Today we’re presenting yet another installment of our superhero movie fantasy casting feature, this time for the still-in-development big screen adaptation of The Flash. This film has been stop-and-go (pun intended) for awhile now, with previous versions of the script having been turned in by big name writers (David S. Goyer), and some big name actors having been eyed for the role (or so rumor would have it).
As of last week we have word that The Flash is coming along at a good pace, so as the story of the ‘The World’s Fastest Man’ steps closer and closer to becoming a cinematic reality, we stop to ask ourselves:
Who should play The Flash? THE RACE TO GLORY
The Flash is one of the oldest heroes in the DC Universe, but it would be a stretch to call him one of the most famous (despite the 1990s TV series). Sure, the character is well known by the comic book fanboy nation – and any JoBlo off the street could probably tell you that “He’s the guy in the red suit who runs really fast.” However, I’d be surprised if that same JoBlo could tell you the names of Flash’s alter egos over the years (Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West) – or if you could even find a handful of fanboys willing to tell you that The Flash is “The most awesome superhero ever!”
By current estimate, I would place The Flash just a couple notches under Iron Man (before the film came out) in terms of public recognition/love, hovering somewhere around the same plane as Green Lantern. Of course, I must acknowledge that both The Flash and Green Lantern have made serious comic book comebacks over the course of the last half decade – thanks in overwhelming part to DC Comics writer Geoff Johns, who resurrected both Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern (Barry Allen and Hal Jordan) and has written storylines for both characters that have gone on to become modern comic book classics.
Did I mention that Geoff Johns is also acting as a consultant on The Flash movie?
Like Iron Man, The Flash faces the daunting task of elevating a C-list superhero to blockbuster movie height$. There is no doubt that Iron Man got a head start in that same department by casting Robert Downey Jr. – so when casting The Flash, I say forget all this talk about “getting a no name” to play the part; in this case, name recognition is a MUST.
WHO IS THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE?
Back during Comic Con this year I had a chance to toss Geoff Johns a question about the treatment he did for The Flash script (which is now in the hands of screenwriter Dan Mazeau). In the Johns’ response (which you can read HERE), he alluded to several things hinting that we might be seeing Barry Allen, the “Silver Age” Flash in the movie version, instead of “Modern Age” Flash, Wally West, as many fans initially assumed. Of course this all just speculation – but it makes for one doozy of a job for those of us in the fantasy casting business!
That said, I’ll have to cast BOTH versions of The Flash just to be safe. So, if you’re interested, here are my picks for who should play Barry Allen or Wally West, based on the criteria that the actor for either role needs to be both funny and dramatic and able to exude heroism – not to mention having the physical body type of a long distance sprinter (let’s not forget that!).
[And no, Ryan Reynolds is NOT a candidate! He's already Green Lantern AND Deadpool! That's enough!]
For my money there is no better Barry Allen than Castle‘s Nathan Fillion. Truth be told, fanboys have been searching for a spot for Fillion to fill in the comic book movie universe for sometime now. Before Ryan Reynolds snagged his role as The Green Lantern, Fillion’s name was being pitched into the ring. The guy is funny, witty, likable, has a loyal cult following in place (Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity nation) and has already done some geek-themed voiceover work on DC animated projects including Justice League and this year’s Wonder Woman animated feature. Fillion is the sort of actor I can see having a ball playing up all the speed-based gags a Flash movie SHOULD offer, and will still look credible kicking serious ass in the climatic fight. I would love to see the man get his shot at the role.
However, whenever I think Barry Allen it’s hard not to consider how the character meshes with Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. DC Comics aficionados already know that the Silver Age Flash/Green Lantern teamups come second only to the legendary Superman/Batman teamups. So, whether relevant or not, it’s hard for me NOT to consider how the actors playing Flash and Green Lantern would mesh onscreen. Actor Ryan Reynolds is currently 34, so the actor playing Barry Allen would have to fit that same age range; Fillion is currently 38, so it would be a stretch, but one worth making, IMHO.
RUNNER UP: Josh Duhamel – I don’t know how funny the guy is, but he can certainly do action (Transformers) and has the physical body type (read: muscular) and enough dramatic acting skill for the serious portions of a Flash movie. Plus, if there were ever a Flash/Green Lantern crossover, fanboys would have to fight for seats in the theater against the hordes of ladies who would flock to see two of their favorite hunks (Reynolds and Duhamel) sharing the screen. So, if Warner Bros. wants to have The Flash appeal to the younger female demographic, there are worst choices than casting Duhamel.
Come on! Did you really think I would go with anybody else??? You’ve been saying it for years now – heck, WE’VE been saying it for years now! If they make this Flash movie using the modern age incarnation of the character (Wally West) then Neil Patrick Harris is the way to go! Not only does NPH look the part (see below), he PERFECTLY embodies that mischievous boyishness and wise-cracking charm that Wally is known for. People have said that NPH is “way too skinny” to fill out a crimson body suit – but THIS IS HOLLYWOOD, PEOPLE! They can bulk the guy up in an instant and have him off to the races!
If you want a version of The Flash that will do for that character what Iron Man did for Ol’ Shellhead, then you gotta have an actor with massive amounts charisma (“The RDJ factor”) to get butts in those theater seats. After turning this year’s Emmys into a veritable one-man show, and killing it on both the small screen (How I Met Your Mother), the silver screen (the Harold & Kumar movies) and even the computer screen (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), NPH hasn’t been this popular since he played a certain freckle-faced underage M.D. back in the 90s. A breakout film role is the next logical step in the NPH world domination campaign.
RUNNER UP: People have suggested Adam Brody in the past – but it’s been awhile since The O.C. wrapped and I don’t know if Brody has the star power behind him anymore, honestly. So I’m going to say that Jerry O’ Connell might not be a bad second choice – he’s also funny, mischievous, has the physical attributes and would also draw ladies to the theater. But again, there’s that question of how bright his star power is (not) these days…
That’s it for me – what about you guys? Who do you think should play The Flash and which version – Barry Allen or Wally West – should we get?
For More info on The Flash movie, go HERE.