• Columns 

    Casting Couch: The Fantastic Four’s Fantastic Foes

    By | March 12th, 2014
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news about Fox’s reboot of the Fantastic Four and the rather different cast they’ve assembled for this go around. It’s something that has caused a fair deal of “controversy” (in quotes, because I think it’s dumb) focusing on at least two different spectrums of fanboy rage, one that’s perhaps a touch sympathetic (the strange decisions) and one that’s just not worth talking about anymore than has already been done.

    So today for Casting Couch, we’re going to stay in the realm of the hypothetical as we did last week, speculating on potential foes that the new Fantastic Four could come across. And even though one of our casting decisions is perhaps already rendered irrelevant, I’ll leave it in for posterity because I like my picks better.

    The Mad Thinker (Rhona Burchill) – Oona Chaplin

    Many people have forgotten about Rhona Burchill; further still never even knew about here. But in the Ultimate Universe, Rhona Burchill replaced the traditional iteration of the character as someone who was denied entry into the same think tank that brought our heroes together in this alternate fiction.  Rhona was never a big character by any means, but if we’re looking at villains who are classically associated with the Fantastic Four and then figuring out how they can work with the modern revamp, I think Rhona would make a lot more sense than that other guy. A psychotic young woman who attacks the home of the Fantastic Four because she was denied the same privilege they were? That sounds pretty compelling to me.

    Oona Chaplin recently proved herself to fans worldwide in her role in Game of Thrones as the more prominent Talisa, a replacement for Jeyne in the books who had a very minor role, and her performance was entirely captivating. She even managed to spur up a whole mess of fan theories based on how close to the vest (or is that bodice?) she played the audiences expectations of her character. Giving her the role of the duplicitous and deranged Mad Thinker seems pretty on point.

    Mole Man (Dr. Arthur Molekevic) – Brendan Gleeson

    Mole Man is perhaps the classic Fantastic Four villain, literally the first character to ever menace them, but he has not gotten any respect or screen time. Why? Well, probably because he’s Mole Man. But when the closest we’ve gotten to seeing what the Mole Man is like on screen is a two second joke appearance in the Incredibles, well, then it’s time to reconsider.

    Cue again the role of the Mole Man taken out of the Ultimate Universe, where he was a teacher at the Baxter Building that Reed studied under. It’s a pretty easy segue from there to supervillain, and it would allow the film to actually follow in the foot steps of the classic Lee/Kirby debut to some small extent. And if you’ve got someone as accomplished as Brendan Gleeson in the role, who can play anywhere from a sweet and lovable character to an absolutely menacing and terrifying gangster, it’d be fairly easy to have Mole Man in your film and actually exist as a credible threat.

    Namor – Logan Marshall-Green

    Namor is a classic Marvel character, and truth be told, I doubt Fox has the rights to him. Honestly, I’m not too sure; there’s enough about Namor in three different camps (Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men) to justify his rights being as jumbled as Quicksilvers. However, Namor returned to Marvel Comics after his original villainous appearance in the pages of “Fantastic Four,” and has since remained a staple element of the series; it seems only right to see if he can’t be worked into it somewhere.

    (At the very least, have that classic beard burning scene. That’d play really well on screen.)

    So for Namor, we need someone who can play someone rather pompous and arrogant, someone who can go from 0 to 60 on the rage-o-meter and who could sufficiently arrive as a king and demand tribute. Oh, and be a bit of a hunk too, certainly enough to draw Sue’s eyes away from Reed (and with Miles Teller as Reed, I can’t imagine that’ll be too hard — sorry, Miles).

    Continued below

    With that in mind, I’ve gone with Logan Marshall-Green, someone who is a bit older than the new Fantastic Four (which I think makes sense) and who has proven himself in a number of different shows and movies as an actor with quite a bit of talent. Whether you want to look at his role in something like Prometheus or even The OC, he certainly has the range that I think Namor needs to show in order to be a compelling villain.

    Annihilus – Andy Serkis

    Annihilus is the least probable villain to appear on screen against the Fantastic Four. At least, not in the first film. Maybe later, but certainly not right away.

    But once I got the idea of Annihilus into my head as a possible villain, I couldn’t get it out.

    And once I got the idea that Andy Serkis could play Annihilus, I knew it had to go on the list.

    Andy Serkis is a magnificent talent in the film industry, as many have already given him widespread acclaim for the roles he plays with Peter Jackson. But looking at how he plays Gollum, I think there’s a really obvious streamline between that and Annihilus. Annihilus is bigger, certainly, and actually an imposing threat, but there are many similarities in the way I’ve always imagined Annihilus sounding and moving that I can see in Gollum, but perhaps ramped upwards to something more menacing. And if Warren Ellis and Adam Kubert can make Annihilus (as Nihil) the villain of the Fantastic Four in the third arc of “Ultimate Fantastic Four,” then they can make this into a movie, dammit.

    And now, everyone’s favorite Fantastic Four villain:

    If Doctor Doom is a man, Chiwetel Ejiofor

    If the idea of the new Fantastic Four film says anything, it’s that they want to try something new. And if that’s actually the case, then I think the people making the film need to be unafraid in their casting decisions and get an actor who can actually bring a great deal of talent to the role — and I think Oscar 2014 Best Actor Nominee (let alone BAFTA Best Actor winner) Chiwetel Ejiofor is the man for the job.

    Why do I think that? Easy – he’s one of the most talented actors working today. His performance in 12 Years a Slave brought me to tears, but Serenity frightened me; in American Gangster he was highly underrated, and in Children of Men he came out of nowhere and stole the show from leading man Clive Owen. Ejiofor has displayed an incredibly wide range and a ton of talent throughout numerous roles, and I think it’d be incredible to see what he could do in the role of one of the most popular and iconic comic book villains of all time. It would give the filmmakers the opportunity to completely change the role and ideas of Doctor Doom, and I think the film would be better off because of it.

    But.

    If Doctor Doom is a woman, Ruth Wilson

    I’m aware that the idea that Doctor Doom will be a woman in the new series has been debunked. This is fine, I guess.

    But, it also opens up a lot of interesting possibilities if Doctor Doom were to be a woman. What is her motivation? Doctor Doom hated Reed for — lets be honest — rather stupid reasons that built into a grudge and then expanded, but if Doctor Doom wasn’t a man there’s actually a lot of room for potential new ideas in their relationship. At the very least, it opens up a brand new type of dynamic, the likes of which I don’t think we’ve ever seen.

    So if Doctor Doom were to be a woman, I’d love to see Ruth Wilson be given the opportunity. For those who’ve not seen, Ruth Wilson portrayed the antagonist to Luther on his eponymous TV show, and she was absolutely terrifying. Wilson cut across the screen like a knife, taunting and tormenting Luther in numerous ways and pushing him ever closer towards the edge he was already teetering over. Wilson gave a rather captivating performance, one that was never really matched by other antagonists on the show, so giving her the role of perhaps one of the biggest evils of all time — at least in the world of fiction — really just only makes sense.


    //TAGS | Casting Couch

    Jess Graham

    Jessica is the secret weapon behind the Multiversity Casting Couches, utilizing her vast knowledge of film and Hollywood gossip to help concoct absurdly brilliant comic book movie scenarios. When she isn't thinking about movies however, she is playing with cats, watching Futurama and pleading with George RR Martin to stop killing everyone she loves in A Song Of Ice And Fire. Feel free to follow her on Tumblr and Twitter for random odds and ends.

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