Last year, a Greatest American Hero movie was rumored to be in the works. And Stephen Herek, director of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead (shut up, I love that movie) was rumored to be directing. In September, Stephen J. Cannell, the tv show's creator, confirmed a script had been written and a director had been hired at a SAG event, but didn't say whether or not that director would be Herek. (For the record, it should be, because that would be an uncharacteristically brilliant move for Hollywood.)
So now comes the problem of casting the movie. (Our solution below the cut.)
While the original tv show's actors may have cameos in a movie version, you have to re-cast the main parts a little younger. Of course that means a new Ralph, and Geektress set about trying to think of a young up-and-coming (I hate that term) comedian to fill the clumsy (yet lovable) shoes of Willam Katt. When Cannell was asked who he would cast, he replied:
Adam Sandler, maybe. Somebody like that.
That's... disappointingly uncreative, Mr. Cannell. While I have little doubt Mr. Sandler would like to do something as fun as Greatest American Hero, let's be honest... it's been almost fifteen years since Billy Madison was first in theaters, and he's more likely to cast one of his own friends as director than someone as ripe with possibility as Stephen Herek. It seems like there's a resurgence of directors who were hot in the 80's, so sticking with Herek (if he actually was the one who was hired) would be a fashionable choice. Even though Sandler's schedule seems to be open for 2009, I would be sad to have this turned in to "Click 2."
Of course, your first pick for a new Ralph Hinkley would have to be someone who was not only funny and a talented physical comedian, but who has a sweetness you can't resist. (Plus: you gotta try to duplicate that hair.) While Will Ferrell might be good for the role, he's a little busy right now (not to mention, he's not much younger than Sandler.) Ferrell brings to mind Seth Rogan, who's the right age, likable, and has the right kind of hair, but I wouldn't really classify him as a "physical" comedian. Besides, he's going to be the Green Hornet, so he doesn't need another superhero on his resume.
Inevitably, following this line of thinking, you arrive at Bill Hader. Hader's been on Saturday Night Live now for three years, and has had memorable turns in recently successful movies Knocked Up and Superbad. Most recently, however, he's been getting a lot of buzz for his role as General Custer in the upcoming Night At The Museum sequel. So really, if you're going to get him to be your next Greatest American Hero, the smart time would be now.
Hader is definitely likable as an everyman, can ace the physical comedy portion of our test, and clearly has the chops to pull off any kind of character you throw at him. Certainly the role of a bumbling, hypochondriac teacher-turned-superhero won't be much of a stretch for him, especially if he was a fan of the original show (and I'm willing to wager he was. He is, after all, a comic book fan.) When you get down to it, Hader is a near-perfect fit -- only lacking in the hair department. (And I hear they make wigs these days -- or so Ken Paves tells me.)
And if you don't believe me, I photoshopped a picture from Bill Hader Online to try and prove it. (See above.)
Also, if this wasn't enough reading, Linda Park of the Louisville Courier-Journal has an interview with Hader that's fairly entertaining.