Matt Damon as Chaz Ashley: Damon was the winner of the "Cast A New Chaz" poll I held at the site to let the site's readers determine who should play Chaz in a PSIV live action movie. At first, when Nick Carter made the cut to the final four nominees, I was really, really afraid I would have to cast a Backstreet Boy as Chaz, but in the end, the readers picked Matt Damon. He wasn't my nominee for the contest -- my two nominees didn't even make the final four! -- but I whole-heartedly support the decision. Damon is already an Oscar winner (Best Screenplay, Good Will Hunting, 1998) and I'm sure, with his talent, he will someday win a Best Actor Oscar. But the best part of this casting is two-fold. One, Damon is now the hero of Phantasy Star IV, while his pal Ben Affleck is the hero of Phantasy Star II. And two, we know Damon would be great in this role because he was excellent as the "Mooby Killer" Loki in Kevin Smith's Dogma! "Hey Chaz!" Rika says. "Isn't that a Mooby executive?" Crosscut, Megid, Megid, Megid!
View an old casting for Chaz on the Dream Cast Alumni Page
Jerry O'Connell as Rune Walsh: Whoever plays Rune Walsh, we need an actor who possesses a very wide range. We need an actor who can go from an arrogant, sarcastic know-it-all to a serious, studious two-thousand year old master of Esper magic. (And we need someone who looks good in white robes with blue hair.) Enter Jerry O'Connell. As a kid, he played Vern Tessio in Stand By Me, and as an adult, his work has included a role in Scream 2 as well as the starring spot in Sliders, and physically, he can put on that grin that says he knows more than you do, and he wants to make sure you know he does, too. Remind you of anyone? That's Rune! Now the only question that remains is, In order for him to better play the role, does he somehow have to gain all of the memories of Ewan McGreggor?
Neve Campbell as Rika: Rika is the product of one thousand years worth of research on the genetic pattern of Nei, so I think it makes sense that in a Phantasy Star movie, the actress who portrays Rika should be the same as the actress who portrays Nei (just with a different color hair dye).
With a total of three Phantasy Star roles, the actress who gets the job of playing Nei, Neifirst, and Rika would have quite a tour-de-force to go through, but after seeing Campbell act in all of her various roles (especially as Julia Salinger on the extremely well-written Party of Five), I feel she'd be up to the task. So call Ms. Campbell's agent, get her back on the lot, and have someone from wardrobe find her ears, 'cause she's about to play another Numan.
Jeff Goldblum as Wren: He has a history of playing scientists -- Ian Malcolm in both Jurassic Park and The Lost World, and David Levinson in one of my all-time favorite movies, Independence Day -- so combine that with the fact that he's certainly tall enough, and we have an actor to portray the weilder of the deadly Positron Bolt Unit. Now, part of what I love about Jeff Goldblum is the way he knows how to deliver a wisecrack. (The "Pirates of the Carribean" line in Jurassic Park comes to mind.) So, I regret that he won't be doing much wisecracking as Wren. However, I still feel he's the perfect choice for this role. And hey, he knows Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data) thanks to Independence Day, so maybe the world's most famous android could give him some tips, eh?
Chris O'Donnell as Hahn: Hahn is of medium height, and lanky. So is Chris O'Donnell. To play the role of Hahn, he'd have to grow his hair longer than it is in this picture (from Scent of a Woman, I believe) and, of course, he'd have to grow it much longer than the crew-cut he wore as Robin in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, but that's just details. Chris O'Donnell is a great actor, and he certainly radiates the kind of intelligence necessary to accurately portray Hahn. The only drawback is that I just know there will be some smart ass in the theatre who, anytime Hahn and the gang go off to fight danger, will yell, "To the Batcave!" As a matter of fact, I'm willing to bet that smart ass will be me.
Cirroc Lofton as Gryz: I'll be the first to admit it, under all of the heavy -- make that extremely heavy -- make-up that will be required for the role of Gryz, damn near anyone could play the role, at least physically. But the make-up itself raises a new problem: you no longer can settle for a good actor, you now need a great actor to convey Gryz's emotions through the mask. Enter Cirroc Lofton. Best known for his role as Jake Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I am reminded of his most excellent work in the DS9 episode "The Visitor," in which Jake lost his father. Remember, a key part of Gryz's character is that he's been suddenly orphaned, and so, Lofton's performance in "The Visitor" is enough to convince me that he could accurately portray one who has just lost his parents, even under all that make-up. Plus, I really like what I hear when I picture Cirroc saying, "Damn you, Zio!"
