Universally praised, the "Bioshock" franchise has been one of the most critically and commercially successful game series to date. The original was revolutionary. The sequel was enjoyable. However, the finale, was breathtaking. Bioshock Infinite changed the game for the entire franchise; introducing brand new characters, a drastically different setting, a new depth of story-telling, and a fantastic plot that kept you on edge. Infinite not only expanded on a great franchise, but pushed it to the limits of creativity and gripping game play. If you can't tell by now, I am a huge fan of this franchise but especially this game. It's beautifully crafted to say the least... every scene is so rich with detail.
I know video game movies have a bad track record of, well, being bad, but I'm hoping to break that cycle. Every video game movie seems to just truly be awful. For some reason, the two medias just don't want to overlap with one another. If history has told us anything though, is that with the right timing even a source material that is consistently bad, can eventually become summer blockbusters; lookin' at you Marvel. This game all together though, is set up rather thematically, with most of it being literary and cognitive, not mindless shooting.
If you haven't played this game yet, go play it now. You won't be sorry. There are spoilers ahead but I will warn you before anything MASSIVE is ruined for you. Everything else will be mostly general knowledge. But enough stalling, let's get down to the brass tacks of it all.
Jumpin' in head first.
As a brief overview, Booker Dewitt, our protagonist, is a veteran and ex-Pinkerton agent who-- after becoming a private detective-- is sent out to retrieve Elizabeth in order to repay his mountain of gambling debt. Elizabeth is a girl who has been trapped in a tower at the center of Columbia City due to her unparalleled power to open inter-dimensional tears. Columbia is an airborne, floating, idealistic version of America with worshipping the founding fathers, hanging propaganda posters everywhere, and enslaving all minorities. It is founded and controlled by theocratic dictator named Zachary Hale Comstock, The Prophet, who controls absolute power over Columbia. The city has become exceedingly corrupt as the faction in control, "The Founders", began open warfare with "The Vox Populi"; an amalgamation of every oppressed group of people united to take back control. Mishaps, bad luck, and the schemes of others stop Booker and Elizabeth's escape. Cycles of manipulation, outmanoeuvring, and fighting brings all the characters across each others' paths in fantastical sky battles, entrenching conspiracies, and emotional trials.
This movie will bring something never-before-seen to audiences with a relatable, guilt-driven, anti-hero and a innocent, wide-eyed deuteragonist whose pairing will drive the film. Comstock, as well, is a multifaceted villain that will intrigue audiences through his motivations and cruel actions. But the characters don't stop there. Daisy is a fiery, dangerous revolutionary who is willing to sacrifice everything for her people. Jeremiah Fink, a pillar of Columbia, is another self-serving, egomaniac who introduces a new view of capitalistic societies. The depth and gravity of these characters would fuel the action romp, making it a dramatic piece as well as a fun watch.
Columbia would be beautiful to see on screen, to put it plainly. Imagine, in IMAX, 48FPS, the bright, colorful, and alive city of Columbia; a city set in the sky, floating in its colossal glory above the clouds. The first shot of that world would rival anything Avatar has shown us. The early 1900's architecture mashed up with the steam-punk, pseudo-futuristic feel of Infinite will give audiences a familiar yet completely knew look at America. The city would be a visual marvel all by itself but with the air-ships, zeppelins, and never-ending battles, the movie would be a spectacle like none other. Sky-lines, "Patriots", and "The Handymen" would further create a new action environment, completely different from the now humdrum, shaky-cam, overly stylized action we've been treated to lately.
Getting actors to fit these characters was one of the hardest fan-castings I have ever done. Getting five men to play one comic-book hero seems easy compared to this. I spent days tirelessly comparing heights, ages, eye colors, and even ethnicities in order to find exactly the right actors for the jobs. Oddly enough, this is not a hobby to me anymore, its a job; one that I take very seriously. If some executive or whatnot happens upon my article, I want them to realize the validity and very real possibility of this film. I tried to be as thorough and observant as a real casting director would. If you disagree with my casting, please, please, please comment a better option. There are actors that always slip your mind when fan-casting and I need all of your help. Anyway... moving on.
