I grew up loving He-Man. Out of all of the toylines of my childhood, He-Man was the one I connected with more than the others for some reason. I had a ton of the toys, Castle Greyskull and Snake Mountain.
Then I made a small mistake.
When I hit my adult years, I tried to re-watch the original cartoon. Let me tell you, it does not hold up for an adult unlike some of the other shows from that period (Robotech and G.I. Joe being good examples). While there have been some versions of the Masters of the Universe that have been quite good since then (most notably a 2002 series and DC Comics’ latest run of the comic), I would love a live action film that was handled well. A decent story with some great story and great action.
Rumours of a film have persisted ever since the first live action version died at the box office and the list of directors who were going to tackle it has ranged from John Woo to Jon Chu to the current director to take a swing at getting it made, McG. Kellan Lutz (of Twighlight fame) has apparently already spoken to McG about playing the title role. This of course got me to thinking, what would be my He-Man film look like and who would I cast in it.
So in yet another column of unsolicited advice for Hollywood, here’s Brent Chittenden’s take on the Masters of the Universe film.
There’s a few ways of handling this but I think a straight ahead origin story is the best way to go. Skeletor has declared war on King Randor and during a battle, Prince Adam ends up at Castle Greyskull, gets his sword of power and becomes He-Man. Straightforward and simple but due to the nature of the He-Man universe, there’s tons of potential to make the film feel unique. You have a combination of fantasy and science fiction. Eternia is a world where insect men and robots stand side by side. Where magic interacts with science. That’s where you can really stretch things and make it stand out from everything else out there. In terms of characters, there’s a ton to choose from but I’d stick to the core group for this first outing. He-Man, Man at Arms, Teela, Stratos along with King Randor and Queen Marlena (and I guess Orko for some comedic value… despite the fact I hate Orko) rounding out the heroes. For the villains you go with Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Beast Man and either Mer-Man or Tri-Klops (Mer Man isn’t exactly useful outside of a water setting so if you have some sort of sea battle, prefect. If not, go with Tri-Clops). I’d also lay the ground work for Hordak and She-Ra too and tackle that head long in a sequel.
Now here’s a bit of a tricky part. You want to get a good ensemble cast but still want certain people to look the part. A lot of money should go into make up, prosthetics and cgi to get these characters to work well.
Unknown as He-Man
This was honestly, the hardest part of the casting. Hemsworth (any of them) seemed too on the nose. I don’t really know Kellan Lutz’s work that well to say “Yeah, that’s the dude”. Everyone else I came up with just didn’t seem to fit well. In the end, I think the possible best bet is to cast an unknown. Try to find someone who is buff enough but can also act to take on Skeletor and company.
Tom Selleck as Man-at-Arms
A friend suggested this, I think partially as a joke due to Selleck’s awesome moustache. That being said, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I like the idea of Man-at-Arms being older and kind of grizzled. Selleck can do that and keep a sense of humour which is exactly what the character needs.
Adrianne Palicki as Teela
Up until She-Ra shows up, Teelea is one of the only female characters on the side of the good. So she’s gotta kick ass, has to look good kicking it and has to fit the budget. Palicki pretty much fits all of these requirements. All she has to do is dye her hair.
Gerard Butler as Stratos
I think Butler could use a solid supporting role and I think this could be it. Without the weight of the film on his back, Butler might be able to let loose a little more as Startos, maybe insert more of the easy going Butler we see in interviews. I just hope he’s ready for a lot of CG and wire work.
Gary Oldman as Skeletor
When I first came up with this idea I thought it was a bit on the nose. I mean, Gary Oldman should play every villain in a film, right? But when I really thought about it, he brings with him everything that Frank Langella (the best part of Masters of the Universe) brought to the original live action film. He’s a great actor who is good at being the bad guy and his skills can anchor the entire film. As well, Skeletor should be smaller then He-Man. He doesn’t need to bash people around. He has his wits, cunning and magic to bring Eternia to its knees.
Dave Bautista as Beast Man
Someone recently tweeted at Bautista about him being a great choice for He-Man. Both Big Dave and I disagreed. Bautista suggested that he’d make a better Skeletor (which isn’t a horrible idea). In my mind, Skeletor shouldn’t be as big as He-Man and definitely not bigger. However, as Skeletor’s right hand man, Beast Man, wrecking havoc on Eternia, I think Bautista could really sink his teeth into. It’s like a Bond henchman but with more creatures and savagery.
Kevin Durand as Trap-Jaw
I know, who? Ken Baumgartner gets full credit for this suggestion because I was leaning a different way until he suggested it. The minute I figured out who Durand was, I was on board. He’s probably best recognized for his work as Russian exterminator Vasily in the tv adaptation of The Strain but to me he will always be the psycho, dumb-ass Neo-Nazi in Smokin Aces.
Karl Urban as Tri-Klops
Karl Urban is a great actor who not only would nail the role of Tri-Klops, but he already has experience as a character where the only part of his head we can see is his chin. Seriously though, I’ve always seen Tri-Klops as kind of the more serious minded of the henchmen so I think Urban would be a good fit.
EXTRA CREDIT CASTING
Gwendoline Christie as She-Ra
She’s a bad ass in Game of Thrones and can act. Great fit for She-Ra both during the period where she’s Hordak’s general and when she gets De-programmed. My only complaint was I wasn’t sure how she would look with long hair and then a friend sent me this picture:
It softens her look but yet she would still be perfect for the role.
How did I do? Leave your casting ideas in the comment section below.
If you are gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!