Tag Archives: casting

Ming-Na First On Deck For Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

When we last left our heroes, they existed merely as a tentative character outline filled with very Whedonesque names and personality blurbs. Now, Ming-Na is the first to be cast, taking on the role of Agent Melinda May, previously known to us as Althea Rice.

You may remember Ming-Na best, or at least most recently, as Camile Wray from Stargate Universe, one of the better characters from that gone-too-soon series. Okay, so maybe Chloe was the only bad character, but still. It’s nice to see SGU actors reappearing on high-profile shows.

If you’re somehow reading this from the perspective of a gamer with no other entertainment interests, Ming-Na was Aki Ross in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and also appeared as Chun Li opposite of Jean Claude Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia in Street Fighter: The Movie. Oh, memories! Memories we’ll never be rid of!

street fighter movie chun li
Never forget.

I’m just glad that her nickname “The Calvary” wasn’t changed. Now excuse me while I go steal it for one of my XCOM characters.

Oh yeah, and Agent Coulson is returning. Or reanimating, depending on the context. My money’s on robot, but only because vampires are done.

Source: Deadline.

First Batch Of Characters Revealed For Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

As you’re already aware (right?), Avengers was kind of successful at the box office. Not only did all those truckloads of money immediately greenlight a sequel, but it also virtually guaranteed additional films in the personal franchises of each individual superhero… plus a TV series on ABC based around S.H.I.E.L.D. and their somewhat less superheroic agents.

Well, that new series, written and directed by Joss Whedon himself, is inching ever closer to its pilot, and a character list has just emerged to whet our appetites.


SKYE | This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident — with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.

AGENT GRANT WARD | Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.

AGENT ALTHEA RICE | Also known as “The Calvary,” this hard-core soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.

AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS | These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies — she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.

Of course, all preliminary character outlines read pretty dry. Just keep in mind that this is a Whedon joint, which means that not only will there be layers here beyond anything a quick rundown can deal with, but we’re also in very real danger of losing one or more of the names on this list before the opening credits roll.

Finally, it just wouldn’t be a new show article without a little fantasy casting, and with Joss Whedon’s name attached that scores us a built-in stable of actors to work with. Not that we automatically assume he’ll just give jobs away to his peeps, but c’mon, let’s be serious: what are the odds that at least one major or recurring role won’t have a degrees-of-separation angle going on?

So here are my picks.

First off, I figure the role of Skye will be given to a new face, or at least someone previously unconnected to Whedon, just to throw us all for a loop. Could be anyone from a relative unknown to an oddball left-field choice (how about *throws dart* Rashida Jones?) or a well-established name returning to television (Alias lead Jennifer Garner?)

Grant Ward will go to someone Whedon’s worked with before, but who didn’t get as much time as others have, such as a Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica; with Whedon on Dollhouse) or an Adam Baldwin (the incomparable Jayne Cobb of Firefly fame), though perhaps both choices are a little too obvious and bordering on typecasting considering their previous outings, especially in Penikett’s case.

Althea Rice would be most interesting coming from an actress not generally known for playing the quiet, vulnerable type. Firefly‘s Gina Torres fits best for my money.

felicia day glasses
Has the time come for Felicia Day’s first huge TV role?

Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons lend themselves a little too well to the most obvious pairings from Joss Whedon’s stable, such as Firefly‘s Summer Glau and Sean Maher, already more than familiar with the sibling routine; Angel‘s Amy Acker and Jonathan Woodward; or even Dr. Horrible‘s Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day.

Chances are that one of them will be a face we recognize and the other we won’t. This would be a great place to insert Felicia Day as Jemma Simmons, while leaving the other seat up for grabs.

Honestly though, I’m just excited that this thing exists at all. Here’s hoping for a successful pilot regardless of the names involved.

Source: TVLine / Images: Geekscape; TV Tropes

Gina Carano Is The First Female Expendable

So, here’s one I missed!

Odd that it never occurred to me to include athletes in my little fantasy casting article, especially given the inclusion of Randy Couture and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the original movies and, after some deliberation via the font of all useful knowledge and information aka the internet, few seem as fitting for an all-female Expendables as MMA star Gina Carano. I submit myself for lashes.

gina carano mma
Seems legit.

Aside from her UFC career, Carano is also known for an appearance alongside Michael Fassbender in Haywire and, for the Command & Conquer fans among you, she was Natasha Volkova in the recent Red Alert games. But considering how crazy-go-nuts Red Alert 3 was, maybe you didn’t notice.

I wonder if this opens the door for former wrestlers? There is a slight resemblance to Amy “Lita” Dumas in some of the photos floating around online. Just me? Probably. Oh well.

Aside: Variety insists on referring to this movie as a “shingle”. Because it’s not a “tentpole” but something that goes on the roof held up by the tentpole to prevent water damage? That’s my best guess, folks.

Source: Variety via Geeks of Doom. Image: The Smoking Pen; Aro Drive.

Fantasy Casting The “All-Female Expendables”

In case you missed it: The Expendables (and its sequel, out now-ish) is an all-star collection of past and present action movie superstars brought together to revive, or at least pay homage to, the old-school ass-kicking brains-optional fun-as-hell action romps of the 80s and 90s. Everyone from Sylvester Stallone to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was in it. Sometimes, I’m still surprised that it took until 2010 for such a beast to be produced.

