“Bulletproof. Blind Ninja. Whatever It Is You Are.”

So, I haven’t been here as regularly as I’d like to, and unfortunately that’s probably not gonna change anytime in the near future. I have Novel Writing Deadlines to meet, which means I’m instituting a hard rule for myself: no playing around on MGB until I’ve at least finished my weekly writing goal. Luckily, I’m doing pretty well on that right now, which means I get to talk about The Defenders. Which THANK GOD, cause y’all know I’ve got thoughts on The Defenders.

I’m gonna try to keep this brief, but let’s be real here. Brevity isn’t my strong suit, and we’ve definitely got some things to discuss.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Aliens, Mathematicians, and Luke Cage

Arrival

So, this one’s based off a Ted Chiang story that I have not yet read (obviously, I need to), and I’m pretty interested. I find linguistics in SF pretty fascinating, and I’m excited about a movie that’s primarily focused on the communication aspect of First Contact. Also, it’s nice to find a movie with such an all-star, Academy Awards-type cast (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, etc.) that I’m actually curious about.

I could potentially drag myself to the theater to see this one. You know, depending on life and whatnot.

Hidden Figures

Normally, inspirational, real life, biopic crap is totally not my thing. This, however, might be the exception.

When the trailer says that Hidden Figures is a true, untold story, my immediate reaction isn’t to roll my eyes and yawn like normal; it’s to think, “Holy shit, you’re right, I don’t know anything about these awesome black lady mathematicians getting their crazy calculus shit on at NASA.” (No, I don’t have any idea what branch of mathematics it actually is.) It is, for once, a true story I’m actually interested in learning.

Plus, holy shit, this cast. I’m just going to keep typing names off the IMDb page until I finally come across one I don’t know: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, and Aldis Hodge. I mean, damn.

Same Kind of Different As Me

Just to be clear? This is exactly the kind of trailer I was talking about before, only instead of merely rolling my eyes and yawning, I also gagged a bit, and then tried to guess what number it would land on in a Top 10 Movies The Devil Will Subject Me to in Hell list.

Zoom

Er. I have no idea what the hell is going on in this movie, but I’m interested.

I like Alison Pill a lot, and this looks totally nuts. Funny, possibly confusing, with a healthy side of total WTF. At any rate, it’s a great antidote to that schmaltzy “I’m white, and I’m helping this strange yet profound homeless black man, and did I mention that he’s homeless, wow, I’m great for being such a thoughtful, considerate person” trailer. (Was that grammatically accurate? I have a sneaking suspicion that wasn’t grammatically accurate. I care not.)

Atlanta

This looks . . . interesting. It’s hard to get a good sense of the show, obviously; all I’m really going off of is a single interview I read, and this minute-long teaser trailer. Still, I’m just curious enough to (probably) check it out.

I can’t pretend the actual synopsis does anything for me (I’m struggling to think of a movie or TV show centered around the life of an up-and-coming musician that I even remotely cared about), but this show seems like it’s going to go tonally weird, darkly comic, and uncomfortable places. And I like Donald Glover a whole hell of a lot, so it’s at least worth checking out the first episode.

Finally . . . Luke Cage

Okay, I know this trailer has been out for a week now, but I forgot that it was up, so I actually just saw it. I was already pretty pumped from the teaser trailer alone; now, I can’t wait until September 30th. I liked Luke Cage well enough in Jessica Jones, but I’m way more interested in him starring in his own show, and hey, it’s Mahershala Ali again! AND ROSARIO.

Count me in, folks. I’m ready.

Coming Soon-Ish: Peculiar Children, Biblical Epics, and LEGO BATMAN

First, let me just go ahead and put this on the record: I absolutely refuse to watch a trailer for the deleted scenes of a movie, even if that movie is The Force Awakens. And no judgment on you if you did! Just, I can’t do it. I can’t. STOP TRYING TO OWN MY SOUL, STAR WARS.

Now. On to some other trailers.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I read this book, and it was one of those stories that I loved in concept but not quite in execution. When I heard Tim Burton was going to adapt it, I fully admit I groaned because I seriously doubted he would solve any of those execution problems for me. I used to love his movies, or at least be interested in them, but lately every time I watch a Tim Burton trailer, I feel like I’m getting something I’ve already gotten from him repeatedly, and I want something new. His recent work often seems like it’s trying too hard to be strange, and I feel like it’s lost the peculiar charm that his earlier movies held.

