Saturday, August 2, 2014

X-23 11th Anniversary Fan Casting

With today being X-23's 11th Anniversary/Birthday since her debut in X-Men Evolution, I thought it might be time to go over the fan casting/potential within a film portrayal of the origin miniseries again.  This includes some mild character swaps to stay within the rights boundaries that Fox has in their camp.

X-23's story is one of mad science, human rights, what it means to be human, the bond of family, and how friendship can conquer even the harshest of instincts life can inflict upon us.  The story itself is a borderline modern comic spin on Pinocchio using a female lead to establish the point.  In doing so, it also helps create an empowerment piece that's based around familial strength and growth over the average tropes of romantic entanglement.  It is a love story, but it's one of familial love and supporting each other by listening and growing from mistakes in the past.  The story also includes elements of human trafficking, and elements of what survivors of such traumatic events have to deal with.  There's also elements of girl on girl violence but with that having been caused by the men in charge.

Dr. Martin Sutter - Bryan Cranston or Anthony Head

Trying to think of someone that can evoke that perfect corrupt evil business man Sir Patrick Stewart/Picard is a tough one outright.  This was a character I couldn't figure out who would fit for this.  I dabbled into considering Anthony Head.(He's still on that list too for this role per his appearance in Doctor Who and Warehouse 13!)  That is until one day a pure petite yet powerfully creative genius pointed out Breaking Bad.  Then it clicked.  Bryan Cranston could really fit for this role.  I'm torn between him or Anthony Head for this character now.  They both bring unique aspects to the role that make the conveyances uniquely different yet still powerful.

Rachel Sutter - Kristen Bell

Rachel Sutter is another one of those characters that's hard to cast.  Right now at least, I'm leaning on Kristen Bell maybe, because it presents a unique geek "oh my god!" moment.  Not sure entirely.  The role is one that needs to pair up well to the Sarah Kinney role in age conveyance.  There is a unique opportunity here though to present an offbeat internal fan nod with whoever is cast for this role.  Pairing it up with whoever is cast to Dr. Zander Rice because of the brief adultery subplot that causes the finale of the first act to the story.

Dr. Zander Rice - Jason Dohring

Trying to find someone that can convey the right attitude and presence for this role is rough.  There are many actors that could do it, but it needs to be paired up well to whoever is cast for Rachel Sutter.  Jason Dohring has that range diversity as well as geek filmography that helps play up to this.  His character Logan over in Veronica Mars helps give a small pop culture nod when paired up to Kristen Bell as Rachel Sutter, but it's his range that cements it.  Whether it's Logan in Veronica Mars or Josef in Moonlight, he's displayed an aptitude for line delivery that could carry this type of character to unexpected heights.  Oh, and he's also the voice of Terra in Kingdom Hearts.  That adds all kinds of awesome and internal fun to him being included in the cast, especially as this character.

Dr. Sarah Kinney - Eliza Dushku

Ms. Dushku is an actress that helped set the bar on what bad ass women can be on screen.  It's rather fitting for her to pick up the mantle of X-23's mother in the film as it presents a unique passing of the torch symbolism for a new generation.  Her acting capabilities are varied and as displayed over in Dollhouse, she's capable of any role thrown her way.  Dollhouse itself being a show that allowed for a myriad of personality types to be displayed all within the same episode.  Her work over in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer as Faith brought her to the attention of many, but it's her work afterwards that helps cement the point that she is far from being a one trick pony.  She's portrayed a full spectrum of empowered females, including even the self-parody roles that deconstructed or mocked the trope.  She's also currently voicing She-Hulk over in Marvel's Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and routinely displays the narrative capabilities that would be needed for using Sarah Kinney's letter to Laura as a framing point in how the first half of the origin story is told.

X-23/Laura Kinney - Lucy Hale

Look at that cute little angry face.  Doesn't it just scream Laura Kinney?  Can't you just feel that "I'm going to hurt you for this" wave of energy that wafts off her ever so lovely little frame?  Oh, I'm so going to be murdered in my sleep for this.  Fitting way to go at least.  Would not complain.  I should probably worry about that and the fact that one of my favorite pictures of her is the one she looks like she's plotting murder from being annoyed.  Might need to get my head examined for that, but it does prove the point that she is X-23/Laura Kinney.

