Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
Astro City contains a vast population of superheroes, many of whom resemble those at DC and Marvel, but Busiek uses them to tell stories that could never happen in those corporate-owned continuities. And one of the things that sets Astro City apart is that it often zooms in on non-super characters and shows how their lives are affected by the battles going on in the sky.
Astro City would work best as a big budget semi-anthology TV series. The superheroes would have recurring roles, but each episode would focus on a different character, whether it's one of them or one of the regular citizens. With that in mind, I've focused on a few of the earliest stories, with room to cast more down the road.
Misha Collins as Samaritan
Collins has that heroic look that you need to play this sort of hero, but he's a little more idiosyncratic than the kinds of actors who play Superman. Not that there's any reason to compare Samaritan to Superman.
Aldis Hodge as Jack-in-the-Box
Hodge is an actor with tons of untapped potential, and enough charisma to play Jack-in-the-Box, that rare hero who is clown-themed without being irritating or terrifying.
Nicole Beharie as Tamra Dixon
Beharie's another actor who needs more to do, and she'll be great as Jack-in-the-Box's news anchor wife.
Walton Goggins as Jack Baschsinger
Goggins is just the guy to bring to life the unremarkable criminal who stumbles upon Jack-in-the-Box's real name.
Ana Ularu as Marta
Ularu would be perfect to guide us through Shadow Hill, the literally haunted section of town populated by Eastern European immigrants. (And the dead.)
John Hawkes as the Hanged Man
It would be a shame to cover Hawkes' fantastic face, so my pitch would be to give him a thin layer of makeup so we can see his features, but they appear to be made of burlap.
Sarah Shahi as Winged Victory
Shahi certainly has the looks and bearing to play Astro City's equivalent of Wonder Woman, and what she lacks in height will be balanced out by an impressive set of wings.
John Hurt as Mr. Bridwell
If you're casting an old man who is really an alien scout, why go halfway? Hurt will bring so much to this role.
Joey Ryan as Crackerjack
I've largely moved away from the gimmick of including a wrestler in ever one of these columns. But when looking for muscular, hairy-chested, mustachioed jackass Crackerjack, how could I not choose Joey Ryan?
Jim Beaver as Steeljack
Beaver was born to play troubled everyman characters like Steeljack, and his craggy face will look fascinated with a metallic sheen.
Dominic West as the Confessor
West is a versatile actor who can do action and drama, and he'll make a great vampire superhero. Also, if you give him white hair, he'll look exactly like the Confessor.
Robert Sheehan as Altar Boy
I'm not casting him just for the hair. But I'm not not casting him for the hair.