Jul 12 2013 10:00am

If Fox is Doing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Then This Should Be Their Cast

The League of Extraordinary GentlemenWhile the 2003 film seemed to prove beyond doubt that adapting Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a bad idea, rumor has it that Fox is attempting to adapt it for television. Chances are that the pilot won’t make it out of production hell (or the show will get canceled after five episode because it’s Fox), but either way it seemed like a fun chance to do some armchair casting with who’s out there today...

Just to be clear, I usually cast from people who I deem to be a “reasonable” pool, meaning actors who often work, or at least have worked, in television. Cumberbatch and Hiddleston are not on this list because they are on every list. Occasionally an unreasonable request slips in there because I’m only human. Alas.


Mina Murray—Sophia Myles

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Spohia Myles

She captivated oodles of fans in her turn as Madame de Pompadour on Doctor Who’s “The Girl in the Fireplace,” but what impressed most about Myles was not how well she could balance in all that French finery—it was how commanding her presence was. She could easily helm the show as Dracula’s Mina Murray, with all the poise and strength that would prove what a mistake it was to keep the character on ice for the decade-old film. (Seriously, how Quatermain ended up in charge in that script is an infuriating not-so-mysterious mystery.) She’s also no stranger to American television following her run in Moonlight, so she’s got a edge over the competition. Plus, we already know she’s got the chops for period acting I know, I know, someone out there is probably shouting Michelle Dockery! at me. Yes, you are very smart, she’d be lovely too. If I could seriously dream cast, I’d probably pull Haley Atwell in as an alternative for the part. You know, any woman who can shoot a pistol at Captain America while he cowers....


Captain Nemo—Sendhil Ramamurthy

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sendhil Ramamurthy

Captain Nemo is difficult in that there are not a plethora of mainstream Indian actors to choose from (being a fault of casting, not a lack of actors), leading to the same seven or eight names coming up over and over. That being said, Nemo could be the ideal place to cast a fresh face who no one has seen before to showcase some new talent. But this is a casting post, so who’s about now with the chops? One of the first options who comes to mind is easily Sendhil Ramamurthy because he’s familiar with genre work due to his time as Mohinder on Heroes. Mohinder had that brooding nature that is incredibly well-suited to any interpretation of Verne’s Nautilus captain. In addition he’s a good age for Nemo; television likes to skew too young for everything, but Ramamurthy is not so young for an audience to have to suspend their disbelief over the complexity of the character. Another good call (if they could get him over to the U.S. would be Jeetu Verma who played “The Indian” in Tarsem Singh’s The Fall.


Allan Quatermain—Jason Watkins

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Jason Watkins

Just to be perfectly clear, there is no way that Allan Quatermain even vaguely resembles Sean Connery. According to author H. Rider Haggard’s description of the guy, he’s wiry, short, and not exactly handsome. No Connery for anyone, and anyway he’s retired. And not a TV guy. So let’s go with someone who’s laid down a few impressive performances in genre television, but deserves a shot at something with a little more meat on bone. Jason Watkins showed ridiculous range as Herrick in Being Human, and was creepy fun in Doctor Who’s “Nightmare in Silver,” but he’s never tackled a role quite like this one. I think it would be a whole lot of fun to let him at it. Casting a person like Watkins would prevent the role from being romanticized, which Quatermain’s source material never really did, but Hollywood and television love to do. And preventing Quatermain from being a cringe-worthy character due to insensitivity is something that the show would absolutely have to battle with utmost care. Another interesting younger possibility would be Dominic Cooper, though he may be strictly into film now.


Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde—Ben Whishaw

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Ben Whishaw

Maybe this is a bit of wishful thinking on my part, as these aren’t normally the sorts of roles Whishaw takes and he’s getting bigger by the day—he’ll be in Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem this year. But he’s done television (The Hollow Crown Trilogy, The Hour), and I literally cannot think of another person I would more prefer to see in the role. Imagine Skyfall’s Q in Victorian Era garb, and then just imagine him becoming a beast who has more in common with Jean-Baptiste Grenouille of Perfume: The Story of a Murder. It’s horrifying. It’s gorgeous. I’m getting chills and heart palpitations just imagining it. Having someone play Jekyll with such a mild manner would make Hyde’s appearances all the more jarring—and of course, there’s also the question of how to handle Hyde. It’s commonly achieved via special effects or prosthetics, though certain productions go for different actors (always a mistake). I’d prefer them to go the prosthetics route, if only because it seems as though no one has made an impressive, modern effort to do that kind of transformation with the same actor in a long time.


