Monday, November 14, 2016

Casting Codename UnSub

So, I've done multiple posts on how I would cast my novel, A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller if it were made into a film. If you want to take a look, there's a 2011, 2012 and 2013 edition.

While I think about it, please remember

However, there's been an oversight, and I have never looked at casting the novel Codename: Winterborn, or Codename: UnSub which I co-wrote with Allan Yoskowitz.

Remember this one?

From a casting perspective, this is easy: fewer characters, for one.

What would the casting look like for Codename: UnSub?

Kevin Anderson.

If you don't know the story (and seriously, you really should read it), Kevin is the spy that has a little problem .... namely, his entire team has been wiped out, his wife has been murdered, and politicians in his own government would like to see him deader than Jacob Marley on ice.

After his initial run in with the Islamic Republic of France (long, long story), Kevin is ... a little broken.  How broken is he? Let's say that he came close to mass murder in this book.  Think I'm exaggerating? Is ten million people enough "mass" in "mass murder"?

You also need someone who is considered "handsome"-ish, and can do a lot of hand-to-hand combat, has a dry, offbeat sense of humor, and can occasionally look at his own insane moments, and acknowledge that, yes, he really has lost his marbles, along with his friends, his family and almost anyone he ever knew.

Which leads to the flavor of the month ... no, I don't mean Benedict Cumberbach, though he does seem to be everywhere.  Cumberbach is a great actor, don't get me wrong, and he is able to kick ass and take names, but he's actually getting a little up there. He's already forty, and I'm shooting for at least a little younger.

I actually mean Stephen Amell, the star of Arrow. From seasons 1-5, he's going through a range of disturbed and insane, Look at the first episode of Arrow once more, he can do PTSD variant, and we want some of that. By season 5, we get witty banter, comedy, and he's actually acting like a human being.

As for the hand-to-hand combat ... his exercise routines were half the commercials for the show.

Oh, and Kevin also has a entire thing with bows and arrows.  Yes, it's "a thing."  It's a very long story.

Yes, there are a lots of long stories involved in this novel.  Please, read the novel, so I can stop saying "it's a long story." :)

There are, of course, other options.

The first one is Stephen Amell...

Yes, another Amell.

There was a time when the Amell cousins were going to take over CW.

Sadly, I have to tell you, I don't know how well he can act. I've seen him on The Flash, mostly, and he wasn't allowed that much in the way of an acting range. I'm told he's had a few other CW shows (two, at least, I think) but I haven't seen either, and I really don't have much interest in them. So this might be a bit of a nonstarter.

But then again, think about it: bad ass ... a little broken... does this sound familiar?

How about: Winter is coming.

And by that, I mean Sebastian Stan, the Winter Soldier.

What, did you think I would suggest anything by George RR Martin?

Frankly, I'll take Stan.

Speaking of cold...

Kyle Elsen

Kyle is an assassin, a nerd who kills people.  You know, the sort of flake who can get lost in his own head while thinking about some new methodology to apply to his job ... only it involves murder?

Kyle's primary characteristic is that he's, well, a little cool. In Codename: Winterborn, he doesn't have too much of a personality, but he makes up for that in UnSub. We get hints to his back story here. As a character, Kyle doesn't have issues so much as he has the leather bound collected volumes. There's a character arc that plays out, and gives Kyle depth beyond knowing a hundred ways to kill someone with a spoon.

But at the end of the day, his outward appearance is he's very, very ....cold.

Enter Wentworth Miller

Come on, even his photograph looks snarky. Does he even need to say anything?

And, let's take a look at that face for a moment. Don't tell me he doesn't look like a serial killer in the making.

My friend Carleigh
The model for Mandy in the
Antagonize me "interview."

Okay, Mandy is my favorite character, she really is. She is cute, kinda sexy, she enjoys her job, and, damn it, she's just fun to write. She's a mercenary, and her job in this novel is to hunt down and kill everyone's favorite nutbar, Kevin Anderson. She's morally ambiguous, with a sense of morality that crops up at some strange times. Well, strange for her.

Mandy doesn't need a lot of choreography, since most of her fights are gun battles, but we at least need someone who's lithe, athletic, something like that.

Also, a slightly more important part of her character involved her size, she's not particularly tall: 5'6" would be good. She's a blue-eyed brunette who's half smart-ass, half kick-ass, and really would like to be amoral when she grows up. She puts her best effort into it, honest.

Originally, when I designed Mandy, I loosely based her off of a 24 villain of the same name, played by Mia Kirshner. However, Kirshner is getting a little old for this sort of thing -- Mandy is in her 20s, and, well, I don't actually like Kirshner (in every one of her interviews she comes off as ignorant, but very, very certain of everything. And stiff. And shallow, and .... gah). Most importantly, I don't think she's capable of acting her way out of a paper bag.  Seriously, in 24, she doesn't exactly have much of a sense of humor or emotional range.