ReneÚ O'Connor as Demi: "Hi, Miss O'Connor? This is the Camineet Casting Agency. Yes, we're casting that movie Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium. Anyway, we've seen your work as Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess, and since you seem to be a very talented young actress, and since you bear a strong resemblence to one of the video game's characters, we were wondering if you wanted the role of Demi. She's a 324 year old android. ... Uh-huh. Well, you'll have green hair in the movie. ... That's right, green. And you'll be referring to Jeff Goldblum's character as 'Master.' ... Uh-huh, is that all cool with you? Great! Report to Nurvus, I mean, the studio lot at 6 A.M. for make-up."
Christopher Lloyd as Raja: Some have suggested Jim Carrey for this role. I like Carrey, but no. Raja is not over-the-top hillarious, like Carrey; Raja's humor is much more subtle, and Christopher Lloyd would bring the Dezorian priest to life perfectly. He's used to wearing make-up (just look at his role as Uncle Fester in the two Addams Family movies) but he also has the physical traits that make-up can't hide or create: he's tall and lanky, like Raja, and he also has a sort-of soft, raspy voice that I think would be perfect in the role. Just think of Lloyd saying, "Four Motavians flee, fly, and fall -- right on my temple hall!" Finally, if you're still not convinced, just watch Lloyd in action as Reverend Jim Ignatowski on Taxi, and you'll know we've found our priest.
Lindsey McKeon as Kyra Tierney: So there I was one Saturday morning, just doing a little channel surfing, when I stumbled upon Saved By The Bell: The New Class. I saw Lindsey McKeon here and I said, "With some blue hair dye, this girl would be Kyra!" I continued to watch Saved (for purely educational purposes, I assure you -- I could put up with Screech for no other reason) and I came to the conclusion that Ms. McKeon has the acting ability required. So there it is. I know you've never heard of her, but she's my choice for Kyra.
Alicia Silverstone as Saya: Did I cast Alicia Silverstone as Hahn's financÚ, the Krup schoolteacher Saya, because they kind of look alike? Well, they do, but that's not my answer. Did I cast Alicia Silverstone as Saya because she has blonde hair, and that's the easiest hair color (besides gray) to dye into those funky Phantasy Star hair colors? Well, that's true, too, but that's not my answer, either. Okay, I'll be perfectly honest. Just about anyone could play Saya. I only chose Alicia Silverstone because I thought it'd be a hoot if Batgirl was Robin's fiancÚ. Get it? Chris O'Donnell plays Robin in Batman and Robin and Hahn in Phantasy Star, and Alicia Silverstone plays Batgirl in Batman and Robin and Saya in Phantasy Star! Hahahahaha! Ha! Ha! Ah... Umm... Err... Okay, so it's not funny.
Robert Duvall as The Old Esper: Robert Duvall is a legendary actor, and some of my personal favorites among his films are The Paper, Falling Down, and George Lucas's directorial debut, THX 1138. When it came time to cast the role of The Old Esper, I felt the role could really go to any senior actor in Hollywood; few real people sport three-foot long grey/white beards, so some fairly extensive make-up would be required anyway, meaning the search could focus on a great actor, and not necessarily on someone who looked just like the character in question. How great, then, that Robert Duvall does look like The Old Esper! It's a perfect match! (Though it would be kind of strange to see an actor as famed as Duvall referring to Jerry O'Connell as "most revrent.")
Hallie Eisenberg as Pana: Pana is another one of those characters who could be played by anyone under all the heavy make-up the role would require. So, much like Gryz, the actress who plays Pana has to have a great voice... and if you've ever seen any of Hallie Eisenberg's Pepsi commercials, you know she has a voice like no other! She is perhaps the greatest voice actor this planet has seen since Mel Blanc! One second, she sounds like a sweet young seven year old, the next she sounds like an aged mafia don. Who'd have thunk? Thanks to her incredible vocal abilities, Hallie Eisenberg wins the role of Pana, hands down! (But don't think for a second that a Pepsi "product placement endorsement" will find its way into a PSIV movie. That will never happen, not without some substantial cash payments to yours truly, anyway.)
