Casting Call
Five Actors Who Should Play Max Payne

Firefilm | 17 Feb 2016 15:00
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Lee Pace - Guardians of the Galaxy premiere - July 2014 (cropped)

2. Lee Pace

Once starring in the bewitching and strange "Pushing Daisies" as Ned, the meek pie-baker with a morbid ability to raise the dead, Pace has picked up his...um, pace. Now he's known for his commanding presence as the King of the Elves in the Hobbit trilogy and as Roan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy. But his more substantive work of late has been on AMC's delightfully self-important and trashy "Halt and Catch Fire," as the narcissistic and unstoppable business mind Joe MacMillan. Pace has this rare ability in modern actors to appear powerful and fragile at the same time, which is a fundamental trait of Max Payne.

The character's psyche and his physical state are always vulnerable, and as his stories unfold and all of his allies are ruthlessly snatched from him, a regression begins to form in his behavior. Pace could show us the complicated changes that hit Max during each game in the series: he begins as a dry, shabby shell of a person whose work is the only fuel for his existence. Through the course of investigating each mystery, Max claws back some of his humanity when he becomes driven to find truth/justice/revenge/clarity. Then, as the repeated failures stack up on him, he becomes a self-aware cold killer. This transformation would be the true arena for Pace's take on the character.

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