Fans of the Warhammer 40K Universe, be it through the table top miniatures games (WH40K, Epic), the Dark Heresy RPG, the Dawn of War PC game series, Final Liberation, or what ever, will by now, have heard of this fan movie. It gets commented on the various messgaee boards at least once a month, sometimes more. Those same people will also know of the legal challenges raised by Games Workshop, which effectively scuttled the release of the picture. It can be found on the internet, just don’t ask me where or how to do so. Though it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. The trailer can be seen however (www.Damnatus.com):
There is a better quality trailer available on YouTube, but it doesn’t have the English subtitles.
GW’s stupid legal issues aside, this is an excellent fan movie IMO. Yes the acting and fights scenes range from average to cheezey (like a LARP group really into their roles), but it’s a solid 40K story. Even the “low budget” special effects and “wide shots” are worth while, better than many video games with a “real budget,” and 95% of what the SciFi channel puts out as Saturday night fare. It is obvious that Damnatus was never quite finished in post-production. This is really noticable in the CGI shots, which at times have an unifinished look to them. But the legal challenge issued by GW’s nimrod marketing and legal departments probably scuttled that.
If you’ve seen it, then read on. If you haven’t, well, this won’t make all that much sense to you.
As I was watching Event Horizon, I got to thinking about Damnatus. Event Horizon is a good movie for a “40K feel,” and the perils of warp travel. Which made me think about Damnatus, which I recently watched. I got to thinking that if someone wanted to, they could turn Damnatus into a real Hollywood motion picture. The elements are all there, and with a bit of Hollywood polish and shine, could be really awesome on the big screen.
My mian thoughts focused on casting the Damnatus as a major Hollywood production. The rest of it really doesn’t matter. It would all get the high end treatments by ILM or whoever for the effects. Maybe a John Williams score as well.
So, the cast:
Inquisitor Lessus: Sam Neill. This character only appears at the begininning and the end of the film, and needs a certain screen presence. Sam has the right look, and conveys the right appearance on screen.
The Inquisitorial Operative Leschias: The “younger version” should be Shia LaBouef. The “cultist” version should be Robbie Coltrane. Not sure Shia can pull of the last third of the movie, but he at least looks right for the part. I’m open to any more suggestions here. The more I think about it, I really want someone other tha Shia LaBouef for this role. Someone give me a name here!
Osmar Adeodatus: Sean Pertwee. The son of the late Jon Pertwee (aka Dr.Who), has the right talents for this role. He’s played military roles before, and can pull off the right fanatical attitude for the PDF commander.
Nira Gippus: Need a “babe” to play the role of the novice psyker. She also need to be “young looking,” figuring the character to be no more than 24 years old. Rose McGowan was my first choice, but I’m waffling a bit on her. No actress is striking me as “ideal” at the moment. So, suggestions are more than welcome.
Hiernoymous VI von Remus: Our ostensible hero must be a serious star, but one with action flick chops. Given the nature of the character, and how he progresses in the story, my choice is Clive Owen. His dry wit and presentation fits perfectly with the character’s almost resigned fatalism.
Sgt. Corris: James Marsters. His role as Spike (Angel and Buffy), as well as his turn as Captain John in Torchwood, make him well suited for this role. Corris is a bit of an odd ball, a semi-superstitious gun slinger with a rapier wit and just a touch of mental instability. It’s a role made for Marsters IMO.
Wodan Dubrovnik: Adam Baldwin. No, he’s not one of “those Baldwins.” This is the guy who played Jayne on Firefly and in the movie Serenity. Dubrovnik is not that much different from Jayne in terms of characters, so Adam was a natural fit for me.
Oktavian Stimme: The actual physical portrayer for the Techpriest just needs to have the right size. The voice will be over dubbed, preferably by Laurence Fishburne. I had thought of James Earl Jones, but that would have lead to some uncomfortable comparisons to Darth Vader, which is not what we’d be going for. But Laurence Fishburne would do a stellar job of it.
Inquisitor Zyriakus Makkabeus: Rutger Hauer. Few people can pull off the whole is he a good or bad guy type role. It’s tough to switch between trying to be imposing and villainous, and then to being a somewhat sympathetic character. Hauer has done this several times before in films (and TV), and would be ideal for this role.
Imperial Naval Officer: This unnamed character has several lines, and only appears with Inquisitor Lessus. So, this is essentially a cameo role. So who better than Christian Slater? It’s right up there with his appearance in Star Trek VI, where he informs Captain Sulu about the USS Enterprise.
Everyone else in the movie is an extra, a target, cannon fodder. They just need to die well on screen.
So that’s my casting call for this “what if” scenario.
The director was easy: Ridley Scott. Between Alien and Blade Runner, and even Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven, Scott has the right approach, the right “feel,” and the right sort of directorial vision a project of this sort would need.
So, if I ever get a few hundred extra million to throw at this project…