Who was originally in the cast of George Miller’s Justice League: Mortal? With Zack Snyder’s Justice League in theaters now, it’s the perfect time to look back at what could have been with Mortal, an abandoned 2009 adaptation of the DC superteam that was to be helmed by Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller. The unrealized film was a casualty of both the 2008 Writers Guild of America strike and some poor planning on the part of Warner Bros, but the production was far enough along by the time the plug was pulled that we know who would have starred in the film had it gone forward.
Perhaps most famously, Armie Hammer was set to portray Batman. Hammer would go on to great success as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network and as Illya Kuryakin in a remake of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., opposite current Superman Henry Cavill. He’s currently enjoying rave reviews for his performance in the coming-of-age drama Call Me By Your Name, and has long been the subject of Green Lantern casting rumors in the DC Films Universe.
Speaking of the ring-slinger, unlike in the current Justice League film, Mortal would have prominently featured a Green Lantern, who was to be portrayed by Common. While Common never got the chance to portray John Stewart, he did appear briefly in Suicide Squad as an ill-fated mobster.
In an interesting parallel to the DCEU’s eventual reinvention of Aquaman from the blonde haired fish whisperer to Jason Momoa, Mortal cast the Venezuelan-born Santiago Cabrera as the King of Atlantis. While he’s yet to play another superhero, Cabrera did get to play one of the greatest heroes in literary history, Lancelot, in the BBC series Merlin.
Adam Brody, who was extremely popular at the time for his performance as Seth Cohen on the Fox series The O.C., was cast to play The Flash. It’s pretty easy to imagine Brody embodying a scarlet speedster just as snarky and awkward as Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen.
Model Megan Gale was cast to play Wonder Woman. While Gale has had a fairly limited acting career, she did go on to collaborate with Miller on Mad Max: Fury Road.
Comedian Jay Baruchel was cast to play Maxwell Lord, who was intended to be the film’s primary villain, alongside Teresa Palmer’s Talia Al Ghul. The latter casting seems perfectly reasonable, but Baruchel – who is a fine comedic actor – seemed a curious choice to menace the Justice League in any serious way.
Rounding off the main cast, D.J. Cotrona was tapped to play Superman. Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising casting choice, Cotrona has gone on to have a fairly humble career. He portrayed a pretty charmless version of Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and has largely been relegated to minor television work ever since – though he did co-star in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. If Mortal’s cancellation dodged a major bullet, it was probably Cotrona as Superman.
It’s difficult not to wonder what a major talent like Miller could have done with DC’s crown jewels. That said, the well-documented production issues and some questionable casting choices likely mean it’s best that this was a road not taken.
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