Casting Call: Mass Effect

With Mass Effect 3 finding it’s way into the hands of millions of fans around the globe soon I decided to bring the SciFi epic to our Casting Column.  A Mass Effect movie would be a hard task to approach since a majority of the games are based on the individual player’s decisions and interactions.  These choices make each Mass Effect experience unique to the gamer themselves, and we rarely see the same outcome between two different players.  Having said that, the basic story structure can be adapted into a screenplay easily enough and these casting choices will be made for the “standard” version of each character (with a heavy dose of Mass Effect 2).  Now let’s jump right in with the recurring characters.

The No Brainers:  These are all actors and actresses that have voiced their respective characters in the games and would be the ideal choices.  If a Mass Effect movie is ever made I would love to see these performers reprise their roles in the flesh.

Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson

Seth Green as “Joker”

Adam Baldwin as Kal’Reegar

Carrie-Anne Moss as Aria T’Loak

Keith David as David Anderson

The Rest of the Cast:  These are my own personal choices that I feel mirror the characters in both physical appearance, personality and having the acting chops to tackle the roles.

Matthew Fox as Commander Shepard

Anyone who’s seen Matthew Fox’s character transition through all 6 seasons of LOST knows just how good of an actor he really is.  His performance as Jack in the 6th and final season even mirrors a lot of what Commander Shepard had to do in Mass Effect 2.  Both had to trek across the world (or universe) to bring together a band of heroes that could save the universe, and both had to face resistance from members that wouldn’t believe their voice of reason.  We saw Fox transform from a stubborn, bull-headed leader to an incredibly humbled and open one that stood his ground when needed.   I believe that a lot of these qualities mirror the qualities some of us saw in Commander Shepard.

Doug Jones as Thane Krios

I included the photo of Doug Jones as “Abe Sapien” in Hellboy because they look so similar and it was this performance that really sold me on his acting abilities.  To form an entire character through a ton of makeup and prosthetic accessories is a testament to your ability as an actor.  Thane is one of the more complex characters in the universe with a haunted past as well as being one of the most lethal assassins in the galaxy.  I think that Doug Jones would be able to handle the physicality through the rigors of additional makeup and costume design, as well as being able to bring that curious and cautious emotion to the role.

Noomi Rapace as Jack

Cold, distant, calculated, multi-layered with a whole lot of bad-ass thrown in is the best way to describe Jack in Mass Effect 2.  Coincidentally it’s also how you can sum up Noomi Rapace and her performance as Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium Trilogy.  Jack has to have the perfect touch of believability in her toughness and if there’s one woman who really stands out on screen it’s Ms. Rapace.  The character of Jack requires the experience to balance her aggressive front and reveal a tortured side during softer moments.  This is a role that I believe Noomi Rapace would be able to relish in.

Mark Strong as Garrus

Mark Strong is a terrific actor and one who’s hot on Hollywood’s list of go-to guys for solid supporting characters.  During my entire play through of Mass Effect 2 the only person I pictured when Garrus spoke was Mark Strong.  The presence that he brings to the screen is something that can’t be duplicated by a lot of actors and is something you’ll need when bringing the character of Garrus to life.  His scene-stealing portrayal as Sinestro in Green Lantern is just another example of how effective he could be in a role that isn’t necessarily the star of the story.

Alan Tudyk as Mordin Solus

Mordin needs to be someone who is both brilliant and skiddish at the same time and I felt that Tudyk would be able to pull that character off without breaking a sweat.  The more we learn about Mordin the more open he becomes about his subtle and sarcastic humor, something that Alan Tudyk has been known for throughout his career.  Plus let’s be serious, I’d be able to reunited Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk in a science-fiction space epic on the big screen.  It’s my dream, OK?

Michael Clarke Duncan as Grunt

A hulking grunt that starts off as an overwhelmingly intimidating creature and softens up as the story moves along- oh, and he has a deep and gravely voice.  Sound familiar? I think he’d be able to nail this role in both the physical size and strength as well as his spot-on voice work.  I’d prefer they used prosthetic makeup for Grunt’s character but if they had to go the CGI route Duncan could nail his voice with ease.

Emily Blunt as Ashley Williams

Beautiful and talented with the ability to convincingly take charge of any situation: that’s how I would describe both Ashley Williams and Emily Blunt.  She not only has the look down but carries some serious acting chops that have helped her career blow up in the last 4-5 years.  I feel like she’d be able to walk that fine line between openly warm and headstrong that Ashley Williams walks so well, plus she’s loaded with talent.

Derek Luke as Jacob Taylor

Besides the similarities in their appearances I think this is a match for their character history and personality traits.  Derek Luke has already played a solider in Miracle at St. Anna (and did so rather convincingly) so he’d be able to capture the feel of this character.  Throw in their similarities in age and the ability to be likable through a variety of circumstances and I think we’d have a pretty effective match for Jacob Taylor.

Liv Tyler as Liara T’Soni

Liv Tyler’s ability to be subtle with her expressions and cool under pressure is what led me to choose her for the role of Liara T’Soni.  They both have a seductive quality to them that’s almost hidden but open enough to be noticed by anyone who’s played the games.   Liara has a subdued openness about her character and a sort of  calm demeanor that’s met with wide eyed optimism.  Liv can balance the art of staying mysterious and adorable while switching into ass-kicking mode in a moment’s notice.  I also wanted someone with eyes as captivating as Liara’s and you can’t really get better than Liv Tyler in most of those aforementioned categories.

The Wildcard:  Martin Sheen or Bruce Greenwood as The Illusive Man

This seems to be the hardest role to cast because we already have a voice from the trilogy that is a well-established and talented actor (Martin Sheen).  The problem seems to lie within Sheen’s older age and the age of The Illusive Man.  If fans were to look past that and the creators of the film wanted to make it as authentic as possible then they would go with Martin Sheen.  If they needed to bring in a replacement that has the “look” down better (as well as the age) than I’d probably pick Bruce Greenwood.  The Illusive Man is someone who’s nature lies in the grey area between good and evil.  You’re never sure if you can trust him but there’s something about his personality that leads you to never fully let your guard down.  I believe that Bruce Greenwood could not only look the part but bring that extra element of mystery to his performance as that character.

So there you have it folks, my dream Mass Effect cast in a (mostly impossible) Mass Effect feature film trilogy.  There are too many characters to cast in one column so I settled on the ones that would either get the most screen time or stand out as must-add pieces to the movie.  So do you agree? disagree? Share your opinion below and don’t forget to pick up Mass Effect 3 on Tuesday March 6th.  Go Kill some Reapers!