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Ranger and Morelli Cast For Stephanie Plum Movie

Ever since I first heard that this movie is happening, I’ve been impatiently waiting to find out who Stephanie Plum’s leading men would be.  I really do dig Katherine Heigl as Stephanie and was really worried that they would go all wrong with the casting of Ranger and Morelli.  I was also keen to see if, by some slim chance, they went with my choices, but no such luck.

That doesn’t mean it’s all bad though… let’s have a little look-see at who will be playing these two men that are so near and dear to our hearts.



Wikipedia description of the character:

Joe Morelli is Stephanie’s on-and-off boyfriend, a former bad boy turned vice cop. He is also known as Officer Hottie or the Italian Stallion. Her history with Morelli started with a “choo choo” incident when she was six. At the age of sixteen, Stephanie lost her virginity to Morelli in the Tasty Pastry shop behind the éclair stand, after which he never called (but left quite a few flattering messages in bathroom and stadium walls around town). Three years later she saw Morelli and ran over him with her father’s Buick, breaking his leg. A few years later in One for the Money Morelli was suspected of murder and was her first FTA, and Stephanie chased him around town, much to his annoyance….

At various times, both Stephanie and Morelli have seriously considered marriage, but never at the same time. They both know they’re not ready for commitment, but often comment on the idea together and have lived together more than once. Their relationship runs cold as a result of many arguments – usually over her job (She’s been known to stress Morelli enough that he tends to takes Rolaids & Maalox and tells her that he is quickly deteriorating because of her) and they eventually lead to her relationship with Ranger. Being that both were born & bred in Trenton, whatever happens to/around her usually has a number of others calling Morelli to inform him – cars being blown, bodies being found, etc. He’s said that he doesn’t even need to listen to the radio anymore; he knows she’s always involved (usually by some illegal means) and that he always gets calls about her and the latest situation she’s in.

Afraid I’ll have to cut it there as anything else will just spoil it for those of you who aren’t familiar with the story.

Morelli will be played by Jason O’Mara, who is most well known for his leading role in Life on Mars. I have never watched it as I’m not a big fan of shows that originate from trying to rip off really intelligently written British shows, but well… he looks cute enough.  Not exactly what I had in mind for Morelli, but I can see a faint glimmer of it there.  I somehow imagined him to be the real black haired, dark, Italian type, but my choice was Jeffrey Dean Morgan and he doesn’t exactly fit that description either.

I’m not screaming for joy here but I’m not particularly bothered by it either.  It can still go either way for me and I won’t know until I actually see him in the film.  Although, I may set aside my hatred for watered down American versions of British shows and watch Life on Mars, purely for research purposes.  I will have to get back to you on that.



Wikipedia description of the character:

Ranger is Stephanie’s fellow bounty hunter and tutor and sometimes known as Batman because of his mysterious ways. Ranger is Cuban-American, with mocha latte skin that can only be described as yum, always wears black or camo green, and drives a rotation of very expensive black cars (Stephanie has lingering questions about the origin of Ranger’s car-supply, but he will only say ‘Don’t ask’). He is the C.E.O. of RangeMan, Inc., a security company (among other things).

Stephanie’s relationship with Ranger, somewhere between boyfriend/girlfriend and teacher/pupil, provides much of her day-to-day stress, along with the almost constant threat of car bombing. Ranger says he loves Stephanie “in his own way” but isn’t the marrying type. Even if she is on with Morelli, it doesn’t stop Ranger from kissing or flirting with her, nor does she do much to discourage his advances. Regardless of his rivalry with Morelli, he has said that “Morelli is a good man” and is the marrying type Stephanie wants. Ranger does high-dollar or high-risk recovery for Vinnie, and sometimes lends Stephanie a hand with some of the more dangerous or slippery FTAs. He often assigns employees to guard or track her when she is in serious danger. Ranger “bleeds money” every time Stephanie requires protection, which is frequently; she minds, but he doesn’t so much – she actually appears as a line item in his budget (where she’s listed under “entertainment”).

As a result of him often coming to her aid or rescue, she has built up quite a tab with him and he has said that one day, he will collect.

Ranger will be played by Daniel Sunjata, who is most famous for his role as the hottie Franco Rivera on Rescue Me.   As for him playing Ranger? Two words… YES PLEASE!!!!!

I challenge you to watch Rescue Me and not think this man was carved out of a piece of heaven itself.  He is HOT!  He can play it cool and he can definitely play a ladies man, as I’m sure whoever came up with the term ladies man obviously met Franco Rivera!  Given the appropriate wardrobe and a good script, he CAN be Ranger, I’m certain of it.   To be honest, I’m not sure why I hadn’t come up with him myself when I was thinking of possibilities.  I think because I imagined Ranger to be harder, someone with a bit more of a rough look or perhaps having played more ‘fighty’ roles in the past (hence my choosing Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson initially), but I think he can do it.  We’ve just not seen him in that kind of role yet, or I haven’t at least.

As with Heigl, I am 100% behind Sunjata as Ranger.  The jury is still out on the Morelli casting, I will have to look into the actor a bit more before I can say either way.

I’m excited about this, really friggin’ excited!  The more castings that happen and the closer the movie comes to being a reality, the more eager I am to see it.  Especially now after seeing these castings.  That said, it could all go to shit if they don’t choose wisely for Grandma Mazur and Lula, as they are pretty central characters that are loved by all.  Get those two wrong and they may as well not even bother making the film.

I will be keeping my eyes peeled for any casting news in regards to those two, for sure, but in the meantime… what do YOU think of these guys playing our leading men??

