From the Creature Commandos’ Who’s Who bio:
“In the early crisis-filled days of World War Two, all branches of the American armed forces, as well as a number of civilian groups, joined forces on the top secret ‘Project M,’ the Allies’ most bizarre experiment in psychological warfare. Reasoning that all men are subconsciously terrified by certain nightmarish archetypes, Project M — for Monster — sought to bring these nightmares to life by transforming three volunteers into living facsimiles of certain creatures out of folklore.”
It’s a concept so bloody brilliant you have to wonder why no one had thought of it before writer J. M. DeMatteis dashed out the first Creature Commandos story for a 1980 issue of Weird War Tales. Monsters! Nazis! Horror! Drama! Angst! Intrigue! Explosions! Cute in-jokes about Universal’s monster movies! The script practically writes itself.
I mean, if we can get a tongue-in-cheek movie about Abraham Lincoln hunting vampire, then what’s stopping us from getting this project off the ground? Nothin’, I say. So let’s start casting!
1. Pvt. Elliott “Lucky” Taylor
Name: Dwayne Johnson
You might remember him from: The Scorpion King, The Tooth Fairy, Snitch, Pain & Gain, G.I. Joe, San Andreas, the Fast & Furious franchise
Why him? While this past summer’s Suicide Squad had more than a few problems, one thing it got right was casting Will Smith as Deadshot. Because as fun as an ensemble movie can be, you still need a charismatic leading-man type to give it some focus… and if the leading man has a decent track record putting bums in theatre seats, so much the better. Dwayne “No Longer The Rock” Johnson is that rare beast: a credible action hero with a sizable fan base and a sense of humor about himself. Taylor, a private who stepped on a land mine and was stitched back together to resemble Frankenstein’s monster, sounds like the perfect role for Johnson: a chance to flex his muscles in the literal sense, while showing off his acting chops in the quieter moments when his character reflects on his lost humanity. Plus, the man’s 6’5″. We’re going to need a big fella to fill these shoes.
2. Sgt. Vincent Velcoro
Name: Adrien Brody
You might remember him from: The Pianist, King Kong (2005), The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hollywoodland, Midnight in Paris
Why him? As the youngest man (age 29, for The Pianist) to win the Best Actor Oscar, Brody doesn’t have to prove he’s up to any acting challenge, especially the challenge of playing a sardonic sergeant who avoids a 30-year jail sentence by taking part in a classified experiment that turns him into a human vampire. Also, rumor has it Brody was keen to play the Joker in Nolan’s The Dark Knight and was in talks to play Spock in Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, so he’s got the required geek cred to take on this project — and this sounds like just the kind of out-there role he can just run with. Sign him up.
3. Warren “Wolfpack” Griffith
Name: Alexander Skarsgård
You might remember him from: True Blood, The Legend of Tarzan, Battleship, Generation Kill
Why him? Honestly? I could talk about this Swedish actor’s charisma and acting range and sex appeal and how it all comes together to make him a perfect choice for the role of an Oklahoma farmboy who’s transformed by science into a living, breathing werewolf… and it would all be true. But in truth, I just want to see a guy who’s best known for playing a sexy vampire on an HBO series play a werewolf. What can I say, I’m weird.
4. Dr. Myrna “Medusa” Rhodes
Name: Elizabeth Banks
You might remember her from: Wet Hot American Summer, The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect, Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Why her? Let me just say this up front: Elizabeth Banks is one of my most favorite people ever, and I would cast her for everything if I were in charge of these things — which is probably why it’s a good thing I’m not (“We could cast her as Effie and Katniss and Peeta and the sister’s cat! That’s what special effects are for, right?”). A noted plastic surgeon, Dr. Rhodes accidentally inhaled some experimental chemicals that caused her hair to turn into living snakes. Sure, why the hell not? We can downplay the sillier aspects of her origins — maybe even make her one of the actual Gorgons from Greek myth, we’ll figure it out — and focus more on the logistical challenges of having snakes for hair. (Such as: Do they keep growing like hair? Do they get along with each other? Do they need feeding? When she wants to get out of a social engagement, does she say “Not tonight, I’m staying in to wash my snakes”…?)
