Cast Party: Who Should Star in a ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ TV Series? [Pride Week]
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.
This is Pride Week, as you've noticed by now, so I wanted to tackle one of the longest running LGBTQ comics of all time, Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For. Bechdel's comic strip ran in underground and queer publications from 1983 to 2008. Everyone remembers it for popularizing the Bechdel-Wallace Test, but to a lot of lesbians and other queer readers, it means a lot more than just that.
Dykes to Watch Out For tells the story of Mo Testa, a neurotic and occasionally lovelorn lesbian, and the ensemble of queer women and occasional other people who comprise her social circle. I see it working best as a TV series, so that the characters have time to grow and change just like they did over the course of the comic. With that in mind, I was limited in how many characters I could cast, so I tried to choose a pretty good core. But if you're favorite character is missing, assume that they would eventually appear on the show anyway. I particularly would like to see Janis show up, but she's probably not going to be played by someone who's had previous roles.
The tone of the show will be smart comedy with some drama mixed in, just like the comic. I think a half-hour format would work best, but I could be persuaded to give it an hour. I'm also a bit torn on whether it should be an '80s/'90s period piece or set in the present day, but given the likelihood of budget concerns with a lesbian ensemble sitcom, let's default to the latter.
Rhea Butcher as Mo
Butcher has made her career mostly as a standup comic thus far, but her casual likability will translate beautifully to acting roles, and this show will be a perfect vehicle for her.
Zoie Palmer as Sydney
Palmer, on the other hand, is already a TV veteran. All she needs is a new haircut and glasses to embody Mo's love interest.
Samira Wiley as Ginger
Wiley is one of the most charismatic performers on Orange is the New Black, and I can't wait to see her in a wider variety of roles in the future.
Michelle Rodriguez as Toni
Rodriguez is mostly known these days for action films, but she is a real actor, and I'd love to see her do more work in comedy, and not have to worry about her character dying all the time.
Jasika Nicole as Clarice
Nicole's a great actor who looks amazing in a suit, which is important for a lawyer like Clarice. She also has fantastic hair.
Desiree Akhavan as Sparrow
Akhavan is an interesting presence in whatever she's in, and perfect for bisexual new ager (or whatever the equivalent post-millennium belief system is) Sparrow.
Daniel Franzese as Stuart
Sparrow's partner, and the show's token man, Stuart is likable and sometimes the most stereotypical lesbian in the cast. Mean Girls-alum Franzese has just what the part needs.
Ruby Rose as Lois
Who better to play the gender-playful sex-positive troublemaker Lois than every straight woman's lesbian crush, Ruby Rose?
Amber Heard as Thea
Look, I'm not going to pretend I don't just wish I could give Heard lots of work right now. But I think she can definitely pull off the part of Mo's coworker and one-time crush.
Roxane Gay as Jezanna
Gay is not an actor, she's a writer. But having her as the owner of a feminist bookstore (and Mo's boss), is a fun enough bit of stunt casting that I think she might go for it.