Earlier this week I shared my “dream cast” for a reboot of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” assuming Joss Whedon retained control over the character’s and the franchises’ rights. I think it’s safe to say that for a few exceptions that list went over better than I hoped. But some readers claimed the SRL was proof that I (and by association anyone who didn’t hate it) clearly don’t even understand the show I love so much. To those readers, and in honor of today’s “Firefly” and Serenity reunion at San Diego Comic Con, I would like to offer a glimpse into the worldview of someone who really, truly, deeply doesn’t get something: The Worst Possible Cast Imaginable for a Firefly/Serenity Film Reboot.
If you thought the Reavers were scary, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
First and foremost, the script would be painstakingly crafted by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer the two writer/director/creative geniuses behind such comedy classics as Spy Hard, the Scary Movie series, the Movie Movie series, and others that fall in the same vein but have even cleverer titles like Meet the Spartans, Vampires Suck, and the upcoming The Starving Games. Their new script, subtitled Serenity is the Name of the Ship, Too, Get it?, would undoubtedly entice the master craftsmen and cinematic auteur behind Money Talks, Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, and X-Men: The Last Stand that we all lovingly know as Brett Ratner. (You can call him Shrimp Dick, if you’re nasty.) As a bonus, once the movie is released and becomes a huge worldwide hit, the ever classy director will likely tweet about how much more money his version of the film made than Whedon’s, thus assuring all of us everywhere how good it really is and what an amazing filmmaker Ratner must be. It’s a hit, you guys, come on! Of course that means it’s great.
And it would be a hit, because with this cast, how couldn’t it be?
Charlie Sheen as Captain Mal Reynolds
Considering that Sheen’s most recent personal catchphrase was “Winning!”, and he most certainly was, it might seem antithetical to cast him as the consistent loser that is Malcolm Reynolds. But the Cap is best known for his wit (as is Sheen, check), his inability to quit (check), his tough love exterior and even tougher love interior (check and check), his penchant for escorts (that’s a check), and his drop dead sexiness (quadruple tiger blood check, baby), so why exactly is Sheen wrong for the part? Exactly. He’s not, he’s perfect.
Tyler Perry as Zoe Washburne
Oh, sure, there are plenty of talented African American actresses who could play the part of Zoe — maybe not as awesomely as Gina Torres, but maybe so? — but none of them are as talented as Perry. Obviously. Why else would he consistently cast himself in the lead role of the Hollywood stereotype of an elderly black woman in all of his movies? If you don’t think Perry could pull this off, just watch this teaser for the latest Madea flick and then tell me I’m wrong.
Nick Swardson as Hoban “Wash” Washburne
Swardson hasn’t gotten the kindest reviews around here lately, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a thoughtful artist who crafts dick, poop, and masturbation jokes for the entertainment of several of Adam Sandler’s closest friends. To that end, he’d fill Alan Tudyk’s flight suit wonderfully as the grown-ass man-child and ship’s pilot, Wash. Can you imagine how delightful he’ll be when playing with those dinosaurs and flirting hilariously with Tyler Perry? I can’t, but I’m not Nick Swardson.
Justin Bieber as Dr. Simon Tam
Who else could play the super confident and capable with the ego to back it up, but still be charmingly boyish, ship’s surgeon? Like Dr. Simon, Bieber made a name for himself being preternaturally brilliant at a very young age and that personal experience ought to transfer beautifully to his performance here. Because the audience cares for the real Biebs so much, they’ll be extra invested in his sister’s daring escape and in his budding romance with Kaylee. Plus, his cover of the “Firefly” theme song for the soundtrack would be instantly catchy and worthy of all the radio play it will contractually get, unlike that groaning sapfest original.
Selena Gomez as River Tam
I don’t really know a thing about Gomez, other than that she’s young, petite, and doesn’t look terrible in a dress. Sounds like Summer Glau’s River Tam to me, and being from Nickelodeon she can probably handle most of her own stunts. Plus, wouldn’t it be, like, totes adorbz for real life couple Gomieber (Biebez?) to play brother and sister? In the immortal words of Paris Hilton: That’s hawt.
Steve-O as Jayne Cobb
Throughout the show and movie, we constantly learn that Jayne is a rebel who plays by his own set of rules and doesn’t suffer anyone he thinks is a fool kindly, despite being mostly a fool hisself. Fits the boys from the Jackass mold to a T, if you ask me, and nobody would fit that T better than the legendary Steve-O. Or maybe it’s a lower case “t”? Either way, Steve-O would nail it — figuratively and literally.
Taylor Momsen as Kaylee Frye
Momsen first became known as the cute little moppet from Jim Carrey’s Christmas masterpiece, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (not to be confused with that boringly paced and terribly narrated cartoon original). Ship’s mechanic Kaylee was nothing if not cute, right? But she was also surprisingly frank about sex and reveled in getting filthy, like with grime and grease and real life dirt. Lo and behold, that’s exactly who Momsen is now! It’s almost like the actress/underground rock gladiatrix has been preparing for this moment all of her life.
Sasha Grey as Inara Serra
As Cap’n Mal was often fond of saying, Inara was a whore; one who seemed to specialize in “the girlfriend experience.” ‘Nuff said.
Chris Tucker as Shepherd Book
We started with a Ratner player and now we end with a Ratner player, which I guess is a kind of meta-reference to Whedon’s stable of actors and actresses. It’s only fitting, then, that Tucker return from his self-imposed retirement from movies to reunite with his most common collaborator. Also, did you know he’s a Born Again Christian? His Book would be able to school Ron Glass’s in Bible quotes without having any of that distracting hair. And he’d do it all while talking faster than the Micro Machines Man and dropping F-bombs every other word, just like God intended. Unlike the first time out, his death scene is going to be the most satisfying part of the entire film.
Don’t worry, my fellow Browncoats, this movie, or something like it, will never happen. “Firefly” and Serenity remain too cult-like in their fandom to spend even Scary Movie 5 money on. In this case, as much as we want to see the crew’s adventures continue, we’re far better off without them, so we probably don’t have to worry. Unless both Joss Whedon and Fox suddenly find themselves in desperate need of income and relevance simultaneously, which is far less likely a scenario than fully recovering from a giant metal spike through the heart after piloting your ship to safety after its engines were blown out by cannibalistic space zombies and uttering one of the most tragic lines of dialogue in film history. Too soon?
On a more serious note (I know, right?) I would now like to give my personal appreciation to Joss Whedon and the cast and crew of the TV show and its film adaptation for making this list possible. Without them and the very special universe that they created together, ours would be far, far lesser. Nothing can or will ever replace the Serenity in our hearts, and that’s probably why we love the short-lived show as much as we do. It’s a remarkably similar feeling to the one Nathan Fillion often expressed as Mal, about his ship and his shipmates, and I imagine that’s why the show continues to live on so long after it’s official demise. So, congratulations on being one of the most powerful forces in the ‘verse for ten years, “Firefly.” Here’s to another ten more and so, so many re-watches. Thanks for being shiny.
To those of you able to attend the actual reunion happening today (or, right now depending on when you’re reading this) at SDCC: I hate you, please be my friend and tell me what happened.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. He can definitely be a groaning sapfest, but he’s looked into the abyss and he isn’t sure he came out unscathed.