A few years back, I went over who I’d cast if Stars Rain Down were (by some stroke of amazing luck) turned into a major motion picture. Although there’s still no movie deal (and I’d prefer a fully CG 6-hour cable miniseries, anyway), I thought I’d revisit the idea for a fun Sunday project, updating my old choices and introducing some of the important characters from Long Fall along the way.
Now with pictures!
Idris Elba as Dr. Marcus Donovan
Old Pick: Joe Morton
My dream pick for the maverick astronomer is still The Brother from Another Planet. I’ve just always been a fan, and Joe is literally the man I had in mind while writing about Marcus. However, (playing through the fantasy here) a studio would likely want someone with a little more heat, so…
New Pick: Idris Elba
He’s just awesome, isn’t he? I’d worry that he might be a bit too manly for Donovan, but I think he can play it down if need be. He’s certainly a talented enough actor.
Manny Montana as Corpsman Jack Hernandez
Old Pick: Major League pitcher Jonathan Sanchez
I couldn’t think of a single suitable latino actor, so I picked a baseball player to pose as a stand-in. That seems pretty danged sad in retrospect.
New Pick: Manny Montana
Currently in USA’s Graceland. He has a good physical look for the part, and from his work on Graceland, I know he can play honest, brave, and heroic. Just imagine him in an orange jumpsuit and I think we’ve got a winner.
Miguel Gómez as Sgt. Charlie Hernandez
Old Pick: Didn’t have one.
Charlie just wasn’t a particularly important character in the first book, so I generally imagined him as Jack but a little younger. With his increased role in Long Fall, that had to change.
New Pick: Miguel Gómez
You probably recognize Miguel if you watched Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain on TNT this past season. He’s got a very similar look to Manny Montana, but tougher and harder edged, making him an ideal choice for the younger Hernandez brother.
Azita Ghanizada as Amira Saladin
Old Pick: Sarah Shahi
She’s a good performer and the camera loves her… but in retrospect, she doesn’t really seem like the right fit for Amira. Too sexy and tough.
New Pick: Azita Ghanizada
She played Rachel Pirzad on Syfy’s (sadly) short-lived series Alphas, where we’ve seen her play hyper-competent but not particularly confident or socially gifted. Feels like a good match.
Kristen Bell as Dr. Lisa Albright
Old Pick: None
In my old list, Lisa was one of those characters who simply fell through the cracks despite her importance to the narrative.
New Pick: Kristen Bell
Small, plucky, warm-hearted and athletic. I think Kristen could do an amazing job with the role. An easy pick.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sinit Kai
Old Pick: Guy Pearce
I’ve been a fan of his ever since Ravenous, and I enjoyed his recent work in both Prometheus and Iron Man 3, but I don’t think he’s quite what I’m looking for in a genetically engineered alien super-soldier anymore.
New Pick: Benedict Cumberbatch
He was the only part of Star Trek Into Darkness that I actually liked, and we’ve seen him playing a different sort of sociopath in Sherlock. There was something especially interesting about his performance as Khan (calculating, serpentine… a genetically engineered super-soldier), and I can hardly imagine anyone else in the role, now.
Mélanie Laurent as Dr. Juliette St. Martin
Juliette St. Martin
Old Pick: Lena Olin or Juliette Binoche
Both fine actresses, but also a bit older than I’m currently thinking. Also, neither has much currency in Hollywood.
New Pick: Mélanie Laurent
The star of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Mélanie is an excellent actress and a better fit as a contemporary of Idris Elba (though perhaps just a smidge young).
Kevin Durand as Corpsman Leonid Nikitin
Old Pick: Ray Stevenson
Not a bad pick, but a bit old and doesn’t really have the spirit I’m looking for.
New Pick: Kevin Durand
Another cast member of The Strain, Kevin Durand is a towering human specimen with a very goofy air about him that fits the human lighthouse, Leonid Nikitin, very well.
Patrick Wilson as Lt. Daniel Grey
Old Pick: None
Daniel Grey’s part in Stars Rain Down was sooooo small that there really wasn’t any point casting him (did you even notice him in that book?). With his massively increased role in Long Fall, it’s clearly time to pick an actor.
New Pick: Patrick Wilson
I wanted someone with a good dose of charm, but with a certain creepy edge to it. I considered Josh Lucas, but Patrick Wilson (who you may know from The Watchmen and dozens of other things) seems the best all-around choice.
Alexander Siddig as Colonel Galili
Old Pick: Oded Fehr
Oded Fehr is a very entertaining performer, but not particularly known for his dramatic chops. In recasting the role, I had a slight change of heart.
New Pick: Alexander Siddig
This is one of the few times where I’ve switched to an older actor. I’ve been a big fan of Siddig’s ever since Deep Space Nine (back when he was known as Siddig El Fadil), and I’d really enjoy seeing him play the leader of the human resistance.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Nefrem Prince
The Nefrem Prince
Old Pick: None (role didn’t exist)
New Pick: Jonathan Rhys Meyers
This role calls for someone really special. The character is androgynous, stately, imperious, and commanding. Jonathan Rhys Meyers offers just the right mix of character traits, and his work in Velvet Goldmine seems especially relevant. As an alternate, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthew Goode in the role.
And that should cover the key parts. For most of the roles I didn’t mention, they’ve either remained the same from the previous version or didn’t warrant casting at this time… except for the few dreadfully important characters I’ve certainly forgotten, and will commence slapping myself for later.
Do these match what you imagined? If not, who would you like to see playing these characters on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below!
Alternately, if you have no clue who any of these characters are, you should immediately buy Stars Rain Down and Long Fall, read them, and then leave some comments.