Casting Call: More Video Game Adaptations

A while ago I wrote a post in which I played casting director for yet-to-be-made movie adaptions of video games.

It was a lot of fun so I thought a write another post on some of the games I excluded previously. Hollywood could definitely use my help.

Mass Effect 

Like Bioshock, Mass Effect has an engrossing story, interesting characters and a detailed, atmospheric world.  If done right, it has the potential to become the next great sci-fi series.

Ideally, the first movie would cover the events of Mass Effect 2, which is the best game in the series. Sam Worthington should play Shepard. Movies such as Terminator: Salvation and Avatar have already proven he can do the sci-fi/action thing, and he bears striking resemblance to Shep.

Scarlett Johansson should play Miranda. She had a similar role as government spook in The Avengers and we know she can wear the hell out of a jumpsuit.

Straighten her hair, change her name and you have Miranda.

I would like to see Chad Coleman, who played Cutty in The Wire and Tyreese in The Walking Dead, play Jacob. He’s a kind of serious character, and Coleman played one of the most serious characters (Cutty) on one of the most serious TV shows of all time. She might be a bit old for the role now, but I instantly thought of Lori Petty in Tank Girl when I envisioned live-action version of Jack.

Obviously, voice actors Martin Sheen and Seth Green would reprise their roles as the Illusive Man and Joker respectively.

J.J. Abrams is already heading all other manner of space series, Star Wars and Star Trek, so he might as well cement his place as nerd overlord and savior and direct Mass Effect.

Metal Gear Solid

If you’ve ever played a Metal Gear game you’re already nodding your head. Hideo Kojima, creator and director, of the Metal Gear series takes great care in the craft of his games. Again, as anyone who has played the games knows, the cut scenes are mini movies in and of themselves.

Fan boys across the Internet have been theorizing and hoping for this movie for years, thus there are a lot of opinions floating around about who should play Snake.

A lot of people want to see Viggo Mortensen play Snake. But come on guys, he can’t play every long-haired, bearded badass character in cinema. Others want to see Hugh Jackman play Snake, which no. Just no.

I have a couple of ideas about this. Michael Fassbender would be an interesting choice. There’s no doubt he’s a great actor, and he showed his prowess playing a cold, detached killing machine in the first 10 minutes of X-Men: First Class, which I prefer to call Erik Lensherr: Nazi Killer.  Timothy Olyphant is a dark horse candidate.

There are a lot of nerds that probably wouldn’t be willing to give him a chance after Hitman, but he’s built like Snake and his turn as Raylan Givens in Justified has provided him with experience playing a lone-wolf government agent. I also think he might be able bring a little humor to the role.

Casting a compelling Liquid Snake opposite Solid is just as important. Hell, if you don’t like Olyphant as Solid, he’d probably play a great Liquid opposite Fassbender. Tom Hardy would also be a good choice. So far in his career, he’s been able to blend seamlessly into a variety of roles.

However, if a studio was inclined to go with Olyphant, it would be a natural leap to cast Walton Goggins as Liquid. Olyphant and Goggins already have fantastic chemistry on Justified, playing foil to each other; I’m sure it would carry over.

See! Grow out the hair and you have Otacon.

As for the other characters, John Cusack, an actor who made his name playing neurotic loners, would play Otacon well. The studio or producers might want to go with a younger actor, though. In that case, Adam Scott would be a suitable replacement. After watching Party Down and Parks and Rec I feel like John Cusack is his spirit animal. Jennifer Lawrence, especially after starring in The Hunger Games, is Meryl clearly.

One of the game’s most memorable villains is Revolver Ocelot–a particularly theatrical gunslinger. You know who does evil really, really well? Gary Oldman. You know who else does evil really, really well? Christoph Waltz. Either actor would bring the necessary malevolence yet a certain amount of panache to the role.

Pictured: panache.

In my mind, besides Revolver Ocelot and Liquid Snake, the most memorable villain in Metal Gear Solid is Psycho Mantis. He needs to be kind of a waifish weirdo. Cillian Murphy could certainly play the part, but Ray McKinnon, who delivered powerful performances playing eccentric types such as Reverend Smith in Deadwood and Lincoln Porter in Sons of Anarchy, is the winner.

Other supporting characters include the villains Sniper Wolf and Vulcan Raven, military man Colonel Roy Campbell and Dr. Naomi Hunter. Milla Jovovich is the perfect Sniper Wolf. Based purely on looks, the Rock might actually be Vulcan Raven. I would love to see Chris Cooper play Col. Campbell and Rose Byrne could fill the role of Naomi adequately.

Vulcan Raven.

But who shall direct this nerd’s wet dream? Well, hear me out, how about Sam Mendes? He did an extraordinary job with Skyfall and Road to Perdition. He might be able to bring the right balance of action and drama. If you scoff at that idea, how about Matthew Vaughn? He directed Layer Cake and X-Men: First Class–two exceptional action movies.

Red Dead Redemption 

Red Dead Redemption is the franchise that could bring back the western. Django Unchained was great, but Red Dead could be the next “Man With No Name” trilogy.

Red Dead is a classic story, really. In 1911 in the new west, former outlaw John Marston is brought in by government agents, who promise him amnesty if he brings in Bill Williamson and the rest of his old gang.