Name: Karim Kamel
You might remember him from: Not much, unless you’re a fan of Middle East television (though he had a brief stint on The Bold and the Beautiful)
Why him? A later addition to the team, Khalis is a medic whose powers include healing, immortality and generating blasts from his staff. He’s also a mummy, in case that wasn’t obvious from the picture. I’m not a huge stickler about such things, but I don’t think it’s crazy to insist a guy playing an Egyptian mummy in your movie be, you know, Egyptian. Plus the dude’s good-looking and well-known in Middle Eastern markets, and there’s nothing wrong with giving international audiences more reasons to come out and see the film. Although wrapping his face in bandages could be problematic… maybe we’ll write in some flashback scenes from before he became a mummy? We’ll let the writers figure it out.
6. Dr. Nina Mazursky
Name: Gina Torres
You might remember her from: Firefly, Angel, 24, Serenity, Suits, Hannibal
Why her? As team scientist, Dr. Mazursky subjected herself to procedures that turned her into an amphibious type reminiscent of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Think Abe Sapien from the Hellboy stories only, you know, a chick. This to me sounds like a role that calls for an older actress with an aura of authority and don’t-mess-with-me-ness about her — and while Sigourney Weaver pops to mind as someone who might be game, I’m giving this one to Gina Torres, mainly on the strength of her appeal to our key geek demographic. (For real, I was tempted to shoehorn all of Firefly’s cast into this casting call — Nathan Fillion as the monster! Alan Tudyk as the wolfman! Morena Baccarin as Medusa! — but this isn’t about my specific nerd obsessions.)
7. Bride of Frankenstein
Name: Kate Beckinsale
You might remember her from: The Underworld franchise, Van Helsing, The Aviator, Total Recall (2012), Pearl Harbor, Serendipity
Why her? Speaking of geek appeal. Do I really have to elaborate on the desirability of casting Kate Beckinsale for this role? This British beauty is known stateside mostly for her work in blood-pumping action films, though her roles in period pieces and romantic comedies demonstrate her versatility. And versatility is what she’ll need to play a resurrected woman who’s given two extra arms by a super-villain who brainwashes her into believing she’s an assassin goddess. Why the extra arms I have no idea, so I’m going with “weird fetish” and moving on. At any rate: if anyone can sell this to the teenagers of America, it’s Beckinsale.
8. Father Time
Name: Aubrey Anderson-Emmons
You might remember her from: Modern Family
Why her? Because it hasn’t gotten weird enough already, here’s Father Time, head of the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive (S.H.A.D.E.) that employs the Creature Commandos. Possessing a genius-level intellect and superior leadership qualities, his only super power as such is the ability to be reborn each year in a new body. He’s a unique character in that he can be literally anyone we want him (or her) to be, but I like the loopiness of presenting the feared leader of a super-secret government agency as a young Asian girl, which Father Time was for a while in the comics. (Still is? I can never be sure.) Sign up Anderson-Emmons and you can tell the moms of America it’s totally okay to let their kids go see a movie about monsters as army commandos: “It stars that adorable child from Modern Family, Mom! You totally love her on that show!”
9. Lt. Matthew Shrieve
Name: Marc Singer
You might remember him from: Beastmaster, V, Dallas, Arrow
Why him? Fun fact: of all the cast members from the original Creature Commandos strip, their human handler is so far the only one who has made an appearance in a live-action DC property. Specifically, sci-fi legend Marc Singer has shown up on the CW’s Arrow as General Shrieve in a plotline I won’t spoil here; let’s just say no creatures appear with him, and this Shrieve comes off as slightly less heroic than his comic-book counterpart. I think Singer would welcome the chance to revisit the character in a different property, especially if he gets to keep his higher rank and be a good guy (…or is he?) who’s more of a mentor to the team than an in-the-trenches leader. Plus I like the idea of messing with the continuity nerds who will have long arguments online over whether Singer’s addition to the cast “proves” the movie is set in the same universe as Arrow. Like I said, I’m weird.