Speculation about a women’s-only version of The Expendables has been pretty common ever since, and now it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening.

Quoth Hollywood.com:

An all-female version of the hit franchise The Expendables — the action star-packed testosterone-fest starring, well, just about everybody — will officially be backed by The Grey producer Adi Shankar. Variety has confirmed that Shankar’s banner, 1984 Private Defense Contractors, has tapped Dutch Southern to write the script, and that the company is already in talks with several bankable actresses.

They’ve got their own list of picks over there, with several entries that just can’t be argued. There’s no reason that we can’t roll our own, of course!

For the sake of brevity, I’ll skim over the undisputed choices: Pam Grier, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, Milla Jovovich, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Yeoh, and Angelina Jolie. When one ponders lead actresses in action movies of yore, most of these names should come to mind by reflex, so I would be really shocked if more than a couple are missing. I would only add that after her turn on Battlestar Galactica, I’m hoping for Lucy Lawless to keep the blonde hair.

And now, our list proper.

uma thurman the bride

Uma Thurman

Her Resumé: Just about anything with both her name and Quentin Tarantino’s attached.

Does it surprise anyone else that Uma’s name hasn’t been a more common fixation on these lists? You’d think that two Kill Bill movies (and a possible third?) would be enough. Well, whatever. She doesn’t necessarily need to bring the sword and jumpsuit combination back, but damn, wouldn’t that be cool?

Her Role: The leader’s right hand, assuming she isn’t headlining this thing herself. Honestly, just give her something to do and we’ll all be happy.

michelle rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez

Her Resumé: It would be easier just to take a glance at her IMDB profile.

Since the era of Vin Diesel and cheesy nu-metal soundtracks has mostly come to a close, Rodriguez might not be as busy as the others on this list. For better or for worse, she pretty much built a career out of typecasting herself into tough-chick roles, which makes her addition here a total no-brainer. Think of it this way: if the male Expendables were to add a female member for whatever reason, she would probably be the first choice.

An all-female Expendables without Michelle Rodriguez would be like the original without Stallone or the sequel without Schwarzenegger. This is kind of what she does.

Her Role: Heavy weapons, and/or the lead baddie’s dragon.

kate beckinsale underworld

Kate Beckinsale

Her Resumé: More Underworld movies than anyone really needed.

Is it enough to just say “leather pants” and move on? No? Alright. If all those Underworld flicks proved anything it’s that Beckinsale can easily carry an action franchise even if there isn’t really much else going for it, and the slicker the production, the better she comes off in it. And there’s no doubting that an all-female Expendables will be slick.

Her Role: Probably the run ‘n’ gunner of the bunch, especially if Milla Jovovich is absent.

sarah michelle gellar buffy

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Her Resumé: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, obviously.

While she hasn’t had the strongest action career since Buffy ended in 2003, no amount of Grudges and random TV roles can take her original pedigree away from her. She will always be the Slayer, and that should be a good enough reason for inclusion on anyone’s list.

In the event that Gellar is busy or uninterested, Eliza Dushku becomes the obvious fallback option. Five-by-five and all that.

Her Role: If somehow both Milla Jovovich and Michelle Yeoh are missing, then Gellar likely takes the martial arts card. It’s hard to imagine her relying on a gun after seven years of Buffy.

summer glau terminator

Summer Glau

Her Resumé: Firefly and Serenity, but mainly Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The chances of coming up on the wrong side of a Summer Glau character and surviving the night are pretty dire, perhaps more so than with anyone else here. As River Tam, she injured, maimed, and killed with swords, axes, fists, dance moves, bottles, crotch-grabs, by “doing the math”, and once threatened Jayne Cobb with her brain. As Cameron, she could do all that plus squish windpipes like grapes with her bare hands.

Her Role: A good choice for any position and one of the few who could pull off the Big Bad role. Wherever she ends up, I’m quietly hoping that she’ll be the one manning Terry Crews’ impossible shotgun thing.

keira knightley domino

Keira Knightley

Her Resumé: Domino.

Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino. Domino.

Her Role: Domino.

noomi rapace dragon tattoo

Noomi Rapace

Her Resumé: The original Dragon Tattoo trilogy; Prometheus.

Okay, I’ll admit that this is an oddball pick and probably one hell of a longshot. However, if my recent sojourn through the Swedish Dragon Tattoo films taught me anything (aside from that whole “powerful men are all total dicks” thing) it’s that no one – no one – can pull off that strong, silent, piercing “I’m thinking of all the ways I’m going to kill you” stare quite like Noomi Rapace. And that translates very easily to a kickass action role, and thus a spot on this list, wildcard or not.

Her Role: Indirect fire. She’ll be the one running around planting C4 and generally just doing an awesome job of being underestimated. If a weapon does fall into her hands, chances are she’ll be the one sauntering across the battlefield headshotting everyone without even blinking. For that reason, her character is probably also the most likely casualty.

Source: CF Forums (thanks, ard!) Image sources: We Are Movie Geeks, She Knows, Horror Movies.ca, Anti-Girlfriend, Infinite Futures, Babe Scarlett’s Blog, Screen Crave.