Robert Lutece- Ewan McGregor
Known For: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Trainspotting, The Men Who Stare at Goats
Character Bio: As one of the first characters we see, I've decided to start with Robert Lutece. Robert is the "twin brother" of Rosalind Lutece, according to everyone in Columbia. In actuality, he is a male version of Rosalind, born in a different continuity, brought to this one by a inter-dimensional portal created by him and his "sister" in order to meet one another. Since the two of them are the same person, a character biography is simple. Both are the top minds in their worlds; being quantum physicists, theorists, and engineers capable of creating "The Lutece Device" and "The Lutece Particle". After being killed off in the world of the story, the twins stagnantly exist between universes, acting as puppet masters who manipulate the main characters for their own means. The two are narrators, guides, and schemers who give the majority of the exposition and drive to the plot.
Reasoning: I chose McGregor because not only does he exactly look the part, but he also works well as a high intellectual. Having played multiple intelligent characters, he has the ability to be a subtle character who appears neutral but is actually orchestrating every turn of events throughout the story for his (and Rosalind's) gain. He's a talented actor, works well in an ensemble, and has the perfect build, look, voice, and temperament for Robert.
Rosalind Lutece- Kelly Reilly
Known For: Sherlock Holmes, Flight, True Detective
Character Bio: Rosalind's biography doesn't waver from Robert's that much. She seems to be the more dominant of the two Lutece's, steering the conversations and usually winning out during their witty banter. The main difference between the two is actually her gender. Because she was a woman, she was thought to be the real mother of Elizabeth and caused a riff between Comstock and his wife. Furthermore, she is made out to be far more impressive because, in the racist and sexist world of Columbia, a woman being the top of her field is unheard of. Other than those slight variations, they are the same other-wordly, cross-existence plotters who use others' for their own revenge.
Reasoning: Kelly Reilly was picked mainly because of her look. She resembles Rosalind from the hair down to the build. With her British background and quick tongue, Reilly and McGregor could easily play off one another; bantering endlessly as they finish each other's sentences, quip, argue, and finally agree. She is a relatively unknown actor and this could give her far more publicity, which she deserves.The two actors working together could add a level of humor but also sophistication to their roles and the story in general.
Cornelius Slate- Bryan Cranston
Known For: Breaking Bad, Argo, Godzilla
Character Bio: Captain Cornelius Slate is a well-renowned war veteran who is famous for being brutal, bloodthirsty, and relentless. He spent the majority of his life either in war, recovering from war, or seeking war out. Slate is battle scarred, hardy, and tough; wearing the marks of his time in battle as trophies. Across a missing eye, he wearing his former Pinkerton badge as a patch. Him and Booker have a history together; both serving as Pinkertons and participating in the atrocities at Wounded Knee. Slate, due to his widespread reputation, became something of a celebrity and eventually an officer in Columbia. His severe PTSD and attraction to violence consistently led him into many confrontations, specifically with Father Comstock. During one such altercation, Slate accuses Comstock of faking his military history, after which Slate is stripped of all ranks and medals. He openly joins the Vox Populi and starts a rebellion against Comstock. People, mostly former soldiers, flock to him as some sort of "People's Champion"; as opposed to Comstock's holy dominance. Slate is obsessed with dying a soldier's death and constantly fears being replaced by what he calls "tin soldiers"; automated robots that protect Columbia.
Reasoning: Bryan Cranston was chosen because he brings a fire and passion to his roles that other actors don't quite match. He's terrifying yet likeable, murderous yet sympathetic. His likeness to the character (when bald) can't go amiss. He's the right age and if he were to wear either padded costumes or work out, he would fit the veteran aesthetic. Slate needs to be very unhinged but still cognizant which I believe Cranston can bring. Although Cranston has proved his worth at leading roles, he also has no problem being a character actor. In this aspect, he will fit right into the cast of Infinite.
Honorable Mentions: Kurt Russell, William Hurt, Stephen Lang
Jeremiah Fink- Michael Fassbender
Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Prometheus, Inglourious Basterds
Character Bio: As the richest man in all of Columbia, Fink is responsible for all technological, industrial, and architectural innovations in the city. He is not only one of the founders of Columbia, but also the creator of Fink Manufacturing/Industries. He's a staple in the community and right hand man to The Prophet. Hidden below his grandiose bravado and eccentric flash, Fink is really a self-serving, narcissistic oppressor who forces hordes of Black and Irish immigrants to work in his factories with no hope for advancement or fair treatment. He creates ghettos to house them, barring them from enjoying life in Columbia. He talks big about being a lion and ferocious entrepreneur but really he is a cowardly, plagiarizing hypocrite. He admires, however, the grit of Booker and hopes to enlist him to the cause; specifically, to help him kill the Vox rebels.