But I’ve got to admit: this trailer actually works pretty well for me. The visuals look lovely, not cartoonish. My inner child has been successfully summoned; it desperately wants to go to this odd house with all its weird and wonderful magic. (My inner horror movie enthusiast, meanwhile, would be horrified–the twins remind me way too much of the kid from El Orfanato.) I don’t know how good the movie will actually be, of course, but I’m far more interested than I was a month ago.

Ben-Hur

I’m going to admit something right now: I’ve never seen (nor particularly wanted to see) the original Ben-Hur. In fact, I virtually know nothing about it at all, like I could not have described even a basic plot synopsis for you before today. So, certainly, the levels of cinematic blasphemy on display in this trailer are going over my head, but even as its own independent feature, this just . . . looks bad. Like, really bad. It basically seems like a dumber version of Gladiator and, upon reflection, was Gladiator really all that bright? Think I’m going to pass on this one, and by pass, I mean hold it off with fire and my fingers making the sign of a cross.

The Nice Guys

Oh, this looks pretty fun. It wasn’t anywhere on my radar–I literally just clicked it because it was on a list of Most Recent Trailers–but I love offbeat funny PI stories, and I know from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that Shane Black can make those stories sing. Plus, I generally enjoy Ryan Gosling, and–despite what this year’s Academy Award ceremony gave us–he looks to be pretty funny paired up with Russell Crowe. I’m definitely interested in checking this out.

The Lego Batman Movie

Originally, I had little interest in The Lego Movie and only saw it because I kept hearing such great things about it from virtually everybody. I found the movie delightful beyond any and all expectation, and Will Arnett’s Batman, of course, was one of the film’s many highlights. So I will undoubtedly watch this at some point (like I’ll watch basically anything that has ‘Batman’ in the title), but I can’t help but wonder if this particular version of Batman might work better in a team rather than headlining a movie? I’m just hoping it doesn’t become one of those 90-minute films that basically tells the same joke over and over again.

Then again, I just looked at the cast list and was like HELL YES when I saw Rosario Dawson was voicing Batgirl. And I did smile pretty much all throughout the trailer, even if I was like . . . wait, the Bat Computer talks? The Bat Computer is Siri? We better not be editing out Alfred for a poor man’s JARVIS, you bastards. (Luckily, I’ve since confirmed that we aren’t. Alfred will be voiced by Ralph Fiennes. I hope he’s deliciously snotty.)

High-Rise

This trailer came out a while ago, but I must have missed it the first time around. It looks intriguing. Basically Snowpiercer if it wasn’t on a train and had Loki instead of Captain America. The film looks gorgeous and the cast is spectacular, but I’m wondering if this is going to be one of those movies where I either despise everybody, or arrive at the end and wonder what the hell I even bothered watching it for.

Still. I’m curious about this one. I’d definitely like to see some reviews.

And finally, Dead7

The Syfy original Weird Western featuring basically every 90’s boy band vs various members of the undead that you didn’t know you wanted, needed, or could possibly exist on this Earth. Isn’t it glorious?

Today’s Dream Cast: SAGA

I’ll probably never be, like, an Authority on Comics — nor do I have any particularly deep need to be one — but I’ve really been getting into graphic novels the past couple of years. (Trades, primarily. Let’s be upfront about that. I wildly prefer reading trades to single issues.) One of my favorite comics right now is Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and if you haven’t read it, Saga is one joyful mindfuck of space weirdness. It will never be made into a movie or TV show. I can’t even imagine what a translation of it would look like, not to mention Vaughan’s been pretty firm about keeping it out of Hollywood. I’m not sure I’d even want to see someone attempt it. And yet we dream-casted it anyway. Cause that’s what we do around here.

Alana

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Rosario Dawson

Mek and I have been idly tossing back and forth casting ideas for months now, but Rosario Dawson was a pretty immediate lock. I don’t know what it is about her, but she has so much force of presence, and I can easily see her playing this romantic, sexy, badass mom and ex-soldier. Some actresses, I think, might try to paint Alana as either All Serious or super girlish and annoying, but Alana is the kind of character who can be violent, funny, and find inspiration in trashy romance novels. She’s a pretty great character, and I’m sure Rosario Dawson would be excellent in the role.

