Chromatic Casting: Remixing ‘Birds of Prey’

It was recently announced that Christopher Nolan’s 3rd Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises had cast one of the villains, Bane with British actor Tom Hardy. As this information hit Twitter, I saw fanboy comments that both praised and blasted the casting. One comment from a fellow comic book fan, Arturo R. Garcia,  made me think about the casting. Since I can’t find the exact quote I will say his comment just noted this casting being very white. Tom Hardy’s casting of Bane makes me wonder about his transition to film from comic. Art had his own ideas and wrote a great post about it.

I tweeted back and forth with Art about this. I made the comment about John Stewart being in Green Lantern. Maybe it was the way the words come across on the web but he’s wasn’t thrilled about this casting as if to satisfy the want and need for “people of color” in super hero films and TV.

I thought about this and emailed him. I thought it would be interesting to see a comic book property cast with nonwhite actors and actresses. He knocked one out of the park with the complete recasting of Nolan’s Batman films. So I took it upon myself to step up to the plate and try. I decided to go with ‘Birds of Prey’. If you don’t read ‘Birds of Prey’ the book follows Barbara Gordon, also known as Oracle, through adventures with a varied team roster that’s mainly woman. Since this roster changes so much, I stuck with what I felt were the core characters. I also went with Batman’s female villains, the Gotham Girls as the key nemesis of the group. I want to say the same thing Art said on his post, “Let me say up-front that this, ultimately, is an exercise in casting for fun”. Finally I saw this as an on-going TV series more than a film.

First up, Barbara Gordon, also known as Batgirl and Oracle.

I went with Tamala Jones for Barbara. I’m a fan of hers. Currently, she’s playing Dr. Lanie Parish on Castle. I’m hoping a show like this can do flashbacks to Babs days as Batgirl before becoming Oracle. Tamala can easily play Barbara in her 20’s. Oracle is the heart of this series and it’s no reach for an actress like to Tamala to carry.

Dinah Lance, also known as Black Canary.

Dania Ramirez has already been in the super hero genre by playing Callisto in X-Men 3 and Maya in the TV series Heroes. I had a tough time casting this one. Dinah means so much to the heart of Birds of Prey. I also considered Nia Long and Angela Bassett.

Helena Bertinelli, also know as Huntress.

I think this one is obvious. Grace Park has played a Cyclon and a cop and kicks ass as both. Huntress is the muscle of Birds of Prey.

Zinda Blake, also known as Lady Blackhawk.

I have never read a comic with Lady Blackhawk. I just started seeing her recently in the covers. I want ahead and had some fun with this one because I don’t see her as a regular in the series. I’ve watched a couple of episodes of Outsourced and it’s only worth watching to see Rebecca Hazlewood. I’m a Gail Simone fan so I’m going to hunt down some issues she wrote with Lady Blackhawk and see what this character is about.

Pamela Isley, also known as Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is all about sexuality. Google Kelly Hu and look at just the images. Done deal.

Harleen Quinzel, also known as Harley Quinn

Harley is a wild card. I wasn’t sure what direction to go with her. She’s codependent on Poison Ivy. She’s also insane. I went with Jasika Nicole from Fringe because I feel we’re about to see her weird side. If you are currently following the show you see her from the “other side” and she’s not all there. The other thing was I wanted to go with someone young that Poison Ivy so that she appears to look up to her.

Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman

The last of the Gotham Girl is the most dominate. She’s the leader of the Gotham bad girls. Gabrielle Union is Selina Kyle.

And finally I threw these 2 in for some dream casting. Yea, I’m already dream casting but anyhow.

Barbara Gordon isn’t the only Gordon in Gotham. GCPD needs great representation by Clarke Peters as Jim Gordon.

Birds of Prey takes place in Gotham. Gimme 1 cameo of Bruce Wayne played by Idris Elba and I’m happy.

Now to credit some of the artists I used. I wouldn’t have been possible to pull this together without their incredible work.

Gail Simone – Writer of my favorite Birds of Prey work. Follow her here and here.

Adam Hughes

Alex Ross

Bruce Timm

Ed Benes

Jim Lee

Phil Noto