Mako: The Motion Picture

Hey folks. Welcome to another edition of the Mako Manifesto!

First things first, I want to give a big, hearty THANK YOU to everyone who’s purchased and or reviewed Red Sky Dawning on Amazon. Speaking as both the author of the book and a guy running a business, you have no idea how much I appreciate that. Those are the things that keep this series going, and afford me the chance to pay for stuff like quality editing and cover design.

Next up: At Circle’s End. That’s the tentative title for the third and final book of The Mako Saga, and I’m happy to report that I’m already well into writing the first draft.  With any luck, I’ll have the beta manuscript ready for edit by the end of this year.

Okay, so now that the housekeeping is done, let’s have some fun, shall we?

Lots of people have asked me what this saga would look like as a film series. Whether it’s for the characters, the action, or the overall tempo of the books, folks seem to think these stories would translate well to that medium — and I, for one, tend to agree!

I’ve made no secret of my love for movies over the years, and I can hardly think of anything that would geek me out more than to see my little slice of the sci-fi genre on the silver screen. But what would that look like?

The following is my dream list for a Mako cast and crew. Coincidentally, it’s also a fairly telling exposition on my at-home viewing habits, so no judging! 😉

(Links go to IMDB pages)

Director: Jon Favreau

So, has anyone reading this blog NOT seen Iron Man or Iron Man 2? If there were ever a director to nail a Mako movie, it’s Favreau. He just gets it. Beyond the fact that he makes an awesome action film, he’s also extremely adept at showcasing the unique charms of each member of an ensemble cast — a necessity in a Mako film. Otherwise, all you’re left with is another SF-themed explosion fest with pancake-flat characters that no one remembers after they leave the theater, and honestly, who needs more of those?

Screenplay Writer: Eric Kripke

Fans of the CW’s Supernatural (a Kripke creation) know exactly where I’m headed with this. For all of the series’ action, horror, suspense, and gore, it’s Supernatural’s emphasis on family, togetherness, and loyalty that’s kept it on the air for eleven seasons. To quote one of the series’ stars, Mark Sheppard, “After all this time, we still care about the Winchesters.” That’s a testament to the characters this show (and its writers) have built, and thematically speaking, it’s exactly the kind of approach I’d want in a Mako screenplay. Oh, and the kickass, classic rock soundtrack. That’s a must, too. 😉

(Visions of an SF-13 Mako Starfighter streaking through space to Van Halen’s “Aftershock”… Hell yeah!!!)

Cast

Lee Summerston: Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) Okay, so I’ll admit it. I’m a total mark for Dean Winchester. Having conceded that, Ackles is perfect for Lee. He looks the part, he knows his way around a sidearm in an action sequence, and he’s a Texan, which gives him the requisite “country boy swagger” for the role. Moreover, he plays “conflicted” better than most give him credit. To this day, I still don’t know why he hasn’t made the jump to big-screen action star, but I’d be thrilled to give him the shot with Mako.

Danny Tucker: Stephen Amell (Arrow) Another CW mainstay, Amell would rock the part of Danny. He can do “pretty boy,” i.e. Oliver Queen, but he can also go full-on darkside like a champ when the chips are down. Pair that with the story told in Red Sky Dawning, and I think most would agree Amell would be ideal for this character.

Evelyn “Mac” McKinsey: Rosario Dawson (Daredevil) Candidly, I’m just an all-around Dawson fan. Whether it’s for her dramatic work on Netflix’s Daredevil or her comedy in Clerks 2, she’s just a wonderful actress to watch. On a related note, few do “snarky tomboy with a twist of demure” better than Dawson (kinda crucial for Mac), plus her native-New Yorker status means she’d rock a Yankees cap.

Hamish Lunley: (Unknown Actor) Mako needs an actor every bit as unique as the character he’ll be playing. To date, I’ve seen plenty with Hamish’s charisma and personality, but none with that AND the necessary physical stature. I’d probably go to the theatrical ranks for this one.

Link Baxter: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) Seriously, does anyone in Hollywood do “hot-headed, punk-ass good guy” better than Jesse Pinkman? No one else would even read for this part if I could get him.

Madisyn Reynolds:: Rachel McAdams (True Detective, Wedding Crashers) McAdams has shown a lot of range in her career, and as any reader of both books will attest, that’s fairly key for Madisyn (a character who evolves quite a bit from books one to two).

Katie Summerston: Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) Any chance to put ‘Starbuck’ back in space is fine by me. However, my love of Ron Moore’s BSG reboot notwithstanding, Sackhoff would make a fine Katie. She’s sassy and quick-witted, but she’s also a very cerebral actress who conveys a lot of confidence on-screen. Katie has to be funny and charming, sure, but she’s also got to take command in a crisis. Sackhoff does all of that and then some.

