Dream Casting: Mother Panic

Contributed by
Aug 3, 2017

Dream Casting is an imaginative look at the casting process of potential Hollywood projects based on comics and other media. This isn't just about what is being made; this is about what should be made, and who we think should be the stars.

Mother Panic is part of Gerard Way's Young Animal imprint at DC Comics. Written by Jodie Houser, with art by Tommy Lee Edwards, Shawn Crystal, and John Paul Leon, the book is about an adult child of wealth and privilege who dons a pointy-eared costume to hunt down weird criminals on the streets of Gotham City. But other than that, it's nothing like Batman.

Violet Paige is no Bruce Wayne, to start with. Her hedonistic celebutant lifestyle is at least as real as it is an act, and her personal mission has less to do with stopping crime and more to do with taking revenge on a city that wronged her. With her father dead and her mother suffering from some kind of early-onset dementia, young Violet's brother had her placed in the Gather House, where children aren't so much cared for as experimented on.

I think Mother Panic would work best as a TV show, with the larger mysteries of Gather House and the Paige family unspooling over time, while Violet faces off against characters like Gala and Pretty in the short term. Something like this could open a space for superhero stories in the world of prestige TV, attracting fans with less interest in The CW's DC Comics fare.

Kristen Stewart as Violet Paige

Kristen Stewart isn't someone I'd usually think of for a superhero role, but then Violet isn't exactly a superhero. Stewart (Equals, Twilight) has proven she has the chops to play Violet's angst while also embodying a sense of sexually ambiguous glamour.

Jessica Lange as Rebecca Paige

Lange has been thriving in this late period of her career, with meaty roles in fun stuff like Feud and American Horror Story. Violet's troubled mother, who lives in a forest inside their house, will give Lange plenty to sink her teeth into.

John Hawkes as Martin Paige

Violet's dad can obviously only appear in flashbacks, but Hawkes (Winter's Bone) will do something memorable with whatever you give him.

Tyler Hoechlin as Victor Paige

Similarly, Violet's older brother is still something of a mystery, but we'll go ahead and cast Hoechlin (Supergirl's Superman) and hope he eventually gets more to do.

Rekha Sharma as Dr. Varma

Sharma is a genre veteran with roles in Battlestar Galactica, The 100 and Star Trek. She'll bring that cachet, as well as her talent and charisma, to the key role of the personal physician who periodically takes Violet apart and puts her back together.

Jussie Smollett as Dominic

Dominic becomes part of the Paige household after Violet rescues him, then captures him, then forgets about him. Empire's Smollett will bring some warmth to an otherwise pretty grim setting.

Stephen Root as Fred Hemsley

Root, who's appeared in everything from Get Out to Justified to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, is one of the all-time great character actors, and he can certainly find an angle on the total creep that is Fred Hemsley.

Lady Gaga as Gala

Gala is a flamboyantly deadly supervillain who sees herself as an artist, which feels like what Lady Gaga might actually be if she lived in the DC Universe. We've seen on American Horror Story that Gaga can act as long as you don't expect her to behave like a normal human, which certainly won't be a problem with Gala. And you know she's up for that purple wig.

Frank Dillane as Pretty

Dillane spends most of his time on Fear the Walking Dead with his face smeared with zombie blood. This part will take him in the opposite direction with makeup that makes him so flawlessly beautiful that he's disturbing to look at.

Jason Bateman as Ashley Layton

Layton's a tech mogul who turns out to be complicit in Gather House. Bateman (Arrested Development) is a fun presence in any project, and his natural charisma will make it seem like more of a twist when Layton turns out to be a terrible person.

Steve Little as Ratcatcher

Otis 'Ratcatcher' Flannegan is a retired Batman villain who just wants to be left alone to hang out in dark spaces with his rat friends. That's why he's renting Violet's basement. Little (Eastbound & Down) is great at playing oddballs and misfits, and he has the improv background that's probably necessary to carry on entertaining one-sided conversations with rats.