Hawley Griffin, The Invisible Man—Iwan Rheon

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Iwan Rheon

I can’t help it, I’m uttered tickled at the idea of Rheon playing practically the exact same character he played on Misfits, just older and far more mentally disturbed. Iwan Rheon’s Simon Bellamy was such a subtle and heartbreaking portrayal, it would be great to give him the chance to kick that character up a notch and really shoot for the crazy rafters. And now he’s got even more cred to his name, having recently portrayed Ramsay Snow/Bolton in the latest season of Game of Thrones. Barring that, casting someone who has a knack for truly off-beat characters, like Mackenzie Crook, would also be a step in the right direction.


Campion Bond—Hugh Bonneville

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hugh Bonneville

That sounds about right doesn’t it? Not dear old Jimmy Bond (who is perhaps the most horrific figure to consider in these stories), but Grampa Bond, who is just trying to do the right thing, maybe, thank you. Hugh Bonneville seems like the most trustworthy, stalwart guy, which is want you want from MI-5 and the Empire’s finest. The Englishman’s Englishman’s Englishman. He just works in a cuddly but-don’t-cuddle-him sort of way.


Fu Manchu—George Takei

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, George Takei

It’s always awkward casting characters that play into deep-rooted stereotypes, which means whoever played the part of Fu Manchu would have to have a heavy grasp of the ironic and a willingness to try and transcend any campy one-note villain schtick. Which you know George Takei would be only too happy to do, so I suggest we get him outfitted for this show, stat.


Professor Moriarty—Richard E. Grant

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, RIchard E. Grant

Let’s be honest: it was fun seeing Grant play the Great Intelligence in Doctor Who, but he was woefully underused. That and he didn’t really get the chance to enjoy playing evil the way one does playing the Napoleon of Crime. It would be much more interesting to see just how villainous Grant could be if really turned loose in a sensibly odious way.


Mycroft Holmes—Should Just Be Mark Gatiss Again. Obviously.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mark Gatiss

You know it. I know it. Plus, crossing those universes over would mess with everyone’s heads in the meanest way.


And there are so many more possibilities: Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Jimmy Bond? Katie McGrath as Rosa Coote? Paterson Joseph as C. Auguste Dupin? What about those briefly sighted super cameos that crop up everywhere? Are we going to bring Asa Butterfield back to TV for the Artful Dodger? Discuss!

Emily Asher-Perrin always wanted to play Jekyll and Hyde as a kid. She still kinda does. She has written essays for the newly released Doctor Who and Race and Queers Dig Time Lords. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

Christopher Bennett
1. ChristopherLBennett
I am so tired of the myth that FOX is a show-killer. It's been a decade since Firefly. The executives behind its cancellation have been replaced. The new regime is far more willing to keep shows on the air in spite of low ratings, as we've seen with Dollhouse and Fringe. It's unfair to judge the current FOX regime for the actions of its predecessors.

In the past year, FOX has cancelled 7 shows. In the same span, The CW cancelled 6 shows, CBS cancelled 8, NBC cancelled 14, and ABC cancelled 15. Not to mention that many of those non-FOX shows, like Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue, Zero Hour, and Cult, were pulled after only 3-4 episodes, barely given a chance (and barely deserving it, in many cases). If anything, other networks have long had a worse record with genre shows than FOX has -- buying fewer in the first place, cancelling them just as quickly if not more so, and often not making them very worthwhile to begin with... or ruining ones that start out good, like NBC's Heroes. I think the only reason FOX gets singled out is because it's bought so many more genre shows than any other network (the only other broadcast network rivalling its ratio of genre shows to non-genre shows was UPN, and that didn't last as long) and has made more shows that were memorable and impressive enough that their fans cared whether they survived or not.

In other news, Gatiss as Mycroft has never really worked for me. I'm not that impressed by him as an actor overall; I think he too often gets acting gigs just because he's the one writing and producing, not because he's the best actor for the job. And besides, Mycroft's supposed to be heavyset and sluggish, not lean and wiry. (Although I hear Rhys Ifans is going to play him on Elementary, and he doesn't have the right build either.)
2. a1ay
In other news, Gatiss as Mycroft has never really worked for me.

