I’m a nerd of many fandoms! I love animé, I love comic books, and I love movies in general, but ever since I was 5 years old and received my very own Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas, I’ve had a very long-lasting love of video games! I remember the good old days when my brother and I would shred through levels of Super Mario Bros. as Mario and Luigi (he was always Mario), as well as the days I would nearly break my controller when I raged out at Battletoads or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Kids today will never know!
That being said, we’ve seen a number of video games make their way to the big screen over the past two decades! Some have had moderate to favorable success, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Warcraft! Others,…not so much! (I’m looking at you, Street Fighter!) I personally can’t hate too much on the Super Mario Bros. movie because I thought the legendary Bob Hoskins played a pretty good Mario, despite the fact that even HE couldn’t save the film from its poor execution and production quality!
But there are so many other great video games that, if done properly, could see the same success that Warcraft surprisingly managed to muster, and aside from the right director and writers, it all starts with the right casting! Aside from those already cast and in production (which I won't be covering here), there are quite a few video game movies that either haven't been thought of yet, are in the pre-planning phases, or limping in "development hell!" We, the fans, have not only been paying attention, but we have been taking names for the right actors to be cast in the lead roles to truly bring these films to life! Well, guess what?! I’ve done just that, and I’m gonna share them with you RIGHT NOW!
My name is Action, and this is ACTION’S TOP 10 LIVE-ACTION VIDEO GAME DREAM FILMS (WITH CASTINGS)!
#10: SHENMUE, STARRING MIURA HARUMA AS RYO HAZUKI
To kick things off, I want to cover a video game that’s actually near and dear to my heart – Shenmue! Despite the fact that this video game series eventually lost momentum and pretty much dropped off the face of the earth, Shenmue was a game I thoroughly enjoyed! It told the story of Ryo Hazuki, a young martial artist from Japan who sets out on a quest to challenge the man who murdered his father! However, Ryo is nowhere near strong enough to face his father’s killer, thus the player has to guide him through rigorous tasks in order to gain more skill and become a master martial artist in order to defeat his father’s killer and avenge his death!
American fans in general may not be too familiar with Miura Haruma, but he’s an accomplished actor and singer in Japan! Animé fans, however, would likely recognize the 26-year-old babyface as Eren Jaeger in Japan’s live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, a performance that received tons of praise from his Japanese peers! His other film credits also exemplify his talents in action and drama, the two core engines of the Shenmue storyline! It’s not noted (in my sources, at least) that Miura is skilled in martial arts, but if he isn’t, that actually works! It’ll give the fans a realistic feel for the less-experienced Ryo to transition to a martial arts master as Miura would train over time to be a fighter for the film, kind of like how Tobey Maguire started out in Spider-Man as weak and pudgy before hitting his training to “transform” into Spider-Man! THAT’S good storytelling! Miura Haruma! SHENMUE!!!
#9: KILLER INSTINCT, STARRING CHRIS PANG AS JAGO
With the exception of the first Mortal Kombat film, which could’ve been even better had it actually been rated R, I think we can all agree that fighting games haven’t had much luck in Hollywood! (Again, I’m looking at you, Street Fighter!) Many have tried, almost all have failed, and we can chalk it up to either poor writing, poor acting, or poor director! Either way, fans have been widely disappointed with fighting game movies overall! Killer Instinct hasn’t been given much attention over the years, having only two games in the 90's and practically disappearing for almost 20 years before the release of the Xbox One title in 2013!
As a huge fan of fighting games, I really want credibility restored in fighting game movies, and since KI’s momentum seems to fluctuate more than Michael J. Fox, Microsoft really has nothing to lose in pushing for a live-action film! It’ll either bomb and stay right where it is, or achieve wide success and breath like back into the franchise! The film should center on the video game’s main antagonist Jago, a Tibetan monk warrior drawn to the Killer Instinct tournament to destroy the evil within (kind of like Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat! HOW BOUT THAT SH**?!)! I present to you my pick for his role – Chris Pang!
Of Chinese-Taiwanese descent, Chris was literally raised in the martial arts under the tutelage of both of his parents, and has been in various action/martial arts roles, such as: Lee Takkam in Tomorrow, When the War Began, Levi in I, Frankenstein, Arban in the Netflix series Marco Polo, and Flying Blade in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, to name a few! His films may not necessarily be box office hits, but nonetheless, he’s got the credentials and the skill to pull off the role! KI could be the real break he needs, provided the movie is executed properly, AND it could very well revitalize the franchise with Chris’s performance!
