Dead Rising 4 hits the Xbox One this December and we’re feeling inspired to give our two cents on who could, or should play some of the pivotal roles from the Dead Rising franchise.
Now we know two films have already been spawned from the gaming franchise, Dead Rising: Watchtower and Dead Rising: Endgame. Neither of them are good at all, and rest comfortably alongside other drab game adaptations. However where there is money in the film industry, there is hope. The zombie genre may be played out but the Dead Rising franchise has the potential to be a bloody good horror film. So without further ado, here is who we feel could play a part in some new, proper, Dead Rising adaptations.
Frank West – Chris Pine
The most popular protagonist in the games franchise needs justice from whoever plays him. Rob Riggle captured the comedy side of the character in Dead Rising: Watchtower, but his appearance was simply lip service for the fans of the game. A freelance photojournalist whose career is not where it once was, Frank travels to Willamette hoping to break a big story, but ends up fighting for his life in a zombie outbreak. Frank is tough, determined, a little cocksure and an everyman. Now I wasn’t sure who I’d like to see play Frank for a long time, but then I watched This Means War. Not only does Chris Pine look like Frank West, he has the charisma and the acting chops to do the role justice.
Carlito Keyes – Rodrigo Santoro
One of the main antagonists of the first Dead Rising game, Carlito Keyes is a man hell bent on revenge no matter the cost. He is the mastermind behind the zombie outbreak at Willamette, and frequently clashes with Frank West as he seeks to ensure his deranged plan is successful. Warped by the experience of seeing his home town of Santa Cabeza destroyed, Carlito is a deranged individual who is made even more dangerous by the fact he is not completely psychotic, unlike many of the weird survivors residing in Willamette mall. There are two ways to go with Carlito, cast an actor who has gorged himself on the delights of playing a villain in the past, or try somebody totally new to the villain game. I decided on the former, and went with the man who delightfully brought Xerxes to life in 300.
Isabela Keyes – Morena Baccarin
Isabella Keyes is a conflicted character playing a fused role of antagonist/protagonist through the games series. She appears in Dead Rising & Dead Rising 3 as well as some of the bits in between. As Carlito’s younger sister she plays a major part in helping him create the zombie outbreak in Willamette, but soon after regrets her decision and goes on to help Frank West stop Carlito from infecting the world. Conflict of interests aside, Isabela is a feisty character that gives Frank a run for his money. As a result I can think of nobody better to play her than Morena Baccarin, whose storied TV career providing a wealth of experience to tackle such a role, not to mention her impressive turn as the emotional centre of Deadpool as Vanessa.
Brock Mason – Terry O’Quinn
During ‘Overtime’ mode in the first game, the final psychopath boss is revealed to be Brock Larson, a special forces leader sent to clean up the mess at Willamette. Due to being confined till the end of the game Brock Larson’s role is actually rather small, but as an auxiliary villain he works. The bulk of the film doesn’t need a major villain in a zombie outbreak. Not to mention the prolific amount of psychopaths that feature in the game that can provide more original characters. That being said, the character provided a good opportunity to place a solid experienced actor a role he would chew up, and hence Terry O’Quinn
Chuck Greene – Aaron Eckhart
Chuck Greene offers a stronger moral compass in the Dead Rising franchise than Frank West does, he isn’t as much a lovable rogue as Frank but he’s still a darn fine protagonist. A former motorcross champion, mechanic, and doting father, Chuck will go to any length to keep his daughter from harm. He first appears in Dead Rising 2 forced to take part in the horrific reality show Terror is Reality, where he must fight through zombies to earn cash to give his daughter Zombrex. Chuck is an endearing hero, doing what he can for all the right reasons, whereas Frank initially does it for fame. The two characters can play off each other really well in duel leads, and even cross paths during the games franchise, so there is no reason not to pair them up. It’s the type of dynamic that can make characters thrive. So why Aaron Eckhart? He’s a brilliant actor who can play good guy, bad guys, and is perfectly suited to play the family man who’ll stop at nothing to save his daughter.
Raymond Sullivan – Kurt Russell
*Spoiler Alert* I’m sure you’ve played Dead Rising 2 by now, and if you haven’t…well tough shit it’s been 6 years. Raymond Sullivan turns out to be a secret bad guy. The despicable character works for Phenotrans, the company that produces the drug Zombrex who are eager to create demand for their life saving product. However before he exposes his true colours he hides behind the cover of a helpful security guard in Fortune City, the place Terror is Reality is held and where Chuck must put his life on the line. Now Kurt Russell is usually the good guy, or the antihero, and as a result would be perfect to lull you into a false sense of security before exposing his evil true colours. Also Kurt Russell is a funking brilliant actor.
Tyrone King – Tyrese Gibson
Before the Raymond Sullivan reveal in Dead Rising 2 the main antagonist that Chuck Greene must topple is the egotistical host of Terror is Reality Tyrone King, otherwise known as TK. He’s a man who takes pleasure in dispatching zombies and using them for monetary gain, he also couldn’t careless about anybody but himself. During the second game Chuck foils TKs plan to rob the four casinos of Fortune City, as well as exposing the fact he framed Chuck for some nasty events. Now if there were ever a man to embrace this showboating, money grabbing villain it would be Tyrese Gibson. Not because he’s a bad guy, but Tyrone King is like the evil shadow of his character from The Fast & The Furious franchise. It also extends the actor the opportunity to be given more screen time that he thoroughly deserves.
Nick Ramos – America Ferrera
I’ll get this out of the way now, the Dead Rising series is testosterone heavy. The three leads across the three games are all men, and the fourth entry will revisit one of those male leads. So to try and bring a semblance of equality to the field I thought I’d gender swap the lead role from the third game, that of mechanic Nick Ramos. Now Nick is a young, naive character with good intentions who doesn’t always make the best calls. By shaking things up and giving it to a young experienced actress like America Ferrera, it can immediately change the dynamic of the leads should they all feature in the same film. Ferrera is a solid actress who can elevate the role of Nick Ramos to something better than the character is in the games, and lets be honest who doesn’t want to see Betty Suarez tackle some zombies? If you’re a stickler for keeping to the source material, I’m sure Michael Pena would make a great, older Nick.
Before we go, we have one more name to drop, one more character to cast. A bit of a fun bonus before we sign off.
Older Frank West – Bruce Campbell
With Dead Rising 4 we have an older, grittier Frank West who returns to Willamette during the Christmas season, and it would make sense to cast somebody in the role of our primary hero who has experienced the same kind of turmoil. Therefore we would love it if the legendary Bruce Campbell himself would play an older version of the franchises first hero. The first time Frank looked a bit worse for wear was on the cover of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. A receding hairline and haggard look for a character who has seen it all before marries up well with an actor who has been subject to deadite after deadite, and splattered with more projectile nastiness than Pazuzu could summon throughout his career in the world of horror. Heck I’d be happy if he played him at any age.
So there we have it, the actors and actresses we’d like to see tackle some key roles in the Dead Rising franchise. Let us know your thoughts below, but please be kind…