honorary Hose Monster:
I remember when my buddy and I saw Tim Burton’s Batman on opening day in June of 1989, we walked out of the theater thinking that they just HAD to make a sequel and Danny DeVito would star as the Penguin. We thought he would fill that role perfectly and lamented that the people at Warner Bros. would either never make a sequel, make another movie but put some two-bit villain like Egghead in it, or miscast the role of the Penguin and give it to Wilford Brimley or something.
Instead, they actually did what we thought would lead to great success, shockingly enough. (Then they turned the franchise over to Joel Schumacher and alienated Michael Keaton and the next two Batman movies blew beyond comprehension. Batman and Robin definitely qualifies as one of the ten worst movies I have ever seen.)
But that experience of fantasizing about a future movie and imaginatively casting actors in roles stuck with me, and occasionally I’ll think of a story I would like to see turned into a movie and imagine the actors who would bring it to life.
With the proliferation of comics and cartoon stories now hitting the silver screen, it occurs to me that Hollywood more than owes us a Thundercats movie.
Growing up, my entire existence consisted of He-Man and Thundercats. In my early youth, I had Master of the Universe clothes and played exclusively with He-Man toys, and if I wasn’t watching a He-Man cartoon, I was reinacting it by stepping into my mother’s darkened closet, holding aloft my light-up plastic sword and saying “By the power of Greyskull!” (Sadly, the 80s movie Masters of the Universe film starring Dolph Lundgren and Courtney Cox (!) might also make that ten worst movies list; how they could have ever thought replacing Orko with that stupid-ass Gwildor character could lead to success still escapes me.)
But as He-Man passed from popularity, my interests turned to my other favorite cartoon of all time: Thundercats.
Thundercats gave me a more sophisticated all-consuming interest. I had the toys, yes, but not all of them. I had to create my own Thundercats world. And I actually had friends who played Thundercats with me; we would act out the storylines on our own, and I always got to be Lion-O.
Anyway, I think two-hours of watching the Thundercats come to third-earth because the mighty planet of Thundera had entered its death throes all the while pursued by the Mutants on the big screen would make me exceedingly happy.
On that vein, I have started to think about who would best play the roles. I’ve made some preliminary decisions as stated below, but I need some help on the other stuff.
- Lion-O: Probably the toughest casting call in the whole movie, because depending on how they do the story, you might need one person to play the young Lion-O and then the other person to carry the main role. The other problem is that everything bases off Lion-O, so you have to get a decent actor to handle the pressure and athletic requirements of the role. Tom Welling from Smallville might be the perfect actor for this role, but he needs to find a way to make his voice sound a little more gruff and not look so pretty boyish. But he does have the right body and the proper youthfulness. Ultimately, the Thundercats movie might have to pull someone out of nowhere for Lion-O, just like X-Men pulled Hugh Jackman out of nowhere. And actually, Hugh Jackman could play this role perfectly if he looked a little younger and could act a little bit better; he has the right hair and the right body. And if they cast Casper Van Dean, I am hitting myself in the head with a boulder. He stinks.
- Panthro: Easiest decision for the entire movie: Vin Diesel as Panthro. He has the perfect body, skin color, screen presence, tongue-in-cheek humor, deep voice and bald head to play this role. Plus, my girlfriend loves him, so I have to throw her a bone, and watching Vin try to handle nun chucks could raise a chuckle. Ten years ago this role goes to Bruce Willis, but he has aged too much. Maybe I can find a spot for him somewhere else. Laurence Fishburne is another interesting choice, but he’s not quite buff enough. Those shirtless scenes in Matrix Reloaded kind of creeped me out.
- Tygra: Tough role, but crucial to the quality of the movie, as Tygra stands in as the elder Thundercat and will have to provide guidance to young Lion-O. I think you need someone a little older and sophisticated to tackle Tygra, but still athletic enough to kick some ass. A young Christopher Walken would be perfect, but I fear his time has passed. Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 and The X-Files could be an interesting choice. Come to think of it, Annabeth Gish, the girl who played Agent Reyes those last two years could also work as the next character…
- Cheetara: Michelle Pfieffer convinced me in Batman Returns of her ability to do a role like this and I think she could do it again here. However, I remember Cheetara as a taller woman with more of a minx-like character to her (and much bigger boobs; animators have such imaginations). Plus Michelle has gotten a little old perhaps, and I don’t know how believable she could look trying to run really fast. If Heidi Klum could act, casting her could be an interesting experiment and would probably put a few more asses in the seats. Elle MacPherson is another interesting possibility, and she does have some acting experience, but still somewhat questionable. Halle Berry could potentially tackle this one, and Sophie Marceau (with an accent different than French…) is another interesting possibility. I think I need some help on this one.
- Willy-Kat and Willy Kit: Another tough call, because you either have to cast 13 year-old kids or do Lord of the Rings filming styles while handling characters who are extremely agile and bound around in trees. Clearly feeling the X-Men influence, I think the rapport between the kid who played Bobby (Iceman) in X2 and Anna Paquin could work, but I don’t know how athletic Anna is. I also think Tobey Maguire and Orlando Bloom could do an interesting job as Willy-Kat, but finding a Kit for those two could cause more trouble. We’ll have to conduct a casting call, I guess.
- Snarf: Snarf will end up as a CGI character, no question, but Hank Azaria needs to provide the voice for him. Just because he can do any voice in the world. And if Hank’s not available, we can give Frank Oz a call.
- Mum-ra: Another easy decision: Viggo Mortensen. He has the ability to control a scene with his quiet forcefulness, a must for the Mum-ra as decrepit mummy scenes, plus he has that wild eye and the athleticism to handle the other part of the character. And I have a feeling he would just love the chance to play a villain lime Mum-ra.
- Slithe: Danny DeVito or Jack Black. I cannot think of anyone else fat and short. The character won’t have to move around much, just order his henchman around a bit. Jack Black might provide a little more humor and look more convincing in getting his ass handed to him.
- Jackleman: Gary Busey. He’s friggin’ crazy. If he’s too old, his son Jake would also work. But both of them are completely loony-looking, a must for this part.
- Monkian: Will Farrel. Hands down, no question. He cracks me up and will do a great job of getting his ass kicked around.
Anyway, I think I’ve covered the major roles here. I still need some help casting, but I know my fellow loyal Thundercats fans will help me out soon enough.