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Showing posts 1 - 1 of 1 matching: comics scene

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

More of the Same Hollywood Story

A few weeks back, I posted what comics fan magazine Amazing Heroes had to say about the undeveloped Justice League International television project of 1990. You may recall that the reviewer was not impressed.

However, over the weekend, I was reading a different old comics fan magazine, Comics Scene, and found a second opinion.

In Comics Scene Volume 2, #46, 1994, I came across Frank Garcia's interview with one of the creators of that project, screenwriter Jeff Freilich. In this article, Freilich brags, "The guys who do the JLA title asked us to write issues because they thought we wrote the characters so accurately." Sure, I suppose that could have happened.

Freilich also had thoughts about who should play the heroes:

Playing casting director for a moment, [Jeff] Freilich considers who they might have signed aboard the Justice League.

"Very often the case in television, when fantasizing casting, we would way, ‘We want a young Bruce Willis' and then go out and look for those people," says Freilich. Not prone to stunt casting, Freilich prefers unknowns for many of the heroes. However, if JLA were to be treated as a feature, the game becomes more fun.

"With a cast that large, you can't really afford to use feature film actors," says Freilich. "It's not a question of expense, by the way, it's a question of commitment. If a person is a movie star, they generally don't want to commit to a TV series. They wouldn't be able to work on movies."

When it's suggested that Sam (Jurassic Park) Neill would be a good Maxwell Lord, Freilich lights up and responds positively. "Sam Neill would be a very good Max. When we wrote Justice League, Neill was an unknown. He has done so many things in the last few years. He would be a superb Max Lord."

For Mr. Miracle's boisterous, loudmouthed manager, Oberon, Billy (Willow) Barty (STARLOG #130) snatches the role. "A young version of Billy Barty [would be better]," said Freilich. "He's a bit old. There are quite a few excellent small actors. It's just unfortunate there are very rarely parts for them. Billy Barty is the person you have in mind immediately."

Offering a surprising suggestion for Mr. Miracle, Frielich thinks real-life escape artist David Copperfield would do the job well.

"When they picked Bill Bixby for The Magician, he was already an amateur magician," the writer explains. "When they cast Burt Lancaster as a trapeze artist [in the 1956 film Trapeze], he was an acrobat and an aerial artist before becoming an actor. It always makes sense with someone and using the stunt double throughout. [Performing magic] is difficult to teach people. You have to have a talent for that kind of stuff."

For the two witty male leads, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, Freilich envisions a young Woody Allen for Beetle and a young Bruce Willis type for Booster. He says Mark Hamill might do Booster's role well, due to its similarity to his portrayal of the Trickster in The Flash. "But I don't know if we would have gone with Hamill or someone new," Freilich muses.

Bruce Willis? Yippee-ki-yay, Booster boosters.

Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: comics scene frank garcia jeff freilich justice league international movies


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