Robert Rodriguez Is Bringing Back 'Jonny Quest' and Here's Who He Should Cast

Robert Rodriguez Is Bringing Back 'Jonny Quest' and Here's Who He Should Cast

May 27, 2015

Yesterday, it was revealed that Sin City and Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez has signed up to co-write and direct a live-action take on Jonny Quest. Although the original cartoon series only ran for a single season in 1964, it has firmly embedded itself in popular culture with its cast of varied adventurers creating archetypes that still exist (and are still ruthlessly parodied) to this day.

But who do you cast as a the titular young explorer, his scientist father, his family's bodyguard and his adopted brother? Don't worry about casting, Mr. Rodriguez -- we've got this one.

 

Jonny Quest

The Actor: Dylan O'Brien

The Job: The intrepid boy adventurer.

Why This Casting Is Perfect: He may be a bit older than the original version of the character, but Dylan O'Brien looks like he was born to play a plucky, globetrotting young man with a knack for surviving tricky situations. Already a fan-favorite for many geeky roles (the outcry for him to play Spider-Man was nuts), O'Brien has a faithful following who would transform his casting in an adaptation of a slightly niche cartoon series into an actual event. Most importantly, O'Brien is capable of balancing the necessary action-hero aspects of Jonny with the goofy, ever-so-slightly square innocence that would separate him from most modern movie heroes.

 

Dr. Benton Quest


The Actor: Kevin Costner

The Job: The genius scientist and explorer.

Why This Casting Is Perfect: Jonny's father is a kindly All-American type, paternal but adventurous, thoughtful but unafraid of letting his fists do the talking when necessary. He's the ultimate dad: a brave genius with a heart of gold and nerves of steel. So yeah, of course the new movie should cast Kevin Costner, who has never met a badass dad character he hasn't totally owned. Costner radiates toughness and decency in equal measure, a tricky combination that's hard to fake. Plus, we have to believe that people would actually follow this guy on crazy adventures around the world -- and we'd follow Costner anywhere.

 

Roger "Race" Bannon

The Actor: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

The Job: The dashing, deadly bodyguard.

Why This Casting Is Perfect: When Peter Segal almost made a Jonny Quest movie back in 2010, he was planning to cast Dwayne Johnson as  "Race" Bannon, the family bodyguard. Five years later, it still sounds like perfect casting. Although he may not look much like the cartoon counterpart, Johnson is one of the few actors alive who we would buy as a lethal marksman and skilled martial artist, not to mention a genuinely loving mentor figure for our young hero. The Jonny Quest mythos can get pretty weird (how many families need a bodyguard on staff?), but The Rock can filter all of that oddness through his infinite well of charisma and turn it into pure gold.

 

Hadji

The Actor: An unknown

The Job: The street-wise adopted brother/sidekick. 

Why This Casting is Perfect: When it comes to casting Hadji, the Calcutta-born orphan who is adopted into the Quest family, Rodriguez and his collaborators will need to modify some of the, well, racially problematic issues with the character. Hadji is very much a product of the 1960s. They could sidestep many potential issues by simply casting an unknown. Seriously, rather than pursue one of the handful of Indian actors who regularly work in Hollywood, the film should seek out and find a young and talented performer and give him (or, heck, her -- this cast needs more females anyway) a grand debut. This way, Hadji carries no baggage and can be reinvented as the filmmakers see fit.

 

Bandit

The Actor: An adorable (but weird) mutt

The Job: The faithful canine companion.

Why This Casting is Perfect: If you were to go back and watch the original Jonny Quest cartoon, you'll find a cartoon dog that defies explanation. It could be a bulldog, but it's too small. It could be a pug, but the tail is wrong. Whether by accident or design, the series gave its lead character an unidentifiable mutt. Since most iconic canine heroes are purebred, this makes Jonny's furry friend one of the more unique dogs in popular fiction. When Rodriguez starts searching for animal actors, he'd be wise to seek out an odd-looking mutt instead of a perfect pure breed. Embrace Bandit's mixed gene pool!

 

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