Comic Book Casting: The ADAM STRANGE Movie

In the wake of the John Carter movie, some might say Adam Strange is too close in concept to have a shot at a successful movie but I say it could benefit from that debacle. By using John Carter and Green Lantern as warning signs, the people putting together a John Carter could learn exactly  how NOT to do a space-venturing hero. What makes Adam Strange so cool is that it’s almost Indiana Jones meets the original The Day The Earth Stood Still: an archeologist kidnapped to an alien planet as a last ditch savior against a world-ending apocalypse. Here’s how it could (and should) be done.

The Concept:

Taking pieces from all over Adam Strange (and DCU) continuity, an Adam Strange movie could show Strange as a upstart young archeologist on Earth who, while excavating Incan ruins South America, inadvertently steps into a transporter beam — a Zeta Beam — taking him to the planet Rann. There he meets the scientist responsible for the Zeta Beam, Sardath, and his blue-haired daughter Alanna. On the Rannian doorstep threatening ultimate destruction is an alien being calling himself the Controller and his own personal doomsday device-as-attack-dog, a Sun-Eater. Seeking to take out the Rannians for interfering in Earth history, the Controller finds an unlikely adversary in Strange who wants to preserve this alien race for its unique connection to Earth history, and his own attachment to Rann’s people, especially Alanna and Sardath.

Like I said earlier, this could borrow some from the Indiana Jones movies, also featuring an archeologist, and to investigating a strange unseen facet of Earth history. Unlike John Carter, they could save the special effects budget from CGIing almost every supporting character and focusing it on the futuristic Rann homeworld and the Sun-Eater. Who wouldn’t want to see the Sun-Eater in a live-action movie?

The Director:

To helm this challenging project, I’d turn to Brick and Brothers Bloom director Rian Johnson. With his next feature Looper getting some early buzz before its release later this year, Johnson seems to know how to find the heart of characters while also balancing the often-times dangerous world of sci-fi film-making. One of the main problems with John Carter and Green Lantern is that the movies got lost in the special effects at the expense of the character development, something Johnson seemingly has a better ear and eye for controlling. No doubt it would be a risky undertaking no matter who directed it, but Rian Johnson seems just the man to do it.

The Cast:

Adam Strange – Alex Pettyfer: This guy is a action star waiting to happen, and his track record has shown there’s more to him than his looks. I’d love to see him play a brainy archeologist that’s not afraid to get dirty. Archeologists aren’t scientists in lab coats; they get out in the field, survive and uncover secrets buried for centuries. I bet he could do that AND handle a ray gun easily.

Alanna – Felicity Jones: I first saw her in an episode of Doctor Who back in 2008 and then followed her into Northanger Abbey and the movie Like Crazy, but for many she’s a complete unknown. Despite all that, I think she could deliver a home run as Alanna, especially if she can eschew the normal damsel-in-distress role and take a bit of take-chargeness from Karen Allen’s role in the Indiana Jones movies.

Sardath – Ben Kinglsey: Kingsley is one of those actors that make any project he’s a part of twice as good merely by showing up. Imagine how bad Bloodrayne could have been? In last year’s Hugo, Kingsley showed an amazing fatherly persona that I’d seek to borrow from, with a side of wacky scientist, in Sardath. Our friends over at Cool Kids Table has some ire for the Sardath character, but Kingsley in this role could temper that but also make it more than a functionary part of the story.

A Controller – Vincent D’Onofrio: Law & Order: Criminal Intent might have made D’Onofrio a star, but long before he was Detective Goren he was a frightening piece of cinema with roles in The Cell and Full Metal Jacket. I’d love to see D’Onofrio try to understand a role like the Controller and make it something fearsome without being archetypal.


  1. Mickey (@GeeksOfChrist) says:

    I’m a bit obsessed with Adam Strange. This is excellent.

    I used to pretend-cast this movie a lot when I was a kid. Kerwin Mathews, known best as Sinbad, was always my top choice is they had ever made this movie in the 60s.

    I actually just watched Felicity Jones in Northanger Abbey last week and absolutely adored it. She would be great as Alanna!

    Since 2009 or so, Leonardo DiCaprio has owned the rights to Adam Strange. Here’s hoping he takes a look at this page and starts himself a-casting!

  2. I want to see this.

  3. In its defense, let me say there was nothing wrong with the John Carter movie. The MARKETING of the movie doomed it.