What If? - Death Sentence: The Movie

Death Sentence

In his latest What If? creation, Steve Taylor-Bryant takes on his favourite comic as he creates Death Sentence: The Movie...

I'm a bit in love with Monty Nero. Not the 'I'd love to spoon on a Sunday morning' type of love, although I'm sure the man gives good cuddles, more the 'I wish my brain worked like his' type. From the very first issue of Death Sentence all those years ago (not that long really but it feels like a classic so exaggerating works) to the latest issue of Death Sentence: London I have been constantly amazed by Nero's ability to tell a story in a way that the insanity makes perfect sense. The highest compliment I could think of would be to write my own comic and plagiarise the hell out of him but, alas, I have zero talent when it comes to writing fiction and really can't draw, but I still wanted my thoughts and love for his creation to come through in more than just my reviews. I could have just written a love letter but apparently men approaching 40 are not actually allowed to behave like 12 year old girls, it's weird according to the judge, so I'm going to cast Death Sentence: The Movie instead so you all know what to expect when Nero's inevitable fame hits the heights of Mark Millar.

The film has to be so many things, which is fine, challenge accepted and all that, but it's the violence transferring to screen that had me worried and why it's taken so long to complete this article. You see, comic book films have to be dumbed down for this new audience in order to gain the ability to take money from a cinema going youth... that is, of course, until Colin Firth went nuts in a church in Kingsman (he shoots a woman in the face! COLIN FECKIN’ FIRTH?!) so now all bets are off and Death Sentence would work so let's crack on.

Death Sentence

Series 1 of the Death Sentence comic follows the lives of Graphic Designer Verity, failing guitarist Weasel and the media personality of Monty, three people who, through unprotected sex, have contracted G+, a sexually transmitted disease that leaves you with six months to live, the Death Sentence of the title, but gives you superhuman abilities for what little time you have left. Add in very creative swear words (FuckBagel was a personal favourite), action, violence, edgy humour and real emotion and you have the perfect basis for a movie adaptation that would scare the hell out of the legal teams in most production companies.

First of all Death Sentence has to be as British as possible. This isn't a slight on the U.S. or other film-making nations it's just the comic was very British, with the Americans not coming in until it's almost too late (historically accurate Mr Nero, well played) and I want to keep that feel in the film, at least for this one, before the Yanks go big in the sequel (Death Sentence: Cash Cow). With this in mind, I've tried to keep the entire crew as young and British as possible and so I turn to Gary Whitta, he of the huge gaming background, which involved transferring The Walking Dead to console, and dystopian nightmare drama The Book of Eli to adapt Death Sentence series 1 to the big screen. Whitta just seems to get the small things that work in a bigger project and in Eli he produced a script that made me forget Mila Kunis as Meg from Family Guy for the only time on screen, so he has the proven chops in the writing that I feel is needed.

When it comes to the director I'm struggling a little. I really enjoyed A Fantastic Fear of Everything and having someone from the iconic Mills family in the form of Crispian is very tempting plus, with his time in Kula Shaker, he would get the rock n roll sensibilities, however one film with little violence does not make a man, so I have a back up in the form of Gareth Evans he who made the incredible The Raid and the awesomeness of Footsteps. In fact, dear reader, I really can't pick so let me know in the comments who we are going for, okay?

Now, to casting. How do you cast a comic? Do you pick someone who looks like the artists renditions? Someone who is a thesp, that may bring class to proceedings (Firth, feck off, not you!), or just go with your ever expanding, pie laden gut? Pie, I mean gut it is!

Emilia Clarke

Verity first and I've gone for Emilia Clarke. She was in Phil Collins’ film about touring with an Arnold Schwarzenegger robot (What do you mean Phil had nothing to do with it? It was called Terminator:Genesis?) so her face is already familiar to our expectant fanbase and Game of Thrones shows Emilia would handle expectations well, plus she was in Dom Hemingway so debauchery won't be an issue, plus plus she's actually pretty similar to the Verity in the comic so I'm calling this a win!

Jack O'Connell

Onto Weasel our Rock Star and I've picked Jack O'Connell before he becomes so famous he has to live in a Scottish castle with Monty Nero and pour hot tar from upon high on us normal folk. I like O'Connell and I don't know why. Every film has been brilliant and his performance effortless and in interviews he just seems to be so happy. Time to destroy his soul with some G+ then, the smarmy, talented git!

Nicholas Hoult

Oh, casting Montgomery is hard. Like proper hard, school arithmetic hard. Such an important and pivotal character needs someone that can act his socks off and yet look enough like Russell Brand but without you wanting to punch him in the face hard (so very, VERY hard) and he has to defile the queen. See? I told you it was hard. Who in their right mind wants to dress up like Russell Brand and doggy style the queen? (Go away Firth!!) An actor I first discovered in Skins is my pick, someone who is now familiar with comic book franchises, but can act as well... Ladies and gentlemen, Nicholas 'not Colin Firth' Hoult! Queen sexer extraordinaire.

Image - Titan/IMDb.