Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Jon Bernthal as B'rett

Sometime between 1999 and 2001, I wrote up a fan casting for MARTIAN MANHUNTER: The Motion Picture for my late fan site The Rock of the JLA. Besides being terribly out of date, my casting of heroes and villains skewed very much toward the relatively recent Modern Age. Since the Martian Manhunter was in something like 150 solo adventure strips over thirty years before that period, and about a third as many in the fifteen years I focused on, I essentially cast the Manhunter-centric Justice League movie. I'd like to rectify that...

B'rett is one of my favorite, and trickiest, rogues to cast. As I've mentioned in the past, he's basically an old west rowdy. B'rett rolls into town, busts stuff up, talks crap, steals, and waves his pistol around. Then, the first true opposition he faces, the guy feigns friendship and plots a swift, sneaky demise. Jack Palance was great at that kind of thing back in the day, so I wanted a contemporary equivalent.

I've been trying to cast younger for my 2012 list, but J'Onn J'Onzz and his foes just don't fit the PYT mainstream one would expect from a more popular property. My first choice, who made it all the way to an unpublished write-up with picture back in July of last year, was Michael Rooker. The Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer star is in his mid-50s, and I'd voice cast him in a heartbeat for animation. He's still got a physical presence, based on his turn as Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead, but I'd rather not place a short shelf life on a casting decision. As an alternative, I considered Adam Baldwin, who's been playing this type of rawhide sumbch for decades, most memorable as Jayne on Firefly. The thing is, he's too classically handsome for B'rett, plus Baldwin just turned fifty his own self.

Thankfully, in the time between my initial casting thoughts and finally publishing, Rooker's castmate Jon Bernthal took the character of Shane Walsh to a whole 'nother level on The Walking Dead. Between his shaved head, solid build and jacked-up nose, Bernthal became the spitting image of B'rett. When you break it down, Dead is an undercover western, as pilgrims make their way through a savage land with danger on all sides and justice delivered out the barrel of a gun. Shane's brutal, conscienceless pragmatism, clumsy manipulations, and base motivations in season two are exactly the sort of thing I'd expect from our favorite xanthic bandit. Tell me I'm wrong!

Diabolic Movie Fan Casting

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