Great news for those of us who spent the late '90s imagining what animals we’d turn into if only we had super cool morphing powers: Universal Pictures is reportedly in the early stages of bringing “Animorphs” to the big screen.
For those not familiar, “Animorphs” is a series of science fiction books written by K. A. Applegate. Five teens find a dying alien of the Andalite race, who gives them the ability to transform into any animal they touch. They use this morphing ability to fight another alien race called Yeerks, who are slugs that crawl into humans through their ear canals and take over their bodies. Nasty!
While Nickelodeon already made “Animorphs” into a television show that launched the career of X-Man Shawn Ashmore, the advances in CGI should make this a spectacular movie. Although there is no screenwriter or director attached to the project yet, we thought we’d assist Hollywood by selecting the hot young actors we’d like to see sporting feathers and fur.
Jake is the reluctant leader of the Animorphs. He’s brave, responsible, and when things get hairy, he’s able to give orders without turning into an annoying Bossy McBossyPants. Although he’d rather be playing basketball or football than fighting aliens, when he finds out his brother is infected with one of the nasty brain slugs, he’ll do what he must to save him.
Our pick for Jake? Ansel Elgort, who made us weep in “The Fault in Our Stars.” Not only does Ansel have the nice-guy jock look, he also has the acting chops to pull off Jake’s reluctant hero vibe and show how the tough choices he must make take a toll on his psyche. Plus, watching Ansel morph into a Siberian Tiger would be the purr-fect way to finally shake off our TFIOS feels.
Rachel is Jake’s cousin and the best fighter in the group. Before being drafted into a war against intergalactic slugs, Rachel trained in gymnastics and was a shopaholic. Smart but reckless and quick to anger, she embraces the violent side of war and is always ready to jump into any insane mission that comes along.
Our pick for Rachel? Sasha Pieterse, who chills our blood with her portrayal of Alison DiLaurentis on “Pretty Little Liars.” Sasha has the sweet, innocent look of a girl who just wants to shop ‘til she drops, but she can flip a switch to show her core of steel. We have no problem imagining Sasha turning into a grizzly bear and charging into battle with Rachel’s “Let’s do it!” catchphrase.
Marco is Jake’s best friend and the comic relief of the Animorphs. But his constant cracking of jokes hides his pain over his mother’s death, who it turns out is not actually dead but being controlled by another nasty brain slug. Marco is also very clever and can be ruthless when it comes to formulating strategies to kick serious Yeerk butt.
Our pick for Marco? Tyler Posey, who is an adorable goofball. This choice might be a bit too on the nose, since Tyler already regularly wolfs out on “Teen Wolf,” but his personality is perfect to portray Marco’s easygoing humor. And we know he’d totally pull off Marco’s trademark, “Are you INSANE?!” before morphing into a gorilla to fight aliens.
Cassie is Jake’s girlfriend, who adored animals even before they all became part-time critters. Both of Cassie’s parents are vets, so she uses their access to the zoo and wildlife clinic to help the group acquire more animal morphs. She is also peace loving and compassionate, so she has a tough time with many of the things required of war.
Our pick for Cassie? Amandla Stenberg, who broke our hearts in “The Hunger Games.” Amandla projects the calmness and caring nature that makes Cassie the heart of the Animorphs, and she has the talent to convey Cassie’s struggle to reconcile the sacrifices they must make against their fight to save the human race. And since Cassie’s battle morph is a wolf, Amandla can always ask Tyler for tips on getting in touch with her inner wolf.
Tobias is Rachel’s boyfriend and a shy dreamer. He was often bullied and had a very unhappy life before their alien encounter, so he finally finds a purpose in fighting the war. During a mission, Tobias spends more than the two-hour limit in a morph, so he is trapped as a red-tailed hawk, although he actually seems to prefer his life as a free-flying bird.
Our pick for Tobias? Ezra Miller, who delighted us in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Ezra has skillfully played several loners and deep thinkers during his career, which is a perfect fit for the thoughtful and mysterious Tobias. Plus with Ezra’s divine cheekbones and sharp features, he looks similar to the hawk that will become Tobias’s permanent form.
Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill aka Ax, is the younger brother of the dying Andalite who gave the Animorphs their morphing powers. Ax joins them in their fight, sharing his knowledge of the advanced technologies and alien races they encounter. In his normal form he looks like a whacked-out centaur with blue fur, no mouth, and two extra stalk eyes on top of his head.
Our pick for Ax? Well, his natural state will have to be some freaky looking CGI, but when morphed into human form we choose Kodi Smit-McPhee, who was so creepy in “Let Me In.” Kodi already has a bit of an otherworldly look about him, but he’s also a fantastic actor who will be able to convey the unease of an alien trying to get used to a human body.
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