There are two ways "Gossip Girl" creator Josh Schwartz can go with his just-announced film featuring younger versions of the X-Men: stick with the world the film franchise has already created or modify it to draw from the Marvel comic series of the same title, "X-Men: First Class."
A third (but trickier) possibility would be to combine the two directions, using the characters as established in the films but adapting them to the story from the comics.
All this back-and-forth isn't just fanboy/girl talk; it becomes necessary for casting "X-Men: First Class." If the film just focuses on the adventures of junior X-Men as established in the last film, "X-Men: The Last Stand," they have a team ready to go. But should the filmmakers want to steer closer to the comics, then those parts need to be recast, because Iceman and Angel would become contemporaries of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Beast — and all of them would need to be younger. Sorry, Kelsey.
"You couldn't use Kelsey Grammer as Beast," "First Class" writer Jeff Parker said. "He's supposed to be, like, 20."
Even though Parker would be thrilled if the film focused on the characters as established by his comic, he said they shouldn't feel beholden to his work. "To me, the heart of it is that young people who were different found others like themselves and for once, they didn't feel like freaks," Parker said.
Which means the characters could be anyone. It could be Kitty Pryde, Angel, Iceman and Colossus from "X-Men: The Last Stand" (and you could keep [movieperson id="323117"]Ellen Page[/movieperson], [movieperson id="237922"]Ben Foster[/movieperson], Shawn Ashmore and Daniel Cudmore). It could be all twentysomething versions of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Angel. Or it could be a combo of characters from the "First Class" comic and the movies — so you could drop Angel and make room for Storm.
Here are our suggestions for whichever way the filmmakers decide to go:
[movieperson id="31166"]Famke Janssen[/movieperson] is too old; Haley Ramm (who played a teen Jean) is too young. They need someone in between, and that someone is right under Josh Schwartz's nose on "Gossip Girl": Leighton Meester, otherwise known as Blair Waldorf. She'd be believable as someone who could use a little help handling her extraordinary position, which sometimes gets her into trouble.
Runners-Up: [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson], Natalia Tena, Ashley Greene, [movieperson id="196011"]Mischa Barton[/movieperson]
Tim Pocock is already playing a young Cyclops in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (though how he fits in that story, which is supposed to take place 17 years before they meet, we have no clue). So for continuity's sake, let's keep him. Besides, with that protective visor, no one would recognize him anyway.
Runners-Up: [movieperson id="420386"]Cam Gigandet[/movieperson] (who Schwartz knows from his "O.C." days), Bryan Greenberg
Beast doesn't always have to be blue — earlier in life, his mutation allowed him to be a little more human-looking. Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") may not be as young as needed, or as bulky, but he's got the simian-like cranium and the voice for the job.
Runners-Up: Nick Frost (has the bulk), [movieperson id="204641"]Emile Hirsch[/movieperson] (even if he is a bit short)
If Schwartz wants to continue raiding his "Gossip Girl" cast, Penn Badgley already has the nice-but-boring act down pat. Let's just not go to Iceman's home and see his dysfunctional family on this outing, though, OK?
Runners-Up: Matthew Bomer (who Schwartz knows from "Chuck"), [movieperson id="339643"]Sean Faris[/movieperson]
Ben Foster really didn't get enough screen time in his turn as Angel, but since he's shown to be part of the team only after everyone else, it wouldn't make sense to keep him. Aaron Staton ("Mad Men") is a good look-alike.
Runners-Up: [movieperson id="244953"]Jamie Bell[/movieperson], Rupert Friend, Adam Gregory
She has to be beautiful, kind, but in possession of deadly powers. If [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] decides she's ready to act, this is the breakout role for her. Who else could compete with [movieperson id="5228"]Halle Berry[/movieperson]?
Runner-Up: Rutina Wesley ("True Blood") would stir up a Storm with extra depth
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