#8: UNCHARTED, STARRING NATHAN FILLION AS NATHAN DRAKE
In its own right, the Uncharted series already passes as its own feature-length film! It’s like a HUGE rollercoaster ride as we follow the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake as he practically parkours his way through canyons, caves, mansions, and even pirate ships for that next big money pot! Four video game entries gives filmmakers plenty of material to go off of as well! The good news is that it was reported that an Uncharted film is already in pre-planning phases with Columbia Pictures, and that’s awesome! They just need a lead actor!
Now, I’ll admit that part of my decision to pick Nathan Fillion is inspired by the fact that he literally LOOKS like Nathan Drake, but there’s a lot this actor can offer to the role! Fillion has a lot of wit, charisma, and action experience that can apply to a live-action performance as Nathan Drake! Richard Castle in ABC’s Castle! Captain Malcom Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity! Hermes in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters! The list goes on!
The best part is that Nathan Fillion is actually interested in the role of Nathan Drake; however, casting directors apparently aren't paying attention to him! Columbia has approached Mark Wahlberg and Chris Pratt to fill the role, but both, for one reason or another, didn’t end up getting involved! The choice is clear, Columbia! Hire Nathan Fillion!
#7: LEAGUE OF LEGENDS, STARRING EVANNA LYNCH AS LUX
League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, much like its predecessor Defense of the Ancients (popularly known as DOTA)! Players assemble teams from champions of different classes and styles, get thrown onto an arena-style map, and do battle to take over the opposing team’s base! While the gameplay itself is a simple premise, the game’s 132 champions each have a unique, compelling lore and relation to other champions, be it alliances or rivalries! That being the case, there are LOTS of potential storylines and characters to center a live-action movie on, and there’s really no wrong direction to go, honestly! What it would come down to from a fan’s perspective is whoever his/her favorite champion is! Mine, personally, is Lux, the Lady of Luminosity!
Destined for greatness since birth, Luxanna Crownguard was trained in the ways of magic, eventually discovering she possessed a unique command over the powers of light, a power she would later use for good in the name of Demacia! The movie could cover Lux’s relationship with her brother Garen and her rivalry with Fiora as plot devices for the bigger ensuing battle with other champions!
I’m picturing a portrayal by Harry Potter’s Evanna Lynch! I don't re-cast my celebrity picks too often, as I have already covered Evanna in my latest Teen Titans article, but I can’t help but think of the beautiful Evanna as "a powerful female mage with the ability to steal the show" due to her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter franchise! It’s definitely something she’d have fun doing, and if you’ve heard Lux’s quips in the game, Evanna Lynch even has the voice and playful charisma to bring the character to life! Make it happen, Evanna! “GOING!”
#6: METROID, STARRING MARIA SHARAPOVA AS SAMUS ARAN
To give you a basic perspective, an excerpt from the Metroid Wikia reads: “…Samus is depicted as a melancholic hero who, despite her great achievements, remains incredibly lonely and brooding, and seeks revenge against the Space Pirates, especially Ridley, who is personally responsible for the death of her parents.” (par 5) She’s a very compelling character with an even deeper backstory! Here’s my favorite thing about Samus! While she’s always been a sexy feminine warrior, pop culture today recognizes her as a short, well-endowed woman who isn’t physically menacing outside of her armor! HOWEVER, in the original games, Samus was 6’ 3” tall and 198 lbs WITHOUT her armor! In comparison, former World Wrestling Entertainment female wrestler Joanie Laurer, better known as Chyna (may she rest in peace), was only 6” tall and 180 lbs, and this is a woman who wrestling legends described as “…the most dominating female competitor of all time!” Conclusion: Samus Aran is a BEAST, which means I must hypothetically cast a BEAST to portray her on the big screen! Therefore, meet world-renowned tennis champion Maria Sharapova! (HAHA, you THOUGHT I was gonna pick a professional wrestler again, didn’t you?!)
This 6’ 2” blonde Russian beauty was a tennis legend in the making at only 4 years old! She’s won 35 singles titles, five Grand Slams (and the only Russian woman to even WIN a Grand Slam thus far), and is an Olympic medalist! She’s 29 years old as of this article, which puts her in the right age range to play Samus, although Samus’s “current age” is technically never revealed in any of the games (my guess is she's no older than 25)! Still, considering that Samus – being the mountain of a woman she truly is – moves around like a gymnast in that suit of armor while toting an arm cannon, Maria has the athleticism that can match Samus’s effectively!
