Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fan-Casting DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE: Part 9

Click here to review Part 8.

So far:
Superman saved the crew of an orbital space station when it fell to Earth.  Lois Lane is investigating the crash for The Daily Planet.  Bruce Wayne came to Metropolis as part of a joint business venture with Lex Luthor, but as Bruce arrives at the LexCorp factory, he spots John Corben, a mercenary who stole kryptonite from S.T.A.R. Labs in Gotham.

Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck Richard Armitage) walks onto the main production level of the LexCorp factory.  He rejoins the tour with Lex Luthor (James Nesbitt), Lucius Fox (Ernie Hudson) and Mercy Graves (Sanaa Lathan).  Lex makes some disparaging comments about how droll and boring Clark Kent can be.

In the factory, they oversee production of the construction/excavation drones (I still need a name for the robots).  Lex stresses the benefits of upgrading the drones with weapons capabilities to secure military contracts.  Bruce and Lucius shut that idea down.

Maybe, maybe, maybe we get a cameo from the drones' project leader, Supervisor John Henry Irons.  This would be a fun cameo and a nice easter egg, possibly leading to Irons' heroic alter-ego farther down the line.

Steel/John Henry Irons (Henry Simmons)

I was a big fan of NYPD Blue in the '90s.  When Henry Simmons joined the cast, I remember thinking he would make an awesome Steel if they made a "Death of Superman" movie.  Unfortunately, Hollywood went in a different direction

Lex Luthor excuses himself from the group and has Mercy lead them through the production tour.  Lex goes downstairs to a secret laboratory.  He meets with John Corben (Michael Biehn) and Professor Emmett Vale (David Clennon).

Professor Vale (David Clennon)

This is another example where I'm likely wasting a good actor on a too-small part.  David Clennon has a distinguished look, but more than that he has a voice that can drip with authority or sarcasm or both.  Professor Vale is a small part, but critical to the creation of Metallo.  And maybe Clennon could do something special with the few lines he would have.

For the fashionable CEO.
Corben delivers the lead case full of kryptonite to Lex.  They briefly discuss Corben's payment, and then Lex asks Corben if he wants to know the most expensive secret in the world.

Lex Luthor gives a monologue justifying his hatred for Superman, culminating with the explanation that kryptonite is the key to Superman's destruction.  Luthor and Vale unveil their creation, a suit of mechanized battle armor designed to fight Superman, which would be powered by the kryptonite.

Cut To: That night, in another part of town.

We see The Daily Planet website on a computer monitor.  Scroll through Lois Lane's story on the jettisoned escape pods.  We see Jimmy Olsen's photograph of Superman and Dr. Erdel looking at the hole burned through the bottom of the pod.  We pull away to see who it is that is reading the story.

And we see John Jones sitting at a desk in a dark room.

Martian Manhunter/J'Onn J'Onzz/John Jones (Giancarlo Esposito)*

J'Onn J'Onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, rounded out the original Justice League of America lineup as a surrogate for Superman and Batman.  Like the Man of Steel, he's a displaced alien living on Earth, and he shares a number of Superman's powers, including super strength, speed and flight.  He also has telepathic powers, the ability to phase through solid objects, and alter his shape.  He can assume the appearance of different people and creatures.  To blend in with Earthlings, J'Onn J'Onzz has adopted the role and look of Detective John Jones.

In the comics, J'Onn was transported to Earth through a freak scientific accident.  Doctor Saul Erdel tried to contact Mars, and his crazy scientific equipment…brought a Martian to the lab.  Exactly as you would expect to happen.  For the purpose of these movies, I have changed how J'Onn arrives on Earth, but the details won't be revealed until probably the third movie.  For now, what's important is that J'Onn is a Martian living on Earth in disguise as ordinary human-looking John Jones.

If you've seen the fourth season of Breaking Bad, you can understand why Giancarlo Esposito is one of my favorite actors.  He can capture the austerity, aloofness, or simple bemusement of the Martian.  And he can wear the hell out of a fedora.

To Be Continued…

* Until about an hour ago, I was wavering between Esposito and Javier Bardem.

Bardem would bring an entirely different energy and power to the role.  Honestly, I would love either actor in the role, but I think Esposito might have the slight edge with his voice.  And this way, maybe I'll find another part suitable for Bardem.

To Be Continued…

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