The Hollywood Reporter is… reporting… that Cartoon Network (owned by Ted Turner) is partnering with Transformers producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford to adapt the 1990s animated series “Captain Planet” (created, I learned today, by Ted Turner) into a feature length live-action movie. They’re using the recent tsunamis, earthquakes, and even tornadoes to sell an adventure film with an Earth-saving message. Ethics of that aside, I can certainly add anecdotal evidence that the original cartoon affected some portions of my generation (sort of like Pedro on “The Real World”), so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that a new rendition of the character can’t still mold/brainwash a few impressionable young minds. What can I say? Captain Planet, he’s my hero.
Personally, I’d love to see a pseudo-serious, pseudo-lampooning take for a Captain Planet movie, something not too dissimilar from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, or the first Iron Man. Fun and radassitude in equal measures. So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to do a bit of fan(tasy) casting for the upcoming environmental motion picture extravaganza. The characters are aged up a bit, to better parlay the ridiculousness of the premise for both comedic and action-packed effect. And I don’t have any kids, which means I don’t even know what an iCarly is, so I can’t cast with today’s youth in mind. So, indulge me, if you will, and you can have your own fun in the comments.
(Note: All character picture-bios were obtained via the actual, real 90s Captain Planet webiste. I urge you to spend a boring work day perusing the site — it’s at least half as amazing as Space Jam’s.)
Gina Torres as Gaia
This was by far the easiest choice. As soon as I read the news, Gina Torres immediately came to mind as the personification of Mother Earth. She’s tough but sensitive, beautiful but hard. And, after all, she basically played a similar role in her run on season four of Joss Whedon’s “Angel,” albeit, this character won’t have any of those negative apocalyptic connotations. At least not as the threat, anyway.
Donald Glover as Kwame (Earth)
Kwame was nearly as immediate as Gaia, if only because I am admittedly lacking in my knowledge of young, black actors who aren’t named Donald Glover or Nick Cannon (or the Keenan Kel from “Keenan & Kel.” That said, Glover has proven with “Community,” Mystery Team, and Childish Gambino that he can do anything and simply needs to be in more movies as soon as possible. He would murder this, in an eco-friendly way. Plus, LeVar Burton played Kwame in the original. That’s fate.
Emile Hirsch as Wheeler (Fire)
For some reason Wheeler was one of the hardest to settle on, if not just because my knowledge of youngish, white actors who aren’t named Emile Hirsch, Shia LeBeouf, and Michaels Cera & Angerano isn’t any better. That said, I think you’ll agree Hirsch is the best choice for the wise-ass you don’t want to punch in the face. He was surprisingly great in both The Girl Next Door and Speed Racer, and Into the Wild shows his range for when the shit gets real.
Emma Stone as Linka (Wind)
I almost went with Amber Heard, but then I realized we may as well put Emma Stone’s blondness (and awesomeness) to good use, we’ll find out if she can do the accent later. Really, Linka is just a mix of Easy A’s Olive and Zombieland’s Wichita, so Stone can kick ass and withstand Wheeler’s advances until the plot needs her to stop for the requisite romance. And, damn it, I am determined to get her and Donald Glover into a movie together. Plus, she’s one of the Pajiba 10, so she’s got that going for her. Which is nice.
Jamie Chung as Gi (Water)
You may have a bad taste in your mouth from Sucker Punch (and Dragonball Evolution if you saw that — I didn’t, but I have a decent imagination), but Jamie Chung isn’t a bad actress and she’s definitely capable of handling Gi with the requisite cheeriness. Chung has also been able to display both inner and physical strength in various roles, which is something a person who can control the element of water ought to have.
Rico Rodriguez as Ma-Ti (Heart)
Some people don’t like Rico Rodriguez’s Manny on “Modern Family,” but I get a kick out of his live-action Bobby Hill, so I’d love to see him play the figurative (and literal) heart of the Planeteers as Ma-Ti. He would also be the only age-appropriate character, so there’s your thrown bone to the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel audience ad wizards.
? as Captain Planet
But now we come to the Captain of the Planeteers himself, and I honestly can’t decide who I like for the spandex (nobody, really, it’s an awful, awful costume). It’s not an impossible part, but every time I settle on someone, I think someone else is just as good. Josh Holloway? Timothy Olyphant? Idris Elba? Ryan Gosling? One of those “True Blood” guys, or, what the hell, Will Smith? For the villains, I like Olivia Wilde as Dr. Blight, Michael Emerson as her evil supercomputer MAL, Jason Momoa as the irradiated musclehead Duke Nukem, and Alan Tudyk as the rat-and-trash-tastic Verminous Skumm. But I can’t decide on a Captain Planet.
Should it be this guy?
Inexplicably, one of these fine gents?
It’s a tough choice, as tough as taking pollution down to zero, and the power is not nearly mine enough to make. What do you think, my fellow Pajibans? Here’s the cartoon’s end credits to help inspire you:
UPDATE: By “popular” “demand” I have decided on my captain, o Captain Planet! I was tempted by commenter Bert’s suggestion of Joel McHale, because that would be all kinds of amazing, but I decided that I really shouldn’t pull an electoral college, so. Without further ado. Your dream Captain Planet is…
Nathan Fillion as Captain Planet
Looks pretty satisfied up there, doesn’t he? Well, he should, because even though I was sort of anti-too-many-Whedon-peeps, I really can’t deny that Nathan Fillion would make a superb Captain Planet. His take would undoubtedly be a bit more sincere than the above Captain Hammer, but that swagger would convince anyone — kid or adult — to reduce, reuse, recycle. And if commenter Socrates_Johnson is correct, and they decide to CGI the green mullet, then Fillion’s vocal talents would more than suffice. Besides, who else can claim to be both a captain and a superhero?
Of course, Cartoon Network will never shell out that kind of dough, especially if this ends up only being on TV. But a man can dream, can’t he? A man can dream…
Rob Payne also writes the independent comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show We’re Not Fanboys, and will sing along with you on the Twitter @RobOfWar. He would have done pictures and whatnot with the villains, too, but he’s trying to conserve space in the intertubes.