July 13, 2009 by Alex Billington (www.firstshowing.net)
If you hadn't already heard, Matrix producer Joel Silver is developing an adaptation of the Vertigo comic series The Losers at Warner Brothers (already due for release next April). Sylvain White, of Stomp the Yard previously, is writing and directing, making this his first foray into big-budget action. With the news today (via THR) that Holt McCallany has joined the cast, I thought it would be as good a time as any to do a full-fledged feature on the film (and its cast), as I haven't written about it that much before today. The best part of this project is the impressive ensemble cast that Sylvain was gathered up, so let's take a closer look.
Here's the plot (from Wikipedia): Originally a Special Forces team seconded to the CIA in the 90s, the Losers were betrayed by their handler, Max, and left for dead following the conclusion of their operation. Eager for revenge and the opportunity to remove their names from a secret CIA death list, the Losers regroup and conduct covert operations against the CIA and its interests, uncovering startling operations spearheaded by the enigmatic Max, whose influence within the CIA and US government is unparalleled.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Clay: The Leader, easily identified by a consistent use of black suits without ties. Commonly referred to as 'the Colonel,' perhaps alluding to his rank prior to the team's "death." A meticulous planner, initiative-taker and an excellent leader, Clay harbors the largest grudge against Max, at times appearing visibly angry at the mention of his name.
Idris Elba is Roque: The second-in-command, easily identified by the large, vertical scar down the right side of his face and icy demeanor. His ruthless thirst for money motivates a majority of his actions, including the serial betrayal of the Losers and many of his underlings.
Chris Evans is Jensen: The hacker of the group, characterized by his spiky blonde hair, glasses and a conspicuous beard on his chin. Known for his nonstop motormouth that often leads him into trouble and a variety of conversational tangents.
Óscar Jaenada is Cougar: The sniper, identified by his cowboy hat and haunted demeanor. Morose and laconic as a result of a traumatic combat incident in Afghanistan. An absolute genius with the rifle.
Columbus Short is Pooch: The pilot of the group, identifiable by his shaved head and laid-back appearance, has been known to pilot any ground, air or sea vehicle with ease. Despite his involvement with the CIA and Special Forces, is also married with children.
Zoe Saldana is Aisha: The loose cannon who partners with the Losers in light of their common goal of killing Max. Skilled in all combat skills, with particular emphasis on melee and reconnaissance, stemming from a harsh upbringing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A cold-blooded killer who prefers to leave corpses rather than survivors when she engages the enemy.
The Bad Guys:
Jason Patric is Max: A Keyser Söze-like mastermind wielding unprecedented, covert influence over the US intelligence community and military institutions. Organized the assassination of Aisha's father, a slave trader and local warlord, and the subsequent "accident" of the Losers when they went off-mission. Although the current Max enjoys substantial influence over the CIA and infamy throughout the Black Ops community, the "Max" codename predates the CIA itself by several years.
Holt McCallany is Wade: A "psychotic mercenary" who is involved in the Santa Maria massacre witnessed by the Losers in Colombia. Also described by THR as a "Special Forces officer who has left the group." My guess is that he becomes a henchman for Max in the movie, but who knows.
At one point earlier this year, Jeremy Renner mentioned that he was up for a role in The Losers, although it looks like that didn't pan out. I haven't actually read the comics myself (you can read some sample chapters over on Vertigo's website), but there's something about this comic series and adaptation that just intrigues me. I don't expect it to necessarily be groundbreaking, but its got a great mix of actors and I think it should at least be pretty action-packed and thrilling. As for Sylvain White, I can only say I hope he does a good job.
The Losers is already scheduled to hit theaters on April 16th, which means they better start shooting in the next few months or they won't make that release. I believe this might be one of the first "anti-hero" comic book adaptations we'll see - where the story isn't necessarily about a group of good guys looking to kill bad guys. It's about a group of good guys who were betrayed and thus turn into bad guys and go after who we're supposed to perceive is a good guy, or is at least working for the CIA. As I said, nothing groundbreaking, but potentially an exciting action thriller with a fantastic cast. We'll be keeping our eye on this, so stay tuned!