Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brain Splatter: If Now Were Then...X-Men, 1984

After the fun I had and the overwhelming support I received with If Now Were Then...The Avengers, 1976, I've done a fair bit of thinking and I've decided to give the idea ONE more go with a little different angle. Today's "If Now Were Then" is going to take us back to 1984 and take a look at what the X-Men may have looked like. I went with 1984 because it's the most memorable year of my childhood. I turned 8 in 1984 and got to watch my hometown Detroit Tigers win the World Series (I'm a lifelong Tiger and baseball fan when I'm not being a nerd). I plan to retire If Now Were Then after this so enjoy...If Now Were Then, X-Men 1984.

Professor X: Yul Brynner

One of the original bald actors, Yul Brynner was a Hollywood legend. Brynner would have nailed this role, a role that would have been his last as he died in 1985 from lung cancer.

Wolverine: Nicolas Cage

Cage has admitted that he grew up an avid fan of comics and though his famous collection was more geared towards DC heroes, you can't admit that he couldn't have pulled off the look and, as goofy as he is now, he was a hell of an actor. This would have come out in the same year as The Cotton Club, a film which put Cage on the map after his role in his uncle Francis Ford Coppola cast him in Rumble Fish. And let's remember this is the early 80s where sci-fi was king and the action hero had only just started to form into the stereotypical Stallone/Schwarzenegger role. Cage could pull of the brooding, irreverent Logan with ease and, if it was a PG movie in the 80s, a berserker rage would've been a whole lot more violent!

Cyclops:  Dennis Quaid

Coming off Tough Enough and The Right Stuff, Dennis Quaid was just about to hit it big and enter a 3 decade span in which he just about never stopped making films. A young Quaid would have been an excellent Scott Summers, growing under the tutelage of Professor X into the highly disciplined moral compass of the team. Quaid could handle the pragmatism and logic of Summers and hopefully, if this was made in 84, we wouldn't have to see him offed for no reason.

Jean Grey:  Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver was the female action star of the early 80s, coming off of Alien. This film would have hit theaters the same year as Ghostbusters and would have only further cemented her status as a sci-fi legend. Having Alien under her belt, Weaver would certainly nail the independence that comes along with Jean Grey and honestly her possession in Ghostbusters is as close to the Dark Phoenix possession as we'd have gotten in 1984.

Storm: Pam Grier

Pam Grier is a legend and does action in her sleep. She would have been an amazing Storm, better than anything Halle Berry, who is an excellent actress. Grier as Storm would have been something to behold Storm was the first black female to play a leading role in comic book and, given that, there was nobody better than one of the first black female action hero to play the part.

Rogue: Diane Lane 

This is based on the casting of Rogue as a teen in Xavier's school as she was in X-Men, just learning how to handle her incredible powers. Diane Lane would have been just 19 years old at the film's release and was just coming into her own from her roles in The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. Lane would have been the perfect age to portray Rogue's innocence while having enough range as an actress to grow into the powerful yet empathetic future leader of the team.

Iceman: Matt Dillon

To be fair, there were any number of young actors from this era who could have played a young Bobby Drake, but Dillon would pull off the insecure moodiness as well as any of them while still exuding the honesty and genuine concern for his team that's a trademark of Iceman. Plus, he's just that cool.

Mystique: Bo Derek

Simple: There's nobody else from this era I'd want to see in blue bodypaint as bad as Bo Derek. By this time Derek star had peaked from 10 and Tarzan, The Ape Man and she's have made for some sexy trailer shots. Unfortunately, we've not seen a good portrayal of Mystique yet, so Derek's would have been as good as any.

Magneto: Marlon Brando

Magneto has always struck me at a maniac at peace with what he has done and is doing. Once standing side by side with Xavier, Magneto went rogue and collected his Evil Brotherhood of Mutants to aid him in fighting the war against humans the way he saw fit. A nicely written Magneto would differ only slightly from Marlon Brando's role as Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. 

I'd like to have seen a trilogy of films with this cast, though Brynner wouldn't have made it through. That would, however, have given us a chance to see a 2nd film in which Cyclops and Magneto, two sides of the same coin, could square off.

The only thing I couldn't fit into this was a way to make the Russians the bad guys, as they were in almost every U.S. action film of the 1980s, other than that this was a second round of something fun for me to do on break. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to you guys sounding off on alternate choices in the comments!