Why would I base a character off of someone like that? I wanted an unrelenting, unrepentant antagonist who would stop at almost nothing to hunt Kevin Anderson down like a dog, including gunning him down in a playground filled with children...

Obviously, when I started writing Mandy in the novel, she turned into something else on me.  So, who would we be getting?

We need to have someone who can deliver a line like this, from UnSub,
Bad guy: “What do you want?”“I'd say world peace, but that would be a lie. I'd be out of a job otherwise.” She gave him a little smile that creeped him out a bit. “How about the names of everyone you work with, now and forever? How about everyone up and down the supply chain? And a pony?”
Also, we need someone who can either hold a gun or fight, and act.

I think I know someone like that.

Getting warmer? Summer is coming.

Summer Glau.

She's got the general coloring down, and she's the right build. We know she can fight her little heart out, and she still looks like a kid. And she's a much better actress than anyone's really let her be. She's got my vote.

There's also Beth Riesgraf.

Yes, that's her as a brunette. On the one hand, she's too tall, on the other hand .... go watch Leverage. She can act, dang it.

Major Antonio Rohaz

This is Mandy's boss, the CEO of the Mercenary's Guild. He's described as having a dancer's posture, stiff and militaristic, with a sharp nose, and green eyes.  No, he doesn't look specifically Hispanic, but I grew up with a friend named Martinez (which she pronounced Martin-ez, not Mar-teen-ez) and who is whiter than I am, with green eyes, and light brown hair.

Believe it or not, I based the character design, very loosely, on Basil Rathbone in the original The Mark of Zorro. This included the clipped delivery of the words, the baring, and everything short of him actually pulling out a sword in the middle of the book.  His importance grows throughout the series, You could say that he's a minor character, but he's going to make an appearance throughout the series, and leave major impacts along the way ... some of them in people's heads, but that's neither here nor there.

Yes, I know. After that sort of buildup, who could you possibly get who could top this.  It's Basil Rathbone. He's Sherlock Holmes. He's an Olympic-level fencing master.  He was the archetypal villain in anything involving a sword for nearly forty years of Hollywood history.  How do you top that?

You get a god.

Yes, I went there.

Look at the original character description, and tell me it doesn't sound familiar: pale skin, green eyes, sharp nose, black hair.  You know this person, don't you?

Yup, it's Tom "Loki" Hiddleston, one of the other flavors of the week for the past few years.  Seriously, if we modify that photo (taken at ComicCon, San Diego,) and make it a military uniform, he's got the look. Also, Hiddleston is a Shakespearean actor who wore his Loki costume, in public, and kept a straight face. He can do whatever he likes.

Allan and his wife have floated one or two other names, like David Zayas (the Generalissimo in The Expendables). or Carlos Bernard, of 24.

However, there is another person that I want to keep in mind.

Giancarlo Esposito

I know what you're thinking. He's too dark for the person I've described. However, he can pull off the mustache, his features are close enough to what I'm thinking of ... obviously, we need to work on the hair, I'm not sure the haircut in that photo is not military regulation.

Also, I remember that Esposito has done a few jobs in military uniform. I just can't seem to find it right now. Yeah, sorry.

Moving right along...

The next four characters are sort of interlinked.  They're all in the town of San Francisco, they're all computer nerds, though all very different people.  We've got the shy, the sarcastic, the joker, and the damn near sociopathic.


This is an Allan character design.  Lotus is one of a set of hacker Triplets.  For Lotus, he wanted someone short, blonde, and utterly, breathtakingly beautiful as a computer genius, probably the best computer hacker and programmer in the entire city, and maybe the planet Earth.

Believe it or not, I go someone already picked out. It was easy.

Look to the left. This is Emily Bett Rickards. She's not bad looking, huh?

But, nah, she can't do computer jargon, right?  It's Hollywierd, the hot babes can't possibly also do smart at the same time. Maybe some ass-kicking, but brains? Don't kid me.

Oh, wait.

That's right, Madam Rickards is the brains behind the operation of Arrow, playing a computer programmer.

Funny enough, when I suggested Rickards to Allan, before I wrote this blog, I did start with the first photo, and I had an interesting reaction.  Said reaction being "Oh my God!"

And that was before I suggested Loki as Rohaz.

The name Bonnie Wright has also been floated. She's Ginny Weasley at the Harry Potter Franchise.


Mickie, Lotus' sister, could technically be played also by Emily Rickards or Bonnie Wright, they are triplets after all. Yes, there is a fraternal twin involved here, but having identical twins and a fraternal are not impossible.

