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Dream Casting: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Contributed by
Nov 1, 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.

Now that Halloween's over, it's time to start thinking about other holidays. That's what makes this the perfect time to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie that begins as Halloween ends.

When I first had the idea to cast a live action Nightmare Before Christmas, I was imagining a big-budget Disney theatrical release with lots of CGI. After giving it some thought, however, I decided it's more fun to imagine it remade as a live Network TV musical, in the style that's been popularized in the last few years. So think of this as the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas Live on ABC.

Neil Patrick Harris as Jack Skellington

Neil Patrick harris as Jack Skellington

Not only is NPH (A Series of Unfortunate Events) a star who can sing and dance, he also has a very physical style and a long, tall build that will make him a great Jack Skellington, once he's got a properly skeletal makeup job.

Christina Aguilera as Sally Ragdoll

Christina Aguilera as Sally Ragdoll

Pop legend Christina Aquilera only acts now and then, but she'll make a great rag doll romantic lead, and her singing voice always makes an impression.

Jason Alexander as the Mayor

Jason Alexander as the Mayor

Jason Alexander is still mostly known for Seinfeld, but he has a background in musical theater, and anyway his diminutive frame and nervous energy will be perfect for the Mayor of Halloweentown.

Iggy Pop as the Evil Scientist

Iggy Pop as the Evil Scientist

I admit, I came up with Iggy Pop (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) by asking myself who would be comfortable being as creepy and gross as Dr. Finkelstein. As an actor or as a singer, Pop seems like he'll do just about anything.

John Goodman as Santa Claus

John Goodman as Santa Claus

The goals with any Santa Claus are size and likability. The white and beard are the easy stuff to fake. John Goodman (The Conners) fits the requirements to a T.

Lizzo as Oogie Boogie

Lizzo as Oogie Boogie

I was struggling to come up with a male performer who has the kind of energy and showmanship that Oogie Boogie requires, when a friend pointed out that the Boogie Man doesn't necessarily have to be a man. Singer Lizzo will have tons of fun in the part, even if a lyric or two have to be rewritten along the way.

Jordan Fisher as Lock

Jordan Fisher as Lock

I was first thinking actual kids would need to play the trick-r-treating trio, but once I started figuring out the lead roles and realized most of the cast would be a little older, I decided to make Lock, Shock, and Barrel teens (which as usual means they can be played by twenty-somethings). They're regarded like a dangerous street gang anyway, so it kind of makes sense. Once I got that far, I knew Jordan Fisher (Liv and Maddie) would be a great Lock.

Elizabeth Gillies as Shock

Elizabeth Gillies as Shock

Sticking with that idea, I think Elizabeth Gillies (Dynasty) will be great as Shock, the smartest and must judgmental of the three kids.

Ross Lynch as Barrel

Ross Lynch as Barrel

Rounding out Boogie's Boys is Ross Lynch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), who can also sing, and will look great dressed up like a skeleton.

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as the Witches

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as the Witches

The witches don't have big parts, but they sing a lot. If the stars of Broadway's Wicked aren't busy, it would be pretty funny to bring them in. Also, the Nightmare witches are often described as "Tall Witch" and "Short Witch," and Menzel and Chenoweth fit that dynamic perfectly.

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