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Dream Casting: Barbarella

Contributed by
Aug 2, 2018

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.

This week we're looking at a property that last made it to the big screen 50 years ago. Barbarella was a French erotic comic book by Jean-Claude Forest that in 1968 became a movie directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda.

There's been talk off and on for years about making a new Barbarella movie, but it never seems to lead anywhere. I totally get that adapting a sci-fi story that's deliberately erotic without being porn is pretty thorny, but I think as long as there's young women and queer people involved in the production, it could still totally work for modern audiences.

Although I think a new movie should draw on elements of Forest's comic, I'm specifically casting the characters from the original movie, although bringing in comics elements may alter some of them, which is fine.

Jane Levy as Barbarella

Jane Levy as Barbarella

Jane Levy (Don't Breathe, Castle Rock) has the look to play Barbarella, the glamour to pull off all those costume changes, and the sense of humor to make it all seem like a fun romp instead of something more tawdry.

Uzo Aduba as the President of Earth

Uzo Aduba as the President of Earth

It's not much more than a cameo, but Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) will bring personality to the face of the distant government of future Earth.

Richard Armitage as Mark Hand

Richard Armitage as Mark Hand

Hand needs to radiate a specific sort of gruff masculinity without seeming like a threat. That can be a tough balance, but I think Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal) can pull it off.

Channing Tatum as Pygar

Channing Tatum as Pygar

I'm torn between wanting Channing Tatum (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) to give Pygar a little more personality, and thinking that Pygar having no personality is actually perfect. Either way, Tatum has the body to pull off that loincloth-and-wings look.

Bobcat Goldthwait as Professor Ping

Bobcat Goldthwait as Professor Ping

I wanted to make a casting choice at least half as unique as famous mime Marcel Marceau in the original movie, and I honestly think '80s comedy legend Bobcat Goldthwait is just what this remake needs.

Kumail Nanjiani as Durand Durand

Kumail Nanjiani as the Concierge

Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) is a remarkable comic actor who could have great fun with a scenery-chewing part like this. He also obviates the need for the rapid-aging reveal that felt like a weakness in the original.

Most importantly, though, he has those eyebrows. The eyebrows are the key to the evil of Durand Durand.

Keegan Michael Key as Dildano

Keegan Michael Key as Dildano

For Dildano I wanted someone who can play a goofball loser without coming off as unappealing. Keegan Michael Key (Keanu, Friends from College) seems ideally suited for that.

Stephanie Beatriz as the Great Tyrant

Stephanie Beatriz as the Great Tyrant

Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) not only has the beauty to play the Great Tyrant, she's a versatile enough actress to make the character's dual identities work better than they did in the original.

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