As sometimes happens when I’m walking to work (which I am, once again, after 37 glorious weeks of parental leave–thank you to the socialist paradise), I was listening to a tune, thinking about gaming scenarios. As has happened before, it segued into thinking about a story/screenplay.
Now some of you may have heard my riff on the Qalashar Device from Gen Con, which I entitled “Qalashar Dogs.” I took the facility from the Qalashar Deviceand dropped in a CIA operative suffering from lycanthropy. In any case, I was thinking about how that could work as a story and/or novel. It morphed in my thoughts, and when it got to the movie screen in my head, a dramatic shift took place.
If you want a team working in the Hindu Kush region stretching from Afghanistan into Pakistan, and you want that team to move around unnoticed, you probably don’t want a bunch of Caucasians. You probably want some people with a bit of colour. People who could really blend in.
Now, in my “movie,” the team isn’t Pashtun or Tajik or anything like that. They would all speak the local languages and dialects, but they would be assembled from around the world and chosen because they stand out less than white guys. One reason for the conceit is so that I can cast specific actors.
Well, at least I can once the script is done and the financing is secured. Translation: only in my daydreams.
Another conceit is that in the script, they would only be given code-names. That is because once the parts are cast, the character would then be given the same ethnic background as the actor. That way, while the idea is that these operators could infiltrate the area, they are–just as the actors are–“playing” an ethnicity.
I have no idea if any of these guys could fool an actual local, but I think it would work for a movie.
So, the cast.
Faran Tahir, who was such an awesome presence in Star Trek, would be the Captain. He’s the leader of a special operations team known only as “Troop 7.” He would be a Delta operative of Pakistani descent but born and raised in the US.
Saïd Taghmaoui, whom I first noted in Three Kings would be Ghost, the recon expert. His character would be French, but of Moroccan descent, and a special forces operative from the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment.
Cliff Curtis is the best of the bunch for me. Not because he’s the best actor–though he is phenomenal–but because he is a New Zealander who actually does play a lot of ethnic roles. I noticed him first in Three Kings (it was a very good movie), and then caught him in a great role in a mediocre movie,Deep Rising. Deep Rising really is mediocre, but the cast makes it a great watch. In any case, Mr. Curtis would be Smoke, a Maori NZ SAS sniper.
While many may know Sendhil Ramamurthy fromHeroes, I know him from Ultimate Force, the SAS drama from the UK. Again, serendipity, as he could easily play an SAS operator of Tamil descent. He would be Doc, the medic and tech expert.
I would actually like a bigger team, but I don’t know if it would work cinematically. I think the excess characters would get lost in the shuffle. As I envision the story, after a prologue scene where the team rescues a CIA operative and the crew of the aircraft he was in, they are called in to rescue another CIA operative, this time from a downed helicopter. And this time, they must take along a couple of CIA spooks as the “package” is infected with a virulent pathogen. I’m thinking the spooks are a doctor/scientist type, totally sincere, and the usual Special Activities Division tough guy, who intends to erase any evidence of the “package” once she/he/it has been secured–and that includes Troop 7.