If she ever decides to take a break from stomping mudholes into people on the tennis court, she would be MORE than capable of bringing Samus Aran to life! It would be a video game movie we’d NEVER forget!
#5: CASTLEVANIA, STARRING JOHNNY DEPP AS DRACULA
So this is going to be a little different from the other roles in this article, as I am about to cover the VILLAIN instead of the hero! The reason for this is because each Castlevania game has had different heroes from the Belmont Family, from Simon in the original game to Gabriel in the most recent Lords of Shadows games! While the heroes were all different, however, there is one common denominator between most of the games, and that’s Dracula! Each generation sees Dracula rising again to face off against a Belmont, or seeing the origins of Dracula in the Lords of Shadows games (no spoilers here), so regardless of which Belmont the filmmakers wish to cover, there should most definitely be Dracula! While there has been interest in a Castlevania movie, it’s still in “development hell” for various reasons like gaining the movie rights or finding a good director!
My recommendation: recruit the dark and eerie styling of director Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as Dracula! As much as a part of me would love to imagine Bela Lugosi for pure nostalgia's sake, I’m thinking outside the box here! The team of Depp and Burton has always given us gold (Edward Scissorhands; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Alice in Wonderland), and Depp is legendary when playing dark, twisted, or sometimes evil characters! He doesn’t even need to be the “main character” of the movie in order to steal the show and bring attention to the film he’s in! Case in point: Alice in Wonderland! There’s no need to even try and figure out how it'll work, because with Tim Burton’s guidance, Johnny Depp WILL make it work, and the duo would definitely spark a significant series of truly dark Castlevania films that fans will undoubtedly enjoy!
Bring in a new face to play a Belmont, even! I guarantee that Burton and Depp will pull a great performance out of the fresh actor to give us a fantastic film! Again, case in point: Alice in Wonderland! Need I say more?!
#4: MEGA MAN, STARRING MAX CHARLES AS MEGA MAN
While I think this might work a little better as a CG-animated movie like Astro Boy, there is still potential for Mega Man to hit it big in Hollywood as a live-action film! Originally known as Rockman in Japan, the "Blue Bomber" was created by Dr. Thomas Light to stop the evil Dr. Albert Wily and his eight Master Robots from taking over the world!
The franchise has garnered so much success that it’s spawned over 130 games since 1987, covering both the continuing story and various spin-offs and collections! I think this franchise has more than earned its place in line for the Hollywood treatment, and if a live-action film is considered, 13-year-old Max Charles would make a good candidate to portray the youthful-looking humanoid robot!
Already owning an impressive resumé, the young actor is no stranger to fantasy or science fiction: young Peter Parker in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man films, Sherman in Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Max Weaver in ABC’s sci-fi sitcom The Neighbors, and Alby in the post-apocalyptic film The Last Survivors, to name a few! He may not exactly be a household name, but Max has a very impressive resumé for a child actor NOT tied to Disney Channel!
Not only would a well-produced Mega Man movie win the hearts of fans everywhere, it could really launch Max’s Hollywood prestige! Maybe if he really owns the franchise into his late-teens, he can even transition to Mega Man X somewhere down the line! ...It could happen!
#3: METAL GEAR SOLID, STARRING LIAM NEESON AS SOLID SNAKE
Oh look! Another re-cast! Last one, I promise! This is another project that Columbia Pictures is working on! Here, we have a long-running series with a deep story and very compelling characters! The series combines espionage, war, drama, suspense, and romance, keeping the players on the edge of their seats as they follow the tale of former special ops soldier/mercenary Solid Snake!
A clone of FOXHOUND Commander Big Boss, Solid Snake started out as a Green Beret before joining the special forces unit FOXHOUND and eventually tasked with destroying the nuclear weapon Metal Gear! I could go on and on about Snake’s backstory, but it would require an entire article alone to cover! Regardless, Snake’s bad-assery can best be personified by one man – Liam Neeson! I mean, c’mon! It’s friggin’ LIAM NEESON!!! If you’ve seen the Taken films, you’ve seen Solid Snake! There really isn’t any doubt that Liam is a phenomenal choice to be cast as MGS’s special ops badass!
Due to his age, of course, filmmakers may technically be limited to covering Snake as seen in MGS4 and MGS5, where he has aged significantly, but you can still cover previous events in flashback sequences while having Liam perform the “present day” events, or maybe they can use that studio magic to make him look younger, like with Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy! Either way, Liam Neeson is your man! Columbia Pictures has no director or cast as of yet, but they need to bring in Liam Neeson, and if you don’t, Columbia Pictures, he will find you,…and he will kill you!
