Which Gay Should Play the Big Screen Captain Planet?


Hollywood loves to reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to film ideas, and this time it’s especially appropriate: Apparently the early ’90s cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers, about an environmentally conscious kid superhero squad (I always thought of them as the Vegetarian Burger King Kids Club), is up for a silver screen reboot! This is thrilling, as the show tackled some tough issues — including AIDS, in an episode featuring characters voiced by Elizabeth Taylor and a young Neil Patrick Harris — and there are plenty of opportunities for gay actors to nab big, fun roles here.

Let’s cast Captain Planet and the Planeteers with at least a few out gay actors. I’ve got three on this tally. The power… is ours!

Wheeler, as played by…
Wheeler06Rupert Grint


America is not providing many famous male redheads these days. The two major redheads du jour, Eddie Redmayne and Rupert Grint, are British stars who’ve made stateside splashes. Redmayne is a bit old for the part of Wheeler, but Grint has the rascal energy (and necessary acting chops) to sell us on Wheeler’s all-American charm.

Linka, as played by…


Elle Fanning


Linka is a Russian kid with the power of “wind,” and the graceful young thespian capable of transmitting such glamorous breeziness can only be Elle Fanning. She wowed us in Super 8 (a movie that no one brings up anymore) and the Sofia Coppola clunker Somewhere. She can do no wrong, and I’d love to see her attempt an Eastern bloc accent onscreen. That’s official Meryl territory, and she deserves to tread on it.

Kwame, as played by…


Jaden Smith

Kwame has the least personality of the five Planeteers, which is no surprise considering he’s something of an honorary adult among the group (like Jason from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers or Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Say what you will about the new Karate Kid movie or After Earth, but Jaden Smith was endearing and cool in both movies. As Kwame, he’d inject personality into a once two-dimensional character. Not an easy task for a role whose superpower is representing “earth.”

Gi, as played by…


Kristin Kreuk



Kreuk, a Smallville vet, was given a raw deal with her last superhero venture, the dud Capcom caper Street Fighter II: The Legend of Chun Li. She lived up to the character’s Super Nintendo legacy, but wasn’t given room to be awesome. As Gi, the Asian Planeteer with water power, she’d whip up whirlwinds that’d probably impress and outdo Chun Li herself.

Ma-Ti, as played by…


Adamo Ruggiero


Sure, Ma-Ti is a South American soul with the power of “heart,” but I’d be OK with Canadian actor Adamo Ruggiero of Degrassi: The Next Generation (whose ancestry is Italian) filling the role. First of all, Marco’s “power” on Degrassi, if anything, was heart. His sensitivity was my favorite part of the whole series. And he’s effing adorable, which strikes me as a Ma-Ti must. Picture a small monkey on his shoulder. You disintegrated in vapors.

The evil Dr. Blight, as played by…



Make. This. Happen. Dr. Blight is diabolical like Cruella de Vil and fabulous like the Marquis de Marteuil. Glenn Close (in her best domineering Damages voice) is just nefarious enough to handle the grimacing, glamorous Dr. Blight. She’s the only villain we care about, no? Fun fact: In the first season of Captain Planet, Dr. Blight was voiced by — wait for it — Meg Ryan. (I could also see Jane Lynch nailing this role, in case we’re looking to make this a predominantly LGBT cast).

Earth goddess Gaia, as played by…



Who else could play this gigantically campy, unflinchingly soulful role? The way Gaia hovers over the planet and whispers wisdom to home viewers is the same way RuPaul reigns over Drag Race and purrs one-liners. If Ru is unavailable, I suggest Alanis Morissette resume her God-dess role from Dogma here.

Captain Planet, as played by…



It’s all right there. The cleanly polygonal face. The squarish hair. The adonis gravitas. Cheyenne Jackson has a comic book presence, and we haven’t seen him embrace that outside of pseudo-superhero efforts like Xanadu. Here, he’d be barely clothed and an emphatic edutainer. I’m suddenly ecstatic about this.

Your turn — remember, extra points for out gay actors!