Re-Casting: James 'Jim' Lake, the protagonist of "Trollhunters"



The regrettable departure of Anton Yelchin was a shock to all in 2016 and without a doubt his loss will continue to resonate for years to come as he was a humble and supremely talented young actor who was travelling onward and upward with countless projects. Among them was Guillermo del Toro's splendid computer animated television series Trollhunters where Yelchin played James 'Jim' Lake Jr., unassuming teenager turned reluctant warrior. Prior to his passing, Yelchin, ever the consummate actor, recorded not only the first season of the show but also more than half of the second season which we will have the privilege of viewing in the coming months. Wisely, Mr. Del Toro has kept Yelchin's work as he wanted to pay his respects to the young actor while also keeping the integrity of the series intact.


Behold: Gunmar!
Now, before we progress any further, allow me to be clear; this casting call is not meant as an insult to Mr. Yelchin or his fantastic work ethic, nor as an arrogant troll to his fans. Yelchin's Jim was dear to the heart and irreplaceable and worth every accolade his performance received. The following selection of actors are who I feel could match Yelchin's performance in the vocal role of Jim purely for the continuation and consistency of the story, not a competition.


1) Jamie Bell

Bell has already had a sizable career ever since he first appeared in the delightful Billy Elliot and has only risen as one of the finest, versatile actors of the current generation. Fearless in his abilities and the work he tackles with aplomb combined with a facility for dialects (his American was actually quite respectable in Fan4stic Four, one of the few redemptive aspects of that movie), Bell is no stranger to being eclectic in his choices and generally having a damn good time with them when possible. 

In addition to these enviable attributes, Bell's vocal variant quality would give him an opportunity to play a character younger than his 30 years if not with a little help from your ever reliable sound mixers.


2) Emile Hirsch

Hirsch, has been on my radar for a good while, constantly popping up in all sorts of movies donning many different faces and speaking without various voices, all of which possess a variation from his regular. Sometimes he can be jumpy, on edge and unpredictable, others he speaks with earnest and with a slight hint of naïveté. 

In my quasi-Xenomorph eyes, that type of spontaneity as an actor is crucial to playing a character such as Jim who is potentially 
in peril of sounding far too Gee-Golly-Gosh and obnoxiously self-aware. Hirsch has always had the discipline to look into his characters' hearts and base how their emotional and physical state influence his performance.


3) Asa Butterfield

Barring the fact Ender's Game is not among my favourite books written (the movie was okay), Asa Butterfield has meanwhile shown a mastery of investigating what could have been potentially two dimensional fictional characters of a tender age and giving them a shine ever since he's major motion picture debut in Martin Scorsese's interesting foray into non-Joe Pesci swearing like a sailor territory, Hugo

Out of all of the faces on this list, Butterfield has had more experience with young fantasy fiction despite his age and while he has indeed acted in far mature films in the past of note and is now re-commencing that course, the fella is never one who flinches from his roots. Given the artistic credibility of Trollhunters, it is surely not too difficult to believe that Butterfield would make for a compelling fit for Jim during his quests. 


4) Nicholas Hoult

I feel just based on the notion alone that Hoult has played The Beast's main beast Beast in the current continuity of X-Men films, he would agree to Hoult putting on the ear phones and speaking into the mic, but in all seriousness, Hoult has come far and away from the off-putting young brat in About A Boy as opposed to the off-putting old brat that was Hugh Grant and is now enjoying an established and shifting career which is taking him in numerous directions. 

As with all of the other young gentlemen on this list, Hoult won't back down from a creative challenge that is dismissed by the close-minded as childish, in fact, he is one to embrace it in a big bear hug and refuses to let it go until it's all hugged out. One of the many things which have endeared Hoult to me personally is he has a distinctively humorous, easy-going persona which fit Jim's character exceptionally well. 


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