Warner Bros unveiled their five-year DC related film schedule recently and as expected, [Justice League Part One](movie:401267) is coming to theaters in 2017. The film will be comprised of an epic collection of all-star DC heroes. Consequentially there has to be a villain worthy of bringing the super-team together. Most have been focusing on which villain is powerful enough to take on the League, such as Doomsday or Darkseid, while perhaps the focus should have been on who has the brains for the job. Latino Review's El Mayimbe has uncovered a rumor that Superman's nemesis Brainiac, will be the central villain of the Justice League movies.
In the comics, Brainiac is an extra-terrestrial android, that in most interpretations has connections to Superman's homeworld, Krypton. He is one of the most intelligent forces in the universe and always has grand-scale plans. In the New 52, relaunch of the Superman story, Braniac's A.I. was actually embedded in the computer system of the ship Superman traveled to Earth in. Brainiac also goes on to manipulate Lex Luthor in the story which leads to a massive conflict. There will be many possible story opportunities for Snyder to include the mastermind in the film universe that he has created as well. There are rumors that Brainiac was summoned by the same beacon that alerted Zod in Man of Steel. Others have guessed that the World Machine is closely connected to Brainiac.
This list of actors are not choices that we are necessarily dying to see in the role. However, everyone on the list could deliver a solid interpretation in Synder's new film universe. For the most part, the thinking is that the list should consist of actors with enough screen presence and/or historic credibility, to stand eye-to-eye with any member of the god-like Justice League. Unlike the cartoon version, the casting ideas aren't based on height or muscles, but actors who could embody the character. We also wanted to consider actors who are not afraid to take risks, actors who are due to revamp their career, and actors that will simply go for it and totally lose themselves in the role.
The cast of the Justice League are largely unknowns. It makes sense that these powerful upstarts will be cast against a Hollywood veteran, who can show them a thing or two. This would pull in casual viewers who may not be interested in comic book movies also. (I looked it up, those people still exist somehow.) Some of the choices are spot-on, others are a little outside the box, much like the castings of Superman (Henry Cavill) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).
There are many interpretations of Brainiac. In almost all interpretations he is cold, calculating and scientifically curious. Here are some actors who could handle the role of Brainiac, in no particular order.
The English gentleman has a surprising history with genre films. He was the lead in Alfonso Cuaron's exceptional film, Children of Men. He also was in 2005's, Sin City, which was shot almost exclusively on green-screen. He would certainly be comfortable performing in the imaginary environment.
Owen has shown that he is more than adept at becoming strikingly cold and distant. His ability to transform into characters that are able to turn off their outward emotion, while performing hard to watch acts would make him a solid choice to portray the alien android. He also has a detached quality to his syntax that makes it seem that he is thinking one step ahead of the moment. As fans of The Knick know, he can remain cool and emotionless while performing the most gruesome surgeries. Imagine him getting an unconscious member of the Justice League on his operating table, trying to figure out what makes them tick. It could be truly horrifying.
Had to address this because not only is it a solid pick, it has a high likelihood of actually happening. There has been a lot of heavy rumors that Cumberbatch has been under strong consideration for either, Brainiac or Martian Manhunter. Casting him as one of the most intelligent forces in the universe simply makes all the sense in the world.
Many have complained that he is overused or suffering from over-exposure, which may be true, but only within fandom circles. The average moviegoer has no idea who Cumberbatch is (shudder at the thought) and will have forgotten (if they haven't already) about his role as Khan, in Star Trek Into Darkness. In terms of embodying the character, he carries the intellectual superiority that is at the core of Brainiac. Add to the fact that Cumberbatch already looks like he is from another world and he will work as good as any contender on the list.
Talk about a commanding voice. His gravely pipes and weather-beaten face, speaks to someone who has gained a lifetime of wisdom. While he may be a little old for the part, he would be perfect as the mastermind sitting in his ship. Keep in mind that Lex Luthor wasn't cast as a physical threat either. And it is not necessary for this villain to be a physical presence, in fact, that could become the source of frustration for the heroes. He would be inflicting damage against the team with his mind. Harris has experience in a similar role as recently as this year in Snowpiercer. If this version of Brainiac is more of a militaristic ruler, Harris would be ideal.
At the end of the day, Harris may be a little too long in the tooth and it is highly unlikely he would be patient enough to endure the daily make-up and extensive prosthetics, the role will require. Since we are fan-casting anyways, can you imagine this guy as Lex Luthor twenty years ago? How perfect would that have been?
Brad Pitt... Whaaaa? Yup, I said it. Despite his famed good looks, Pitt has never been scared to put a little dirt on his face. His lack of ego in this regard is explored in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There is a reason that director Terry Gilliam cast him in 12 Monkeys years ago, he is fearless. Pitt is due for another wild, transformative perfomance and how cool would that make him to all of his kids? In addition, much like Will Smith who is mulling an offer to join the Suicide Squad, he has long been seen as the hero and should be at the point in his career where he is looking to flex a different set of acting muscles.
One of the criteria for nominating an actor for this part should be their own historic credibility within film. Pitt has been a member of the Hollywood A-list for twenty years. It would add to the meta-storytelling and would be a smash for marketing purposes. Imagine having these upstart group of actors, Affleck aside, go up against an entity that has the knowledge of the world, and Hollywood, at his beckoning.
Warner Bros. has already tried to make a Brainiac out of one of their leading men previously. Perhaps, Pitt could show Depp how its really done.
Law has being trying to get into the superhero game for years. At different points, he has been rumored to have been considered for both Superman and Spider-Man. It also doesn't hurt that he already has a good working relationship with WB, due to his role as Watson in the Sherlock Holmes franchise, which has been extremely lucrative. Law is a big-time comic book fan and is talented enough to bring something fresh to part as well. In Road to Perdition he played an obsessive hitman. If he can bring that same methodical nature and creepy presence to his portrayal of Brainiac, it could be a truly scary experience. Oh yea, he also speaks with an accent. All villains have accents, right?
Why do we bring up Murphy? The eyes. The cold eyes that seem to pierce into the soul of whoever they are targeted on. Murphy has experience playing creepy characters, ranging from his role in Red Eye, to the insane psychiatrist Johnathan Crane, aka The Scarecrow, in The Dark Knight trilogy. He has a depth of intelligence in his glare, combined with eyes that seem more like computerized optics taking in information, then actually looking anything. Much like Cumberbatch, he naturally looks alien, so the makeup crew should have a blast getting him camera-ready everyday. While he may not have the gravitas of some of the other selections, he would certainly be able to do something fun with the role.
These are all actors that could have been at the top of the list. However they will never be cast due a variety of reasons including, over-exposure, previous roles that are too similar or they are unavailable due to playing other comic book characters presently.
Kevin Spacey. Anyone who has seen House of Cards knows that he can be extremely menacing, cold, and calculating. All fundemental traits of the character in question. Honestly he would be a good pick. But seeing him up against Superman, simply would be too much to ask of the audience, after Superman Returns.
Michael Fassbender: This would actually have been the #1 choice, but his role as Magneto is surely a conflict.
James Spader: The Monologue Master of The Blacklist would have been a great pick. However, fans will just have to make due with his role in another small comic book film, Avengers:Age of Ultron.
The chances are that none of the above actors will actually end up with the part. Until more details arise or at least until a script is finished, whoever director Zack Snyder and WB select will be a surprise, since only they know the take on the character they are using. However as things become more clear with castings and directors for the other announced upcoming DC films on their slate, Brainiac's involvement and role should be made clear by then.
Who do you think WB should consider for the role of Brainiac? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks, Latino Review Art Credits: Wee_Arts