Casting Call: In Hero Years… I’m Dead

In Hero Years... I'm Dead. A Digital Original novel.

In the past I’ve been asked by folks what I’d do if Hollywood came calling about a book of mine. I generally answer that I would “take the money and run.” I’m still of that opinion. But the other day I was given reason to think about my superhero noir novel, In Hero Years… I’m Dead, and the possibility of a film. After all, superheroes are doing huge box office numbers; and optioning an original novel is going to be less expensive than buying a high-priced franchise and…

So Kat Klaybourne and I were on the phone and started playing the Casting Call game. You pick a character, choose some actors, and all of a sudden you have a star-studded cast that would cost a bazillion dollars to assemble, but someone in Hollywood will have that vision, right?

I thought I would share with you some of our choices. You’re welcome to weigh in with your own in comments. It’ll be useful to have a cast in mind when Hollywood calls. (In any discussions, please avoid spoilers for those who’ve not yet read the book.)

For our hero, who’s never really named, we had a tough time because the character can be a chameleon, has to be world-weary yet capable of action, smart, aggressive and tough. We came up with a number of choices. I think all of those actors can hit those marks. I’m just not sure which would be best. What do you think of our nominees?

Alan Rickman
George Clooney
Pierce Brosnan
Tim Roth
Mark Valley

Doctor Sinisterion: There really are only two choices for Sinisterion, who has to be ruthless and cold, and needs to show signs of having had a hard life. He’s got to be brilliant and regal, and yet capable of a civilized exchange. And the nominees are:

Max von Sydow
Clint Eastwood

Nighthaunt: This was another tough one to cast. You have to have an action hero who is well past his prime, and still very strong and capable. In the novel he has a presence within the shadows and is never fully seen; so his voice has got to be very strong, as would be his sense of drama. Here we had three nominees:

Gene Hackman
Anthony Hopkins
Sean Connery

Graviton: Casting Graviton was only slightly easier than Nighthaunt, since he’s the most normal of the characters in the book. Well, normal for someone born on another planet who can whittle rebar with a fingernail. Strong, noble, but feeling his years; a man of conviction who knows his glory days have passed him by, Graviton offered a number of interesting nominees:

Timothy Dalton
George Lazenby
Tom Selleck

Scarlet Fox/Selene Kole: Selene is the meatiest female role in the book. She’s tough, brilliant, very independent and sexy. Four actresses immediately suggested themselves:

Sigourney Weaver
JoBeth Williams
Emma Thompson
Michelle Pfeiffer

Those are the main five characters in the novel. I’ll let you think about them. Discuss—please, mind the spoilers.

I have ideas for the other roles, too, like Redwing, Kid Coyote, Puma, Golden Guardian and Vixen. I’ll post them another time.

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7 Responses to “Casting Call: In Hero Years… I’m Dead”

  1. While I was reading the book, there were certain voices my mind associated with some of the characters… not so much whole actors.

    For Nighthaunt, I pictured the voice of the actor who played Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) and/or Michael Keaton’s Batman.

    I saw “hero” as more like Matt Frewer in his “Edison Carter” days (20 Minutes into the Future: Max Headroom). He’s probably too old for the role now, but I think he would have been perfect in the day. (Maybe now he’d be more of a Puma.)

    Alan Rickman seemed like a good Sinisterion to me. Eastwood’s played too many good guys to strike me as a mastermind type.

    I could see Sandra Bullock as Scarlet Fox. She’s smart, she’s played some strong roles, and could pull off the sophisticated socialite part.

  2. Oh, heck, I am mortified that I forgot Sandra Bullock. You’re right, she could play Scarlet Fox very easily.

    Jackie Earle Haley and Michael Keaton I love, but neither is old enough to be Nighthaunt. (Maybe we use them as the voices in the animated version. 🙂 )

    Matt Frewer is a great idea, from that era, definitely. From that same era, Bruce Willis would have hit the spot, too.

    Your comment about Eastwood is valid, but I was thinking he might like the reversal. That’s probably because I loved him in UNFORGIVEN. Rickman would also work there very well.

  3. I have to admit, this is a fun game to play.

    For the hero, my top two choices would be Viggo Mortensen or Daniel Day-Lewis.

    Doctor Sinisteron – Sir Ian McKellen. Having Magneto as the alleged villainous mastermind will greatly increase the nerd cred of the movie.

    Nighthaunt – I know who he’s supposed to be an analog for, but in my mind, I was seeing someone like Morgan Freeman or Louis Gossett, Jr. for this role.

    Scarlet Fox – Scarlet has me thinking redheads, so Julianne Moore, Lauren Holly, or possibly Dina Meyer.

    Gravitron – Okay, admittedly I couldn’t really come up with anyone for Gravitron, though given his day job, I was picturing an aging body-builder type. Isn’t Schwarzenegger available for acting again? 🙂

  4. We need to start an internet campaign to make this happen. Super hero movies are so trendy these days that we need to mix it up with originality.

    Hero: What about Jeff Bridges? With his recent appearance in Tron: Legacy, I think he would do a good job with this role.

    Doctor Sinisteron: I second getting Sir Ian McKellen.

    Nighthaunt: Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh in Battlestar Galactica). He could pull off a good dejected hero.

    Scarlett Fox: I instantly thought of Michelle Pfeiffer before I got down to your casting nominations, so I think it is meant to be.

    Gravitron: Thomas Haden Church. I think he could play a good has-been tough guy with a good dash of humor.

  5. Hero: Liam Neeson, with Viggo being a close second.

    Doctor Sinisterion: Patrick Stewart anyone?

    Nighthaunt: Took me a while to come up with someone, but then it hit me. Burt Reynolds. Richard Dean Anderson is another choice (Macgyver is a Felix anyway).

    Scarlett Fox: I like Sandra Bullock here, but Catherine Zeta-Jones isn’t a bad idea.

    Gravitron: Not sure on this one. Maybe Kevin Sorbo?

  6. Just finished the book last week and was very impressed with it. When I was reading it I thought this would be a great movie. Well here is what I came up with.

    Our Hero. Bruce Willis

    Doctor Sinestron. Sir Ian McKellan or Christopher Lee.

    Graviton Ron Pearlman

    Nighthaunt Michael Ironside

    Scarlett Fox, Tough One, but Sandra Bullock


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