Erm, anyway!  I've extolled her virtues many times over already, but let's cover them one more time!
She's done many movies and TV series.  Many of which have internal 1023 references like the Bionic Woman remake did(which also had Supernatural's own Mark Sheppard speaking the reference!).  On Pretty Little Liars itself, she portrays Aria Montgomery who is the daughter of Ella Montgomery as portrayed by Holly Maria Combs.  Ms. Combs you may remember from a show called Charmed.  She portrayed Piper on the hit then-WB-now-CW show.  So already in geek cred, not only has Ms. Hale guest appeared in various cult-classics like Scream 4, but she's also been portraying the daughter to an actress who was one of the original Charmed ones!  She's building up quite the geek credit list already, and she's yet to even play a comic superhero!  I say superhero because, already she has portrayed characters that are heroes to many.  If Bionic Woman were to have been renewed, I'm sure her character there as the leads little sister would have blossomed into some equally fantastic screen time as her character was a hacker that was banned from computers(though the character still kept getting on them in secret).  With how that show was building to the lead character's internal hacking of the bionics, it was sure to lead to something interesting with what could have been her sister's eventual help in that process.  Sadly, the show was cancelled before they were able to approach what they foreshadowed.

Ms. Hale routinely does charity work and donations without any expected recognition for them.  It's genuinely to help.  Like Laura Kinney herself, she didn't have the prototypical high school life.  She doesn't have any high school reunions to go to, yet she's also world traveled, quick witted, and can surprise you with her creativity & ingenuity.  She's a petite yet powerfully creative genius through and through.  Her mother worked two jobs to support her while she pursued her dreams.  Her story isn't one of discovery or pampering, it's one of hard work and determination.  A work ethic her mother taught her well by both raising her right and being an example of never giving up.  Ms. Hale wasn't coddled nor corrupted by the mainline Disney franchises, yet she still worked her way to the top by her own hand and the help of her mother.  She's one of the sweetest girls you'll ever meet, as I found out in Memphis not only through meeting her(at an impromptu meet and greet after a show at the Memphis Hard Rock Cafe, like roughly 23 seconds because I still had to drive home for Easter breakfast and was in a hurry), but through hearing stories from people that knew her in her home town and were constantly praising her.  Every person that talked about what she was like before she left for LA were beaming with pride about all she's accomplished and the type of person she is(so much so they had to come to the concert to see her and her family!).  They genuinely spoke highly of her as if she's the type of neighbor that'd do anything to help, and check up on you if she hadn't heard how you'd been in awhile.  A trait she displays routinely in how she talks to and listens to her Halers.  Of course they also told a few stories of some of the high jinks she'd get into, but nothing that's not expected from any kid at that age that's also smart enough & mature enough to keep themselves safe and act responsibly.  Speaking of Memphis though, it has got to be one of the friendliest towns I've ever visited!  (Haven't been to Nashville, so it may very well be a Tennessee thing in general.)

 Ms. Hale's country aspirations and music are uplifting and genuinely help people cope and grow.  "Nervous Girls" itself being a one of a kind song that both uplifts and says "you're not alone, we all feel this way at different times."  "Goodbye Gone" is a double standard dancing anthem that touts women are capable of mending their hearts and moving on anyway they see fit.  Every track on her recently released album has a universal truth and is lyrically sound in the messages they convey that are both heartwarming and also so unique they stick with you like any songs from the country greats that have inspired her.  She treats her Halers as genuine friends.  She treats them as people, listens, and even communicates with them regularly.  Heck, she even chimes in with happy birthdays to them!  She doesn't make excuses or rationalize things.  She's earnest and when a topic comes up that she's unsure of how to handle or what she wants to say about, she politely recuses herself, not in ignorance or arrogance but with a gentle "I'm not well versed enough in this topic to speak of it in depth."  Of course, she does it more charismatic and with her own natural being herself flair.  Her fans aren't a meal ticket to her, or an audience to placate and feed lies to for image control.  She is what she presents herself as.  She's a normal girl who put her entire life on the line to go to Hollywood to make music and became an actress along the way.  She didn't seek fame or fortune.  She sought to do what she loves.  She's been quoted as saying the fans who support her she never expected nor even looked for, but the love they've given her has warmed her and helped her along the way.  She doesn't seek tabloid headlines.  Instead she opts to keep the focus on her career and letting her various talents speak for her when it comes to the headlines.  Of course she still has fun and interesting things to say along the way from all she's learned and experienced growing up.  She's a Tennessee woman through and through, heart and soul.  So much so, it's an absolute joy recounting how amazing she is any and every chance I get.

Speaking of her Halers, they have got to be one of if not the nicest fandom on the planet.  They are genuinely supportive and love her unconditionally.  They genuinely enjoy her work and praise her for being herself.  They see her for what she is, a kind gentle soul that helps when she can and wants to do what she loves.  Unlike pretty much every other fandom out there, there's zero drama, only good people.  Okay, sure there are your prototypical misogyny and sexist anons that try to sexualize and compare her to other celebs, but after some blocking/reporting that disappears pretty fast among her pages.  (Which by the way, Facebook tends to ignore sexual harassment reports, and twitter makes their reporting system so complicated it deters reporting it.  That needs to be corrected!)  If you used fandoms as a gauge of a celebs personality, Ms. Hale must truly be an angel.  Zero gossip mongering.  No fake headlines.  No death threats.  Only direct honesty and celebration. The only bit of gossip that ever seemed even remotely bad?  She got slightly distracted about something once at Starbucks and forgot what she ordered because of it.  She started to complain her order was wrong, but instead ended up apologizing profusely realizing the mistake.  That's it.  That's the worst gossip that's ever been reported.  It's not even bad.  It makes her sound like any normal nice person that may have been distracted by something that they were concerned about.

