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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Who would you cast in an all-female ‘Expendables’/‘A-Team’/‘Losers’ action film?

Today’s question comes from reader Tyler Foster, who wants to know:

Who would you cast in an all-female Expendables/A-Team/Losers action film?

My cast:

Helen Mirren as the basass leader
Noomi Rapace as the computer hacker/tech support
Milla Jovovich as the martial arts expert
Rhona Mitra as the antisocial bruiser
Summer Glau as the summer intern

Angelina Jolie as the villain

But only if they have to rescue at least one big strong badass guy from mortal danger…

Your turn…

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • RyanT

    All of those are great. I’d thrown in Zoe Saldana, Lucy Liu, Eliza Dushku, Lena Heady, Famke Janssen, Sigourney Weaver, Tricia Helfer, Eve Myles, Katee Sackhoff, and Gina Torres.

  • JoshDM

    With LINDA HAMILTON as Sarah Connor.

    That was the first person I jumped to. Then Sigourney Weaver, but RyanT’s got her listed.

  • Hal

    Uma Thurman: Wise leader
    Jennifer Garner: Reliable right hand girl
    Angelina Jolie: Reckless muscle
    Kate Beckinsale: Thoughtful techie/demo expert

    Villains: Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich

  • mortadella

    Well you just gotta have Helen Mirren in the mix. Along with Helen, I’d have Pam Grier as the two masterminds. Jennifer Garner as the all-purpose action hero, Michelle Yeoh as the martial arts expert, Gillian Anderson as the brainy grifter type and Tina Fey as the comic relief/hacker.

    Villain? I dunno, maybe someone like Tilda Swinton or a comedian like Kathy Griffin.

    I can’t think of anyone for the newbie role right now.

  • Laurence H. Collin

    Rosario Dawson = wise leader. strongest sense of intuition.
    Clea DuVall = computer whiz. clever beyond belief.
    Ellen Page = secret weapon. can kill your pervy ass in 10 seconds.
    Mary Elizabeth Winstead = tactical mastermind, also secret weapon’s older sister.
    Jamie Lee Curtis = co-founder of the all-female crew. firearms expert.

    And Catherine DeNeuve = the other co-founder who has since joined the dark side…

  • Sandy

    Wow, I’d pay good money to see a movie with just about any combination of the women already listed above in an action movie.

    I’d also pay good money to see an action movie with Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Michelle Rodriguez that didn’t feature them revolving around a vortex of meh like Sam Worthington.

  • Magess

    Gina Torres and Katee Sackoff should be in there, both as bruiser types. Sigourney Weaver for I don’t even know, but how can you not have her?

    Pauley Perette could be good for mad science/demolitions/tech.

    Kirsten Vangsness also makes for awesome behinds the scenes geekery.

  • Isobel

    Definitely Katee Sackhoff in there – I’m rewatching BSG and have a small girl crush on her for triumphing over her previous casting so well.

  • doa766

    zhang ziyi, michelle rodriguez, clarice van houten

    last night I watched the Tekken movie (video game adapatation if you don’t know what tekken is) and there was a actress there incredible hot and tough at the same time, I think her name is Kelly Overtone or something like that

  • amanohyo

    Michelle Yeoh – leader
    Vera Farmiga – conwoman
    Zoe Saldana – insane comic relief/explosives expert
    Jeeja Yanin – “heavy”

    Thora Birch – hacker
    Michelle Rodriguez – weapons dealer

    Sigourney Weaver – crimelord
    Yukari Oshima – right hand woman
    Salma Hayek – evil businesswoman
    Frances McDormand – crooked cop
    Keisha Castle-Hughes – rookie cop who gets killed
    Pam Grier – DA
    Tilda Swinron – mayor

    I don’t care who – token young male eye candy infodumper aka “the boy” (*cough* Ariadne)
    I also don’t care who – the whiny comic relief ex-husband
    it doesn’t really matter – the husband and kids whose lives are threatened
    Who cares, he’s In the movie for like, thirty seconds tops – the supportive, well-endowed, attractive boyfriend

  • amanohyo


  • Left_Wing_Fox

    What, no love for Gina “Long Kiss Goodnight” Davis?

    Lots of great action stars to choose from these days, and all we get is Charlie’s Angels.

