Stranger in a Strange Land Casting Call

(I hope this hasn’t been done too recently - my search didn’t turn up anything.)
I was just reading about the movie version of “Stranger in a Strange Land” by R.A.Heinlein, and it was mentioned that anyone except Sean Connery cast in the role of Jubal Harshaw would be a crime. Also, Tom Hanks was mentioned for the role of Michael Valentine Smith (I’m not buying that one so much - I would prefer someone like Ewan MacGregor for this role). I see maybe Holly Hunter as Gillian, and Sharon Stone as Anne, the Fair Witness.
Anyone else have any ideas for casting this movie?

Tom Hanks wouldn’t work as VMS because he is too old. Sean Connery is too big for Harshaw, I see a smaller skinnier fella. You need an actress with a more dignified aura than Stone for Anne, although she is a blond. Holly Hunter sounds okay for Gillian. I think what the casting people nedd to do is make someone’s career by casting lesser knowns. I am not optimistic about a movie of Stranger however. The Heinlein books I have ever seen filmed (Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters) were totally screwed up, changed a lot. Thinking of all a moviemaker could do to screw up Stranger is scary.

Well, you have to take into consideration that everyone would be naked for a large part of the movie–and I think we’ve all seen quite enough of Tom Hanks in a loincloth thankyouverymuch. :stuck_out_tongue:

Are they actually making a movie of it. I wonder whether our friend Grok will pop in to give his obviously expert opinion?

Oh, and here is my “nightmare” cast:

Michael: Leonardo DiCaprio
Gillian: Rosie O’Donnell
Jubal: Charlton Heston
Anne: Lisa Kudrow
Miriam: Jennifer Love Hewitt
Dorcas: Calista Flockhart
Ben Caxton: Norm McDonald

AAAAAHHHHH!!! My eyes! My eyes!

S. Troopers and PuppetMaster were (IMO) primarily action books (which RAH did as well as anybody living or dead), but I felt SIASL was more introspective and slower paced. I could see an excellent movie made out of the book that didn’t focus on the action, but on the interactions of the main characters instead.

How about Russell Crowe as Ben? A younger version of Sally Fields for Jill (I don’t know who this would be)?

I don’t recall Starship Troopers having much action in it.

The guy who played Mark Twain in those episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation should be Jubal. He’s so Mark Twain-ish.

Hmmm, IIRC, the entire premise of Starship Troopers is training troops to fight the big, ugly bugs, then going out and fighting the big, ugly bugs. Seemed pretty lively to me :slight_smile:

I think Connery would make a great Jubal. I think someone younger would fit MVS, perhaps Matt Damon. He pulls the innocent look pretty well. Ben Affleck would naturally be Caxton then, but I think Jason Lee might be better. Not sure about the ladies. Wasn’t one of them a redhead? Gillian Anderson would be perfect for that.

Don’t mind if I do, as I’m SURE you meant that in the nicest way… :slight_smile:

Because of past Heinlein movie efforts, I dread the making of this film. But you never know. We’re bound to get a winner one of these days.

Although RAH did write Jubal Harshaw as a small, kind of bony/scrawny guy, I too see Sean Connery in the role. My GF says she’s always pictured Ray Walston as Jubal, but he’s dead.

I would not enjoy seeing DiCaprio in this role, but I agree Ewan McGregor might not be a bad choice. Also, I’d consider Brendon Fraser.

As for Tom Hanks, I could actually see him as the Ben Caxton character. Caxton spends a good deal of the book being incredulous, which Hanks does very well (“There’s no CRYING on Mars!!!”). However, I doubt he’d take a supporting role like that.

As for Gillian, how about Julianne Moore? Or maybe gulp Meg Ryan?

However, I think the more important question is who will DIRECT it? Please God, not Paul Verhoeven!!!

I did mean that in the nicest way possible. I figured a guy called Grok would probably grok in fullness the casting of the movie.

I was wrong, of course. Julianne Moore? Meg Ryan? Gaaaak. Retch. Gag! Blecccchh! You can count yourself among the people that I used to like! :stuck_out_tongue:

I have noticed that you are a Jersey boy. What exit? Are you close enough to NYC to join us for our Thursday Night Meeting?

Oops. Thought you were being sarcastic. Sorry. As the man said, “Don’t I feel like the fuckin’ asshole…”

But anyway, yes, Julianne Moore. I could see that. OK, maybe Meg Ryan is a stretch, but I’m having trouble visualizing anyone in the role. Uma Thurman?

Oh, and I’m not a NJ boy - I’m a New York boy, and I’m planning on making one of the Thursday night meetings one of these days. At which point I’ll buy you a beer for my misread of your nice invitation into the thread. Friends? :slight_smile:

I’m afraid of how bad a movie of Stranger is likely to be. But as we’re speculating… I agree that it would be best to find talented unknowns with the right looks and ages. Jubel, I think, was supposed to be very old; older then Connery is now. And Valentine Michael was 21 at the beginning of the book.