Agreed. Playing Mycroft Holmes as a neurotic, creepy careerist is just bizarre, but there were a lot of bad things about Sherlock - Irene Adler in particular.
Tom Smith
3. phuzz
Sendhil Ramamurthy would make a bloody great Nemo. But I still hope this show doesn't get made, the film was quite enough thank you.
Christopher Bennett
4. ChristopherLBennett
@3: The film was nothing like the comic, and film as a medium has little in common with television as a medium. Films are under pressure to fit into a narrow range of blockbuster formulae, and storytelling takes a back seat. Television is much more of a writers' medium, and the tighter budgets mean the stories need to be more driven by character interplay, which strikes me as where LXG has the most potential as a concept. This could be a chance to get right what the movie got wrong.
Alex Livingston
5. AlexLivingston
Iain Glen for Quatermain, I say.

AQ starts the series near-death in a opium den, so he'd have to lose quite a bit of his across-the-narrow-sea tan.
Tristan Elwell
6. Elwell
I appreciate that this is just a fun fan game, but, considering the inevitable awfulness of this project, not to mention Alan Moore's wishes, my dream cast would be NOBODY.
Christopher Bennett
7. ChristopherLBennett
Right, Alan Moore's wishes. "How dare somebody try to do an adaptation or reinterpretation of my work which is based on adapting and reinterpreting other people's work!"

If Moore's canon proves anything, it's that it can be immensely worthwhile for one creator to devise an alternative take on another creator's work. True, it won't always succeed, but that's just Sturgeon's Law. If nobody tries, there won't be any failures, but there won't be any successes either.
Tim Marshall
8. smaug86

It's not that Fox has killed more shows than anyone, but that they have killed an inordinate amount of shows during the '90s and early 2000s that I really liked and that were really good, IMO, without giving them a full season or two to find an audience and gain some traction(aside from Firefly): The Ben Stiller Show, Get a Life, The Critic, Brimstone, Strange Luck, Flying Blind, Opposite Sex, Wonderfalls, Profit, Lone Gunmen, Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Freakylinks, Alcatraz, Tru Calling, Greg the Bunny, Undeclared, and Action!

And then there are numerous shows where Fox stuck their nose in and screwed things up, causing them to derail and then get cancelled. Sure, the other networks have done these things for much longer, but Fox always seemed to be willing to give more genre shows a chance than the other networks would, only to pull the rug out from under them so quickly. It's hard to let go of that long, built-up disappointment/hatred. Fringe, Dollhouse, 24, and Malcolm in the Middle, have helped ease that a bit, but I wasn't happy with losing the Sarah Connor Chronicles just as it was really getting into interesting space.

I agree with you about Mycroft's portrayal. The film's version did not come close to meeting the book version's description or what I see in my head.
Tim Marshall
9. smaug86
This would be awesome casting and as long as they matched these actors with great writers the show could erase much of what the film version destroyed.
Christopher Bennett
10. ChristopherLBennett
@8: Again, that was a long time ago, and the execs who made those decisions no longer work there. Is it fair to blame the current executives for the decisions made by entirely different people? That's like blaming President Obama for President Bush's decisions, or blaming President Reagan for President Carter's decisions. They have the same job and work in the same place, but they're not the same people.

(Okay, Alcatraz was a recent cancellation, but I don't think many people would agree with you that it deserved a longer life than it got -- and at least FOX let it air its entire season as originally scheduled, rather than pulling it midseason as NBC, ABC, and The CW have done with so many recent genre flops.)

And other networks cancel plenty of shows too. It's not that FOX has cancelled a higher percentage of its genre shows; it's that the genre shows it makes have tended to attract more loyal followings, so the cancellations hurt more.
11. Amy77
I actually enjoyed the movie and never read the comic. I have the DVD. I hope they do make a TV show and pick a decent cast.
12. PhantomPirate
I would love to see them make a show on this and expand on the LXG, they could take it even further than the film and do a lot :D

I agree with pretty much all of your casting picks, especially Sophia Myles, Ben Whisaw and Sendhil Ramamurthy. I agree with #5 Alex Livingston, Iain Glen would be great for Quartermain!
13. MicheleG
I actually liked the first film, it is a guilty pleasure. Besides, Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray. Since "Elementary" has hinted that Mycroft in their verse is much more than he seemed at first glance, I'm all for Rhys Ifans making a guest appearance if they do this show. IDC that he's not fat. He carries IMO the essence of who I expect Mycroft to be. He has a "big" personality, if that makes any sense-even if his body is no longer large in girth. He could work-and what a trip it would be.

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