Reasoning: Honestly, I just love Michael Fassbender. I think he is endlessly talented and deserves to spread that talent in varying ways. This would be a slightly new character compared to Fassbender's history of playing leading men, but I think he has the look and acting range to play someone pretending to be better than they are. He has the charisma to be an extreme egotist but also the layering to pull off the whimpering child.
Honorable Mentions: Billy Crudup
Daisy Fitzroy- Naomie Harris
Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Skyfall, 28 Days Later
Character Bio: Daisy Fitzroy is a disenfranchised servant girl who became the leader and founder of the Vox Populi. She was a hopeful, ambitious citizen of Columbia who lived a life full of oppression and discontentment. In the very racist society of Columbia, she was practically forced to become a servant; becoming hand maiden to Lady Comstock. After Lady Comstock was murdered, Fitzroy was wrongfully accused of the murder; making her the number one criminal. As a result, she went on the run, narrowly escaping Comstock and his fury. Her ability to work and her great intelligence made her the perfect candidate to become the rebel leader, the voice of the people. She's fiery, self-driven, and passionate. She is a true leader who only wants the best for her people and Columbia... by any means necessary.
Reasoning: I fell in love with Naomi Harris in Skyfall. Her witty and self-assured presence made me choose her as this rebel leader. Harris has the ability to really melt into her roles, becoming someone else entirely. That, and her powerful demeanour, helped me picture her as the outspoken, highly intelligent, strong leader. She looks the part perfectly, capturing the strength yet naivety of Fitzroy. Naomi Harris is slightly older than the character but that is an insignificant difference in the long run.
Honorable Mentions: Lupita Nyong'o, Zoe Saldana
Elizabeth Comstock- Ashley Greene
Known For: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Butter, CBGB
Character Bio: Elizabeth is the true driving factor behind the entire film. She is the daughter of Zachary Comstock who is trapped in a tower, all by herself, until her early 20's. She is under constant surveillance while in the tower, so that scientists can calculate her incredible abilities. You see, Elizabeth has the ability to create inter-dimensional tears that can connect her reality with another, parallel reality. This power is controlled by a large dampener that drains her powers from her, so she doesn't become too powerful. A deadly, mechanical bird named Songbird is assigned as her guardian; whose sole purpose is to keep her in the tower. This never deterred Elizabeth though as she became exceedingly well-read, quick witted, and skilled in lock picking. She is a loving, open, and generous girl who is utterly naive to the outside world and who only ever had books for company. She is optimistic, caring, and albeit lovable. She befriends Booker and brings out the best in him.
Reasoning: Ok look, this was the absolute hardest casting I have ever done. Comstock and Booker were easy compared to her. I went through every actress, every genre. Zooey Deschanel? Too old. Elizabeth is supposed to be in her 20's. Alexandra Doddario? She doesn't quite convey the innocence I wanted. She had to be young enough not to come off as a love interest but old enough not to come off as a burden. I was absolutely head-over-heels for Elizabeth during the game-- as I'm sure most of us were-- and no body seemed to fit the bill. So if you have a better choice, PLEASE tell me in the comments.
Ashley Greene is a beautiful, young actress who really brings all she has to her roles. She isn't very popular or experienced, but I think she can convey the wonder and excitement that Elizabeth has. She's slightly too old but with some makeup and tinkering, she can appear younger again. Elizabeth needs to full of wonder but still intelligent, which I think Greene brings her most famous role, "Alice". To be honest, she's the only good part about The Twilight Saga, not to mention very attractive. I'm afraid she is too old though...
Zachary Hale Comstock- Jeff Bridges
Known For: True Grit, The Big Lebowski, Tron
Character Bio: Father Comstock is a controversial character to say the least. He is the self-righteous, wrathful antagonist of the story. Not much is known about his past save it be that he was a war hero at Wounded Knee, the savior of the Boxer Rebellion, and the founder of Columbia. He is mighty, unstoppable, and ruthless. Universally beloved by the mass populous of Columbia, every deed he does is showered in praise and support. However, to the minority of that population, he is a cruel, vindictive, and oppression tyrant. He leads his people with an iron fist wrapped in the clothes of a holy man. Professing to be a religious leader, his more vicious tendencies are all chalked up to be for their Gods. Comstock believes in white supremacy, military might, and religious unanimity. He is old but not weak. He is detached but not uninformed. He is merciless but not foolish. Zachary Comstock is a true villain; one that believes everything they do and say is righteous and just. The most dangerous type of monster. He is unwilling to compromise and will do anything for personal gain.
