m here to tell you that Laurie can do much more than cranky asshole, he’d capture Reed’s absent-minded professor shtick without breaking a sweat.
Tricia Helfer as The Invisible Woman/Susan Storm Richards
This just in: people do not die at twenty-nine. I know, Hollywood, I know…it’s a shock. I can tell you’re surprised because none of your movies seem to star people in their thirties. Look, Reed’s an older dude and he met Sue when he was in college. Ignoring the fact that Helfer is just plain awesome, she’s also shown that she can project the combination of strength, brains, and beauty that we need for Sue.
Michael Chiklis as The Thing/Benjamin J. Grimm
and Chris Evans as The Human Torch/Johnny Storm
When a casting decision works, there’s no reason to change it just to be different. Chiklis was created by the hand of God to play Ben Grimm. As for Evans…well, to be honest, I was nervous when he was first cast, but damn did he nail Johnny. Plus, the chemistry between these two actors was just pitch-perfect.
Rutger Hauer as Doctor Victor von Doom
You can’t have a Fantastic Four movie without Doctor Doom. But, why anyone would think turning the super-awesome iron-clad despot of Latveria into a narcissistic corporate wanker is beyond me. Doom chills in a castle, not a penthouse.
Traylor Howard as Alicia Masters
Alicia–the blind sculptor who wins Ben’s heart and shows him that no matter what he looks like on the outside, he’s still the same man on the inside–is as much a part of the team/family as anyone.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Black Panther/King T’Challa of Wakanda
Black Panther–who is, in actuality, King T’Challa of Wakanda–has been an ally of the Fantastic Four for years. As the Operative in Serenity, Ejiofor has shown a quiet nobility, strength of purpose, and an aptitude for choreographed fight scenes.
Lindy Booth as Frankie Raye
Frankie Raye and Johnny Storm dated for a while in the FF comics (leading to at least one joke about the song). Their relationship was a bit rocky, because Frankie was deathly afraid of fire. Of course, the reason she was afraid of fire was because she secretly had flame-based powers similar to the Human Torch. Lindy has three things going for her: she has action experience from her time on The Famous Jett Jackson, she’s Canadian, and she’s a redhead.
THE VILLAINS (There are enough kick-ass FF villains to populate three or four movies, without resorting to idiotic, pandering cloud-monsters in space.)
Clint Howard as Mole Man/Harvey Elder
Mole Man was the first villain that the Fantastic Four ever faced, waaaaay back in 1961’s issue #1. While he may not be as iconic an enemy as Doctor Doom, I think his place in the team’s history needs to be recognized. Plus, any excuse to put Clint Howard in a movie.
Temuera Morrison as Prince Namor of Atlantis
What’s the deal with Namor? Is he villain or ally? Both, maybe? Either way, he’s an arrogant douchebag who takes every opportunity to try and bag Reed’s wife. I have no other reason for choosing Morrison to play Namor other than Jango Fett was kind of an arrogant douchebag, too.
Nestor Carbonell as Diablo/Esteban Corazón de Ablo
Diablo is a 9th century alchemist who, after making a pact with a demon, is granted extreme longevity. Surviving to the modern day, Diablo uses his alchemical skills to try to conquer the world. I just like Carbonell, he was awesome as Batmanuel on The Tick.
Lee Arenberg as Red Ghost/Ivan Kragoff
Ivan Kragoff was a Soviet scientist who intentionally exposed himself and three research apes to cosmic rays, granting them all superpowers. I will repeat that, in case you missed it: Apes. With. Superpowers. He kind of looks the part, so I’d be willing to see if Arenberg could provide a passable Russian accent.
Brad Dourif as Puppet Master/Phillip Masters
With the ability to create puppets through which he can control the living (hey, I am not making this shit up), Puppet Master has frequently pitted the Fantastic Four against friends and allies, as well as each other. He also happens to be the adoptive father of Alicia Masters. Why Dourif? Well, he’s awesome. Also, he’s spent a large percentage of his career playing a doll, so I figured it was time he got a chance to pull the strings, as it were.
Billy Campbell as The Wizard/Bentley Wittman
With a near-superhuman level intellect, The Wizard frequently uses his genius and inventions to prove that he’s better than Mister Fantastic. He even went so far as to assemble his own team, the Frightful Four. There’s just something about Billy Campbell that says “I’m really smart, but also really fucking evil.”
Jeffrey Combs as Ulysses Klaw
Physicist Ulysses Klaw has had run-ins with the Fantastic Four and Black Panther on several occasions, eventually joining the Wizard’s Frightful Four. As a being composed of solid sound, Klaw can not only project deadly sonic blasts, but he is also super strong. As an actor who has reanimated the dead and aided super-powered abductees, I think Combs could do Klaw justice.
Zeljko Ivanek as The Trapster/Peter Petruski
Another member of the Frightful Four, the Trapster is an expert chemist whose suit allows him to project a variety of powerful adhesives and lubricants, which he uses to trap his adversaries. Ivanek recently appeared on Heroes as a government agent obsessed with hunting and trapping individuals gifted with special abilities.
Adam Baldwin as Hydro-Man/Morris Bench
The fourth member of the Frightful Four, Hydro-Man has the ability to transform his body into a water-like substance, as well as the ability to control nearby bodies of water. Hydro-Man is a big dude who’s somewhat lacking in intellect; Adam Baldwin is a big dude who plays characters of varying intellect.