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 turning to one of my very favorite indie comics of the moment, Space Battle Lunchtime, the sci-fi cooking competition comic written and drawn by Natalie Riess, and published by Oni Press.
Only three issues are out so far, so that's all I have to go on in casting the roles. But barring any massive twists, the major players seem pretty well established.
The hero of Space Battle Lunchtime is a young woman named Peony, who we first find working in a coffee shop while honing her impressive skills as a baker. An alien assistant producer named Zonda comes in for coffee and unexpectedly recruits Peony as a last minute contestant on the galaxy's most popular cooking competition show, Space Battle Lunchtime. Teleported to a space station studio, Peony competes with intimidating interstellar chefs and has to use weird alien ingredients.
The lighthearted story is filled with interesting characters, almost none of them human. I'd like to see the movie as a colorful mix of CGI and live action. The more humanoid aliens like Zonda and Neptunia can be accomplished through makeup, but the more bizarre ones like Zorp will obviously be animated. Some, like Chef Melonhead, will be a mix of the two. I didn't have the space to cast every single alien, so you can imagine your favorite voice actors handling Jacque, Meatabax, and Owline.
Gina Rodriguez as Peony
Gina Rodriguez deserves to be a huge star. She's unbelievably charismatic, and that mix of warmth and resilience that she's so great at on Jane the Virgin will be perfect for Peony as well. We just have to cut her hair and give her some nerd glasses.
Yeardley Smith as Zonda
Best known as the voice of Lisa Simpson, Smith doesn't act in live action as much as she used to, but her small stature and unusual voice are perfect, and her natural likability and humor will shine through any amount of froggy makeup.
CCH Pounder as Flaaxia
Maybe it's because she played Amanda Waller on Justice League Unlimited, but Pounder remains my first choice for a stern and hard-nosed authority figure. And producer Flaaxia is hard-nosed in more ways than one, given that she has a carapace.
Jodie Foster as Zorp the Octahedral
This part will probably only take a couple of hours in a sound booth, so you might actually be able to get Foster for it, and I can't think of anybody better to play a geometric shape from space who also hosts a cooking show.
Donald Glover as Aris
Aris is a cameraman who takes a liking to Peony. Glover can do this kind of well-meaning slacker thing in a way that might actually win you over, which is a rare skill in his generation.
Charlize Theron as Neptunia
Neptunia is a militaristic-looking, hard edged alien contestant, but there's something more to her. There's also some undefined tension between her and Peony. Theron will bring all her presence and bearing to the role, and she'll look great painted blue.
Peter Serafinowicz as Melonhead
Serafinowicz can play a snooty villain to the hilt, and that's exactly the kind of contestant this three-eyed watermelon man seems to be.
Gordon Ramsay as Gatorax Capor
I thought it would be fun to cast celebrities from cooking shows as the competition's three judges, although none of their real faces will appear on screen. Obviously the judge with the handsome blond hair will be played by Ramsay, even if he is an alligator.
Ted Allen as Critic Bot
Chopped host Ted Allen's clipped and precise manner of speaking will work perfectly for the robot judge.
Guy Fieri as Chef Goops
And let's be real, how many celebrity chefs could you call and say, "I want you to play a gross slug," and they might say yes? Plus, it'll add a level of irony to Goops' distaste for meat.
Hannah Hart as Peony's Coworker
One last food celeb cameo. Peony's colleague at the cafe in the beginning of the story has short blonde hair and exists mostly to make funny reaction faces. Who better for that part than Hannah Hart?