By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Michael Fassbender exchanging his mutant metal helmet for a hood in the big screen adaptation of Assassin’s Creed. And you likely know all about Tom Hardy replacing his Bane mask for some Sam Fisher night vision goggles. But there’s another video game adaptation doing the rounds that isn’t getting nearly as much attention: Square Enix’s 2011 offering, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
CBS Films, who have produced classic offerings like Beastly, The Back-up Plan, and Faster, have secured the rights to bring Adam Jensen’s tale to cinemas (or at least a primetime tv-movie spot) with Sinister co-writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill tapped to pen the screenplay – with Derrickson also inked to direct it. Yes, this really could be the most brilliantly realised cyberpunk Detroit since Robocop and it all begs the question: who can fill the bionic shoes of the game’s stoic protagonist Adam Jensen?
So, with Jensen’s innermost thoughts as a careful guide to character appraisal, it’s obvious there’s only one choice for the role. Nay, only six choices!
Firstly, if the previous Square Enix adapted title Hitman is to be used as a template, then it’s obvious that there is going to be cost-cutting. Now I’m not saying Keanu has cheap wage demands, but I am saying he’s already rocked a shades/trench coat/special powers combo in The Matrix. Odds are he’s still got the former two lying around somewhere and it’s going to help the budget no end to add just a little Renaissance flourish to an existing wardrobe. Plus, if you choose to make Human Revolution a stealth-em-up then tell me there’s an actor better suited to blending into the background and making absolutely no impression on his surroundings than Keanu, I dare you, go on.
On the other hand, should you prefer the straightforward violence option when tackling Deus Ex then you’ve got many choices regarding which thick-necked action hero could suitably spin a man’s skull around until death – their death, not his. Well, you could do a lot worse than Jason Statham, a man with proven stunt combat experience and body augments. Crank: High Voltage replaced Stath’s character’s ticker with a battery-powered heart: the man has field-experience for body modifications! In addition, possibly the most striking thing about Adam Jensen is his glandular fever-inspired rasp of a voice, and does anyone do dialogue like they’re gargling gravel better than Britain’s third biggest export after period dramas and Princess Diana commemorative plates? I think not.
In all seriousness, Bana is actually a pretty likely candidate. He’s got the look, he’s got the relatively low wage demands, and he’s got that thing which actors sometimes have … tuh? tah? talent! Truth be told, Bana’s been in a relative rut, career-wise, and the chance to be only the second Antipodean to have a knife-based weapon appear from his limbs, after Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is something he should leap at (and over, providing he’s got the jump enhancement).
Sure, some ignorant people might say “Michael Caine’s a little old for the role,” that he’s “turning eighty next year,” that “he should maybe slip into some of those period dramas we mentioned earlier.” But that’s not Sir Michael’s style. No sirree. This is the man who showed them there youth-rapscallions what for in Harry Brown just three years ago, trench coat and all. Let’s make this a character we can love and fear at the same time. If anyone’s got the acting chops to seriously pull off “I never asked for this” as he crouches around crates and exacerbates arthritis in his joints, its one Sir Michael Caine.
Ok, screw wishful thinking, let’s face facts: films need to make money. Twilight made a lot of money. Taylor Lautner was in Twilight. Kevin Bacon. Make Taylor Lautner Adam Jensen and you make a lot of money (that’s how this whole Kevin Bacon thing works, I believe). Lautner’s got the dark hair, the
wooden stoic delivery, the aptitude for playing less-than-normal humans – Sharkboy and Lavagirl, anyone? – and he’s got the female ticket and the not-so-reluctant boyfriend ticket all sewn up. Sign the man! Unless…
Weirdly, Christian Bale’s criteria is pretty much an amalgam or everyone else on this list. Like Keanu he’ll have a trench coat lying around, from Equilibrium this time; like the Stath he’s well-known for his gravelly tones; like Bana he’s got the talent; like Caine he’s got the gravitas; and like Lautner he can turn into a creature of ferocious rage, reflecting the duality of masculinity, sexuality, technology, whatever. In any case, to all those saying Bale’s probably above this – Terminator Salvation was just three years ago. Never forget.
Except you really, really should.
Oh, and in reality, we’d suggest you put money on Ethan Hawke. Either him or Michael Caine.