02 Dec


The film industry has always had ‘readers’ on the lookout for new properties.  But it seems that many of those ‘readers’ have become ‘players’ and are fervently running through game after game looking for the one that’ll be a profitable adaptation.

If there’s one thing that video gamers know, the main force behind any title besides the gameplay is the main character, with story lines often playing second-fiddle to a strong protagonist that players will be comfortable controlling for the duration of the game.

This means that when video game movies are concerned, the most important thing after the script is the actor who is cast to play the leading role.  Below is a list of a few suggestions—and yes, each of these games have been rumored to have a film adaptation in the works.

Kratos from God of War

(PS2, 3/22/2005)


This one has been in the pipeline for almost half a decade.  Series creator David Jaffe said in 2007 that script had been completed by David Self (Road to Perdition, Thirteen Ghosts) and expressed an interest in seeing Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) cast as Kratos.  I approve.  Although I’d like to toss another name into the ring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.  Those who saw him portray Simon Adebisi in HBO’s Oz know where I’m coming from with this recommendation.  He was most recently seen as Mr. Eko in ABC’s Lost and as Heavy Duty in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  Not only is he an extremely talented actor but he’s got the build for Kratos.

And let me preface any comments about ethnicity; anyone who plays Kratos will be covered from head to toe in ash makeup, making the color of the actor’s skin a moot point.

Nathan Drake from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

(PS3, 11/20/2007)


This one might be a lost cause because it’s supposedly been in production for the last year-and-a-half.  But no matter—anyone who has seen the TV series Firefly knows that Nathan Fillion would be a shoo-in for the part of the charismatic treasure hunter.  He’s got the look, the smug sarcasm, and the geek fan following thanks to his previous work.

Alice from American McGee’s Alice

(PC, 10/06/2000)


A cult classic, the film adaptation of this one has been in the works since the year the game came out and no significant progress is known to have been made.  I can think of no one better to portray the dark and twisted Alice than Dakota Fanning (Hounddog, I Am Sam.)  Not only has she retained her sanity unlike some child stars, more importantly, she can act.  Really, really well, in fact.  New Moon aside; no one could make that film good.

Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes

(Wii, 11/22/2007)


Maybe I have a brain tumor but I can swear that I read something somewhere about an NMH movie.  I can’t confirm anything, though, but that doesn’t mean I can’t drop a few names for the role of Travis.  One name, actually.  The name.  Tomoyasu Hotei.  Not only is he a kickass guitar player, he can act and wield a katana with surprising proficiency.  See him as Rannosuke Kazamatsuri in Hiroyuki Nakano’s 1998 film, Samurai Fiction, and you’ll know what I mean.  He even looks like Travis and if you watch any of the music videos for his Japanese stuff (we Americans have only been privy to the slightly more accessible Electric Samurai album) you know he’s got the style.

James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2

(PS2, 09/24/2001)


Whether the movie Silent Hill 2 will be an adaptation of the game, a continuation of the original abomination or an entirely new one is unknown.  But if it chooses to follow the plot of what Gavin named the #1 Survival Horror Game, then Cary Elwes should play James Sunderland.  While many of us will always see Mr. Elwes as the swashbuckling Wesley in The Princess Bride or Robin in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights, his performance as Dr. Lawrence Gordon in 2004’s Saw shows that he has range.  He’s aged just enough and would make a perfect James.

Duke Nukem from Duke Nukem 3D

(PC, 01/29/1996)


Yes, he’s technically from the entire series but no one in Hollywood is going to care about anything except DN3D.  Back in the early days, Dolph Lundgren could’ve done it but he’s getting a bit on in his years and no longer has the appeal he once did.  Nope, they need to cast someone who, like Duke, had a promising career and ended up fading away.  Someone like Mickey Rourke.  He’s a fantastic actor and he’s currently very ‘in’ thanks to his performance in Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and his role in the upcoming Iron Man sequel.

