I hold Shinichiro Watanabe's anime series, Cowboy Bebop, in very high regard. Not only did I name it the best Western of the past ten years, it's also possibly my favorite TV show ever. So there's some bad news: It's being made into a Hollywood live-action movie by Erwin Stoff.
Now, Mr. Stoff has produced some excellent movies, like The Matrix and A Scanner Darkly. But he's presided over a number of bad to terrible movies, including Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, Chain Reaction, The Devil's Advocate, Hardball, Sweet November, Constantine, The Lake House, and Street Kings.
If you haven't figured it out yet, this means that the new movie will probably be bad. Much worse, it will probably star Keanu Reeves (I didn't cherry pick those movies. That's roughly 2/3 of Stoff's credits...ALL WITH KEANU REEVES).
To head off Keanu Horror, my wife and I decided we'd cast the movie before Stoff could. We went with people who could play the role, not so much have the right physical appearance. Hope you like it:
The Character: Spike Spiegel: Our hero is a fun-loving bounty hunter, spaceship pilot, and one man army. He likes eating, kung fu, property destruction, and shooting gangsters in the forehead. He's generally a big joke, unless his archnemesis Vicious is around, in which case people die. Lots and lots of people.
The Challenge: Finding an actor who can be comic relief and a stone-cold head-shooter
1.Robert Downey, Jr. If Bale can be Bruce and John, I see no reason why Downey can't be Tony and Spike. He's got the gift for physical comedy, verbal comedy, and blowing shit up. Like all of our choices, he'd need some kung fu training, but I can't imagine anyone who could blend the off the cuff comedy and the deadly seriousness of the Spike role better.
2. Owen Wilson. At heart, Spike is just a clown in a silly suit who wants to get paid, get something to eat, and not be bothered by tomboys, kids, and dogs. Wilson would be even better than Downey at this aspect of the role, and if he had more action cred, he'd be my #1 choice.
3.Brad Pitt. Although I have a newly awakened desire to loathe the Bradster, he's a monster talent who, again, has both the physicality and the way with a one-liner to be Spike.
The Character: Faye Valentine. Faye is a smoking hottie with giant boobs, hotpants, and the unerring ability to piss Spike off. My wife just named a bunch of no-talent hot chicks of the Lopez, Berry, Jolie variety, which I vetoed in favor of some women who can/might be able to actually act. She vetoed Tilda Swinton for not being pretty enough. Still, our version opts to downplay Faye's sexuality in favor of acting skill. I can dream, can't I?
The Challenge: A highly attractive A-List female actor that can actually act? Do they even make those?
1. Zoe Bell: If you've seen Kill Bill, you know Zoe Bell kicks ass, even if she had to pretend to be Uma. If you've seen Grindhouse, you know she can kick ass and deliver bad dialogue in a pretty sweet accent. And if you've read this, you know she will be kicking ass on a regular basis on the interwubs. She's got my vote.
2.Carla Gugino. Carla Gugino would probably look better in the Faye-suit than Zoe, and she'll either be a total laughingstock or have lots of hipster cred after The Watchmen movie. But she ain't no Zoe.
3. Zooey Deschanel. Here we were just reaching for someone who was the right age, gender, and could act. The main reason I'm including her is because, after my wife said her name, I knew the real Zoe was the way to go.
The Character: Jet Black is a cop turned bounty hunter who is Spike's mentor, father figure, cook, and nursemaid. He also has a badass robotic arm and some sweet, sweet boots.
The Challenge: No challenge. Unlike the ladies, who disappear when they cross 30, Hollywood men hang around after 45 and play Jet type characters for decades. He was by far the easiest to cast
1.Bruce Campbell. My wife's stroke of pure genius. He's a big tough guy who's actually a softy, who throws a great punch, who might be able to cook, whose chin is a registered weapon, and who would fill the theaters with fans (if the theaters were small and near known geek headquarters).
2. Ron Perlman. It's time to show the big red guy some love. Most of his best roles have been been as weirdos, usually obscured by prosthetics and makeup, but Ron Perlman has the gruff attitude and hideous mug to make the perfect Jet.
3. Jeff Bridges. My wife said "Jeff Daniels," but she meant the Dude. Playing Jet would be pretty much exactly like playing Obadiah Stane, but not being evil. Somehow, I think Bridges could handle it.
The Character: Vicious. Spike's archenemy is a creepy as hell, samurai sword wielding psychopath.
The Challenge: Although we didn't go for physical appearance with the others, we weren't able to get Vicious' angular, evil face out of our heads.
1.Tilda Swinton. No one does creepily androgynous like Tilda Swinton. My wife's unconvinced, but she could play Vicious just like she played Gabriel in Constantine, and I'd be cowering. Plus, she has to go somewhere, and apparently it's not Faye.
2.Cillian Murphy. Again, creepily androgynous. I would fear the Murph, but I would also spend all his fight sequences biting my knuckles with fear, so worried would I be that Spike would break those glorious cheekbones
3.Adrien Brody. I don't know if Adrien has the malevolence to play Vicious, which our first two candidates have in spades. But he sure would look right and could use another interesting acting challenge, after delivering such stellar performances in movies like The Jacket and The Village.
The Character: Edward is a pre-adolescent girl who speaks some sort of unintelligible pidgin and is considerably more trouble than she's worth.
The Challenge: None
The Candidate: Oh yeah, Keanu's got this one
The Character: Ein is a genetically enhanced Welsh corgi who turns out to be the best hacker in the universe
The Challenge: None
The Candidate: My friend Chad's Penny would be perfect. I love corgis!