In the past few years, Image Comics has experienced a resurgence of fresh, new creator-owned comics — and part of that new wave was Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic’s Who Is Jake Ellis? Earning numerous iFanboy podcast mentions over the years, it followed a CIA desk jockey named Jon Moore who found himself on the run from every spy shop in the world. In his head he has a ghostly guardian angel named Jake Ellis, who seemed to be able to out-think Moore’s pursuers at every turn, a master spy himself. It’s Bourne Identity meets Fight Club with layers upon layers of mystery and subterfuge, trying to find out where Jake Ellis came from… and once that’s answers, where he and Moore should go next.
Currently in the middle of its second series, Where Is Jake Ellis?, Edmondson and Zonjic’s series earned early comparisons to the top spys stories of all time, mixing world-spanning adventure with deeper questions about identity and the truth of everything. It seems like a no-brainer for a live-action adaptation, and here inside Comic Book Casting we write the mission briefing for how it should all fall together.
Who Is Jake Ellis? might seem like it’d best fit as a series of live-action movies, but instead I’d veer it into the serialized, extended story possibilities of television. Each comic series could be a season, with the first Who Is Jake Ellis? being season one and the current Where Is Jake Ellis? being season two.
USA’s Burn Notice is currently one of television’s top shows,and the Jake Ellis franchise could easily work inside the path that series has developed at USA or even at Fox or elsewhere. In a Jake Ellis show, the identity of Jake Ellis could be the overarching story with Moore and Ellis working on serialized, standalone stories in each episode to get them what they need to solve the mystery and elude their pursuers.
To make this comic real, I’d tap TV veteran Henry Bromell, executive producer and writer on everything from Homicide: Life On The Streets to Homeland and even showrunning AMC’s Rubicon. He has just the skillset to elevate it from being a droll spy show into something interesting, captivating and nuanced that is both smart and engaging.
Jon Moore – Michael Weston: I discovered Weston when he guest-starred for two years on Fox’s House as a private detective, and came to enjoy his ability to veer between serious and humorous without making his character seem unreal. He actually filled the pilot for a Rockford Files remake but it sadly never took off, leaving him in the clear to take on the role of Jon Moore in a Jake Ellis series.
Jake Ellis – Dominic Purcell: One of the big reasons I watched Prison Break despite it’s drastic leaps of logic was for Dominic Purcell, and since that show’s end he’s gone on to play a perpetual badass in everything from Castle to movies like Killer Elite and Blood Creek. He can play smart like Jake Ellis is, but he’ll also bring a physicality to the role that would add a lot of brooding nuance to the show.