  • Rachel Hartman

    Any love for Gabrielle Anwar? She seems to have so much fun as Fiona on Burn Notice, so I’d love to see her in an action film. Perhaps as something other than the trigger-happy explosives expert. Sniper? Scout who gathers information crucial to the mission’s success?

  • Sarah

    Rutina Wesley could use Milla Jovovich to beat someone else.

    Oh, God, someone write this movie please. And January Jones as the mole.

  • LaSargenta

    Kathy Bates as the slightly PTSD’ed formerly court-marshalled colonel who’s women will follow anywhere.

  • Jester

    Ironically and quite amusingly, you’re all (including MAJ) imagining an all-female action movie as if the stars, plot, and methodology of the movie were still for men, just kinda recast as women. Why would/should an all-female action team operate as an all-male team would? Would they? I think not.

    An all-female action movie would be a bit like a Napoleonic war movie. The ladies wouldn’t shoot anyone unless the gun was pressed up to the target’s spine or heart first. Occasionally, there might be call for a sniper rifle. The movie would be suspense/action, kind of like Splinter Cell, only as a movie.

    Leader/sniper: Angelina Jolie
    Infiltration/seduction: Zoe Saldana
    Infiltration/disguise: Drew Barrymore
    Vehicle expert: Michelle Rodriguez or Rosario Dawson
    Computer expert/communications: Pauley Perrette (slight type-casting, but fun type-casting)
    Traps/demolition: Katee Sackhoff

    Jamie Lee Curtis leads the villains as a Wall Street CEO of some kind, with Judi Dench back there somewhere pulling the strings on the Board of Directors, Emperor Palpatine style.

  • Althea

    So far only Amanohyo has offered a “crazy” – the one that you really need but the whole team is frankly afraid of. (Not the Mad Scientist, who is only brilliant and imaginatively unorthodox.) Could be muscle, could be explosives-techie. Dunno about Zoe Saldana. One of the older ones – more experience – maybe Swinton.

  • I love all these suggestions, but nobody has suggested an Action hero to be rescued?

    Let me be the first to Nominate Harrison Ford as the Badass who got in over his “getting too old for this” head.

  • vucubcaquix

    I can’t help but think of Sucker Punch with veteran female action stars.


  • Ide Cyan

    Besides some of the names already brought up, there needs to be more love for 80s action stars in this. Cynthia Rothrock! Grace Jones! Sandahl Bergman!

  • Ide Cyan

    Also Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, Carrie Fisher, Karen Allen!

    There need to be more grizzled veterans in a film like this.

  • Ide Cyan

    And Lauren Bacall should be in there. And imagine Betty White as a villain!

  • Drave

    I’m stealing a couple and adding a few of my own.

    Tilda Swinton: the mastermind
    Janeane Garofalo: the hacker
    Milla Jovovich and Franka Potente: the hitters
    Beth Riesgraf: the thief
    Vera Fermiga: the grifter
    Zoë Bell: the psychotic one

    Scarlett Johansson as the villain, just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen her be evil.

    I’m not sure where Swinton as the mastermind came from. She just radiates confidence and control. I freely admit Garofalo is because of her stint on 24. Jovovich is obvious, but I feel Potente has untapped AQ potential. (AQ = Action Quotient, or the indefinable quality that makes you cheer for someone in an action movie) She’s a little too bad-ass to be as frail as she was in the first Bourne, and she rocked in Run Lola Run. Anybody who watches Leverage knows how awesome Riesgraf is. For Fermiga, I just like her and her steely eyes, so I want her to be in this. And Zoë needs to be involved because she is the most bad-ass woman in all of Hollywood.

    The more I think about this hypothetical movie, the sadder I am that it isn’t really happening. Time to get working on the screenplay!

