Angela Bassett has joined the cast of Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern to play Dr. Amanda Waller. The character isn’t known too well outside of comic geeks. I never heard of her until I started watching Justice League Unlimited (where she was voiced by CCH Pounder). She also appeared on Smallville where she was played by Pam Grier. Here’s how Heat Vision describes her:
Bassett is playing Dr. Amanda Waller, a government agent who in comics lore became charged with overseeing the Suicide Squad, a government-run group of captured supervillains performing tasks in exchange for eventual freedom. It is unclear if that group will pop up in “Lantern” or if that mythology is being set up.
Hit the jump for more on Bassett, Dr. Waller, and what the Suicide Squad could mean for potential future movies. The actress will co-star alongside Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, and Peter Sarsgaard. Green Lantern is slated to hit theaters on June 17, 2011.
The best way to sum up Waller is that she’s a tough woman who has no special powers but is one of the string-pullers behind people who do. She’s a bureaucrat but not an empty suit (and no, that isn’t a dig at the character’s weight). Of course, part of the problem with the Suicide Squad is that it’s hard to keep supervillains in line. It’s also probably not the best idea to offer them a chance at freedom.
It certainly opens to the door to set up the mythology that Heat Vision mentioned. You don’t introduce a bunch of villains, give them cool powers, help paint personalities, and then say to the audience, “Hope you enjoyed that!” Sure, you can do that with one or two baddies, but a whole team–one that can get out into the world? That’s setting a stage. Of course, this is all rampant speculation (the best kind of speculation!), but with Christopher Nolan “godfathering” over a new Superman and that Greg Berlanti (the upcoming Life as We Know It) rumored to direct The Flash, DC isn’t kidding around with its superheroes anymore. The Suicide Squad could be another sign of that commitment.
As for Bassett, her most recent work includes ER and a role in Notorious. Heat Vision says she’s planning to make her feature directorial debut with United States an adaptation of Percival Everett’s novel Erasure about a black literary figure who writes a faux autobiography that becomes a sensation. It’s a great book so hopefully she’ll do right by it.