Casting Video Game Adaptations

Video game films, generally, are terrible. Hollywood has been swinging and missing on them for decades. I think a lot of it comes down to not understanding both video games and movies. Of course they’re going to be terrible if the people making them have no context or comprehension of the source material.

Luckily, I rabidly consume both video games and films. So, Hollywood, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to cast a few adaptations that would kill at the box office if they were done right.


Vampires and the supernatural are hot right now. But why not make them bad ass again? Castlevania is the perfect series to do so. The Belmont clan–generations of vampire hunters–facing off against Dracula could be a great horror-action film.

Obviously, the main characters would be Simon Belmont and Dracula. I see Viggo Mortensen as Simon. He’s getting older but he would be perfect. Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises already proved he can fill dramatic and action roles simultaneously.

Vampire killer.

Mads Mikkelson should play Dracula. He’s got the European thing going, and he played Le Chiffre in Casino Royale,  one of the most memorable villains in the last 10 years.

He just looks evil.

Clearly, Guillermo del Toro, a boundlessly creative director with a penchant for the supernatural, would helm the film.


Metroid is one of Nintendo’s most atmospheric and creative franchises. It’s filled with alien worlds, great music and variety of unsettling enemies. It’s just begging to be adapted.

Plus, the series focuses on heroine Samus Aran, a galactic bounty hunter who spends her time terminating Space Pirates. Bounty hunter! Pirates! Space! What more could you want?

We’re halfway there already.

After her performance in Prometheus, and resemblance to the character, Charlize Theron is the obvious choice to play Samus.

The original game on NES was inspired by Alien, so it’s only fitting that Ridley Scott should direct. It’s exciting to think how he would interpret Samus’ power suit, the planet of Zebes, space pirates, metroids and Mother Brain. Zelda

If there’s a Nintendo franchise besides Metroid that’s perfect for an adaption, it’s Zelda. Link’s quests to rescue Princess Zelda and the citizens of Hyrule from Ganondorf have created a rich and detailed fantasy world to draw from.

Different takes on the universe and the, occasionally confusing, chronology of the series lend it to being adapted into a trilogy, too. Since Link is often reincarnated, the series also lends itself to reboots, which is good because “reboot” is one of, like, five words Hollywood executives understand.

It’s hard to say exactly who should play Link because he is depicted at different ages throughout the series. However, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood, veterans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, would be solid choices for an older Link. They’re both good actors with experience in epic fantasy films.


Dakota Fanning could fill the role of Princess Zelda. She looks vaguely like Zelda already and has some serious acting chops.

Ganondorf is a more difficult choice. Some have suggested The Rock because he’s a large, menacing physical presence. However, an actor who has enough ability to personify evil might be better. Two names come to mind immediately, Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman. A wild card choice would be Nic Cage because you know he’ll be absolutely unhinged.

Nobody could pull off this movie except Peter Jackson.


BioSchock is one of the most cinematic games in history, and it has one of the best stories in modern gaming. Apparently, this film is in development right now, although people have been saying that since 2009. Business magnate Andrew Ryan created Rapture, an objectivist, underwater utopia, for the best and brightest minds in society.

However, a black market, run by Frank Fontaine, and unchecked genetic alterations quickly turned the utopia into a crumbling dystopia. Andrew Ryan needs to be portrayed by someone charismatic, someone who could convince thousands of people to move to the floor of the damn Atlantic Ocean.

Robert Downey Jr. is that person. He also has the right look for the part. Frank Fontaine on the other hand, needs to be played by an Irish actor or someone who can pull off an Irish accent.

Who ever thought an objectivist paradise would fail? Oh, wait…

Colin Farrell would be a good option. He has a thick Irish brogue and was very believable playing shady types in London Boulevard and In Bruges. Christian Bale would also be a great choice, too, but it’s hard to say if he would want to do another movie with so many rabid fanboys invested in the property.

Jack Ryan, the protagonist of the game, is rarely depicted, so, really, he could be played by anyone. For some reason, in my mind, I’ve always pictured either Cillian Murphy or James McAvoy as Jack.

Would you kindly…

Sander Cohen was a relatively minor character, but his section of the game was eerily memorable. Sander was the artistic and cultural leader of Rapture, and, thus, had a certain amount of flair. A theatrical actor such as Alan Cumming, John Lithgow or Nathan Lane would be perfect.

Then there’s Dr. Brigid Tennenbaum. Three words: Helena Bonham Carter. Christopher Nolan, known for dark, cerebral films, would direct.

God of War

The God of War series hearkens back to the days of beat-em-ups such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Double Dragons but combines the ole’ hack and slash with Greek mythology. The Internet has made it clear it wants to see Djimon Hounsou in the role of Kratos.

And for once, it’s hard to argue with the Internet. Hounsou’s role in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator seems like perfect practice for the role of Kratos.


The gods are a more difficult proposition. Michael Gambon would lend some stoicism and wisdom to the role of Zeus. You would need someone with a bit more passion for Poseidon or Hades, though. Bryan Cranston would be an interesting choice for either role. Anyone who thinks that’s laughable hasn’t seen Breaking Bad.

Zac Snyder, who was responsible for 300would direct. Looking at 300  and Watchmen, it’s clear that he has a style that would translate well to a video game adaptation, especially God of War.

Beyond Good and Evil 

For the most part, Beyond Good and Evil flew under the radar. Despite sluggish sales, the game was critically acclaimed. The game tells the story of Jade, a photo journalist, on an alien planet, working with the local resistance movement to uncover a conspiracy. It has tremendous potential to be a cross between a science fiction and noir film in the tradition of Blade Runner and V For Vendetta.

Natalie Portman or Keira Knightly are both capable of the role. Pey’j, an anthropomorphic pig (it sounds weird but works), and father figure to Jade, could be played by Ron Pearlman. Various people on the Internet have called for Danny DeVito to play Pey’j, but it seems a too on-the-nose.

Ubisoft, the publisher of the game, is French, so it seems appropriate to cast at least one French actor. Based on his roles in The Professional and Mission Impossible, Jean Reno could play IRIS operative Double H.

Paul Verhoeven or John Carpenter, two directors well versed in off-beat science fiction and horror films, could do a lot with the Beyond Good and Evil universe. Just put my check in the mail, Hollywood.

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One thought on “Casting Video Game Adaptations

  1. There are some great ideas here. Castlevania would be dark and kind of mental. Charlize Theron would be a great Samus, I’d bet.

    I think you accidentally put a question mark after Elijah Wood’s caption. It should be a period. Perfect.

    Zach Snyder would do a great God of War. Watchmen was enough for me.

    I hope you get that check from Hollywood.

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