Casting the Old School VJs in Brett Ratner's New MTV Movie


We recently found out that director Brett Ratner is working on hammering out the details on a project chronicling the first decade of MTV, a film adaptation of Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum’s book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution . While it’s unclear what shape the project will take, the nostalgia fiends in us are totally psyched about this idea, and can’t wait to see who they might cast as the all-important original VJs (because this would be back when MTV actually had videos to jockey, of course). We’ve taken a stab at some high-profile casting choices for our dream version of the film — take a look through our picks and let us know who you would have chosen in the comments!

Martha Quinn — Emma Watson

Martha Quinn, who was one of the original VJs and saw the network through its first decade, is generally lauded as the best MTV VJ of all time. Adorable, spunky, funny, and the epitome of that girl-next-door-who-knows-about-bands thing that appeals to girls and guys alike, Dwight Garner even called her “so cute she could make your cranium detonate.” Emma Watson may be a little more refined than the relatively unexperienced Quinn, who joined the cast at 22, but she’s definitely brain-bustingly cute, and for some reason we have some confidence that she can play a know-it-all girl next door character with serious aplomb.

Nina Blackwood — Greta Gerwig

The original punk rock VJ, Blackwood’s edgy style (including wild, bleached hair and tons of black eye makeup) and ever-bemused attitude made her one of our favorites. We think if we roughed up mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig’s look a little bit, she’d be perfect for the role.

J.J. Jackson — Terrence Howard

Good humored Jackson, aka Triple J, was an easy going rock and roll lover with a heart of gold. The oldest original VJ by far, Jackson was 40 when MTV debuted, and already a successful radio host and music reporter. In our minds, Terrence Howard has the same kind of easy affability that made Jackson so likable. Plus, we know he’s into music.

Alan Hunter — Chris Pine

Alan Hunter was the first VJ to ever appear on MTV, with the other original VJs following seconds later. He was the epitome of the cool/nerdy dude, universally appealing, the cultural median. We like all-American Chris Pine for the role, though he’d have to lose about half his body weight in muscle mass.

Mark Goodman — Jake Gyllenhaal

The thinking man’s bro, Mark Goodman kept it down-to-earth and comfortable over at the MTV station. True, Jake Gyllenhaal may be slightly too handsome to play Goodman, but then again, we desperately want to see him in a 80’s white guy fro wig, so it’s pretty much a toss up.

Downtown Julie Brown — Yaya DaCosta

Big hair, big hats, big personality — Downtown Julie Brown made a huge impact. Half Jamaican and a British transplant, Julie was a style maven and a ballsy, brash host. We think sexy, smart Yaya, who proved she could rock any fashion on ANTM and then totally surprised us with her acting chops in The Kids Are All Right, could call up all that sass with ease. Wubba Wubba Wubba.

Adam Curry — Taylor Kitsch

Curry joined the network in 1987, hosting the heavy metal show Headbangers Ball as well as Top 20 Countdown, and millions of girls immediately fell for his luscious blonde locks. To us, though, his goofy boy-next-door personality was a little incongruous with all that studded leather and feathered hair. We desperately want to say Ben Affleck (just look at the resemblance!) but since Curry was 23 when he appeared on MTV, we’re going to go with the affable, already long-haired Taylor Kitsch — they’ve got that same coquettish smile that makes the girls go wild.

Kurt Loder — Matthew Morrison

Already a top writer for Rolling Stone when he joined the MTV crew in 1987, Loder was one of the older faces, and has since become the most enduringly recognizable face of the MTV brand. If the actual Kurt Loder doesn’t make a cameo in the movie, we’d be surprised, but since someone’s got to play him, we suggest Matthew Morrison. They’ve both kind of got that elder geek vibe going on.