Crossposted on Film.com
At first glance, Marvel's Runaways being delayed for another year or two may seem like horrible news. But I have a much different perspective. When W released this photo a couple weeks ago, I started thinking about the large amount of teen talent out there right now. But specifically in the ages 11-16, as in, *just* too young to be cast in Runaways, had it begun shooting last month like originally intended, but the perfect age to begin shooting in 2012 or 2013. I mean, there's always been Disney and Nick kids, sure, but the list of consistently working teenagers who've never appeared on an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place is quite staggering, at least as far as girls are concerned. Consider: Chloe Moretz (13), Madeline Carrol (14), Georgie Henley (15), Dakotah & Elle Fanning (16 & 12), Nicola Peltz (16), Kiernan Shipka (11), and that's to name just a few.
Featuring the actual released breakdowns, I present to you, my casting for Runaways, mostly aimed to be just the right age in 1-2 years. Message boards dally in casting the property every year, but the actors in question quickly grow out of the roles. This fantasy casting is attempting to safe guard against that. Enjoy and feel free to offer up your ideas in the comments!
Breakdown: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
(Note: Original breakdown didn't specify race, but after some controversy, "Asian-American" was added to the description of the character)
Suggestion: We get a time machine, go back to 1998, steal 16 year old Kristin Kreuk, and bring her back to play Nico. Oh, time travel doesn't exist? Cool. In that case, I'm going with the perhaps questionable choice of part Filipino Hailee Steinfeld. Nico is supposed to be Japanese American, but as most actresses fitting that bill, or at least fitting closer than Hailee is, (Sophie Oda, Malese Jow, Ellen Wong) are well beyond the appropriate age, I'm going with Hailee for fun. We know she can exude confidence on command, and it would be fun to see her take the journey from rebellious girl to woman in charge over the course of a few movies. Though ultimately I do hope that the casting office elects to go with an unknown here rather than cast too old or too white washed, while Hailee rocks the part of Katniss in the Hunger Games. Fingers crossed.
Breakdown: Chubby oddball, smart and verbal
Suggestion: The popular choice on the interwebs for Gert is the more or less on the money Mae Whitman. Unfortunately, Whitman is pushing 23, and no longer an actual teenager. I'd go more for either 16 year old Allie Grant (Weeds) or 14 year old Abigail Breslin. Both can do verbal, both can do sass and both are at least circling the correct age range. Another suggestion I've heard is 17 year old Jennifer Stone, mostly known from Disney/ABC Family ventures, and she actually fits the bill quite well, but since I'd like to avoid Disney kids, and we're skewing younger here, I'm sticking with Breslin. Can you imagine her with purple hair and glasses? Please yes please!
Breakdown: Conventionally beautiful, with an unchecked ego
Suggestion: Taylor Momsen and Dakotah Fanning seem to be popular choices on various message boards, but as Karolina is both unusually poised and an alien, I'm going with the suddenly jaw droppingly stunning 16 year old Saoirse Ronan. She simuntaneously rocks an alien quality whilst remaining incredibly gorgeous. Girl is growing up well. And hell, I wouldn't object to making Karolina's famous actor "parents" happen to be Irish so Ronan can keep her accent.
Breakdown: An innocent, wide-eyed and overprotected
Suggestion: My pick for Molly isn't as well known as the others, but could definitely rock this part. Morgan Lily, best known by me for playing the 10 year old version of Juli in Flipped, soon to be best known by you as young Mystique in X-Men: First Class, has the right look and tenacity for the adorable, but resourceful Molly. I'm confident that in a couple years she will still be young and wide-eyed enough to pull off this role.
Breakdown: Very smart, natural leader, in need of a father figure. African American.
Suggestion: So while we are in 1998, stealing 16 year old Kristin Kreuk, can we also steal 16 year old Percy Daggs III, of Veronica Mars fame? He is such a spitting image of Alex, it makes my brain hurt. If that doesn't work out, I have a strange, but perhaps intriguing idea. Connor Cruise has decided to go into the family business, having recently shot Red Dawn, for which he lost all of his baby fat. I can't help but imagine glasses and longer hair on the 16 year old and seeing flashes of Alex. Though I'm beginning to warm to a particular actor who keeps popping up on Runaways casting boards across the internet - 17 year old Marcus Carl Franklin, best known for being the Woody incarnation of Bob Dylan in 2007's I'm Not There, for which he was nominated for a Spirit Award, and for his role in Broadway's Caroline or Change. Boy has chops and a striking resemblance to Alex.
Breakdown: A rebel, ignores rules and authority, wounded inside
Suggestion: If Chase weren't specifically the oldest in the group, I'd love to recommend 14 year old Charlie Rowe (Never Let Me Go), but even two years from now, he'd be a tad too young. If filming were beginning now, I'd suggest 18 year old Josh Hutcherson. We certainly got a feel for his anti-establishment side in The Kids Are All Right, and he has a young enough face that a romance with the slightly younger Gert wouldn't seem entirely out of place. But going with the conceit of beginning production in two years, I'm selecting 16 year old Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four) who I think would actually make quite the nice match with Breslin.
So there you have it. Since the announcement a couple months ago regarding pushing production back and allowing Peter Sollet to make a different movie first, there has been some worry that the film will be shelved indefinitely. Here's hoping we still get our Runaways movie within the next couple years and that some of the kids on this list are considered? Maybe? Saoirse Ronan at least?
If it were up to you, who would you cast?
Special Thanks: Cakes