Based on his role in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, Anson Mount would be a perfect candidate to play Marston. However, after watching this season of the Walking Dead, Norman Reedus, who plays Darryl, would also fill the role with the requisite amount of ass-kicking and angst.

That’s a hell of a John Marston right there, I’ll tell you what.

Bill Williamson would be played by Jeff Bridges, who has right look and serious acting chops. Bonnie MacFarlane, a local rancher who takes in Marston, could be played by either Naomi Watts or Uma Thurman.

Edgar Ross is a snake in the grass federal lawman and main antagonist. He needs to be someone with a silver tongue who can present a professional front while also seeming slimy. I believe Woody Harrelson possesses that quality.

In his search for Williamson, Marston runs into Leigh Johnson, a U.S. Marshall, Nigel West Dickens, a con artist, Seth Briars, a weird grave robber, and Irish, an arms dealer.

As far as ornery, grizzled authority figures go, there’s no one better than Tommy Lee Jones. He’s perfect for the role of Leigh Johnson. Brian Doyle Murphy just seems to have the right aura for Nigel West Dickens. I also like Jackie Earle Haley as Seth Briars and Sam Rockwell as Irish.

Marston also runs into Landon Ricketts and Abraham Reyes while taking a journey south of the border to round-up some of his former gang, including Javier Escuella. Ricketts is Sam Elliot obviously, I mean, come on:


Benicio Del Toro makes sense as Reyes and Rick Gomez, who you probably know better as Endless Mike from Pete and Pete and who was great in Band of Brothers, would do well as Escuella. That leaves the Mexican opposition: Colonel Agustín Allende and Captain Vicente de Santa.

Allende needs to be able to command respect but also fear. Javiar Bardem has that down after No Country for Old Men and Skyfall. Allende’s sycophantic second, de Santa, actually looks like Bardem in No Country for Old Men, but I think it would fun to go the Tarantino route and cast someone unconventional like Freddy Prinze Jr. or John Leguizamo.

Everyone liked The Pest right?

Dutch Van Der Linde, the new leader of Marston’s gang, is a nuanced villain. I think, based on that and the look of the character people have been calling for Daniel Day Lewis to play Van Der Linde. He’s notoriously picky about his roles, though.

Ian McShane already played a hell of a western villain in Deadwood. It’s not hard to see him in Red Dead.

Nailed it.

Lastly, Selma Blair would play Marston’s wife, Abigail, and Emile Hirsch would play his son, Jack.

Since he’s already directing great movies such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Invictus and Gran Torino, it’s only fitting that the “Man With No Name,” Clint Eastwood directs.


Just as Red Dead could bring back the sprawling western, Uncharted could bring back the Spielberg adventure movie. The series follows Nathan Drake, a modern treasure hunter, as he travels the world recovering relics and somehow looking like a bad ass while wearing a scarf.

BRB while I go get a scarf.

Dorks everywhere would love to see Nathan Fillion play Drake, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. However, three actors mainly known for comedy-action roles on TV came to mind: Matt Bomer, of White Collar, Jeffery Donvan, of Burn Notice, and Zachary Levi, of Chuck.

I think we can all agree that Victor Sullivan, Drake’s mentor and partner in crime, is J.K. Simmons. This is another gimme, like putting Sam Elliot in Red Dead.

As for Elena Fisher, Drake’s sometimes partner and love interest, it makes sense to cast her voice actor Emily Rose. John Doman, who played Bill Rawls, one the most conniving supposedly good guys in The Wire, could bring some of that sinister energy to Drake’s nemesis Gabriel Roman.

Atoq Navarro, the leader of Roman’s goon squad, would be played well by Jimmy Smits. He’s currently starring in Sons of Anarchy as a pimp/gangster and his performance convinced me, even though I had doubts about the dude from NYPD Blue.

You don’t mess with those crazy eyes.

Eddy Raja is the leader of a gang of Indonesian pirates also gunning for the same treasure as Drake and Roman. Ernie Reyes Jr. is perfect. He’s of Sotheast Asian ancestry and is a talented stunt man. Also, he played Keno in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and how awesome is that?

Jon Favreau did a great job balancing lightheartedness and action with Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Perhaps he could do the same with Uncharted.


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5 thoughts on “Casting Call: More Video Game Adaptations

  1. Can understand the need for more Scarlett Johannson in our lives but I think Yvonne Strahovski (Miranda’s voice actor) would do a great job if there ever was a movie made.

    I would be incredibly happy if they ever decided to make a Red Dead Redemption movie! Here’s hoping.

    And for my random suggestion I would pick Sleeping Dogs as a potential movie. Think classic Police Story / Hard Boiled. That would be good times.

  2. xmenxpert says:

    “Scarlett Johansson should play Miranda.” No. No. Please, in the name of all that is holy, no! Scarlet Johansson is a terrible, awful actor. She cannot act worth a damn. I don’t give a damn how hot she is, she cannot act.

    Also, the Mass Effect movie certainly should not be based on ME2. You need to set up the universe first. I’m sceptical about even making a movie based on the plot of any of the games, but going straight to 2 would just leave anyone who hasn’t played the games completely and totally lost.

  3. Rayna says:

    I feel like some of the voice actors should reprise their roles. A lot of them look like their characters, especially ones with the mo-cap done, and most of them ARE live-action actors too. But knowing hollywood…

    Seing A-list celebrities as my favorite video game characters would ruin it for me, imo.

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