Avengers Month: Casting Call: Masters of Evil
The Masters of Evil are to the Avengers what the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are to the X-Men. The perfect nemesis for a bunch of clandestine, colorfully costumed do-gooders is an equally colorfully costumed group of terrorists. Masters of Evil came in many different forms. I picked the main members of the first incarnation and the later incarnation that posed as a hero team called The Thunderbolts.
Baron Zemo – Christoph Waltz
There are 2 different versions of Baron Zemo associated with the Masters of Evil. There is Heinrech Zemo who was a WWII era member of the Nazi party who butted heads with Captain America on more than one occasion. He later reestablished himself when Cap was unfrozen. The other one is Helmut Zemo who posed as Citizen V and led the Thunderbolts. I’m guessing they will ultimately streamline the characters into one character for the same reason Nick Fury will most likely lose his WWII connection. It is no longer viable to have characters with strong WWII ties in 2012. Christoph Waltz knocked it out of the park with Inglourious Basterds and is poised to repeat in Django Unchained. He is definitely the go-to trendy German guy, kind of like Jean Reno was the go to French guy for so long, but he has a ton of talent to back that up.
Enchantress – Imogen Poots
Amora, aka Enchantress, is an Asgardian spell-caster sent to Earth by Odin. Her mission was to eliminate Thor’s human love interest, Jane Foster0. She also wished to have Thor all to herself. After being exiled to Earth by Odin, she joined Zemo’s Masters of Evil to target Thor and his team. Enchantress is an expert at seduction and uses her feminine wiles to take advantage of people. Imogen Poots is, in my opinion, one of the brightest young stars working today. She hasn’t quite made it yet, so they could get her pretty cheap. That aside, she has a surprisingly diverse career for an actress her age. In Chatroom, she pulls off a highschool “mean girl” attitude, especially as a manipulater, yet doesn’t seem out of place as a medieval style character, a la her role in Centurion.
Executioner – Kevin Durand
Executioner comes from Jotunheim, one of the Nine Worlds that Thor mentions. He is in love with Enchantress and is often dragged into her wrong-doing as hired muscle. Many times, it is hard to cast a character of Executioner’s stature. So many of those guys depend on their unique size to get jobs and don’t usually bring anything to the screen. Kevin Durand on the other hand has boat-loads of screen presence. Yes, there are many times when he comically chews the scenery (don’t get me wrong, it is usually delightful), but most other times he brings a very quiet intensity, sometimes injecting dry sarcasm rather the over-the-top humor.
Radioactive Man – Collin Chau
Otherwise known as Chen Lu, Radioactive Man is a nuclear physicist and communist agent hired to figure out a way to defeat Thor (so many Thor baddies!). By exposing himself to small doses to radiation, he mad himself into a “radioactive man.” I think he is one of the only original Masters to end up eventually joining the Thunderbolts (where he served as a very competent hero). Collin Chau has starred alongside a who’s who of Asia’s superstars including Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen. You’ll probably remember him from The Matrix sequels where he played the guardian to the Orcale, one of the characters I personally wish had more screentime.
Melter – Rob Benedict
Melter is a competitor of Tony Stark. He is driven to bankruptcy when he loses contracts to Tony Stark when a safety inspection proved he was using inferior materials. He is called the Melter because he invented a weapon that loosens the molecular bonds of materials causing them to liquefy. The Melter is one of those classic villain types that was just simply never updated. So I thought out of the box about how he should be portrayed. With Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 , we already have an evil version of Tony Stark, so instead I went opposite. Instead of being charming, brilliant, and handsome like Tony Stark, he would be insecure, clumsy, and unkempt. In a way, they can poke fun at Melter’s cheesiness the way they do with Flash’s rogues (to great returns). Rob Benedict has made a career on that kind of character, and in a way, has made being uncharming charming in his own way.
Wonder Man – Sam Witwer
People often forget that Wonder Man started out as a member of the Masters of Evil. He is very similar to Melter. He is a CEO heir who blames his business misfortune on Tony Stark. Honestly, they would probably be better off replacing Melter with Wonder Man. Anyway, Wonder Man is given his ability by Zemo. Wonder Man eventually becomes an Avenger and even later tries to be an actor. I remember him being guilty and hesitant as a villain and charming and affable as an Avenger, making best friends with the X-Men’s Beast. Sam Witwer is pretty new to the game, but he has a lot of cred, mostly the fact that he Frank Darabont believes in him. His most recent acting position is in Syfy’s remake of the UK’s Being Human where he plays a vampire who is trying to not kill people.
