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, I'm looking at my favorite current Image comic, Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. I suppose you'd call it a crime comic, but the best part about it is its perfectly realized setting. It begins with an older man named Earl Tubb arriving in Craw Country, where he grew up but hasn't returned to in 40 years. He's not planning on staying long, but after getting wrapped up in the local underworld led by Euless Boss, who also coaches the all-important local football team, he never leaves.
Southern Bastards would make a fantastic prestige drama for HBO, Netflix, or wherever. It has discrete storylines, but the underlying mysteries are unspooled at a very gradual pace. Film it down in Alabama, and fill the cast with as many craggy old character actors as you can find.
Powers Boothe as Earl
Boothe's not known for playing characters as sympathetic as Earl Tubb, but then Earl's not your usual sort of sympathetic hero. He's a big, intimidating Southern man, just like Boothe.
William Sanderson as Dusty
Dusty is a loser through and through, and Sanderson is one of the greatest actors to specialize in playing losers.
Susan Yeagley as Shawna
If you know Yeagley it's probably as a former beauty queen on Parks & Rec, but I think she'll work great in the less glamorous role of barbecue restaurant waitress.
Gerald McRaney as Coach Boss
McRaney is often associated with warmer roles like the Doctor on This is Us, but if you've watched Deadwood you know he can play an ice-cold villain. Boss is both evil and surprisingly complex, and I know McRaney can handle that balance.
Mathew St. Patrick as Sheriff Hardy
St. Patrick is an actor I associate with competent and effective characters, but I think it would be interesting to see him as a broken down drunk who's just on the cusp of maybe getting it together.
Morgan Freeman as Ol' Big
The character Ol' Big plays deliberate on the unfortunate trope of the "magical negro," but ultimately goes in a different direction. I figured Freeman, who's played that trope straight in more than a couple of movies, might be up for subverting it.
Johnny Whitworth as Esaw
Paint on the tattoos, give him that terrible haircut, and Whitworth will embody the absolute scumbag that is Esaw Goings.
Braun Strowman as Materhead
What would Braun Strowman look like if you shaved him from the neck up? I'm not sure I really want to see it, but I'm pretty sure it would turn him into the perfect Materhead.
John Cullum as Mayor Butterworth
The immobile Mayor might seem like a waste of an actor as great as Cullum, but he can do a lot with just his eyes, and I couldn't resist finding another space for a great Southern character actor.
Lily Tomlin as Miss Leddy
Tomlin is one of the all-time greats, and I know she can pull off the distinct sort of nastiness that is Miss Leddy.
Garret Dillahunt as Boone
Dillahunt's great at being scary while hardly doing anything, or even having much of a facial expression. That's Boone to a T.
Christina Hendricks as the Compson Twins
Hendricks has mostly done comedy since Mad Men ended. And while she's great at that too, I want to see her in another great drama. Can you imagine a show with two Christina Hendrickses? Even if one of them never talks to anybody, for reasons that haven't been explained yet, I'm sure that will just lead to more drama for her to play down the road.
Vicky Jeudy as Bert
If the TV series is paced like the comic book, the Season 1 finale will end with Roberta Tubb arriving in Craw County. In Season 2, she'll be the protagonist. Jeudy's great on Orange is the New Black, and this could be a perfect next role for her to step into.