Dream Casting: Watchmen on HBO

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Jun 22, 2017

Dream Casting is an imaginative look at the casting process of potential Hollywood movies based on comics and other media. This isn't about the movies that are being made, this is about the movies that should be made, and who we think should star in them.

Just this week, news broke that Damon Lindelof is in talks with HBO about creating a TV series based on Watchmen, the classic DC comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Lindelof's previous HBO series The Leftovers just ended, and he was also one of the minds behind ABC's Lost, so he's in a good position to bring Watchmen to prestige TV.

The series would be completely unrelated to Zack Snyder's 2009 Watchmen film. As such, it will have a completely different cast, more suited to HBO.

So for this week's Dream Casting, we thought it would be fun to imagine who might play the major roles in an HBO Watchmen. As always, this is entirely speculative, but we think our choices are at least as good as Snyder's.

So, without further ado ...

Charles Baker as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach

You may still think of him as Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad, but Baker is an actor with a lot of potential and this could be his breakthrough role. Plus, he has that "weird-looking little guy" quality that's pretty important to who Rorschach is and how people see him.

David Harbour as Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl

Nite Owl embodies a lot of the human drama of this story, and Harbour is a talented actor who can certainly carry that weight. He can also carry the literal weight of a character who was athletic in his youth but now carries a little extra bulk.

Linda Cardellini as Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre

Cardellini has had a long career in both TV and movies, and she'd make a great female lead for this show. I don't know that her costume needs to be quite as over-the-top as it is in the comic (or the movie, for that matter), but she can certainly make just about anything work.

Corey Stoll as Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan

The fact that Stoll is already bald is beside the point (and he can wear a wig for the Osterman flashbacks), but it's easy to look at him and imagine how he'd look naked and blue ... and you have to admit he'd look pretty good. More importantly, he's a talented enough actor to be taken seriously even in that form.

Neil Patrick Harris as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias

This may seem like a dark horse pick, but Ozymandias is supposed to have been something of a showman, and Harris has shown his dramatic range in films like Gone Girl. Also, Harris' skills in dance and magic make him capable of the kind of fluidity of motion that an acrobatic superhero should have. Not to mention the fact that this is a man who can pull off a purple suit.

Ray Liotta as Eddie Blake/The Comedian

Eddie Blake is a big old tough guy. That's also what Liotta is, and starting the series with the star of Goodfellas getting thrown through a window will catch the attention of viewers who have yet to read the comic.

Thomas Jane as Hollis Mason

The wiry Jane will strike a very different figure as the original Nite Owl, compared to the larger Harbour as his successor. Jane can also pull off the smiling charisma of a 1940s superhero and would probably even look good in the costume. For scenes in the present, they can just give him age makeup.

Christina Hendricks as Sally Jupiter

Similarly, Hendricks will obviously be the Silk Spectre of the past, who was an old-fashioned glamour queen of the kind Hendricks still manages to be despite living in the 21st century.

Jeff Daniels as Captain Metropolis

Captain Metropolis only plays a small part in the story but the star of HBO's The Newsroom will be memorable in the role whenever he shows up.

Paul Wight as Hooded Justice

Hooded Justice plays an even smaller role than his longtime lover Captain Metropolis, but Paul Wight, aka WWE's Big Show, is ideal for the intimidating circus strongman turned vigilante.

Wendell Pierce as Dr. Malcolm Long

Dr. Long is the psychiatrist who treats Rorschach in prison. Pierce, who's best remembered as Bunk Moreland on HBO's The Wire, will have lot to sink his teeth into as his sessions with the troubled crimefighter begin to negatively impact his own psyche.

Steve Schirripa as Bernard

If you're going to expand Watchmen into an entire TV series, the people on the street should be almost as important as the people in costumes. Schirripa as Bernard the newstand owner will be chief among those, and the Sopranos alum will bring an old-school New York sensibility to a fantastical world.

Caleb McLaughlin as Young Bernard

The younger Bernard is the elder's unlikely friend, a kid who hangs around the newstand reading pirate comics. And anytime you're in need of a talented adolescent actor, you can't go wrong turning to the cast of Stranger Things.