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as Grandfather Dorin: The character of Grandfather Dorin is a combination of the wisdom of someone such as Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, as well as the goofiness of someone like... oh, I don't know... maybe Arnold, the owner of Arnold's Drive-In on Happy Days. And look! As luck would have it, both of those characters were played by the same actor, Pat Morita! In my mind, this makes him the perfect choice to play Grandfather Dorin. It's been said that under all of the make-up the role would require, just about anyone could play the part, but I disagree. I think it takes a true actor to bring the character to life even through the make-up, and Morita fits that bill perfectly. I mean, after all, he's Mr. Miyagi for cryin' out loud!
Armin Shimerman as Gyuna: As I may or may not have said before on these pages, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite television show of all-time, and so I'm always trying to work in as many actors from the show as I can into the Phantasy Star Dream Casts. (I know that using this as critera for determining my favorite TV show, you'd think my favorite was Party of Five, but can I help it that the casting directors at Party of Five pick such Phantasy Star friendly actors?) So when it comes time to cast the role of an alien bartender... am I really going to go anwhere other than Quark himself, Armin Shimerman? Heck no! And for the record, let me state that Shimerman is a tremendous actor, and I'm not just stereotyping here. ... Okay, so this is a blatant stereotype, but I don't care, I like it. Quark is Gyuna, and Gyuna is Quark, and all is right in the world.
Erica Yohn as Mito the Fortune Teller: I don't really know a darn thing about Erica Yohn, to be perfectly honest. According to the Internet Movie Database, she has somewhat of a recurring character on Beverly Hills, 90201 and she played the voice of Fievel's mother in both An American Tail films. However, I cast her in the role of Mito the fortune teller for just one reason: her role as Madam Ruby in 1985's Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, one of the greatest films of my childhood and, I dare say, one of the funniest films ever. "Yes, Chaz, Elsydeon... it is in the Alamo! In the basement! In the basement of the Alamo!"
Lord Richard Attenborough as Professor Holt: Holt is a character who is slightly aloof, so I feel it somewhat strange dream casting a British Lord in the role, but hey, I've looked for over two years for a good actor for the role of Professor Holt, and finally, thanks to a reader tip (Thanks, Laura!), I realized that Attenborough and Holt really do look a lot alike. Attenborough is perhaps best known for winning the 1982 Best Director Oscar for Gandhi, but he is probably best recognized as John Hammond from Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Now, Hammond and Holt have a lot in common, because they both tend to go after what they want, despite some pretty big red flags warning that doing so might not be such a good idea. ("Hey, let's open the park anyway, who cares if the velociraptors are eating people?" and "Hey, let's go further into Birth Valley, who cares that I was just turned to stone?" respectively.) But just imagine Attenborough as John Hammond saying, "Welcome to Jurassic Park!" and then imagine him saying, "Welcome to Birth Valley!" Ooo, chillingly cool, isn't it? That would definitely be a scene for the trailer!
Michael Harney as The Principal of Motavia Academy: If you haven't heard of Michael Harney, I'm not surprised. There are no web sites devoted to him; he's not what you'd call a "Hollywood Superstar." Thanks to the Internet Movie Database I know he has a recurring character on NYPD Blue, but the only work I've ever seen Harney in, personally, is his guest starring role as Chadwick in the sixth season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Honor Among Thieves." Chadwick was an agent for Starfleet Intelligence, and he was every bit as sneaky, deceptive, and all-around mysterious as the Principal of Motavia Academy. And more than that, aside from hair color, I see a striking physical similarity! Much like Lindsey McKeon above, I know you've never heard of Michael Harney, but trust me, he's the best choice for this role.
John Goodman as The Nuara Cake Shop Baker: This role would be little more than a cameo, but I can't imagine anyone except someone jolly and lively in the role. Goodman proved in The Flinstones that he excells at over-the-top hillarity, and that's what we'd need for this role; someone who can let the audience know that yes, the idea that this cake shop would be located in such an inconvient location is the whole joke, as is the explanation that the reasoning behind this is that the temperature and humidity underground is the secret behind the Nuala family's Algo-famous dough. Further, I also think Goodman should go ahead and play his character's own ancestor in the Nuala Cake Shop in Phantasy Star I, and I think the role of Nuala Cake Shop Shortcake should be played by none other than Betty Crocker herself, with a special "understudy" nod going out to Little Debbie.