Lucy and her father, Preston Hale, at the Grand Ole Opry.

Oh, and in other news about this actress, she has even performed at the Grand Ole Opry! Yup, that's right! On June 21st of 2014, Lucy Hale officially sang on one of the greatest musical arts stages in existence! (Hey, I'll shill for who I want to shill for!)

Ms. Hale singing at the Opry.

Now I don't know about you, but accomplished Opry singer, iconic actress, down to earth naturally kind human being that hasn't let the stardom go to her head nor let it raise her onto a pedestal.  A woman that's a natural girl next door type by not letting her ego inflate from it all, yet still beams with confidence from all she's accomplished and is capable of?  That sounds good to me for X-23.  The perfect Laura Kinney.  Oh, and she likes archery?  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we just found Kate Bishop for the MCU too.

Ms. Hale also has a limited run clothing line coming from the Hollister Co. on August 8th.  A line that boasts her personal touch, and could very well help speak to the full range of her talents as a woman that could take over Hollywood itself.  The line has been quoted as being both sophisticated yet casual and comfy.  She's a multi-talented woman that speaks volumes on living your dreams and being what you want to be or doing what you want to do.  She sets an example of being free to be yourself.  That you can be supportive and kind while still pursuing your dreams.  Whether that dream be singing, dancing, designing a clothing line, or even acting, she routinely displays she's capable of anything she sets her mind to and succeeds.  Heck, she's even been a weather girl and brief co-news anchor.  It seems any opportunity she's given, she spins into a new foray to have at least tried at.  Something we've grown accustomed to seeing from X-23 herself.

If popularity is an issue, and I'd almost call this one a sign outright that maybe Fox might want to get on this movie like now, trending worldwide right now is Gay for Lucy.  Where both men and women are espousing their affection for this amazing actress and country singer.  Not surprising as Lucy Hale tends to be a quite regular trend setter.  Not just on twitter, but in all facets of life. So much so that she's been the cover girl for Cosmopolitan magazine twice!

Megan Kinney - Ashley Benson

Thanks to Pretty Little Liars, we've seen a wide range from Ms. Benson.  She's a highly capable actress that has routinely displayed that onscreen friend/familial type bond with her co-stars.  One of which being Lucy Hale herself.  There are many elements of her character Hanna's story arcs that help further suggest her capabilities in the role of this character.  Megan herself has a growth arc within the story from rebellious to supportive and understanding of her mother.  There are many character elements of Megan that are routinely displayed in Hanna's personality on the show.  The 5th season in particular with Hanna's change in hairstyle helps support this and presents a unique change to the character Megan that could equally work as well on screen as her drawn pixie cut.  If you were editing together a fan trailer for X-23, Pretty Little Liars with Hanna would be a good drawing on point for clips of Megan Kinney.

Debra Kinney - Ginnifer Goodwin

Debra Kinney really only has one actress that sticks out as the obvious casting choice.  Ginnifer Goodwin has that perfect onscreen presence and it provides another internal fun geek nod.  Her role as Mary Margaret/Snow White over in Once Upon A Time(not to mention her vast filmography that displays even more acting skill than that!) allows for some unique shock factor fun in the casting of Desmond.  Her line delivery and acting skill is well rounded and capable of much, and even before this idea came to mind she was already the sole candidate I could think of for this role, but there's definitely an interesting chemistry and audience reaction created to how it's paired against who could be cast as Desmond. Desmond being Debra Kinney's live in boyfriend and the catalyst for the end of act two in the story.  There's also a fun sub tone to the casting with her being a Tennessee native like Ms. Hale is.

Desmond - Josh Dallas

Desmond has been one of those characters I've had a hard time trying to think of who could fit.  It has to be someone that can convey pleasantness and yet also shock audiences when his little secret is revealed about who employs him.  In the origin miniseries the character is kind  of generic really and mostly background until that story point is revealed right before the action set piece finale of the second act.  Josh Dallas presents an interesting internal geek reference paired up to Ginnifer Goodwin, and they obviously have on (and off!) screen chemistry that helps sell the suspension of belief for this role, but it also presents a kind of geek shock moment.  He's an actor with a wide range and many capabilities, but the pop culture nod to Once Upon A Time helps further the chord his character's subplot strikes.  It creates a bigger wide-eyed response to his actions and also starts getting the audience on the edge of their seat right before the major action set piece at the end of act two really kicks off.  While in many ways it could be assumed this hinges on the audience having watched Once Upon A Time, his natural chemistry with Goodwin alongside his acting range still sells the surprise and shock factor needed for that turning point in the story.