Chief Engineer Kris Wyatt: Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise, 24) Mild-mannered gentleman with humble origins and the engineering IQ of a savant… Trip Tucker, maybe? Trinneer would nail Kris Wyatt. Furthermore it’d just be nice to see him in more than a bit role outside of Enterprise. He’s a solid actor, really solid, and it’d be great to see him on this kind stage.

ASC Fleet Admiral Markus Katahl: Dennis Haysbert (The Unit) Okay, go ahead and get the “you’re in good hands” jokes out now. Long before Haysbert was the spokesperson for All State, he was (and still is) a fine actor. His portrayal of Jonas Blane in TV’s The Unit was out of this world. Combine that with his physical stature and presence on-screen, and he’d be phenomenal as Katahl.

Commandant Alec Masterson: Ian McShane (Deadwood) McShane is a world-class actor, period. However, it was his portrayal of Al Swearengen, the sleezebag bar owner with the sliver tongue in HBO’s Deadwood that earns him the role of Mako’s top villain. Alec Masterson has to ooze evil from every aspect of his character, from the manner in which he carries himself to the way in which he annunciates his speech. He should crawl up your skin like a disease, and McShane would deliver that in spades.

Alystierian High Chancellor Lucius Zier: Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful) The former 007 is regal and proper, though he’s also got a down-to-Earth charm about him that’s essential to the character. Zier’s a grizzled old dog with a lot of moxie, and he’s not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone in parliament when the occasion calls for it. At the same time, he’ll kick back a shot of Smithson’s with any grunt at the bar, and Dalton has the chops to deliver all of this with ease.

Sgt. Major Keith Noll: David Ramsey (Arrow) ‘Diggle’ would kill as a drill sergeant, plus he’s already got an obvious rapport with Stephen Amell on-screen.

Capt. Shannon “Layla” Baxter: Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast & the Furious, Lost) Admittedly, this feels like a bit of a copout on my part since Rodriguez played a character eerily similar to Layla in 2009’s Avatar. In my defense, however, I’d like to state for the record that I penned the early draft of my character in the summer before Avatar hit theaters, so there. I call dibs.

Dr. Jon Reiser: Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) Like most genre fans my age, I was a huge Herc fan back in the day. But Sorbo’s come a long way since then, as an actor and a person. I just finished his autobiography, True Strength (great read), and there was a lot about Kevin’s story that resonated with me, especially since strokes run in my family. He’s a tough guy, and those experiences combined with his already affable personality would translate well to the role of mentor that is Mimic Project founder Jon Reiser.

Capt. Nathan Briggs: Matt Smith (Doctor Who) I remember when Smith was cast in the titular role of the hit BBC series, and the uproar that ensued from a lot of old-school fans who thought he was too young and “pretty-boy looking” for the part. But then he hit the screen and it was all over. Smith’s portrayal of the eleventh (later the twelfth) doctor was not only good, it was one for the ages on a show that’s been around for nearly a half-century. True, he played the character with all of the quirky panache that fans know and love, but there was an unmistakable gravitas to Smith’s Doctor that hadn’t always been there. Despite all of his charms and flamboyance, you always got the impression that there was A LOT going on this character’s head. He had a history, a long one, and it hadn’t always been kind to him. Thus, no matter how light or campy the stories got, it was Smith’s ability to bring that ever-present, “man out of time” weight to this iconic character that made his version of it… well, timeless. It’s also Nathan Briggs to a tee.

Other notable cast:

Auran President Rick Wylon: Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) NO JUDGING!!!  😉

Capt. Vince Ryan: Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) Cocky fighter-jock commander with spiky black hair.

Capt. Jeff “Blazer” Hastings: John Cena (WWE Raw) Aside from the fact that he just looks the part of Hastings, Cena’s an amazing guy in real life, and it’d be my pleasure to have him in my film. Read this article about his involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation if you want to know why.

Lt. Victor “Scar” Mann: Terry Crews (The Expendables) Again, Crews looks the part of Scar (minus the shaved head), and I’m just a fan.

Lt. Marshall “Tino” Weller: Zachary Levi (Chuck) Much like John Cena, there will always be a place in my movies for the original nerd-herder himself, Chuck Bartowski. Love that guy.

“Bartender” Bruce: Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness) Be honest: with a line like “you primitive screw-head,” would you want anyone else? Plus, I’d totally write a demigod reference into the Praetorian OC scene if Sorbo took the Reiser part.

In closing, you’ve probably noticed the absence of any bigtime, A-list movie stars on this roster, and there’s reason for that. For starters, I’ve always envisioned the cast of a Mako film as being only modestly familiar to a lot of mainstream movie-goers. Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is because in many ways, Mako has always been an homage to the stuff I grew up with as a kid (movies, TV shows, etc.). So what better way to draw that out on-screen in a Mako film than to cast a lot of those actors and actresses in the very roles they inspired?

Okay, gang, that’s gonna do it for this edition of the Manifesto. Have a great week, enjoy the new book, and as always… keep on rockin’ in the free world!

RUAH!!!

IJM

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