Jesse Camp as The Bayamare Gift Shop Owner: While Jesse Camp might not be the Bayamare Gift Shop Owner's identical twin, personality wise, they're absolute spitting images. Tell me you can't here the words, "Buy or sell, ask me or anything, will ya?" in Jesse Camp's perpetually slurred, Where the hell am I? tone of voice. Also, just think, with Jesse in a PSIV movie, it would get nearly wall-to-wall coverage and promotion on MTV. What a boost to our opening weekend box office that would be! I flat out refuse, however, to allow a Carson Daley cameo. C'mon, I do have some sense of decency!
James Earl Jones as the voice of Le Roof: "Welcome, Protectors, welcome. I am Le Roof of Rykros and this... is CNN!" No, wait: "Many billions of years ago... a spiritual life form split into two lesser beings, who eventually began to fight... It was all a part of the great circle of life, Simba!" Or better yet, "Rune never told you what happened to your father. ... No, Chaz... I am your father!"
James Earl Jones's voice is perhaps one of the best known in all the world, and it most definitely contains the regality and power needed for a spirit guardian like Le Roof. This one, to me, is a no-brainer. The only other candidate who even comes close, in my opinion, is Orson Welles -- remember his work as the voice of Unicron in Transformers: The Movie? (If the answer is "no" because you've never seen that movie, then by all that is good in the world, log off the internet now and go rent a copy immediately!) The problem is, Orson Welles is dead, God bless his soul. So the role, without question, goes to James Earl Jones.
Liev Schreiber as Juza: Schreiber acts in mostly independent films, but he's also been known to take supporting roles in big-budget Hollywood blockbusters like Scream 2 and Sphere. The role of Juza is definitely a supporting one, so let's count Schreiber in. In a prelude to his role in Scream 2, Schreiber cameoed in the original Scream in a scene which replayed his character's arrest. The haunting, blank stare he wore in this scene very much reminds me of the way I view Juza and the rest of Zio's followers: hollow, blank, and mind-numbed, brainwashed by Dark Force's disciple. Further, Schreiber is also tall, and combining this with his ability to create a forboding presence, I'd say we have a perfect choice for Zio's henchman.
Trent Reznor as Zio: I know he's not an actor, he's a musician, but just pick up a Nine Inch Nails CD sometime and tell me Reznor's music doesn't make a pretty good soundtrack for Zio. But that aside... just look at him! Trent Reznor is Zio, so much so that it has been wondered on more than one occasion by various PS fans if Team PS did not, in fact, base Zio on Trent Reznor. More than that, the physical resemblence is so uncanny, I've heard that Zio has been mentioned in Nine Inch Nails discussions on Usenet. So yeah, he's not an actor. But if his music is any indication, he has a tormented soul that more than resembles Zio's. And again... just look at him!
Tim Curry as Seth and as the voice of Dark Force in all four films: Before I ever started casting a single Phantasy Star role, I knew that, in a perfect world, there had to be a single actor who not only could voice Dark Force, but who could also play the role of Dark Force's human form, Seth. And while I don't think we exactly live in a perfect world (in a perfect world we wouldn't have to wait sixteen years for a new Star Wars film, huh, Mr. Lucas?), I did, indeed, find an actor to both voice Dark Force and play Seth: Tim Curry.
Even if Curry didn't bare a physical resemblence to Seth, he'd still be able to play the role, since, through make-up in his various roles, Curry is practically a chameleon. But what seals the deal is Curry's voice. Pop a copy of Stephen King's It into your VCR some time, and listen to Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown; listen to the pure evil his voice contains when he speaks such lines as "I am everything that you have ever been afraid of!" Now imagine that same voice saying, "Tremble, fools, for I roam the worlds again!" Chilling, ain't it? (shudder)
The Profound Darkness and all three Dark Forces created with CGI technology: If only a computer can do justice to Dark Force, then certainly only the same will bring the ultimate fiend straight from the pits of hell and onto the big screen. There is absolutely no way The Profound Darkness could be portrayed by an actor in make-up, in a costume, by a puppett, or by any kind of audio-animatronic. Only the complete freedom offered by creating through the computer will make the audience scream in terror upon seeing Algo's ancient tormentor. As for a voice, I feel The Profound Darkness should not speak at all. It should be voiced with the most feral, vicious, blood curtling, and inhuman screams our sound department can cook up. Are your palms sweating yet? Is your throat dry? If so... good!
This time, you're not the only hero.
|Please send all comments and feedback to mike at ripplinger dot us|