I know, I know. I can’t help it. When I was researching my 7 Sweary Bookish Roles for Chris Evans post, I tripped over one that was perfect for Diego Luna, which led to me thinking about Diego Luna, and thus of a bunch more bookish roles for which he would be perfect.
I can hear that look, don’t pretend you can dismiss thoughts of Diego Luna with a wave of your hand. No one has that much frontal lobe control.
So. Without further ado, and with fair warning that for a few of these, I’m disregarding age entirely…
Ichabod Drift (Keiko Series by Mike Brooks)
Once Gabriel Drake, a space pirate of great infamy, Ichabod Drift is now a smuggler and bounty hunter who does his best to keep himself, and his crew, under the radar and out of sight of the authorities. I mean, he has a mechanical right eye and purple hair, but still.
Of course, working hard to remain anonymous means one will, inevitably, be recognized and caught by exactly the people one is trying so hard to avoid. And blackmailed into working for them. On the very, very wrong side of deal that is probably going to expose your (shadier than smuggler and bounty hunter) past and get you killed. And there’s no way you can do it alone, so you’re going to have to drag your crew into it also. Yikes.
Drift speaks several languages, but being of Mexican decent, uses Spanish and English most frequently and is prone to cursing emphatically and often, in both. Which mens whoever portrays him must be able to to do so creatively and efficiently. Ta da! Also, come on. You know Luna has the swagger and the heart.
Nate (Heroine Complex Series by Sarah Kuhn)
San Francisco has been invaded by demons. For most people it’s a complete disaster but for a select few, it’s pretty damn cool because, in the aftermath, they discover they’ve developed superpowers. One such individual is Aveda Jupiter (aka Annie Chang) who sets out to be the best, most popular superheroine in the city, and the world, with the help of her best friend, and stalwart assistant, Evie Tanaka. As this absolutely delightful action-romance-girl power series continues, however, Evie discovers that, not only does she have powers of her own but that gorgeous, brilliant doctor/scientist/half-demon, Nate, the newest member of Team Jupiter, is actually more interested in her than he is in Aveda. A character that plays to the quiet, focused, more-than-a-little-work-obsessed but still kind and surprisingly gentle Cassian Andor side of Luna’s range.
Mr. Walsh (These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling)
Dad is a secondary but important character in this YA novel, and I feel as though the the story and its intricacies deserve a strong presence Luna can provide. A loving husband and father, Mr. Walsh knows the importance of both giving his daughter her freedom and setting boundaries to keep her safe—especially since they’re both from a powerful line of witches (and yes, mom is also a witch). Of course the Regs (muggles) don’t know witches exist, which means when the Hunters come to town and start casting hexes and lighting buildings on fire, everyone is in danger. And Mr. Walsh is willing to put himself in danger to protect them as well.
Gabriel (Life and Limb by Jennifer Roberson)
Gabe’s grandfather trained the boy to use a gun when he was seven. He taught Gabe all other sorts of skill as well, though Granddaddy was always cryptic about his purpose. It’s not until years later when, after a stint in prison done to protect his little brother, Granddaddy summons Gabe to a roadhouse in Flagstaff to meet his “cousin” Remi, the cowboy to Gabe’s biker, that both of them learn they’re soldiers in Heaven’s war against Hell whether they want to be or not. Oh, and they may be part angel.
Unfortunately, they can still get hungover. And shot. Stabbed. Lay down their bikes. Break bones. And get eaten by demons.
It’s going to be a long war.
I really enjoyed the concept of this book a lot, though there were a couple of odd hiccups in the story—hiccups I actually think would make it a great movie, because they allow for some flexibility for the screenwriter and director. And I love the idea of Luna as Gabriel: all snark and leather with a nobility of spirit that only goes so far with out a big old shove.
Trigon (Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo)
Trigon only makes a a brief physical appearance in Garcia and Piccolo’s Raven graphic novel, but his presence is felt throughout as a heavy, visceral voice and dark, threatening shadow. That’s usually captured as some sort of basso profundo but I’d love to hear a more sibilant, insidious take and I think Luna has the perfect voice to pull that off. After all, it isn’t always the biggest monster that’s the most terrifying; it’s the one that sneaks up on you unawares.
Carlos de La Cruz (Bone Street Rumba by Daniel José Older)
Carlos died. Sort of. He was resurrected. In a manner of speaking. He doesn’t remember his death nor the life that preceded it and exists as an inbetweener, working for the New York Council of the Dead to resolve issues between the living and the deceased.
He thinks he’s the only one suffering from his… condition.
Another inbetweener, a sorcerer, is killing spirits, including NYCOD agents, and plans to open the entrada to the Underworld. This is bad news and Carlos has to stop him. There will, of course, be revelations and our hero may not like all of them.
Full disclosure: if I’m remembering correctly, and it’s been a minute since I read these, Carlos is of Cuban descent, not Mexican, in the novels. I’m casting Luna because he has the right look and because he’s really good at the broody roles and the smolder, both of which Carlos has in spades. That said, if anyone were to make a film or TV adaptation of the Bone Street Rumba books, the part should ideally go to a Cuban or Cuban American actor.
Hondo (The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes)
I’ve given Luna a bunch of very serious roles above. They all have their lighthearted moments but, in general…yeah. So let’s give him something fun: Zane Obispo’s uncle Hondo. Hondo seems rootless when this saga commences, living with his older sister working odd jobs, but in reality, he’s very committed to her and to his nephew. As the story progresses, we see him tangling with demons and learning yoga and taking on all comers with a machismo he’s happy to admit is mostly Hondo refusing to let his nephew walk into danger without someone trustworthy watching his back and a dash of wanting to punch stuff.
Cares deeply. Tells uncle jokes. Will follow Zane to literal hell with half a plan and a prayer to gods he knows aren’t completely untrustworthy. Sounds like a certain captain we know, doesn’t it? Except no droid. And Hondo laughs a lot more and there isn’t a vengeful bone in his body. Except against the twins. And they 10/10 deserve it.
Clear your schedule, Diego. We’ve got you covered.