"The Last Days of Animal Man"--The Animated Movie
A fancast based on the 2009 miniseries starring everyone's favorite superhuman husband, father and animal rights activist.
In 2009, when Blackest Night was all the rage for DC Comics, a six-issue miniseries was published that brought the spotlight on one of the company's lesser-known characters: Bernhard "Buddy" Baker, aka Animal Man (whose relaunched title is now critically-acclaimed, though I think it can be a bit grotesque at times). The mini was helmed by veteran writer Gerry Conway (a personal favorite of mine) and artist Chris Batista, with covers by Brian Bolland, who was a cover artist for the original Animal Man ongoing series.
I had the distinct pleasure of reading the entire story yesterday, and loved it. I feel this would be a better movie to adapt than the recently-revealed Flashpoint project they're working on, as this has a story that anyone would like.
Basically, the gist of the story--structured to the theme of the stages of grief--is that in the year 2024, Buddy Baker discovers that the alterations to his genes by the aliens who originally gave him his powers are starting to unravel, and he's losing his powers. At first he doesn't believe it's happening, but scuffles with new villains Bloodrage and Prismatik make him realize his days as a superhero are almost over. He tries all he can to restore his abilities, with help from friend and family alike. But ultimately, he's at a crossroads in his life, and needs to decide which road he takes in order to stop Bloodrage and Prismatik for good.
The script would be adapted by both Conway and Greg Wiseman (who, as evidenced from some of his best animation work, is great with character stories), while the art style would follow the lead of the Batman: Year One film and adapt Chris Batista's, with a little bit of Nicola Scott thrown in for good measure. Brian Bolland would design the DVD cover. The film would be dedicated to Animal Man's original creators, Dave Wood and Carmine Infantino.
And now, our voice cast for this picture:
Starting with the Baker family, we have
Scott Bakula as the voice of Animal Man/Buddy Baker
At this point in his career, Buddy is now a stunt director for film and television. When he learns his power to tap into the morphogenetic field is fading away, he must make a decision: try and restore his power, or become a normal man again. As he goes about this trial, he looks back on his life and family...
I picked Bakula as he's no stranger to sci-fi (Quantum Leap, etc.) and voiceover work (Cats Don't Dance), but also looked to the current TV show he was on (Men of a Certain Age) and his appearances on Chuck as the title character's father for inspiration. I thought he would be a decent Buddy.
Lauren Graham as the voice of Ellen Baker
The love of Buddy's life since high school, the two married and had two kids, Cliff and Maxine. She worked as a storyboard artist and children's book illustrator while their kids were young. She worries about Buddy and how he takes the oncoming power loss, wondering whether or not to convince him to retire as a hero.
I went with Graham for the same reasons I picked her to play Alice Tompkins in my fancast for The Critic, and for some reason Ellen's portrayal in the comic reminded me of her role on Parenthood.
Ashley Tisdale as the voice of Maxine Baker
Now a teenager, Maxine is the star forward for her high school basketball team, and feels that her father's time as Animal Man caused him to miss out on her childhood. She's approached by Buddy to get a swab of her DNA for a possible gene reconstruction therapy. She does show concern for her father when he's out fighting the bad guys, and along with the rest of his family, wishes him luck with a plan to take down Bloodrage and Prismatik.
I've seen some of Tisdale's portrayals of the more conceited type, but thought this would be a good dramatic role for her. Plus she's experienced with voiceover work--she's the older sister in Phineas and Ferb.
Topher Grace as the voice of Cliff Baker
Maxine's older brother, he's a bit of the opposite opinion about his father, and took what he believed Buddy was telling him--fighting for what's right and working hard for it--to heart. He's a lawyer who acts as legal counsel to environmental and animal-rights activist groups, and a bit of a workaholic, which Buddy admits to himself he may be responsible for.
Grace I thought would be good in this role, and like Tisdale and Bakula, has had experience with voiceover work--he voiced Donny in the Simpsons episode "The DeBarted".
Next we move on to the League of Titans
By 2024, the Justice League and the Titans had merged into a single group, made up of veteran and new members.
Christopher McDonald as the voice of Superman
Superman is still the de facto leader of the League, even in its new incarnation.
I thought McDonald did a decent Superman in Batman Beyond, so I figured, why not use him here?
Laura Prepon as the voice of Power Girl
Kara is the second-in-command of the team. Nothing is mentioned of Supergirl in this story, for reasons we don't know.