#2: GOD OF WAR, STARRING GOLDBERG AS KRATOS
I know, I know! I broke down and chose a professional wrestler after all! Leave me alone! I’ll get to that, though! Love, betrayal, and LOTS of blood-soaked action make the God of War series a fantastic candidate for a live-action film and/or saga, and Hollywood needs a good Greek mythology movie to restore hope for the genre with fans everywhere, considering Immortals and Clash of the Titans didn’t fare all too well! In my eyes, the game’s lead character, the Spartan known as Kratos, can best be portrayed by arguably World Championship Wrestling’s greatest superstar, Bill Goldberg!
If you watched WCW back in the day, you’d remember that Goldberg was Brock Lesnar BEFORE Brock Lesnar! This massive mountain of muscle made a memorable debut by bulldozing his way through every top-card superstar WCW had to offer, racking up an unprecedented 173-victory winning streak and scoring the WCW World Heavyweight Championship by defeating “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan of the New World Order! Since then, Goldberg has gained a reputation of being simply unstoppable, despite any threats that stand in his way (including Brock Lesnar, by the way)!
This is textbook personification of Kratos’s character, and while Goldberg’s about 50 years old as of this article, he hasn’t gotten any smaller, and hasn’t lost a step! Even his old WCW entrance music screams “GOD OF WAR!” I'm telling you, click the link and listen to his music while you look at the above image! You'll be picturing it, too! Kratos needs power and intensity behind his character in a live-action film, and I guarantee the 6’ 4”, near-300lb wrestling legend would not disappoint!
#1: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, STARRING PIERCE GAGNON AS LINK
My top pick – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA!!! Of all the games I’ve grown up with throughout my gamer life munching on Doritos and chugging Mountain Dew in my parents’ living room, this is the one I feel above the others is LONG OVERDUE for its Hollywood transition! Most every game pretty much has a common story: “rescue the princess, defeat Ganon, save Hyrule," or whatever world the game happens to be set in; however, each game tells a different underlying tale and introduces new items and/or new characters!
Of all of them, the one game that should get the most attention is my personal favorite, A Link to the Past, and for one simple reason: the introduction of THE MASTER SWORD! This weapon has become synonymous with the franchise as Link’s weapon against the dark forces, and is arguably the most recognizable weapon in video game fandom! No fan's memorabilia collection is complete without a replica of the Master Sword hanging in their man-cave! A Link to the Past also adds dramatic plot devices that would work beautifully in a live-action film, such as: the death of his uncle, Link’s on-the-spot transition to becoming a hero, and his early meeting of Zelda and learning his destiny! For this role, I choose Pierce Gagnon!
A young, energetic actor with a background in fantasy and sci-fi, the 11-year-old can pull off Link to perfection! This rising star was featured in films like The Crazies, Looper, and Tomorrowland, a resumé of genre experiences that would put even Macauley Caulkin to shame, definitely making Pierce Gagnon worthy to be called the “Hero of Time!” He’s even stated in interviews that he wants to eventually become a great action star when he grows up, so The Legend of Zelda may be the “child action hero” role that could make his dreams come true before puberty hits him like an Acme anvil on Wile E. Coyote! Even if Hollywood still ends up dragging their feet on getting the ball rolling for a few years, Pierce would be in his mid-teens by then, still putting him in the perfect age range for a young Link! Even “Ganon” is in his name! Tell me THAT’S not destiny right there!!!
I don’t throw around the word “perfect” too often, but this arrangement would literally be…perfect! Hollywood casts young child actor with the right age and an impressive resumé, Pierce becomes a breakout star with the action role he’s been wishing for, AND we – the fans – finally get our Legend of Zelda film! EVERYBODY’S HAPPY!!! All the film needs is the right director! Zack Snyder (300; Sucker Punch; Watchmen)?! Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Hulk; Life of Pi)?! Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings Trilogy; District 9; The Hobbit Trilogy)?! J.J. Abrams (Star Trek films; Super 8; Star Wars Ep. 7: The Force Awakens)?! Hell, I’d be happy with Tim Burton (Batman; The Nightmare Before Christmas; Alice in Wonderland)! There are many good contenders; just…don’t give it to M. Night Shyamalan! No disrespect to you, M. Night, but just take this coloring book and go sit in the corner!
So there you have it – my ten video game picks and their respective fan castings! Do you agree with my list?! What video games do you want to see on the big screen, and who should play in them?! Let’s hear your ideas, and don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for future articles! Let’s make these ideas cross someone’s desk in Hollywood!
That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!