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Dream Casting: Captain Harlock

Contributed by
Oct 24, 2019

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.

Captain Harlock is a classic Japanese manga created by the legendary artist Leiji Matsumoto. It was adapted into a beloved TV anime in the '70s and has since inspired multiple animated films and even a recent manga reboot.

I want to imagine a live-action Captain Harlock movie. Based on the original manga run, it would tell the story of the space pirate captain of the starship Arcadia protecting a weakened Earth that despises him from the invading Mazon aliens.

Although the titular Harlock is central to the story, the real protagonist is Tadashi Daiba, a young man from Earth who joins the Arcadia's crew after the death of his father but is expected to spy on Harlock by the cowardly Earth government.

Here we go.

Keanu Reeves as Captain Harlock

Keanu Reeves as Captain Harlock

Harlock is a mysterious and taciturn but intensely charismatic man who seems younger than his true age. Basically he's the perfect Keanu Reeves character.

Ki Hong Lee as Tadashi Daiba

Ki Hong Lee as Tadashi Daiba

Ki Hong Li (The Maze Runner) is the perfect young actor to play the newest member of the Arcadia's crew, who must decide where his true loyalties lie.

Awkwafina as Kei

Awkwafina as Kei

Awkwafina (The Farewell) brings a necessary sense of humor, not to mention a star quality, to the Second Mate of the Arcadia and the film's female lead.

Josh Gad as First Mate Yattaran

Josh Gad as First Mate Yattaran

Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast) is great at playing nerdy losers like Yattaran, but he can also handle the First Mate's surprising proficiency when push comes to shove.

Isabelle Fuhrman as Miime

Isabelle Fuhrman as Miime

Miime is the last of her alien race, and Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games, Cell) is ideally suited to play such an unearthly character with the help of FX makeup and maybe a little CGI.

Daniel Dae Kim as Doctor Daiba

Daniel Dae Kim as Doctor Daiba

I personally would love it if Daniel Dae Kim (Hellboy) played Tadashi's father with the 1970s hair and mustache he has in the original manga, but whether that's the case or not he'll make a great tragic science dad.

Ben Mendelsohn as Professor Cuzco

Ben Mendelsohn as Professor Cuzco

Doctor Daiba's colleague Cuzco only really has one scene before he's taken out by aliens, but Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One, Captain Marvel) will make a memorable impression.

Ken Jeong as the Prime Minister

Ken Jeong as the Prime Minister

Earth's prime minister is a comical villain whose diminutive size reflects his unwillingness to take meaningful action. That's a part for Ken Jeong (Community, Crazy Rich Asians) if ever there was one.

Rila Fukushima as Shizuka Namino

Rila Fukushima as Shizuka Namino

Shizuka is the Prime Minister's assistant, but she's also an alien spy who stows away on the Arcadia to escape Earth. Rila Fukushima (Arrow) can play both sides of that duality.

Ruth Negga as Queen Rafflesesia

Ruth Negga as Queen Rafflesesia

Ruth Negga (Preacher) absolutely has it in her to play a beautiful alien queen and she'll be particularly interesting as the morally ambiguous Rafflesesia of the Mazon Empire.

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