I think Prepon has the best voice for the other "girl" of steel, and I plan on using her for this in a future fancast....
Michael Weatherly as the voice of Nightwing
Nightwing has taken Batman's place in the League, and like Supergirl, we see no mention of Bruce Wayne or even Tim Drake.
Weatherly I picture has the right voice for a somewhat older Dick Grayson.
Grace Park as the voice of Starfire
Starfire and Buddy have some history together (as the events of 52 where she, Buddy and Adam Strange were lost in space are mentioned in the mini), so it's no surprise she shows great concern over Buddy's condition. She and Buddy share a kiss before he realizes what he's doing, which she apologizes for. She is nearly killed by Prismatik when she infiltrates the League's HQ with Bloodrage.
I picked Park to voice Kory out of inspiration by her role on the new Hawaii Five-O and her guest spot on Human Target. I think she could really bring out Starfire's compassion and warrior sides in this story.
Bumper Robinson as the voice of the Flash
The person under the cowl is never identified for some reason throughout the entire story, but it's clear he's the current successor to the Flash legacy.
Robinson's a versatile voice actor, so I could see him voicing this guy.
Jeff Bennett as the voice of Red Tornado
Red Tornado, according to Starfire, gave up his humanity at some point and is now all-machine. Twice he has to break the bad news to Buddy.
Bennett is doing one of the best voices for Red Tornado (on Young Justice), so I thought having him here would work.
Delroy Lindo as the voice of the Green Lantern of 2024
This Green Lantern (whether he's from Earth or not is never revealed) is a giant blue whale. He helps Buddy out of a jam when he first encounters Bloodrage, and goes on to try and help give Buddy support during his time of grief.
Lindo I thought has a great voice for a character like this, and I was also reminded of when he lent his voice to the Simpsons episode "Brawl in the Family".
And now, the villains of our story
Ethan Suplee as the voice of BloodRage
BloodRage is a supervillain with the ability to drain the energy from people's blood and power himself up. He proves quite a match to an Animal Man with a now-flickering power set, and later is broken out by Prismatik in order to take down the League of Titans. He may not appear too bright, but he manages to figure out how he and Prismatik connect on a level of their true motivations.
I didn't pick Suplee out of typecasting reasons (I hate doing that), AND it wasn't because I caught the rest of Without A Paddle the other night. I just thought it'd be nice to have him try out a voiceover role and a comic book role--two birds with one stone. I think he could give BloodRage a decent voice.
Emily VanCamp as the voice of Prismatik
Prismatik (real name not revealed) is the illegitimate daughter of Evan McCulloch (the second Mirror Master, who debuted in Animal Man's original ongoing) and a woman he was in a relationship with during his criminal career. When the woman finds out she's been dating a super-villain, she gets him arrested, but later gives birth to the woman you now see. All her life, she was called the mirror image of her mother, but in reality was a pretty disobedient kid, which caused her mother to constantly refer to her as "her father's daughter". She grew up hating her mother, because she blamed everyone for her life, including her own daughter; but her hatred for Mirror Master was much stronger because he ruined her mother's life. After her mother's death she attended college and began to study optics and quantum theory. She spent all her free time in laboratory trying to create a portal to the "Mirror Dimension" because Mirror Master was believed to be trapped inside it. When she finally succeeded in it, she opened a portal, stepped inside and found Evan, who was driven insane by the loneliness after being trapped there. She killed him and finally avenged mother's wretched life, and after that, realized that all that she wants for now is to become famous. At first she was going to choose name "Mirror Mistress", which emphasized her connection to father, but later she thought that her light-manipulating abilities must reflect in her moniker, so she started to call herself "Prismatik". She decided that becoming a super-villain is the best way to fame and chose Animal Man as her first target.
I picked VanCamp after being inspired by her role as the lead on the current TV show "Revenge", and hey, both her characters are vengeful...seriously, she'd give Prismatik that sinister, power-hungry edge.
-Will Friedle as the voice of Eddie Conner, Andy
-Jim Ward as a newscaster, prison guard, millitary commander, alien #2, policeman
-Dee Bradley Baker as a biologist, SWAT officer, alien #1, prison guard
-Lori Alan as Dana Gregory and a researcher
-Vanessa Marshall as Bloodrage's attorney, Ginny
-Dawnn Lewis as a nurse
And that cat's in the bag. Whaddaya think?
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