The Witcher Netflix series wouldn't have been the huge, fan-pleasing success that it was without the right Geralt. It got the GamesRadar team thinking about who they would cast as the star of their own fantasy game adaptation. Nathan Drake, Fem Shep, Ezio, we put a bunch of actors on our brain's virtual casting couches and came up with the perfect matches for every role.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
Dave Bautista as Marcus Phoenix
He's not even my favorite video game character, but something isn't right in the world if Dave Bautista doesn't eventually get cast as Marcus Phoenix in a Gears of War movie, TV show, or even a rebooted Xbox exclusive. The man looks, sounds, and acts like Phoenix in every twitch of his shredded physique, and has repeatedly expressed interest in taking on the role, apparently trying "everything" to get a movie off the ground in Hollywood (to no luck so far). That rare combination of personal desire and physical resemblance doesn't come around very often… surely there's a producer out there with half a brain to make it happen? Alex Avard
Jake Gyllenhaal as Ezio/Desmond/every major Assassin’s Creed protagonist
Desmond was pretty much the definition of white bread in the Assassin’s Creed series. Getting Jake Gyllenhaal on board – with the added twist of him also playing every major Assassin’s Creed character from Altair, to Ezio, to Edward Kenway – could be much more fun.
We’ve already seen from Mr. Music in the Sack Lunch Brunch that the Mysterio actor can put on faux accents with the best of ‘em. And if he tries an Italian one? Bellissimo. They could even feasibly have each movie in the cinematic universe (which I’m totally inventing in my head on the fly here) work as a different genre film each time, with Gyllenhaal at the center of it. He’s the perfect adaptable leading man for the occasion.
Gyllenhaal also deserves another stab (pun absolutely intended) at a Ubisoft movie adaptation after Prince of Persia ending up sinking into the Sands of Time at the box office. You get the impression he’d be up for doing anything to right that wrong. Even putting on an eyepatch. Bradley Russell
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Fem Shep
Haters might say Fem Shep is an easy character to cast as she could look like literally anyone - and I might tell them to bugger off. Playing Fem Shep requires the ability to finely balance wry sarcasm, dominant sexual energy, and barely-bridled power. She needs to be able to mete out justice for a wronged alien race right after she bones one of her own crew members. There's few actors out there that can play hard ass with the necessary subtlety to make it a meaty role - but Mary Elizabeth Winstead (or MEW, as I call her) can do it. If you saw her turn as the trying-too-hard-to-be-gruff Huntress in Birds of Prey, or her fantastic job in 10 Cloverfield Lane, you'll see that there's a baby Fem Shep in there just waiting to be born. Plus, she's got a fantastic speaking voice, and that's necessary when you're stepping into boots previously occupied by Jennifer Hale. Alyssa Mercante
Chris Pratt as Grayson Hunt
Favorite video game character, eh? I’m surely banned from going back to the Street Fighter well to select Ryu here, and the only man with hair bouffant enough to portray Axel Witsel in FIFA 20 is the real Axel Witsel. So I’ll aim fully left field and select wisecracking, balls-capping Bulletstorm frontman Grayson Hunt as my numero uno, to be portrayed by Chris Pratt. Hunt’s fine looks, off-the-cuff sarcasm and ability to bump off rival characters with maximum laughter repeatedly call Star-Lord to mind - meaning Pratt could likely perform the role on autopilot. I’d happily take that, if it meant the otherwise-brill shooter’s stupid cliffhanger ending [with antagonist Earl Sarrano brought back to life as a cyborg] finally being resolved. Ben Wilson
Jake Gyllenhaal as Nathan Drake
Yes, I know this is the second time Jake has graced this list, but come on, this makes sense. He's got the charisma, the looks, and the ability to slip into any type of comedy you could imagine. He'd be able to sell any era of Drake as well, from the early roguish adventurer to Uncharted 4's older and wearier explorer who gets enticed by the reappearance by a long lost sibling. Look, am I writing this knowing that my partner would never forgive me if I didn't put down Jake Gyllenhaal? Of course. But, as intrigued as I am about Tom Holland's take on the character, it's hard not to think about what Jake could do with Drake. Ben Tyrer
Tom Hardy as Arthur Morgan
