Comic Book Casting: The AMERICAN VAMPIRE TV Series

For good or bad, American culture has a way of standing out. It has a way of shaping and changing things after they come inside our borders, from food to politics to music and even art, it gives it a twist that stands out from its Old World ancestors. The same is true for vampires, as seen in the long-running Vertigo series American Vampire. Created by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, it follows a new species of vampire born in the American heartland and rebelling against its European relatives, with blood and guts and guns and explosions.

Since it’s debut in 2010, American Vampire has become one of the key pillars (along with Fables and Hellblazer) of the modern Vertigo line, and along the way it’s helped Snyder and Albuquerque break through in a big way. Traipsing through decades of American history, it’s created a spanning epic centered on the bloodline of the first New World bloodsucker Skinner Sweet and his only known progeny, Pearl Jones. It’s a story perfectly home in comics, but also well-suited for a second life on film. Here’s how we’d do it.

The Concept:

After seeing shows like The Sopranos, Deadwood and True Blood, television seems the ideal home for an American Vampire adaptation; the serialized nature of it is more suited for the sprawling nature of the comic series than standalone films. The changing times would be a negative aspect when it comes to building settings however, so I’d recommend spending at least one season in each time period before moving on.

I’d recommend the first season draw from Snyder’s first arc, “Big Break,” with Pearl’s roots as an aspiring actress in Hollywood and her falling into a bad crowd with a bunch of film makers. For the Stephen King back-up story “Bad Blood,” I’d be careful how to position that — a pair of special episodes, or maybe a feature-length double episode during sweeps week? It’d be a big draw, and a nice break from the first arc 1920s era glitz.

The Mastermind:

I’ve mentioned his name before in developing a comics-to-TV hit, but I’d again bring Bruno Heller up to bring American Vampire to life. Heller cut his teeth doing the HBO series Rome, balancing large casts, large sets, and a sprawling story based on previously-published source material (in that case, real life). After that, he moved on and became creator/showrunner for CBS’s The Mentalist, showing a completely different skill set of managing a television show.

The Cast:

Skinner Sweet – Ben Foster: Ben Foster’s been a repeat star of comics-to-film movies from The Punisher to X-Men: The Last Stand to 30 Days Of Night. But he really came into his own playing the right hand man to Russell Crowe in 3:10 To Yuma. Since then he’s played grittier roles like the one opposite Jason Statham in The Mechanic and Dennis Quaid in Pandorum. Foster is really for a leading role, and he’d be just the right kind of killer to play the candy-suckin’ Skinner Sweet.

Pearl Jones – Christine Ricci: Since her debut in the 90s, Ricci has always been one of those actors whose best roles put her away from modern times and into period pieces or alternate worlds. Although her star power wasn’t enough to lift the spirits of PanAm, it’d be a coup for AmVamp to cast Ricci in the role of the would-be starlet Pearl Jones.

B.D. Bloch – Ciaran  Hinds: Hinds shocked everyone with how good he was playing Julius Caesar in Rome, and he’d be a great bad guy to chew up Pearl as the movie producer/vampire B.D. Bloch. His role was a bit minimal in the comic, but if you stretch “Big Break” to run an entire television season you could flesh it out with Ciaran becoming the big bad in the early days of Hollywood.

Hattie Hargrove – Kristen Bell: Who has classic movie starlet looks with the ability to play your best friend and your worst enemy? Look no further than Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell. Some might say she’s too big a star to play a supporting role, but given Hattie’s only in the first part of the series she’d be a great addition and the actress could probably fit it in her schedule.

Chase Hamilton – Josh Brolin: A hunk of a man that emanates an old Hollywood feel, Josh Brolin could once again strap on his  mustache and play this dim-witted leading man great, especially opposite Ricci.

Henry Preston – Adam Scott: Although not a major character until later on in the series, I’d real in Parks & Recreation‘s Adam Scott to play Pearl’s husband and rock during her tumultuous first years as a vampire. Some  may consider Scott just a comedic actor, but he’s got dramatic movies on his resume and he’d need a bit of rye humor to stand up to the idea of growing old while his wife remains the same age as a vampire.


  1. Foster and Ricci are perfect choices, especially Foster. I wouldn’t actually want them to make a series out of this, though, at least not yet,

  2. Ben Foster wolud be a terrific Skinner Sweet!! I also like the idea of setting every season in a different time period!

  3. Wow. Great list. And doesn’t Scott Snyder deserve the same level of success as Kirkman? Just put this on AMC at 10pm right after Walking Dead, and I think we’ll all be set!

  4. I think Nathan Fillion would make a fantastic Skinner Sweet…

  5. I can’t find a flaw with any of that casting, that would be a fantastic ensemble.

  6. I think Josh Holloway would make a great Skinner. The character he played in his episode of Community reminded me of early Skinner.

  7. Fantastic shout on Foster for Skinner, would love to see that.

  8. Fantastic casting! Everyone here matches the characters perfectly! And what’s even better is that this could actually happen with this entire cast, ok Brolin might be a stretch, but still.