Sunday, December 24, 2017


In an earlier blog post, I wrote about what The Thing in the Woods would look like as a television series. I was recording a podcast with Jarod Cerf--expect the podcast to become available in February--about Thing and we discussed actually casting a Thing in the Woods television series or movie. There are spoilers below.

James-The protagonist of the story, an Atlanta teen unwillingly transplanted to small-town Georgia. Jarod suggested Tom Holland, but in Captain America Civil War and Spider-Man Homecoming, Holland is entirely too cheerful and happy-go-lucky. There's a darker, more serious aspect to James--heck, he blows 20-30 cultists to hell with a Claymore mine--that I have trouble imagining Holland pulling off. Also, although Tom has the right hair and facial structure in this picture, he's lacking in freckles. Michael Cena also came up, but I took one look at him and was all, "No." Jarod suggested mining teen shows like the ones on The CW for candidates, and that might be a good idea. After all, Tom Holland would probably command a very high salary to star in what would realistically be a low-budget indie horror show.

Amber-The female lead and James' love interest, an Edington native and a fellow high-school senior. Amber is based on a girl I knew a long time ago back when I was a newspaper reporter who looked a lot like Taylor Swift. I have no idea if Taylor Swift can act, but between her being much older than the character (Amber is 17-18, Taylor is 28) and the fact it would only be worth her time if she were paid a truly mammoth amount of money, that's not going to work. Whoever plays Amber has to be tall and slender and realistically able to fight with a gun and bash in an adult man's head with a brass lamp. I thought about Jennifer Lawrence--in this picture she looks perfect and in Hunger Games she showed she could be tough as well as pretty--but like Taylor Swift she's much older than the character and would require a heft salary. Yes, Dawson's Creek-style casting is a reality in Hollywood to the point there's even a TVTrope for it, but it's something I'd like to avoid.

Phil-The leader of the cult worshiping the titular Thing. The film Ravenous came up in the discussion, along with actor Richard Carlyle. I did a Google Image Search and this image came up. If Carlyle looked this this and could play a patriarch (i.e. loved and feared), he would be perfect to play Phil. Phil was a captain in Vietnam, so he'd be in his later 60s or 70s and he's specifically described as a grandfather. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan from The Walking Dead was another possible option for Phil, but he's too associated with Negan--people wouldn't see Phil, they'd see "Negan sacrificing people to a tentacle monster."

Sam-I'd initially thought Jeffrey Dean Morgan could play Sam, a Gulf War veteran and Phil's henchman. He'd need to shave the beard and play him as more of a sad-sack good-guy type. In terms of appearance, the way he looks in P.S. I Love You--you can see some of those here--would be great. As Jarod pointed out, this is a man who is introduced going to a Best Buy to get a copy of Borat for his new Blu-Ray player. Problem is, I re-read parts of the book for a flashback and Sam is actually a tall, wiry redhead with a goatee. Danny Bonaduce might work as far as looks, although he's a little too beefy. Matthew Jaeger might work better.

James Daly Sr.-James' father, an Atlanta attorney. The perfect actor in terms of looks would be Chris Noth, who plays Peter Florrick in The Good Wife. I've never seen him act before--I never watched the show, I think this was something Jarod suggested--so I don't know if he could pull him off.

Andrea Daly-James' mother, who worked in bank public-relations, left the workforce to raise the kids, and works part-time at a used bookstore to help support the family. I can't really remember what she looks like, although I think she's blonde. A bunch of possibilities can be found here, including some who wouldn't break the bank in terms of their salaries.

Jeffrey Reed-He's the cult's enforcer and Phil's personal attack dog. He needs to be someone who's big and strong enough to manhandle whoever plays Sam. Although Norman Reedus--Daryl from The Walking Dead--is rednecky enough to be Reed, he's not going to be realistically throwing around Sam played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. In the Walking Dead episodes where Daryl is a captive of the Saviors, it's clear Negan is taller than he is. Some of the thuggier Saviors from Walking Dead might work too, although again, if Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Sam, we run into the issue of "why are they beating up Negan instead of the other way around." Tom Hardy might work, except he's British.

Maad-Most of the male Indian actors in Hollywood are too old to play a high-schooler. Here's an IMDB list. Karan Brar seems like the best one, since he was born in 1999 and is a Disney Channel actor. Danny Pudi might work, but he's about 10-15 years older than Maad. Aba Sinha from The Social Network and Kunal Sharma are younger, but still in the same boat.

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