About this time last year, it was announced that Nicolas Winding Refn would be adapting Jodorowsky and Moebius’ classic “The Incal” into a film, and given our review of “Final Incal” up on the site today it felt appropriate to come back to this book and give our take on the casting of it. Refn is certainly a talented director, and if the book is really going to be adapted into the film he should have the best actors at his disposal for the film — which is, of course, where I come in.
It’s tough to look at a book like this and cast it as there are a lot of moving players and parts within. As such, I’m only going to be focusing on the main seven of the story, the seven chosen who are assembled by chance and by providence to be players in the greater story. With our director in place, it certainly makes some decisions easier as well, so lets begin:
John DiFool- Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey is having a great year, to say the least. Nabbing an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club and blowing the roof off the house his detractors live in with True Detective, it’s tough not to be a fan of McConaughey these days. And given the wide range of roles he’s played — whether it’s the more brash and menacing Mud of Mud, the strangely humorous Mark Hannah in Wolf of Wall Street or Detective Rust Cohle — McConaughey certainly has the range and talent to really be the John DiFool we need: both the hero, and the fool.
Deepo – Martin Freeman
Deepo is a tough call, as he’s as close to humorous relief as we get in “the Incal.” Deepo isn’t something to be taken lightly, either; rather, he somewhat straddles that line that John himself also does. So to cast Deepo, which is really just casting a voice, it stands to reason that we need someone both capable of humor and who can be serious in the same breadth, and Martin Freeman has had just as stellar a year as McConaughey. Anyone who saw his role on The Office as Tim knows that he can be quite hilarious (and that John Krasinski owes him his career), but his more recent roles of John Watson on Sherlock and Lester Nygaard on Fargo have completely re-branded him as an actor, and Nygaard in particular perhaps displays what is perfect for Deepo: someone funny, someone tragic, but someone none the less serious about greater implications.
Animah – Carey Mulligan
Animah and her sister Tanatah are tricky, as more than anything you need two actresses who can play off of each other well. You also need people who can really emphasize the aspects that the two are supposed to embody in terms of their place within the light (Animah) and the dark (Tanatah). So for Animah, we’re going to go with a previous Refn-collaborator with Carey Mulligan, because honestly, if there is anyone who seems to radiate light all on her own, it’s Carey Mulligan. Mulligan has played characters with dark aspects, but even when she’s ostensibly playing a “villain” (like Daisy Buchanan, I guess, depending how you define that role?), Mulligan is always a very light-hearted individual on-screen and off.
Conversely, for her sister we go with:
Tanatah – Jessica Chastain
Chastain is one of my favorite current actresses, and while she’s played her fair share of light-hearted characters like Mulligan, Chastain has showed us with roles like in Zero Dark Thirty that when she means business, she means business. Chastain feels like the perfect actress to go opposite of Mulligan in this role as the darker of the two sisters, as well as an antagonist to John DiFool.
The Metabaron – Tom Hardy
The Metabaron is a pretty interesting character as he’s somewhat of a bruiser, and yet calling him that simplifies the role a lot. For this role, though, we’re definitely going with past-Refn collaborator Tom Hardy, as Hardy’s portrayal of Bronson in the Refn film of the same name perhaps perfectly encapsulates what both Hardy and Refn are capable of doing with the multi-faceted character. Hardy certainly has the appropriate body type for the role, but his talent as an actor is what could make the Metabaron as important and intriguing a character as he needs to be.Continued below
Solune – Saoirse Ronan
Probably the most difficult character to cast was that of Solune, as the role is supposed to be fairly androgynous but never the less important (given that Solune is, well, the supposed messiah). It’s tough to cast an actor in that role because the androgynous nature of it may seem a bit insulting, but Saoirse Ronan seems to be the best fit for the character, both in terms of looks and talent. Ronan really caught my eye in her role of the lead in Hanna, but since then every film she’s been in has impressed and managed to show off a different range within her arsenal. If nothing else, Ronan could certainly bring a certain ethereal, almost detached quality to the role, and take Solune to that intriguing space between the child of John DiFool and Animah, and the child of the Metabaron, as well as the cross-section of the light and the dark.
Kill Wolfhead – Mads Mikkelsen
Last but certainly not least, previous Refn-collaborator Mads Mikkelsen is taking the role of Kill Wolfhead. Part of it is that, honestly, Mads Mikkelsen is the first person that came to mind when it came to casting a character named “Kill Wolfhead.” But even beyond that, Mikkelsen does seem to be the perfect person to play the mercenary wolf, as Mikkelsen’s various roles have shown such a massive amount of talent that I’m not sure who else could properly bring this wolf to life. Look at Hannibal, look at the Hunt: you fear him, you sympathize with him, but most importantly you can’t help but watch intently to see what he’ll do next.