Kimura - Naya Rivera or Shay Mitchell

Naya Rivera has always been my lead choice for this role.  Her acting range as displayed in all her work shows her more than capable enough to handle it.  In particular, her outstanding work on Glee as Santana(truly one of the only interesting highlights from the show is her character's growth!) has cemented the point outright.  Ms. Rivera brings a tangible bite to the role that a character such as Kimura would need.  She's also an avid speaker on being true to yourself, and helping others.  Her acting range is of such caliber that it's easy for people to forget that she isn't her characters that she portrays.  While her range displays the much needed sarcastic bite, if you've ever heard her in an interview, she's a soft spoken sweetheart that always has a kind word to say about anyone that's genuinely nice in Hollywood.

At one time, I've also considered that maybe Selena Gomez would make for an interesting portrayal of Kimura on the big screen, and it would allow her to extend her range as well, but then other ideas came to mind that might be better suited for her.  It is an option to keep in mind though, but creates a potential problem with what may be the only way to get a pure comic book accurate version of Laura's stories on film.

Also who should be up for consideration in the role is Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars fame too.  Her line delivery and acting range brings an extremely tangible scariness to the role.  She's also a strong advocate for charities that fight against human trafficking and this role could very well help give her a platform to be heard on these topics.  There is a little bit of a drawback though having 3 of the main 5 from PLL though.  Already wanting Lucy Hale and Ashley Benson in the lead roles starts to make the film almost a PLL episode itself.  Though Ms. Mitchell does have the skill to handle the role to be extremely haunting if she's included, at this point may as well find a spot for Troian Bellisario to cameo somewhere in it too.  Makes a fun film Easter egg entirely this route because of their joint show.  On that token, may as well find spots for all of them to cameo somewhere somehow to keep that giggle going.  They could even in theory play a little bit of "Where's Waldo" using this PLL Easter egg. "Did you spot them all in the movie? No? Better go back to the theater and look again!"

Douglas "Cypher" Ramsay (Mutant Rights Lawyer/Mutant MRD Liason)

Due to rights and other adaptation reasons, changing Matt Murdock's role as lie detector or counsel seems the best route.  An adult Cypher also sets a time frame.  This mutant's ability is to read languages, including body language.  He can detect when X-23 gives false testimony.  Having him also be a mutant rights lawyer establishes the growing world but still the struggle underneath.  It has the added benefit of highlighting the newly rapidly integrated societal norms.  It should create potential for addition within the Prequel-ish movies by portraying younger if even solely by cameo in them.  So who to cast as Cypher?

Neena "Domino" Thurman (Special Agent)

Per adaptations sake and rights reasons, Captain America's role in the miniseries would have to be changed. The easiest method for this would be to use Agent Morales, but she's within Marvel territory too being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This leaves her within the areas of where the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could and should tread.  So now it's time to think outside the box.  Domino seems the best choice for a highly trained agent that's a specialist in mutant affairs.  It makes for a great bridge gap to an X-Force feature on how she knows Wolverine too, or potentially any other mutants within that story including Wade Wilson.  How do you cast Domino though?  Is she all make up or should it be changed?  Blink transitioned well to the big screen though so maybe hers could too.  This could potentially establish a Mutant Response Division government subsection with an integrated aspect in the spirit of cooperation.

Story-wise, for the finale it also creates greater impact because of the character history parallels.  It potentially fills in other possible plot holes too.  Like how she managed to capture X-23.  

Something to keep in mind with the changes presented is that it's possible for fan created versions to alter the few changes back to comic accuracy if Marvel Studios provides some key scenes that can be spliced in.  For example, if Kate Bishop were added to the MCU under Ms. Hale's portrayal, they could do a scene of Matt Murdock and Captain Rogers vetting her for the recently newly formed S.H.I.E.L.D.  This could mirror the original scenes as depicted in the miniseries Target X and would allow fans a way to create their own self-edited version of the film that's accurate to the original comic story.  The same could be done with the story Not Forgotten as well.  If Selena Gomez were cast as a young Agent Morales fresh out of S.H.I.E.L.D. academy when things went topsy-turvy with Hydra(and here is why I changed my mind on her portrayal of Kimura as it would conflict then), a Morales and Kate Bishop story could mirror the elements needed to splice those scenes in place of what changes were presented to make that story work under Fox's rights.

While as things currently stand we cannot get an entirely accurate version of the story to the screen, there are ways to nod it and even enhance whatever version we do get.  Marvel themselves have made many changes to the films over the comics, and it's true, many comics can't go to the big screen in a 1 to 1 ratio.  X-23 is unique in the fact that outside of the rights conflicts, her story only needs minimal alterations.

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