Comic Book Casting: The FABLES Movie

What if the bedtime stories you were told as a kid were real, and the characters inside were people just like you and I with troubles all their own? That’s the crux of the long-running comic series Fables, and since its first issue debuted people have been talking up the big- (or small-) screen potential. If you’re like me you’re tired of waiting for it to happen, and I’ve worked up a cheat sheet for those Hollywood types so they can get rolling.

The Concept:

There’s a groundswell of interest around fairy tales these days, from television series such as Grimm and Once Upon A Time to movies like Red Riding Hood as well as the upcoming Snow White & The Huntsman and Mirror Mirror. But beyond all that, Fables has the most diverse story amongst them and a storyline plotted out years. Turning Fables into a movie franchise could be a modern-day comics equivalent of adapting Harry Potter into movies, with the right cast and crew.

For the first movie, movie-makers could take the story-arc of the first volume, “Legends In Exile” and set-up the refugee status of the Fables while conducting a murder mystery with the apparent death of Rose Red and Bigby Wolf on the case.

The Director:

To direct this effects-laden ensemble piece, I’d rely on none other than David Yates, the director of the last four Harry Potter films. Yates rose from obscurity to direct those movies, but hasn’t been shy about bringing in his own elements to the franchise such as hand-held cameras as well as balancing political intrigue with intense character development. Given DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson’s past ties with the Harry Potter book franchise, I’d love to see her play a part in enrolling Yates to direct Vertigo’s tentpole ongoing series into a film franchise. It’s a challenge, no doubt, but Yates seems to be one of the few modern director who excels in all the areas necessary to make a Fables film work.

The Cast:

Bigby Wolf – Russell Crowe: Other actors might be good in the role of Bigby Wolf, but for me Russell Crowe would be great. Seeing him as street-clothes P.I.-type in such a fantastical world as Fabletown and the outside environs, Crowe could bring a commanding performance to the film and sell tickets with just his name alone.

Snow White – Audrey Tautou: For this pick, I decided to cast outside the normal compliment of American actresses and bring in some international talent. Bursting onto people’s radars with Amelie, she later starred in The DaVinci Code alongside Tom Hanks, and has recently won over audiences playing the title role in Coco Before Chanel. Tautou could bring a nuanced performance to Fables here, showing Snow White to be more than just the beauty the fairy tales tell of her.

Rose Red – Keira Knightley: Fables needs a hellion, and Keira Knightley could do just that in the role of Rose Red. Those who’ve only seen her in the Pirates of the Caribbean films might consider her a one-dimensional actor, but her recent performances in A Dangerous Method and Atonement show the range she needs for this role.

Jack Horner – Matthew McConaughey: This one will probably raise the most ire with iFanboy readers, but once I lucked onto this pairing I couldn’t shake it loose. I’m the first to admit McConaughey isn’t one of my favorite actors, but Reign Of Fire will always give him a second look in my book. This role might be tailor-made for McConaughey, and it’d be interesting seeing him play in an ensemble piece instead of a solo starring movie.

Old King Cole – Robert Duvall: Robert Duvall is one of a group of actors that you get to bring added weight to the film, and casting him as Old King Cole would bring a tenured and venerable context to the film.

Geppetto – Bryan Cranston: Although he’s not seen until later on in the comic series, I’d like to stake my claim now to casting Breaking Bad’s Walter White in the role of Geppetto.¬† No spoilers here, but I think Cranston-as-Geppetto¬† could be introduced earlier in the film series and be a significant presence even in small doses.



  1. Whoa! Lots of star power in this one. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Audrey Tautou show enough “leadership” ability to make me think of her as Snow White, but she’s a great actress. And since all the main Fables are based on the European tales, I could even get behind them all having various European accents.

    Bryan Cranston as Geppetto is great!

  2. I’ve seen a few episodes of Once Upon A Time, I don’t know if this cast could match the raw talent and extensive acting expertise of that show

    • Ninja-Sarcasm, the cutting sharpness of the blade is never noticed.

    • You had me there for a minute! I was hopeful about that show but it just comes across as dull and uninspired to me. I’m spoiled by Fables goodness. A friend of mine loves that show, but he also loves some really bad shows, so for him it’s a step up.

  3. Great story.. My only disagreement would be Tatou. I’m sure others will post a wealth of reasons, I just don’t see her having any chemistry with Crowe. I think I might go with an unknown. How about Evangeline Lilly or Cobie Smulders??

  4. Nice choices sir. For some reason i always had Emily Deschanel’s voice in my head for Snow White

  5. Joel David Moore for Fly.

  6. Ever since I started reading fables ive always thought that John Hurt would make a perfect gepetto. He’s the voice I hear in my head when I read the character, not to mention he looks the part.

  7. I think Malcolm McDowell would make a great Gepetto.

  8. Cristof Waltz as Geppeto….That’ll give you nightmares…

  9. Ryan Gosling as Fly
    Carey Elwes in the 80s As Boy Blue
    Who as Charming?

  10. Jon Hamm would be a pretty great prince charming.

  11. how about cinderella? l like most of the casting here.

  12. Billy Zane for Bluebeard. I always thought Thomas Jane would make a good Bigby. You have to go with Peter Dinkledge for Pinocchio right? I like all the other choices you made.

  13. Uhmm…I really love this casting…good work!

  14. That’s a hardcore line-up!

  15. Bigby – Javier Bardem

    Bluebeard – Mark Strong (almost a perfect look for the role)

    Briar Rose – Lynn Collins

    Cinderella – Reese Witherspoon

    Fly Catcher – Jason Lee

    Beast – Sean Bean

    Beauty – Rebecca Hall

    Jack Horner – Ed Norton (bigger name for spin off franchise down the road)

    Prince Charming -Orlando Bloom

    Red Riding Hood – Winona Ryder (I think she would be perfect in the battle with Frau)

    Rose Red – Juliete Lewis

    Frau Totenkinder – Dianne Wiest (CGI Enhancements)

    Snow White – Christina Hendricks

    King Cole – Rick Moranis

    Gepetto – Steve Martin

    Pinocchio – Peter Dinklage

    Little Boy Blue – Justin Timberlake – (Know I’ll take a ton of heat for this casting…but he’s perfect. Forget who he is and look at his work as an actor…the kid is a natural)