Moonstone – Natalie Zea
Dr. Karla Sofen is a psychiatrist who manipulated the first Moonstone into relinquishing the source of his power, a Kree gem that grants her the ability to manipulate gravity. Sofen is disgustingly manipulative usually siding with whoever seems clearest to win. Her powers of psychological deduction are constantly “on” creating something of a sociopath. Natalie Zea has had a busy career lately, but it all seems to be coming to a slow point. I believe her runs on Justified and Californication have come to an end. On one, she is a trusted colleague of the main character who comes off as intelligent but slightly naive. On the other, she is a scorned lover of the main character who just cannot seem to come to terms with closure and begins to act out. Moonstone is the balance of those two types. Pretending to be one while actually being the other and vice versa.
Songbird – Mila Kunis
Of all the Masters of Evil and Thunderbolts, Songbird is definitely the most interesting. She started out as a punk kid acting out before be given a direction with the Thunderbolts. That direction was of course a sham, but she bought into it and became the driving force behind the Thunderbolts’ redemption. She is sassy to a fault and occasionally ill-tempered, it’ll be a good chance for Mila Kunis to put the Jackie Burkhart (that 70’s show) sass to good work this time cut with the acting talent and experience she has most definitely earned. She is one of the bigger actors on here, second to Waltz but only because he has an Oscar. Songbird would theoretically be a big role, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for an eventual Avenger membership.
Fixer – Ed Quinn
The Fixer is kind of an interesting character. He is a technological genius. He is not just a great tinkerer, but he actually helps fix a lot of the problems the Thunderbolts have especially when it comes to fellow T-bolt, Atlas’s ionic energy disrupting. While he vocally despises being a hero, he finds he has a real knack for it. For those who don’t know Ed Quinn, he played a character named Nathan Stark on Syfy’s Eureka. The name is not a coincidence, he was invented as an homage to Tony Stark. He is brilliant, dapper, and charming. But he is also egotistical to a fault. Given the right direction, he could certainly capture that hubris quality that a villain like The Fixer has to have.
Mach V – Jeffrey Donovan
Abner Jenkins was a master mechanic at an aircraft factory. When he became bored with his job, he built a suit and called himself the Beetle trying to earn wealth and fame. As a Thunderbolt he changed his name to Mach-I. Everytime he augmented his suit, he would up the number ending at Mach-V. As a blue collar guy, Abner doesn’t seem all that devoted to either good or evil. He seems motivated more by his crush on Songbird or your average thrillseeker attitude. This makes him one of my favorite types of heroes: he’s not the guy who wants to be heroic, but he just cannot ignore the help he can do. Jeffrey Donovan is most known for his super spy in Burn Notice. It is a show that gives him the opportunity to show off a lot of classic action hero talents. What is not explored enough is how is small beginnings have affected his grand mission, something I think can be applied to Mach-V. Outside of Burn Notice, Donovan has played a lot of docuhebags, but his super spy role has allowed him to take on many aliases and personalities, best of all are his blue collar guys who seem kind of slow at first but know a lot about a little.
Atlas – Seann William Scott
Atlas has gone by many names, but as a Thunderbolt he was Goliath,a size-altering villain. Goliath is a name that was shared by a few Avengers, so I thought I would stick with Atlas. Atlas was a lost soul for awhile. he didn’t really find himself until the Thunderbolts decided to go legit. No he has an almost obsessive hero complex and desire to be a nice, good guy. It was the media and fan attention he was getting as a Thunderbolt that led him down this path. Not so much the fame, but the feeling of appreciation and a job well done. Just reading about him kind of reminds me of a smarter version of Seann William Scott’s character from Goon. There was a part to that movie where a rival tried to convince SWS that he was being taken advantage of by his team because all he knew how to do was hit. SWS didn’t care. He knew they appreciated him and that he accomplishing something. That is Atlas in a nutshell, besides I really want to see was SWS can do with a role that is more mature and intelligent than his usual Stifler-clones. He’s had a few small movies where he was given that same chance, and despite doing well, no one really saw them.