Runner Up: Lyndie Greenwood

Marko

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Kevin Alejandro

Kevin Alejandro is one of Those Actors — you know, the kind that pop up all the time on TV but usually as a recurring guest star, rarely main cast? (Honestly, a lot of this cast fits that bill, so much so that I’ve been playing with the idea of making a list of actors I’d like to see in bigger roles — call it ‘Always a Bridesmaid, Never Main Cast’ or something.) Anyway, I like the guy, particularly for the work he did as Jesus in True Blood. Jesus had a nice affability to him that I think could work particularly well for our funny pacifist Marko. Also, if there’s any way I could get Marko to say brujo for some reason, guys, I’d pay money to see it. I don’t know what it is — no one has ever said brujo as emphatically as Alejandro does. It cracked me up every single time he did it in True Blood.

Runner Up: Pedro Pascal

Izabel

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Bex Taylor-Klaus

Izabel might be my favorite character in Saga, which is probably why we struggled so hard trying to find someone for the role. But I enjoy Bex Taylor-Klaus immensely (in Arrow, iZombie, The Librarians, etc.), and though Izabel’s a great deal, er, pinker than Taylor-Klaus’s usual roles, she’s spunky and sarcastic as hell and just a lot of fun. And, like Kevin Alejandro, I’d really like to see this actress in a main cast somewhere, preferably on a show that didn’t utterly suck. (So, don’t fail me, Scream.)

Prince Robot IV

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Robert Picardo (voice)

You know, it’s harder than you’d think, casting a robot prince with a TV for a head. You’re automatically casting for voice, not expression, but the dude’s also a chief antagonist who’s rocking a hardcore case of PTSD, so you do want someone with a bit of range. Perhaps I was thinking of Picardo’s work in Justice League (where he voiced Amazo, an android who assimilates everyone’s superpowers), but as soon as I thought of him, I was like, “Finally, I got it.”

The Will

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Faran Tahir

I think I first saw Tahir in Iron Man, but he really impressed me in Star Trek, mostly because he only had about two minutes to make me care about him, and I did. And then I enjoyed him as Adwin Kosan, one of the regents in Warehouse 13, and I’m like, “You know, this guy is kind of awesome. I am officially ready to see him in bigger, more complex roles. Like an assassin who’s on a quest for revenge with a giant cat that always knows when you’re lying. Yeah, that’d be cool.”

Runner Up: Mark Strong

Lying Cat

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Keith David (voice)

Apparently — and I only just found this out — Lying Cat is female, something I either didn’t notice or completely forgot while casting. I’m going to go ahead and stick with my original choice, though, because Mekaela and I didn’t even have to discuss this one. My immediate instinct was to cast Keith David, and when I asked Mek, “Hey, you have anyone in mind for Lying Cat?” she instantly replied, “Keith David.” Mek and I agree on a lot, but this kind of ridiculous synchronicity is usually summed up as ‘fate.’

Gwendolyn

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Naomie Harris

I know I fall back on Naomie Harris a lot, probably more than I should, but I can’t help it — I just like this woman. She won my heart forever in 28 Days Later, and nothing I’ve seen her in since suggests that her total badassary as Selena was some kind of one-off. Gwendolyn is completely in Harris’s wheelhouse, and I just know I’d enjoy the hell out of her performance.

Klara

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Ivonne Coll

I’ll be honest here — I’m really only familiar with Ivonne Coll from Teen Wolf, but I liked her in Teen Wolf (her performance was always solid and intimidating, even if some of her material was silly) and I definitely think she could play this pissed off, stubborn, warrior who’s contemptuous of her son’s pacifist ways and downright eager to engage in some bloodshed and do what needs to be done.

Gale

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Reed Diamond

Okay, Reed Diamond could probably play this role in his sleep, but — fuck it, I like Reed Diamond, and he seems like he could be a good fit for the arrogant, snarky agent. Anyway, he seemed a touch less obvious than Mark Pellegrino.

D. Oswald Heist

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Danny Glover

Because when you think an old man who’s a trashy romance writer/secret pacifist revolutionary who’s also a cyclops, you think Danny Glover, don’t you? Sure you do.

The Brand

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Lena Headey

The Will and The Brand are siblings, and yes, I’ve cast actors from different ethnicities — because these are the actors I like best, and you know, why not? There are a bazillion families who don’t have the same skin tone — hell, my family doesn’t have the same skin tone, which is particularly noticeable in summer when my ghostly pale ass stands next to my mother. And dude, Lena Headey would ROCK IT as The Brand. Of this, I have no doubt.

Runner Up: Sarah Shahi

The Stalk

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Natalie Dormer

Because look at this picture and tell me she wouldn’t be AMAZING.

That’s all for now, kids. If you read Saga, let me know some of your own casting choices, particularly if you have someone for Sophie. I couldn’t think of anyone for her.