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 week, since we're focusing on Love and Sex across the site, I thought it would be fun to cast Adam Warren's Empowered, a highly sexualized manga-influenced superhero comedy. The book's title character is a young superhero who gets her powers from an unbelievably skintight costume that has a tendency to get ripped up in battle, which often leads to her getting tied up, since she's powerless until the suit regenerates. Alongside her boyfriend, a former henchman known as Thug Boy, and her best friend Ninjette, she looks for her place in an absurd superhero world.
The humor and attention to character has made Empowered far more popular than most overtly sexual comics, and it has a following among women as well as men.
It would be hard to capture everything that's great and accessible about Empowered in live action. I think it could work with a pretty arch, campy tone, like a John Waters movie. In the comic, everyone seems to know on some level that they're in a sexy comic book, and I think there should be a similar level of self-awareness in the movie.
Zosia Mamet as Empowered
Mamet is consistently the funniest performer on Girls, and what she can do with just a facial expression or a tone of voice will come in handy for playing Emp. She can also look the part, especially with her hair colored blonde.
Vincent Rodriguez III as Thug Boy
Rodriguez might need to pack on a little muscle, and grow some moodier hair, to really achieve that Thug Boy look. But he already has the easy charisma, which is the most important part.
Jessica Lu as Ninjette
In the comics, Ninjette is specifically a white ninja, but after all the conversations around Iron Fist, I think we've probably moved passed "white ninja" as an archetype. Anyway, Lu is cute and funny, which is what the part is really all about.
Tom Waits as the Caged Demonwolf
If I had a demon trapped in a belt on my coffee table that wouldn't stop talking, I'd want it to at least talk like Tom Waits.
Nicki Minaj as Sistah Spooky
Minaj hasn't done all that much acting yet, but it's clearly something she's interested in, and I think this is a perfect part for her. After all, Spooky traded her soul for beauty and a perfect body, so looking like Nicki Minaj makes perfect sense.
Amber Heard as Mindf---
Heard has a haunted quality that's perfect for the mysterious psychic whose codename we're not allowed to say.
Idris Elba as Captain Rivet
Elba is absolutely the guy you want to lead your superhero team. "Paternal robot hero" seems like a natural progression of his career.
Channing Tatum as Major Havoc
I almost feel bad giving Tatum a part like this, after all he's done to prove he's not the meathead he looks like. But it's his complexity that will make a character like Havoc, who is basically a meathead, into someone worth watching.
Josh Gad as Protean
Gad just has that sort of voice that makes sense coming out of a gross, globular superhero.
Ryan Hurst as Willy Pete
Hurst is already a pretty intimidating guy. Just imagine how scary he'll look when he's on fire!
Armie Hammer as Maidman
Maidman is a formidable, solitary vigilante. Basically the Batman of Empowered's world. Except that he dresses like a French Maid, and somehow makes it work. I think Hammer could pull this off with a straight face, which is essential for the character.