If The Witcher Netflix series didn’t exist I would probably be trying to cast one of it’s main characters as my answer to this Big Question. But, as it does, I am now physically unable to imagine Geralt as anyone else. So let's call this answer my alternate. Besides, now I’ve put this out into the world, I desperately want it to happen. Can you imagine Tom Hardy as a cynical, weathered (yet ruggedly handsome) cowboy? Of course you could. I’m certain he could also pull off any of the ridiculous frilly outfits I put my Arthur Morgan in during my playthrough. I mean, look at him… Ellen Causey
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Corvo Attano
This is not an easy proposal as not many people could play my favorite semi-silent, semi-supernatural assassin, but Mr Coster-Waldau could easily play a lot of great game characters on screen. As Jaime Lannister, we saw a great range of character work from Nikolaj that could be effectively applied to the character of Corvo; and certainly one expanded upon for a TV series - and it would have to be episodic so as to mirror Dishonored's format as well as slowly reveal Corvo's character expansion and changes over time. You can particularly see him as a loyal father-figure Corvo in Dishonored 2, desperately protective of his child; as friendly companion (from Coster-Waldau's time in 2008's New Amsterdam); but also as both high- and low-chaos Corvo: high-chaos as ruthless Jaime, not afraid to stick to the sword in should it apply; and low-chaos in the respect of Jaime's elusive, but present, sense of morality and fairness that cropped up every now and then. Throw in some mystery and dry wit and it's a recipe for success. Finishing touches of maybe graveling the voice a bit and ensuring that black mop and beard are front and center, and we'd be cooking on gas. And he's already got the mad sword skills. Rob Dwiar
Keanu Reeves as literally anyone
Full disclaimer: I know the names of approximately two actors. One of them is Keanu Reeves, and the other one is dead. But that's only one of the reasons that I'm saying Reeves should appear in more games. From what we've seen and heard, his performance in Cyberpunk 2077 is exceptional, so there's no doubt he can handle the work. But more to the point, I love the enthusiasm Reeves has for working with CD Projekt Red and acting for a game in general. The big reveal that he was playing a character in Cyberpunk was the coolest moment of E3 2019, and I've no doubt it caught the attention of people who would've otherwise tuned out Cyberpunk 2077. If Reeves' talent and enthusiasm can help spread the love of gaming, I say put him in everything. Make him a villain, make him a quest-giver, make him a love interest - whatever, just put him in more games. But no, seriously, make him a love interest. Austin Wood
Nic Cage as Revolver Ocelot
Ever since Metal Gear Solid lifted most of its premise from The Rock, Hideo Kojima has had this coming. I'm not even mad that Nic Cage is now too old to play Solid Snake in the production-hell-dwelling Metal Gear Solid movie, because he'd be utterly perfect for the role of Revolver Ocelot: the weirdest yet arguably most important character in all of Metal Gear. Just imagine the camera pulling in tight on Nic Cage's face in the middle of a gunfight against Snake, then he belts it out: "I love reloading in the middle of a battle! There's nothing like the feeling of slamming a long, silver bullet into a well-greased chamber."
What was once a weirdly sexualized bit of in-game tutorialization (hey, maybe you should shoot him when he says he's reloading) would become a defining character moment. It would also mean that Nic Cage could return for almost all the sequel films, including some creepy The Irishman-style de-aging for Metal Gear Solid 3 and 5. He could even bring his old prosthetic nose if it helps seal the deal. Connor Sheridan
Maisie Williams as Ellie
Maisie Williams proved over eight years on Game of Thrones that playing a total badass isn't a challenge for her - plus, she already has experience killing the undead. In a timeline that fuses George RR Martin's middle earth with the apocalyptic future of The Last of Us, Ellie and Arya Stark would either be best friends or mortal enemies, and in the latter scenario the matchup of the century. But on top of Williams' experience masterfully portraying a young, fierce survivor in a harsh world, there was actually a point a few years ago where the actress was in talks to play Ellie in The Last of Us movie.
Since Williams is 22, she'd obviously be playing an older version of Ellie, perhaps in a timeline that picks up a few years after The Last of Us 2. And since worlds under the throes of a zombie apocalypse don't tend to recover overnight, Ellie's going to need some of the sneaky assassin skills Maisie picked up playing Arya to fend off clickers and fireflies for the foreseeable future. Now if only we could get Nikloaj Coster-Waldau to play Joel, we could see the Starks and Lannisters finally unite under one, zombie-killing mission. Jordan Gerblick
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