Many of the Ultimate Movie Cast Lists we have done so far are of titles that haven't been made into movies yet, so for Max Payne we have some hurdles to jump over and some parts to re-cast. And with Max Payne 3 on the horizon, what better time to tackle this beast.
I for one have not seen the entirety of the Max Payne film that was made in 2008. It starring Mark Wahlberg as Max and Mila Kunis as Mona Sax, however, I am well aware of its poor performance in the box office. With that in mind, all of the parts cast are based purely off of their original characters from the video game; not the adaptation.
One of the magnificent things about Max Payne is its film noir-esque story telling style packed with inner monologues and dark settings. It follows the story of a man who literally lost everything after the tragic murder of his wife and daughter. With the help of his past work as a homicide detective, he now works to right the wrongs of his past and get back at the people who stole his "American Dream".
I would imagine this film being treated a bit like Sin City; however, it shouldn't be a carbon copy. Since the cutscenes in Max Payne are like a comic book it's only natural that the film be treated in much the same way, so until a director is willing to shine new light on Max Payne's cinematography without straying too far from the source material, we can speculate on which actors would be best suited for these very powerful characters.
First, who to play our troubled hero. In the 2008 film, this was played by Mark Wahlberg who is primarily known for his rough 'em up roles like Dignam in The Departed. I, for one, am a fan of Mark's work as an actor. I like to watch him; however, I will admit that he was a bit of a poor choice for such a role. Although Max Payne is pretty rough around the edges, his foundation before the game begins is that of the American Dream; married with children. This shows a softer side to his character, which is different to the rough guy stereotype. This is why I'd like to see Jon Hamm take on Max. His work in Mad Men is really impressive and with a bit more buff, I could really see him bring the role to life.
Alex Balder's role is that of the best friend. Although he's not in it for long, I feel like Alex Balder's role should be fleshed out a bit in the film. This may be difficult, since his death is what sets everything in motion, but films are a different beast. Based off of his performance in Drive, I really feel like Bryan Cranston could pull it off. I guess the catch is whether or not he would want to be in it. As for the crooked DEA Agent BB, I decided to go with a man who's known for his crooked characters, Matt Damon. Need further proof? Watch The Departed and The Talented Mr. Ripley. As for NYPD Deputy Chief Jim Bravura, his character design reminds me so much of Ian Holm in A Life Less Ordinary is scary.
As for the Punchinello crime family, I think Ethan Hawke would fit Vinnie Gognitti, Ethan Suplee would fit Jack Lupino (American History X) like a glove, and I'd love to see Jeremy Sisto as Angelo Punchinello. It's no mystery that Judi Dench is a legend too, so seeing her as the main antagonist Nicole Horne would be absolutely amazing.
I went through I lot of actresses while searching for who I felt would play Mona Sax well. In the film they chose Mila Kunis, who I love but don't really believe fit the role in which she was playing. Shannyn Sossamon has been out of the spotlight for awhile, but she had a really interesting look and wonderful talent in the films she lead in like A Knight's Tale and 40 Days and 40 Nights. I really would like to see her comeback in a role like this.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not too familiar with Russian actors, but I'm confident that Benedict Cumberbatch would be able to handle the role of our Russian gangster, Vladimir Lem. Brian Cox should also be able to nail the role of Alfred Woden considering his resume. Most of you may know him as William Stryker in X2.
Finally for the role of Michelle Payne. I feel like her story should also be expanded in the film adaptation and I really feel like Claire Danes would do an exceptional job. Her innocent demeanor is just so enchanting. It would be hard to not feel a sort of sadness for her death.
Now, I really don't think this film can be made any time soon, nor do I want it to be made without some kind of interesting new take on it. Basically, I just don't want it to be another Sin City or a diluted copy of it. Max Payne has to go back to its Noir roots and I hope which ever director decides to explore it in the future will give it the necessary care it deserves.
Incase you missed any of our previous cast lists, you can check them out here.