Max Payne from Max Payne

(PC, 06/25/2001)


Could we just forget the whole thing with Mark Wahlberg and start over?  It’s such a damn shame to let such an amazing franchise go to waste.  Fire whoever wrote the travesty that was the Max Payne movie and put James Denton in there as Max.  He looks the part and while he hasn’t had extensive ‘testing’ outside of Desperate Housewives’ ‘Wisteria Lane,’ I’m confident he would kick all sorts of ass as the hard-boiled detective.

Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Series

(Multiple Platforms, 06/12/1987 – Present)


Some say that David Hayter should be Snake but I say it should be Hugh Jackman.  The man has certainly flexed his acting muscles a lot, playing everything from Curly McLain in Oklahoma! to Wolverine in X-Men.  Give him a five o’clock shadow and a bandana and he’s Snake all the way.  Now if the movie elects to follow Old Snake, then I’d have to recommend Viggo Mortensen.  We know he’s comfortable with action sequences from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and many other movies but, as always, the most important thing is that he can act.  But then again, if the script for the film is anything like the script for the games, then not even Gielgud could save it.

Shadow of the Colossus

(PS2, 10/18/2005)


To finish this article off, I’d like to talk about the upcoming adaptation of the cult phenomenon that is SotC.  While the involvement of Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) is very suspect, series creator Fumito Ueda said that he’d be involved so I can rest easy.  Personally, I think that a film with practically no dialogue would be best and would only be improved with Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) at the helm.  He has the exquisite ability to create these magical and surreal worlds and he’d do wonders behind the camera for a film of Shadow of the Colossus.

And that’s it.  If you agree, disagree, or have any other suggestions for possible actors to play our favorite video game characters, leave a comment below!

13 thoughts on “Video Game Movie Casting”

    1. Well unfortunately Kurt Russell is kinda old and getting….’jowly.’ 10 years ago, he’d have been perfect.

      And I know that I am not the first to mention Mr. Fillion for Nathan Drake. That’s the least original pick on the entire list, but a necessary one.

  1. Guillermo del Toro definitely should work on SotC, he would do that justice, as for an actor, someone who only has to grunt, no talking or the movie is ruined, you could just reuse the dialogue from the guardian thing and it would be perfect.

    Nice list other wise, and I agree with Korne, Snake=Kurt Russel.

    1. I’m 100% for a movie of Shadow of the Colossus being entirely dialogue free. No English, at least. Wander should NEVER speak unless he’s calling Agro.

    1. In the 90’s, Dolph Lundgren would be the prime choice, but I have no idea if he’s even still alive.

  2. For Nathan Drake it has to be either Nathan Fillion or David Boreanaz. I think both of those actors could pull off that character perfectly.

  3. I intensely dislike Borneaz. I mean I loved him in ‘A River Runs Through It’ but something about ‘Bones’ just pisses me off.

  4. The thought of Guillermo del Toro directing Shadow of the Colossus makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  5. An excellent piece, Eliot, I’d go as far to say my favorite of yours up until this point. The only one I am not 100% sold on is Sunderland, but since I don’t have a replacement casting choice, I’ll shut up ^_^

  6. in ash or not, the ethnicity of that guy you recommended to play kratos would be blatantly obvious regardless. it’s in the bone structure, not just the skin colour. so i don’t know, i find it hard to believe an african american could ever play kratos and do a stand up job of it.

    mickey rourke is a great actor, but he’s far too old to play duke nukem. i just don’t see it. besides, duke nukem is as cheesy as they come, you need someone to fit that a bit more….mickey rourke isn’t it. speaking of which, i think mickey rourke would have made a great max payne when he was younger. he had that gritty vibe to him. plus, he was (and is) awesome.


    and i know it might seem like a cliche choice, but i think christian bale would be perfect for snake. hugh jackman’s voice just wouldn’t fit at all, it has a very high pitched tone. after seeing bale in rising dawn i think he’d be right at home as snake. viggo mortensen is a great choice, but i just don’t see hugh as snake.

    what i’d give for a great videogame movie…..nice article.

    1. Well I think that Kratos, being Spartan, has features more similar to Mediterranean or African people than Westerners. And I’m pretty certain that Hugh Jackman, considering his range and stage training, could modify his voice perfectly.

      And yes–a young Mickey Rourke would’ve made a great Max Payne.

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