Welcome back to another edition of Fantasy Fridays, where two real-life best friends (Jeremy Scully and I, Mario-Francisco Robles) get together to cast/pitch our dream movies.
In the past, we've tackled everything from The Batman to the Universal Monsters.
This week, we turn our attention towards the long-gestating cinematic reboot of Masters of The Universe. Jeremy and I grew up on the classic 80s cartoon, and I had a ton of the old action figures. Yet even we knew, as children, that the 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren was crap. That's why we'd like to put our own spin on what the reboot should look/feel like.
Over the years, many filmmakers and various studios have tried and failed to get a Masters of The Universe movie off of the ground. 10 years ago, John Woo was even attached to direct it! Since then, the project has been kicked around a bunch of times. The latest incarnation is a Sony production that McG was rumored to direct, with Kellan Lutz claiming to be up for the part of He-Man.
Since seemingly nothing ended up coming out of those last developments, we're going to go ahead and act like they fizzled out and pitch our own Masters of The Universe film to Sony.
Our unified vision for this Masters of The Universe film is for it to be more comedic and tongue-in-cheek in its approach. It would be tonally more in-line with something Galaxy Quest, with a self-awareness that puts it alongside Starship Troopers.
The premise would be a little something like this:
"Adam McKenzie was a normal, everyday office clerk until he learned he wasn't. He's actually the Prince of an entire kingdom within a realm known as Eternia. The kingdom is under siege by dark forces and they need their rightful Prince to return home and embrace his destiny...but he has a meeting at 12!"
We'd tackle the idea that Adam was sent to our realm by his parents to avoid the perpetual war in Eternia, and has lived his whole life totally unaware of his true identity. His "parents" on earth would turn out to be Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress of Grayskull in disguise as his kindly old mom and dad, and they'll be the ones who guide him into his "fish out of water" adventure back in Eternia.
Joe and Anthony Russo
Considering that what we have in mind would require directors who have experience with both dry, snarky, absurd humor and balls-to-the-wall action set pieces, who better than the duo that went from Arrested Development and Community to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War? The Russos haven't been unable to fully unleash their talent for comedy since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For our Masters of The Universe, they'd get the best of both worlds: An outsized, larger than life story to tell, and the ability to point out how ridiculous it all is.
Oh, and these are the same guys who once went to Sony to pitch a Ghostbusters movie, so we think they'd jump at the chance to put their own spin another piece of 80s nostalgia.
We'd also suggest to them, very persuasively, that they should get Adam McKay to write it.
We see no one better than The Office vet Krasinski for this. He can play the likable, relatable "everyman" Adam, who has resigned himself to a mundane existence, but he can also be perfect for the "WTF Is Going On?" twist the story takes when he enters Eternia. On The Office he was so great at being the guy who points out when something is absurd or ridiculous, and we'd love to see that as he ventures into a world where everyone is over-the-top and the stakes are so cartoonishly huge.
But, as his recent work in Michael Bay's 13 Hours and his physical transformation for the upcoming Jack Ryan TV series have shown us, he also has what it takes to be an action hero. We'd want to keep his buffed-out physique under wraps for a while. Through a combination of strategic costuming, and perhaps even taking a break mid-production to allow him to bulk up more, we think he'd shock people when he finally pulls out that sword and summons the Power of Grayskull!!
II. Sorceress of Grayskull and Man-At-Arms, aka Adam's Earthbound "Parents"
Helen Mirren and Sylvester Stallone
We think it'd be great to sign Mirren and Stallone as Adam's seemingly kindly old parents, who are secretly badass entities from Eternia, who have been raising him on earth while secretly keeping tabs on what's going on back home. He'd see them in a whole new light when they cross over into the mystical realm, and Mirren would be great as the maternal figure who helps him to embrace his destiny. Stallone as Man-At-Arms would be somewhat overbearing and overprotective, not thinking Adam is ready for this. But he'd also be in full Rambo mode when they get to Eternia, which would be fun for Adam to see and react to.
We'd also find out along the way that they've always had the ability to transport back and forth between the realms, and would constantly alternate taking "very long trips to the bank" when Adam was growing up.