For the record, Mickie is sociable, sarcastic, and has no problem constantly smacking her brother (to be discussed below), who really deserves it (no, seriously, he deserves it). Her special features include drugging people for information, dealing with unruly costumers in their bar, and has utterly insane hair -- usually bright red hair.  She's also a computer hacker, though not as much of a genius as Lotus.

So, smart, probably good looking (to be related to Lotus, you'd sort of expect her to be), sarcastic, and looks good with red hair.

I guess we can have Rickards play both parts. Lord knows she does sarcastic well enough on Arrow, but if we want someone different, I'm seeing Emma Stone.  Yes, Emma Stone. Let's face it, she already is a redhead, she can handle smart in both Amazing Spider-Man and Easy A (didn't like the film, but liked her), and with facial expressions like that (look right) she can pull this off without a problem.


Yes, you might have caught a theme in these triplets, we have three hackers running a bar, a mixologist named Mickie, a hacker named Lotus and a primary bartender named Mac... Okay, there are some moments of this particular world that are about as subtle as a heart attack.

Then again, we're still more subtle than every other dystopia written for the last ten --  twenty -- thirty...

Okay, I can't really think of a dystopia that's subtle, but I'm sure one will come to me five minutes after I've posted this article.

Anyway, Mac, the last of our information brokers, who is average, blonde, and kind of annoying. "Oh, look at how many bad puns I can tell and pretend they're funny."  I may have been writing this blog post for too long already, but God, this character can get annoying. I'm glad he's not on screen that often.  I think I'm going to invest some character development for him in the next book. Either that, or invest some bullets into blowing his brains out. Either way, I'm good.

While he's not a blond, it's been suggested that I try ... Rupert Grint.

If you don't know the name Grint, or anyone named Rupert ... seriously, who names their kid Rupert? .... he's Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter franchise.

I'm not sure how well he works. He might also be too tall for the role. Then again, everyone I can think of, I dislike.

Then again, for UnSub, I don't think he's that important.

Kaye Wellering

Kaye is an interesting character, mostly because of the things the reader doesn't know about her.  She heads the "Hacker's Union," which is based on Alcatraz, with a forward office in Chinatown. The Hackers run all the major utilities in the city, and can turn them on or off at will. Kaye herself even states that, even though the Hackers are centuries ahead of even the "real world," she still has ultimate power in the city that time forgot, and has no problem playing with the lives of day-to-day people as though everyone in the city were her own personal toys.  There's a reason that Kevin refers to her as the bitch-queen of San Francisco.

She also looks young. That's not because I'm on some sort of CW kick, where everyone has to be young and pretty, but because there's a backstory. Notice, I didn't say she is young, just looks it. It's an important part of who she is.  So, we need someone who at least appears younger than she is (say, early 20s) and play older. If she were male, I would say "Get David Tennant, since he can do 900 year old time lord," but we'll have to settle for someone else. And, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking pretty darn good a decade after Buffy went off the air, that may not hold up.

Another detail makes me think of an actress, actually. Kaye is a 5'2" redhead. While the height is incidental (Kaye has been described as wearing 4" heels), and redheads come in a bottle, about about Molly C. Quinn?  She's been playing 14 going on 400 on Castle since the show began..  There's no reason not to think that she can't do something similar in a Codename: Winterborn film.

Although it's going to be creepy with a "sexy" Molly Quinn. I now understand friends of mine who are disturbed by a sexy Michelle Trachtenberg, having first seen her as Harriet the Spy.

What's Kaye's job in this? Oh... that's a really long story.

Andreas Foreman
Foreman is ... tall, dark, and deeply disturbed. He is a bright, energetic, charismatic, and manages to make the world revolve around him. He has a million followers, more or less, called the Forsaken, and they are all willing to kill for him. In fact, like the mafia, you can't become one of them unless you've killed, though Kevin Anderson suspects that it is just a gross over estimation. After all, how do you keep track of such things?

He is also tall, skinny, with dark, piercing eyes, and goes from being soft spoken, to over the top and energetic.

Tall, skinny, charismatic, deranged, over the top....

Sound like anyone we know?

Yes, David Tennant.

However, for UnSub, he's not as important as the man who works for him.

Harris Derringer.
He's short, dark, and vicious. In the case I'm thinking of, Derringer is former SAS, and while Foreman is nuts, Derringer is just plain evil. He's the puppet master, while Foreman is the one who keeps the masses in line.

Short, dark, British and evil.

We can stereotype that one.

Sadly, Mark Sheppard will need a stunt double to pull off the capoeira moves I have him do in UnSub.

His part is simple: he's a suspect.

Anyway, I think that's more than enough for right now. there are one or two more characters I'd want to focus on after that, but right now, I'm cross-eyed, lucky if I can spell my own name, and I'm hoping I didn't write this blog in a language more closely resembling Norwegian than English.

You might want to try Codename: UnSub.

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