Well folks, the summer movie season is over and with it goes our near constant stream of blockbusters and would-be blockbusters. Now that we’re heading into the fall we can all take off our rose-colored, 3D glasses and bemoan the feeling of sameness featured in most of our expensive summer features. Well we’ve got a solution to that complaint, which means AE is going to break away from fantasy casting movies that have already been announced and instead turn an eye towards casting the movies that should be made. The means to inject something fresh in our summer movie season lies in a comic-book adaptation. And we’re not talking about capes, masks, and team-ups, we’re talking about a ten-issue series that reads like the love child of Ridley Scott, Guillermo Del Toro, and George Miller combined. We’re talking about 2014’s Eisner Award winner, The Wake.
Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth’s The Wake tells the centuries-spanning story of humanity’s struggle against a monstrous race of creatures who rose up from the depths of the ocean to flood the world. Focusing on a modern-day group of explorers in search of the source of a mysterious signal, and a young woman living in a post-apocalyptic water world, The Wake tells the secret history of humanity’s origins. Snyder, Murphy, and Hollingsworth pull from our legends and myths of mer-people, and sirens, while using our culturally shared flood story, to craft a blockbuster-sized wake up call to humanity. Part horror story, part Kaiju disaster, part post-apocalyptic action-adventure, and part political thriller, The Wake takes what we love most about summer movies and manages to create something that feels fresh and necessary.
Diane Kruger as Lee Archer
Lee Archer, the protagonist of the first half of The Wake, is a marine biologist who specializes in whale songs. A bit of a rebel, and shunned by her peers for her revolutionary theories, Archer joins the expedition to discover the source of a mysterious signal in order to regain custody of her son. Her quick-thinking, empathy, and resourcefulness make worthy of an audience’s emotional investment. In terms of casting the role Diane Kruger carries the strength and age to convincingly play an expert of her field, and a struggling mother. Plus it’s been a while since we’ve seen Kruger in a major movie, so it’s time to put her back on the map.
Andy Garcia as Astor Cruz
A Department of Homeland Security officer, Cruz puts together the team to discover the source of the signal. Every bit the mysterious government agent, Cruz knows more than he lets on. While he displays a loyalty to the science team and crew of the underwater refinery where the action of the first half takes place, he’s a bit of a manipulative bastard. Andy Garcia has the kind of talent to pull off questionable motives and look tough while doing it.
Ralph Fiennes as Leonard Meeker
Meeker is a big-game hunter who has no issue with breaking international laws to get his prey. He’s the only member of the science team who has any idea how to deal with the monsters from the deep. Despite a villainous appearance and violent preoccupations, Meeker proves to be an essential hero. Fiennes can easily do villainous, but seeing him walk in a moral gray area as a badass monster killer would be quite the performance.
Christine Adams as Mel Macklemay
Captain of the now-government controlled oil refinery, Mel was the first to encounter the creatures from the deep. Along with Meeker, she gives the team a fighting chance. Christine Adams, who earned her geek-cred with guest roles in Doctor Who and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the kind of commanding screen presence to make Captain Macklemay a stand-out character and convincing leader.
Zachary Quinto as Doctor Marin
Dr. Marin is a professor of folklore and mythology. His overly cautious nature makes him seem like a liability, but his encyclopedic knowledge of legends of ocean races gives the team’s mission a sense of weight and history, while deepening the central mystery. Zachary Quinto seems primed to make the move from space to the ocean, and trade in logic for a more emotional role.
Dyan Baker as Bob Wainwright
A former co-worker of Lee at NOAA, Bob was part of the reason for her losing her job and position in the marine biology world. As a member of the team of explorers, he remains antagonistic towards Lee and questions her involvement. Baker is a pro at finding the humanity in authoritative antagonists.
Zoe Kravitz as Leeward
Our protagonist in the future serves a spiritual successor to Lee Archer. For most her life she has been following a radio message recorded by Lee Archer, a message that promises a way to stop the monsters and regain their foothold on Earth. It’s a message that everyone believes to be a myth but Leeward, along with a dolphin sidekick, tries to find the source of the message and incites a war in the process. Zoe Kravitz is steadily cementing her presence in Hollywood, and Leeward would give her a chance to play a character different from her previous roles, though it’s easy enough to buy Kravitz as a mischievous and light-hearted instigator and pirate already.
Keith David as Pub
Leeward’s partial father-figure and employer, Pub buys and sells black-market materials, including the eye ducts of the underwater creatures which produce euphoric visions people use to get high. He’s a loyal complainer whose efforts to help Leeward get him in trouble. Character actor Keith David would make a strong impression as Pub, and given some of The Wake’s similarities to The Thing, we’re not above fan-service.
Faye Dunaway as Governess Vivienne
The central villain, Governess Vivienne rules what’s left of America. She wants to keep things the way they are, with resources under her control and power easily in her grasp. When Leeward’s quest and Dr. Archer’s message threatens that, she plans on doing anything to stop them. We absolutely need to see Faye Dunaway in a major role again and as one of the greatest actresses of all-time she could play the cold-hearted leader of a dying world.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as General Marlow
The General is the Governess’ right hand man and the killer of Leeward’s father. He’s a loyal and dangerous soldier with a talent for murder. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can easily capture the world-weariness of a battle-hardened killing machine who no longer cares what he’s fighting for.
Billy Bob Thornton as Captain Mary
Captain Mary is a pirate with a robotic arm who rides around in a technologically-modified carcass of a giant sea creature. Yeah, this series is that cool. Despite his crass nature, Captain Mary proves instrumental in helping Leeward unlock the secret of Earth’s oceans and helps her to fight the war against the Governess. Last year’s season of Fargo convinced me that Thornton can do anything he pleases. So playing an eccentric post-apocalyptic pirate? Have at it, Billy Bob.
The Wake is filled with imaginative action, disturbing elements of horror, surreal dream sequences, and unexpected twists. Its uniquely formatted, centuries-spanning narrative would make for the perfect refreshing summer movie. So jump on it, Hollywood! Oh, and what’s Gareth Edwards doing after Rogue One and Godzilla 2? Best snag him now.
Featured Image: Vertigo Comics