  • Drave

    Oh, and the big tough dude they need to rescue? Totally has to be Dwayne Johnson. I’d like to see Bruce Willis, but I don’t think he’d do it. Extrapolating from Be Cool and The Other Guys, I am convinced Johnson has a sense of humor about himself and would definitely jump at the chance. Sam Worthington wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

  • Matt C

    token young male eye candy infodumper aka “the boy” (*cough* Ariadne)
    I also don’t care who – the whiny comic relief ex-husband
    it doesn’t really matter – the husband and kids whose lives are threatened
    Who cares, he’s In the movie for like, thirty seconds tops – the supportive, well-endowed, attractive boyfriend

    “The boy” – Andrew Garfield
    “Comic relief ex-husband” – Nathan Fillion
    “Husband” – Jon Hamm (since someone mentioned January Jones, why not?)
    “Kids” – Joey King, Hutch Dano
    “Supportive, attrative boyfriend” – James Franco

  • Hey, there’s that question I submitted that one time!

    Helen Mirren, definitely, although I might have her be more of a “higher-up” than an actual in-the-muck soldier, if only because she’s doing that in Red and it seems less inspired for her plainly repeat herself.

    – Michelle Yeoh
    – Pam Grier
    – Bridget Fonda
    – Chloe Sevigny
    – Melanie Laurent
    – Rachel McAdams
    – Natalie Portman (she should play the brainy computer hacker)

    -Anne Parillaud (an important French contact who conveys some key information)

    It may be inconceivable, but Sigourney Weaver should be the villain in this movie. Linda Hamilton can have a cameo as well, perhaps as a partner Weaver was friends with but ended up betraying when she became evil. There should also be a field contact that hangs around occasionally when Helen Mirren needs someone to be there to relay information. He can be played by Jon Hamm.

  • Add Michelle Rodriguez to my list, although I think she should drop some of the attitude and play someone with a sunnier disposition. It’d be a change of pace for her.

  • Rose

    Judi Dench is like the major who sits in base (like Charlie)

    Tilda Swinton – The Leader
    Zooey Deschanel – The one that is seemingly sweet but snaps into craziness.
    Grace Jones – The Muscle, definitely.
    I want Alex Kingston somewhere too.

    – It’s a bit like A-team: Tilda is Hannibal, Alex is Face, Zooey is Murdock and Grace is BA

    Angelina Jolie – The villain, with her weird ‘British’ accent on, she needs two hot accomplices – I would say David Tennant as computer nerd (seduced by Zooey Deschanel) and Jason Stratham as the muscle.

  • Bill

    Allison Janney as the badass leader
    Naomie Harris as the computer hacker/tech support
    Queen Latifah as the martial arts expert
    Katherine Moennig as the antisocial bruiser
    Leisha Hailey as the funny one

    Lisa Edelstein as the villain

  • Matt C

    Oh I forgot to add my list:

    – Helen Mirren
    – Eliza Dushku
    – Zhang Ziyi
    – Christina Hendricks
    – Gabrielle Union
    – Geena Davis

    And maybe Sean Young as the villainess.

  • hdj

    Gina Gershon – Leader
    Milla Jovovich – Knifes
    Lucy Liu – Kung Fu
    Jada Pinkett Smith – Wildcard
    Gina Carano – Muscle(UFC fighter)
    Pam Grier – Boss

    Sharon Stone and Natasha Henstridge – as the cold blooded commie Villains

  • RogerBW

    A certain amount of typecasting here, but I think it could still work. I seem to be going for a very TV-based approach…

    Leader: Melina Kanakaredes
    Infiltration: Beth Riesgraf
    Demolitions: Gabrielle Anwar
    Sniper: Jewel Staite
    Hacker: Allison Scagliotti

    Villain: Angelina Jolie

  • Althea

    Kristen Johnston from 3rd Rock from the Sun – any of the (physical) badasses – probably expendable, gets killed doing something crucial.

    Judi Dench is revealed late in the film as a weapons expert and dead shot.

    Marsha Thomason from Las Vegas and Lost – vicious Villain torture expert OR con artist for the Good Guys.

    We need a mission beyond rescuing a guy. Unless the guy is crucial, like the POTUS.

  • bronxbee

    any and all of the above named women would be awesome in an action packed thriller, but i would also like to add Missy Pyle — i think she’d be incredible as either the very intellectual leader or a seeming spacey/goofy but in actual fact brilliant villian!

  • JoshDM


    Zooey Deschanel and Lizzy Caplan?

    They’ve both got that raspy-voiced alterna-girl with bug eyes thing going for them (for best comparison, see Caplan in Hot Tub Time Machine). Might indicate a thyroid problem.

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