Reasoning: Jeff Bridges is an obvious choice. He looks precisely the part; from the ferocious eyes to the greying hair. More importantly however, Bridges has the ability to convey patience and decorum while hiding a darkness within. As Obadiah Stane he had severe restraint and even subtle manipulation, but when it was time to go bad, he could pull it off. He has the on screen energy of a far younger man, entrancing audiences as both good, bad, or neutral characters. Bridges is simply the best man for the job; anybody older wouldn't be as much of threat, anybody younger would just seem childish. He brings this sophistication and pure gravitas to his roles; not to mention experience. Imagine the laid-back attitude of "The Dude" with the relentlessness of "Rooster Cogburn".
Honorable Mentions: Donald Sutherland (too old)
Booker Dewitt- Jensen Ackles
Known For: Supernatural, Batman: Under the Red Hood, My Bloody Valentine
Character Bio: He is our hero, the protagonist and lead of the story. Booker Dewitt is a troubled, reluctant hero who is never quite happy with himself and his actions. After participating in the abominations at Wounded Knee at 16 years old, Booker threw himself into a life of drinking and gambling. He was a brutal and rough soldier who had even scalped an entire tribe of Sioux himself, just to prove he wasn't Native American (which, of course, he was. He was part Native American). He served years on the Pinkertons, dealing out ruthless justice and horrible punishments across the U.S. This led him to even more drinking and gambling. Eventually, he fell into so much debt that he gave away his daughter, Anna, to pay for it all. Overwhelmed by grief, he brands himself with an "AD" so he'll never forget. Booker is not a good man but beneath all the alcohol, all the terrible choices and horrific acts, he still has a kind heart. After starting a private detective firm, he finds himself in even worse debt than before. A mysterious figure arrive and offers to get him out of this mess if he can retrieve Elizabeth and bring her to him. Despite his terrible past, Booker goes on a path of redemption, using all the great skills he had gleamed over a history of violence. He's a great soldier, a strong man, and a force to be reckoned with. He is stubborn, persistent, and brash but deep, deep down, still believes in what's right.
Reasoning: Before everyone jumps down my throat, I think Jensen is a good actor. He may not be Oscar worthy but he is very entertaining and brings a level of emotion that you have to respect. Now, Jensen is the exact height (6'1") and age (38) as Booker, which qualifies him already for consideration. He has a history of being very physical and has experience with action, which qualifies him even further. He can carry an entire show by himself if he has to, but tends to work with a partner (like Elizabeth?). Besides looking nearly identical to Booker, he also can portray him better than anyone. "Dean Winchester" from Supernatural has a very similar characterization to Booker. They are both rough around the edges, violence-driven alcoholics who wash out their darker pasts with good deeds in the present. Ackles can bring that regret and anguish to a role but at the same time portray a very physically capable character. He, just like Booker, can be physically superior while being emotionally incapable.
Honorable Mentions: Wes Bently, Frank Grillo, Karl Urban
The Twist (Spoiler Warning!)
Time for the MASSIVE spoilers I was talking about. After playing the game, we all know that Comstock is secretly Booker Dewitt from a different timeline; a timeline in which he accepts a baptism and is reborn on a "righteous" path. However, Comstock is sterile and must use his own child from a different dimension (our Booker's) in his plans. So therefore, Elizabeth Comstock is really Anna Dewitt, Booker's own daughter. This is a crazy twist that most of us never saw coming but one that makes perfect sense. Comstock is actually 38 years old, just like Booker is, but is aged up by exposure to inter-dimensional travel (Or that's the popular theory). I picked Jeff Bridges and Jensen Ackles in tandem because they have to reflect one another. Both actors are the same height, which will add to this twist. Both actors have the similar eye color and racial background which will further cement the connection. Bridges can act with the charisma of a much younger man which is the main reason I picked him. To find a 65 year old actor who has the energy of a 38 year old is very difficult, but Bridges can get it done. The two would be great mirrors of each other.
I hope you enjoyed this break down of a very possible (and very profitable) movie and it's cast. I know I certainly did. I love this game and the idea of it becoming a movie just fills me with excitement. It would be a true spectacle, a marvel for these extremely talented actors to work together and bring this wondrous world to life. There are so many things to consider when casting and making a movie, but I hope this has given you all something to think about. Plenty of questions have gone unanswered-- who will direct? I don't know... James Cameron?-- but this is the first stepping stone for a truly great movie.
Just think about it: Columbia come to life!
---Fan casting bonus points for not using Tom Hardy!
If you have any questions, I'll answer them if I can in the comments. If you have any better choices for casting, let me know! I am always open to suggestions!
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