I agree with Badtz. I re-read the book for review purposes a while back and did a quick estimate of action scenes and there aren’t that many…maybe 20% of the book tops and three combat sequences (I’m not including training sequences). For all that the S.F. Encyclopedia touts this as book as being the father of military SF novels (ala David Drake), it’s a pretty “talky” book, the vast majority of it being Heinlein talking philosophy. Which is fine, but not necessarily good movie fodder. :slight_smile:


Regarding the casting:

Green Bean, you’re evil. Evil!. I appreciate that. Lemme see if I can top it. Imagine your cast in a Broadway production of:

The Martian and Me: A Musical!


Your girlfriend is a genius: Walston would have been perfect. Especially with that slightly sarcastic tone he always had.

A really young (“Bosom Buddies”) Tom Hanks might have made a decent Valentine, but I agree, he’s too old now and even back then, he looked a little too goofy. VMS should look “angelic”, like Michalangelo’s David. I can’t fit Hanks into that description.


I know physically he doesn’t match the book, but John Goodman would make a good Jubal. Gruff yet fatherly. Or that Quaker Oats guy if he’s still around.

How 'bout Alyson Hannigan as Gillian?

As long as Freddie Prinze Jr. isn’t Mike. That would just be…BAD.
Couldn’t thay just destroy one of Heinlein’s lesser know works? Like Friday? Oh, wait… that would be Dark Angel.

Y’know…by the time this gets in front of the camera, you won’t recognize it.

[Hollywood mogul]
Sean Connery with be committed to Charlie’s Angels 2, so the studio will focus on the “romantic leads”. Brad Pitt will be Mike and Natalie Portman will be coming off Star Wars Whatever and she’ll get slapped into the Gillian role. Then the panic begins. “Argh! We ran out of money!”

See if Keiffer Southerland will be Ben.
Get Punky Brewster for Dorca.
That Secretary on Ally McBeel, you know, the one with a “K” in her name. Yeah, she can be Anne.
Get Patrick Stewart on the phone. He can be Jubal. No good? Then get French Stewart.
Miriam, we need a Miriam…Is Nikki Cox working? How about Denise Richards? Dana Delaney? Terry Ferrell? Dammit we need someone!
How are those re-writes coming? I know everyone’s NAKED, but we need SEX! And machine guns!
[/Hoolywood mogul]
This could get really ugly.

Yeah, you’re probably both right. I’m not a huge military movie fan, so I’m probably tarring Starship Troopers with the wrong brush.

Sort of an “eek!” idea - Tim Robbins as VMS, and Susan Sarandon as Gillian. Which puts both of them much older than in the book, but what the heck!

A horrifying idea - James Cameron directing. I can see it now - big, bold, special-effect laden views of Mars, breathless chase scenes, VMS and Gillian getting it on in a steamed up car, etc, etc, etc.

See, that’s where you got your misunderstanding. The movie has VERY little to do with the book. In fact, I heard that they were pretty far along in the pre-production of the movie before someone said something along the lines of ‘This kinda reminds me of Starship Troopers’ and they decided to buy the rights. That may be an unfounded internet rumor, but the movie IS very different from the book. Some of the major differences…

The Mobile Infantry were all in powered battle armor which had energy weapons, tactical nuke launchers, and limited flight capability. They did not come down in troop transports, but were dropped individually from orbit.

‘Everybody fights, nobody quits’? Only time you couldn’t say ‘I don’t want to do this guys’ is in the middle of a mission in the book. In the book you could back out at any time prior to being dropped from orbit with no punishment - in fact, if a soldier said they were ready to go but appeared to be overly nervous they would be pulled from the mission.

The character of Dizzy was male and died in the first chapter.

The Bugs were a technologically advanced race with factories, cities, underground rail systems, FTL spacecraft, and diplomats (at the beginning of the book they are allied with another alien race, the Skinnies). They didn’t have the outlandish ‘bio-technology’ that the Bugs in the movie had, they got things done with technology like us. There were also only two kinds of Bugs encountered in the book, Workers and Soldiers, which were NOT much bigger than men, and could only be distinguished by the fact that Workers didn’t attack.

The main character, Juan Rico, was black.

<eternal Heinlein debate #3>
You sure about that? He was certainly Filipino, (there were a couple of references) but I don’t think he was black.

Rod Walker from Tunnel in the Sky (probably) and Richard Ames from The Cat Who Walked Through Walls were black though.
</eternal Heinlein debate #3>

By the way, I hadn’t heard that the movie was being produced and then they stuck the name on it story, but it makes a lot of sense.

Is there a law somewhere that says “No one is allowed to make a good Heinlein movie”?