Yes, it’s true! 20th Century Fox, after a 2003 adaptation which failed to launch a franchise, and a 2013 TV pilot which didn’t make it to series, are trying to redeem themselves with another shot at bringing Alan Moore’s popular comic book series to life on the big screen!
If you haven’t a notion who the League are, then use Moore’s own description of the series as “the Justice League of Victorian England” to get an idea. The original story involved famous literary characters like Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray (from Dracula), Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man and Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde teaming up to face common enemies, such as Professor Moriarty, Fu Manchu, and the aliens from The War of the Worlds. Sound crazy? It is, but it’s also a lot of fun, and many fans were angered by the lack of similarity to the comic books in the 2003 film, so much so that the film is now described as being “loosely based” on the series. With a new film coming, the studio is likely to have learned to not stray so far from the source material, but the big question is who can fill the boots of the original cast, which included Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran and Shane West. Fortunately for 20th Century Fox, I have a few ideas about that!
John Hurt As Allan Quatermain
Allan Quatermain, the famous British hunter and star of books such as King Solomon’s Mines is the father figure of the team, but is very different in the comics to the Sean Connery portrayed version from the first film. By the time Mina finds him, he is living in an opium den in Cairo, and is pretty much a fallen from grace mess. He isn’t the leader of the team, but is an important part of it, and as such it shouldn’t be a massive action star in the role, as Quatermain is a smaller, thin man, who relies upon his shooting ability to survive. Hurt is brilliant, and could play the recovering hero as he joins up with the team, while not taking the focus off of the real leader of the team, AKA…
Eva Green As Mina Murray
The comic series started a year after the end of the novel Dracula, and Mina Harker had, in that time, divorced her husband and become Mina Murray again. She was contacted by Campion Bond of the British Secret Service and began working for him, leading to her finding the other members of the league. She became immortal during the course of the series, but was never, as the film portrayed her, a vampire. Mina is the real leader of the team, and the role needs a strong, seductive, kick-ass actress to fill it. Eva Green has the acting chops for this kind of role, as proved by Penny Dreadful, 300: Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. She could also headline a film like this and draw in the crowds, while remaining faithful to the character.
Timothy Spall As Campion Bond
While many think that the grandfather of legendary womanizing spy James Bond should be played by someone more like Bond himself, Campion is actually a shorter, more devious version of his grandson. Timothy Spall can play oldtime British guys, such as Winston Churchill in The King’s Speech, and can play the traitorous villain like Wormtail in the Harry Potter series.
Christopher Eccleston As Dr Henry Jeykll/Edward Hyde
The team has it’s own personal Hulk, except a darker, scarier, weirder version. Dr Henry Jekyll is a haunted man, who tried to purge himself of evil thoughts with his own creation, which unleashed the evil side of his nature in the form of an ape-like monster. Sort of like the Hulk up to this point, but then he started killing prostitutes and the whole thing goes downhill from there. Christopher Eccleston wouldn’t have any trouble playing the haunted doctor (Doctor, get it?) and the Hyde part is much easier to pull off than it was in 2003. Just look at the changes they’ve made to the Hulk since 2003!
Irrfan Khan As Captain Nemo
Captain Nemo, who provides the transport for the team using a submarine ship he created called the Nautilus. It’s kind of like the eagles from Lord of the Rings, saving the team whenever they suddenly need to escape. Nemo was portrayed in the last film as more of a gentleman, but in reality is a bloodthirsty pirate out for vengeance. Irrfan Khan has starred in films like Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and Jurassic World, and has shown that he can play eccentric while also getting the shadiness needed to play Nemo accurately.
Mark Strong As Hawley Griffin AKA The Invisible Man
You would think that it’s easy to cast a guy that is always invisible, but there’s another layer to this guy. While the film made him seem like the team jokester and a mostly good natured fellow, in the comics the team found him raping students at an all-girl school before Campion bargained him into joining the team in exchange for immunity from his crimes. Mark Strong is an actor able to bring the full weight of that sort of villainy to the screen without being on the screen, his voice alone will make this character as cold and ruthless as he needs to be without even being seen.
Ken Watanabe As The Doctor AKA Fu Manchu
While never mentioned by name in the book for… reasons, Fu Manchu is essentially a gang leader controlling half of London, which forces the team into conflict with him as he tries to build an airship capable of putting him in charge of the entire city. Ken Watanabe needs no introduction, it’s easy to see him playing a role like this after his performances in Batman Begins and The Last Samurai.
Charles Dance As Professor James Moriarty
Of course if Fu Manchu controls one half of the London underworld, who else could be controlling the other but the king of crime himself? Long story short, Moriarty survived his final fight with Sherlock Holmes, just like Sherlock did, and returned as the hidden face of the same government organisation that Campion used to recruit the team. When the team recover an item that Fu Manchu was using to power his airship, Campion takes it and gives it straight to Moriarty to power his own airship, and the team are forced to go after him instead. Does anybody really need a reason as to why Charles Dance could play that kind of character? Just look at him as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, with his cold, calculating wit and superior intelligence, he basically is Moriarty already!
There it is folks! Wouldn’t this be a great film to see? That cast could really bring the story to life, especially if the tone of a hero team-up is thrown away. Because in all honesty, most of this team are bad people. Murder, rape, drug abuse and piracy are just a few of the crimes they’ve partaken in, so really this isn’t the Victorian England Justice League at all, it is the Victorian England Suicide Squad.