Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Alicia Keys As Agent 355

Well, maybe... maybe not. But the producer of the adaptation wants her in the role, and given how meaty a role it is, it'll be hard for her to say no, if offered.

Yet another graphic novel adaptation is in the works, which certainly shouldn't be a surprise to any of you anymore. This time it's another critically acclaimed fanboy/fangirl classic titled, Y: The Last Man. In the comic book series, Yorick Brown, a young amateur escape artist, and his monkey, Ampersand, suddenly become the last two men on earth after something mysterious wipes out every mammal on the planet possessing a Y chromosome - including embryos, fertilized eggs, and even sperm. Society is plunged into chaos as infrastructures collapse and the surviving women everywhere try to cope with the loss of the men. Yorick goes on a mission to find his girlfriend Beth, who was on vacation in Australia, and we go along with him on that expedition, accompanied by his body guard, Agent 355, the role Alicia Keys would play
, who works for a secretive US government agency.

The character is listed 2nd in the list of credits, indicative of how substantial the role is. I haven't read the graphic novel, although I plan to, but every rendition I've seen of Agent 355 presents her as a black woman. Yorick is, naturally, a white man, who will be played by the current young "it" guy, Shia Labeouf, whose name seems to show up attached to every new project I read about.

From the little I've read about the character, I'm not so sure Alicia is right for the role. Agent 355 is pretty much a bad-ass chick! She kicks ass, confidently handling a variety of weapons. The closest Keys has come to a character like that in her fledgling acting career, was as Georgia Sykes in Smokin' Aces (2006), a film I didn't care for, although I don't recall her performance much. I'd rather see an ACTRESS in the role, like maybe Taraji P Henson, whom I think would be much more convincing. Or how about going with an unknown? Given the film's 2010 expected release date, I wouldn't be surprised to see Zoe Saldana thrown into the mix since her turn as Uhura in 2009's Star Trek movie might have increased awareness of her by the time Y: The Last Man comes around.

As long as it's not a white actress in blackface...



  1. Victor said...

    Congrats to Shia and all, but he's NOT the guy to play Yorick.

    The role requires something more than the good-guy/well-meaning-cypher that LeBoeuf excels at.

    Yorick needs to be played by someone like Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Norton or -- get this -- a complete unknown? The title of the thing is Y:The Last Man. Why? Because he's the last male human on the friggin' planet after a plague has wiped the rest of us out.

    In the comic book/graphic novel, Yorick is indicated as 25 years old. Shia is only 22, but he doesn't even register that kind of worldliness. Nah.

    Someone like Zach Braff might be a good choice, though he's a little bit on the light side, he LOOKS like Yorick.

    As for Agent 355, Alicia Keyes is too young. 355 seems to be another one of those roles like Storm, that was created for Angela Bassett to play, but she's probably not going to be interested. And ex-nay on the Halle Berry for all of the agents who'd like to get paid for allowing her to ruin another franchise.

    355 is depicted as just a bit older than Yorick in the book -- how about Sanaa Lathan, Kerry Washington or Stacey Dash?

    There are ways to do this movie *without* spending 8 figures on the leads, and I'm not sure that Shia would settle for less than $10M.

  2. Victor ( said...

    Second thoughts:Topher Grace would be an even better choice than Braff, possibly even Norton. After his breakthrough role in 'Traffic' and the end of 'That '70's Show' he's fallen off the map.

    Sure, there was 'Spider-Man 3' and 'Win a Date with Tad Hamilton', but there's been nothing like 'Traffic' recently to demonstrate his range.

  3. Anonymous said...

    @ Victor lol at the Zach Braff suggestion. It's hard not to type-cast him as his small screen alter-ego "J.D." (Scrubs). As far as Agent 355 goes I don't have much confidence in Hollywood's handling of black female characters. One of the criticisms of Halle's Storm was not only Halle's performance but the material or lack thereof. And the actor is only as good as the material. To a lot of black critics it began w/ the stripping of Storm's cultural /ethnic sensibility, whitewashing her then marginalizing her role. I like the Stacey Dash suggestion.

  4. WhatTheHake? said...

    @ victor:
    you are so right about angela bassett.
    i just watched strange days, and was thinking that 355 Must have been based on this character. maybe it's no good to type-cast, but she just exudes the cool and collected ass-kicking 355. but i guess she's 15 years older now than she was. too bad.

Post a Comment