If you’re going to make a comic book film that will echo in the minds and hearts of moviegoers, you’ve got to have a villain that’s as super as the hero. Heath Ledger will get an Oscar nomination for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight, and he should — not because of Ledger’s untimely death, but because his portrayal of the clown prince of darkness is what nightmares are made of. It doesn’t take terror to make a good villain, though; some of the best comic book bad guys have been more clever than they are evil. Thing is: most of them have been men. So, here’s my casting advice for the next set of superhero movie villains. And by “villain” you know I mean “villainess.”
Talia al Ghul, Aishwarya Rai
Liam Neeson played Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins. As imposing as his portrayal was, Neeson didn’t really fit the build of the original comic book character. Aishwarya Rai, though? She would be the perfect actress to play al Ghul’s daughter, Talia. In the comics, she is in constant turmoil between her devotion to her psychotic dad and and her moral compass, which seems to point in the same direction as Batman’s. The actress who plays Talia as Ghul has to be, above all, a seductress. Here’s a litmus test: Could Aishwarya Rai seduce you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sign her up.
Catwoman, Selma Blair
I’m talking about something better than Michelle Pfeiffer’s secretary-scorned Catwoman in Batman Returns. I’m talking about a villainess who won’t play second-fiddle to Batman. I’m talking about a gorgeous feminist who has a social conscious, but just plain old like to rob things. Selma Blair would own that Catwoman. I’ve already developed the movie’s tagline: Mrowr!
Star Sapphire, Eva Greeen
In the DC universe, Star Sapphire is a lot of people, but what’s important is that she’s a queen. She straddles the line between good and bad: taunting, besting and seducing The Green Lantern at every turn. She’s an ethereal beauty, who is sometimes pink and sometimes green. Eva Green is an ethereal beauty who would look good in either.
Poison Ivy, Emily Blunt
Julia Stiles, Harley Quinn
These two have a love/hate relationship with The Joker. In the comic books, The Joker kicks Harley Quinn to the curb, and Poison Ivy find her and nurses her back to health. In my version of the movie, neither of them would return to The Joker. Instead, Julia Stiles as Harley Quinn and Emily Blunt as Poison Ivy would pursue their, er, common interests together. I mean together together. Batman wouldn’t stand a chance.
What actress do you think would make a great comic book villainess? Would you recast my choices? Go on, the world needs more lesbian superheroes!