Arnett pretty much has the market cornered when it comes to playing guys who are out-of-touch and take themselves way too seriously. We'd love to see the Russos create more fun with the Arrested Development actor, and possibly add a recurring gag to the story where he's very self-conscious about his skull face. Throughout the film, he'd try feebly to disguise how much he resembles a skeleton (makeup, fake mustache, long bangs, etc.) and his henchmen always have to act like it looks great and that no one sees that he's lost all of the skin on his face.
We'd find out he didn't always look like that, and it's all actually the result of a spell the Sorceress put on him many moons ago.
While she hasn’t broken through to mainstream success in the United States, Neetu Chandra has made quite a name for herself in her native India. The 32-year-old Bollywood actress has appeared in more than a dozen Hindi films, including Apartment, No Problem and Ameerin Aadhi Baghavan. While her acting talents have been tested time and time again, the real reason she would be perfect for the kickass Teela is Neetu’s most underrated accomplishment yet, the actress is actually a high level Tae-Kwon Do competitor.
She represented India in the World Championships in 1997 and currently holds two Dan Black Belts. He-Man would be a perfect opportunity for the native Indian actress to breakout in America and knock some heads while she’s at it! To us, Teela is the headstrong actual daughter of Man-At-Arms and doesn’t think this weak Prince Adam has what it takes, while resenting him for getting more attention from her father since he wasn't around to raise her the way he was for Adam. But by the end of the movie there will be the typical mutual respect between the two (most likely a love interest as well, which makes Man-At-Arms feel very weird). I imagine most of the humor coming from Teela belittling Adam, until he turns into He-Man.
The Rock (Regular Face), David Hyde Pierce (Voice/Robot Face), Jim Carrey (Monster Face)
Man-E-Faces would be a sort of a “butler” character at Castle Grayskull; A home protector type. He’s too unstable to be relied on for anything serious (except at some point in the movie where all of his faces end up helping out in a big way). He would be here more for running gag moments letting each actor get in a few good lines in, for glorified cameos. The body would be that of any body builder, as the face part would all be CGI/mixed with real face/make up.
When it comes to who would voice this CG character, Josh Gad was an easy call to make. The Frozen vet could totally pull off the cowardly comedy relief that Orko would require. He'd also be allowed to be more biting and cynical than Disney would ever let him be in one of their movies, and we've seen him pull that off in FX's The Comedians.
VII. Beast Man
The Big Show
Beast Man is a big dumb hairy brute. I think with minimal dialogue (just a few silly one liners and reactionary moments) Big Show would be perfect as Beast Man as his comedic timing has always been spot-on and, of course, his size is perfect when wanting to intimidate! I’d also love to see his reactions to Arnett’s Skeletor’s mean comments, or Krasinski’s He-Man’s more subtle observations.
On Marvel's Daredevil, Yung has shown herself to be quite adept at playing the femme fatale. She's also shown she can be absolutely evil and ruthless when she wants to, toying with the emotions of our hero. The Evil-Lyn we envision would almost be able to get Adam to turn on his kingdom because he'd be so seduced by her. She'd get into his head at some point during the film's second act, using the fact that they banished him to earth as an infant to make him question why he'd be loyal to them.
She and Chandra's Teela would also have one epic throw down during the film's climactic final battle.
IX. Trap Jaw
Not as prominent as some of the other villains, Trap Jaw is a total suck-up and kiss-ass to Will Arnett’s Skeletor to his face, but behind his back he’s trying to be the hot shot and leader. His own manipulations would be what cause the ultimate downfall for him and Skeletor. I’m picturing some of this also being a mixture of CGI body/Will Ferrell’s face, or Possibly a body double and Ferrell's voice (since Trap Jaw does have that crazy helmet and well…Jaw).
Another mixture of CGI/Live-Action, Mer-Man’s running joke would be he actually has sound, sane, good plans and strategies but no one ever understands him when he speaks (except he’s speaking perfect English). I’m picturing a funny moment being He-Man over hearing Mer-Man’s suggestion and going “oh hey, that’s actually a really good plan” and Mer-Man thanking him, but still no one else understanding what he’s saying and always dismissing it as if it was some unique Mer-Man type language. Serkis obviously is perfect for these types of roles as he’s done them so many times already, it’s like fitting into a silk glove!
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