Actress Olivia Munn arrives at the "Do Something Awards" in Santa Monica, California August 19, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Gus Ruelas
There are some roles for which even A-listers would stoop to audition. And there are dream roles they may never see realized.
In the wake of the Disney/Lucasfilm merger, Hollywood may seem more plugged into the fanboy world than ever. But there are some pretty ambitious projects out there, along all scales of taste. Here's a rundown of 10 juicy roles and movies, who's been touted for the roles, and who we'd cast.
1. THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
This movie has had more stops and starts than a teenage driver learning to use a stick. In 2008, they went as far as screen-testing (hip-hop artist/actor Common was one who put on tights for the role of Green Lantern). But Marvel's The Avengers has lit a fire under DC to get its ultimate hero movie franchise started once and for all. Assuming Henry Cavill doesn't flame out like Brandon Routh, he'll probably reprise Superman. Who knows, maybe Christian Bale can be convinced (after much shouting) to bring in his Dark Knight (although the rumoured Armie Hammer would be fine). I'd give Common another shot at the Lantern. Jennifer Lawrence would be a GREAT Wonder Woman. And The Flash? We'll say Taylor Kitsch for the Canadian content.
2. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. The pop-erotic novel is the hottest property in Hollywood, following a multi-studio bidding war. Angelina Jolie is reportedly in talks to, ahem, DIRECT!! Ryan Gosling is a reported candidate for the title character. We think Michael Fassbender has the stuff, but after Shame and A Dangerous Method, he may be kinked out. Hey Michael, the world needs specialists. As for Anastasia, she's 22, so younger Hollywood will be lining up. Think Emma Stone, Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart (yes, really). We picture a young Jessica Chastain.
3. STAR WARS, EPS. VII, VIII AND IX
OK, we know almost nothing about what form these films will take. And the franchise hasn't done much for anybody's career except Harrison Ford's (heard from Hayden Christensen lately?). But whoever appears in the next instalment will get the exposure of their lives. We nominate Connor Cruise to play Han Solo and Princess Leia's young Jedi son (saw him in Red Dawn, yeah he's adopted, but those "brash grin" lessons his dad gave him paid off). Shia LaBeouf? Who'd believe him as Harrison Ford's son?
4. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
Holden Caulfield. Generations of young actors have salivated over the idea of playing the original template for angry, disaffected youth. Producers were morbidly excited over the fact that J.D. Salinger did not leave a huge estate when he died in '09, but his wishes were clear. Barring a change of heart by his trustees, this movie may not happen in our lifetime. The ideal candidate has to be charismatic and snotty, and Shia LaBeouf is a bit too old now. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin') maybe?
5. RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA
Commander Norton, Jimmy Pak, Surgeon-Cmdr. Laura Ernst. The "other" tantalizing Arthur C. Clarke novel (after 2001: A Space Odyssey), this tale of a human space crew sent to investigate something very big and extraterrestrial (no, not a black monolith, but a ship/city) has obsessed Morgan Freeman and director David Fincher for a decade. Both have said recently it'll happen sooner rather than later. Freeman insists on playing Commander Norton of the Endeavour. But daredevil crewman Jimmy Pak would be a great movie-star launch for Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-0), while Angelina Jolie could pull off sexy ship's doctor Laura Ernst.
6. A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
Ignatius J. Reilly. The lazy young Ignatius, a semi-enthusiastic job hunter in a crazy-ass New Orleans has become something of a Gen X Holden Caulfield since the novel's 1980 release (11 years after author John Kennedy Toole's death). The movie has continuously been in development. John Belushi, Chris Farley, John Candy, Will Ferrell and -- most recently -- Zach Galifianakis have all been Ignatiuses of choice. We suggest Patton Oswalt.
Not everybody asks, "How high?" when Marvel says, "Jump!" Edgar Wright took so long getting around to this film about the tiny original Avengers member Dr. Hank Pym, they left him out of the first film. This year, a "promo" reel for Ant-Man wowed the gang at the San Diego Comic Con. But still no casting. Stunt casting with, say, Shaq might be fun. But our serious choice is Aaron Eckhart.
8. GHOSTBUSTERS 3
Shooting is delayed on the project until Fall 2013 because of budget problems at Sony. Director Ivan Reitman has used the word "restart" with reference to GB3, but pointedly not the word "reboot." Translation: It's a reboot. If we're right, a la The Three Stooges, we're thinking Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Venkman, Seth Rogen as Ray and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon) as Egon.
Master Chief. If one of the most popular video game series in history can't make it to the big screen, they should give up on the games-to-movie dream. In the last five years the convoluted tale of alien armies, past and present has fallen into the hands of Peter Jackson (as producer), Guillermo Del Toro and District 9's Neill Blomkamp. All previous plans having fallen through, Steven Spielberg has expressed interest in picking up the ball. Whoever plays the game's signature character Master Chief will be revered and reviled all over the gamer universe. Sam Worthington and Channing Tatum are by-the-book choices. A better one (and better actor) would be Ray Stevenson (the gladiator Pullo in the HBO series Rome).
10. THE GENERAL PETRAEUS STORY A.K.A. "THE SURGE"
No announced treatment yet, but we've already got a tagline, "He gave new meaning to the word 'embedded journalism.'" Explosions, international intrigue, sex. A vehicle for a middle-aged and still-credibly-hot action hero. Bruce Willis, come on down.