About Tammy

A Canadian living in France with her Dutch hubby after 17 years in the Netherlands. A total TV and movie junkie who is never not knitting. She also enjoys other crafts, nail art, cuddling her dogs and general geekery. Otherwise just working on getting by and making a life for herself in her 'new' country.

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  1. I can’t stand anything Heigl does. Casting her was an automatic no interest effect. As for both of the guys – way off. At that point, there is no reason to see the movie.

  2. I have to say that I agree wtih all the comments above about the two guys.

    Ranger to me should have been a little bit older and tougher looking. and Morelli I pictured as without the curly hair and more italian looking. or at least with dark hair .

    I mean I would take the guy that plays Elliot on special victims part of law and order than the one that they picked.

    just kinda disappointed in the guys.

  3. Did the casting dep. READ the books… The man for Morelli is not right. No disrespect towards him whatsoever, but his look is not right. When reading the description of Joe, I kept thinking of Joe Manganiello from True Blood (Alcide) and for Ranger… still haven’t found him, but where is his ponytail. I hate it when a movie doesn’t stick to the book. What was the reason for making this movie from the book if you were going to change things from the book? Small details are the heart of the book. Truth be told, I say do the movie again like it should have been done in the first place with the right casting.

  4. I love the Stephanie Plum books. I was looking forward to the movie and then I saw who was cast in it. This is one of the worst casting jobs ever. katherine Heigl as a Jersey girl–really?! NOT. and the two men they cast as Morelli and Ranger. They both have to be equally hot, Morelli and younger Travolta type-Italian stallion. Not at all who they put in the role. and while I liked Sunjata in Rescue me, he comes off too humorous not the dark mysterious latin the role is supposed to be. Debbie Reynolds maybe, but I picture Grandma Mazur older. Sherry Shepard is an ok pick but I think there are others who would look the former ” ho” part better.
    Too bad Callie Thorne is a little too old to play Stephanie, she would be great.
    I am so disappointed, I will read the rest of the books, but will not waste money at the theatre.

  5. I would have cast, the Rock as Ranger, Jessica Alba as Stephanie, Sherry as Lu, Betty White as gramma Mazur, keep the Vennie. Ranger would have to be Mark Walburg.

  6. Stephanie Plum Fan

    Have read all 18 books and was a little disappointed and the choice for both leading men….Ranger=The Rock……Morelli=someone hotter!!!! And more Italian….Just saying

  7. I am disappointed in how Morelli and Ranger have been cast for this movie. Neither fits the description of these characters in the book. Morelli is an Italian hunk and Ranger is supposed to be a hot, muscular Latino. The Italians from Trenton NJ have dark wavy hair, shadow beards, and are buff from working out in the gym. They also have attitude!

  8. I always pictured Estelle Getty as Grandma Mazur. After she died, it was nobody but Betty White. She would have been a riot. But I can live with Debbie Reynolds. she is funny and should be able to pull it off. I like Katherine Heigel a lot, but for me, Sandra Bullock was always Stephanie. The one that really gets me is Morelli. An Irishman? Really? Come on. They couldn’t find an Italian hottie out there to fill the bill? Still, I’m going to give a chance.

  9. Sorry but the picture was not cast right..I love the books and was excited when I heard the movie was going to be done. Not now…Morelli is all wrong and so is Ranger..and as for Stephanie Katherine is Not Stephanie Plum at all. This movie will be a flop..I will look forward to the next book, but not the movie.

  10. Oh wow. I just saw the trailer for One for the Money. I knew they were talking about it becoming a movie but I wasn’t aware it was this close to coming out. I am so excited because I love this series. I don’t really know how I feel about the two leading actors. At first I thought perhaps it was The Rock who was cast as Ranger, which I think could’ve worked. I’m not very familiar with the guy who was cast and as for Joe, the actor is not what I pictured in my head either but as long as the role is played convincingly it will hopefully be fine. I agree with a comment above … Betty White would’ve been GREAT as Grandma Mazur. All in all though I’m looking forward to seeing these characters on the big screen.

  11. I agree that the casting of this movie was not done right. Morelli is not cute enough and the guy they have for ranger just does’t seem muscular enough to me. I wish i knew the actor’s name that played on ncis inlaws and outlaws episode that played Ziva’s friend the came into the end of the episode he would have made a great Ranger. He is sexy as all get out. Betty White would have made a great grandma Mazur instead of Reynolds that should have let us fans vote for the cast.

  12. I think the casting director of this movie should have gotten feedback from the avid readers of the Stephanie Plum outstanding series and others before choosing the actors of Ranger and Morelli.Both that she chose, in my opinion are totally WRONG.I only wish that Janet Evanovich had had a say in who would be the chosen actors..No doubt, she would have known who would be 100% “right” for the roles of all of the characters that she created. I’m so disappointed.

  13. I think Ranger’s actor is too soft. Ranger seems more tough guy, almost the strong, silent type. This guy I’m sure can pull off the ladies man persona but not really the tough silent persona. And Morelli looks very much how I pictured him but less Italian. As for Catherine Heigl, she is one of my favorite actresses but I see Stephanie as more of a Sandra bullock in While You Were Sleeping. And grandma Mazur I picture the oldest one from Golden Girls, the little one with the glasses. Of course I don’t even know if she’s still alive.

  14. i imagine morelli to be tall, lean, tanned, dark hair, youngish looking, a bearded shadow.
    and i just cant see it in this guy. and wheres rangers ponytail?!

  15. Ok, huge stephanie Plum fan in the last month I’ve ready the first 5 books of the series. I have to say, Im a little bit bummed about the casting choice of Morelli. I imagined him wayyy more hot!! Looking forward to the movie all the same though!!

  16. I think these choices are ok. I pictured Ranger being a bit more Cuban like Yul Vazquez, from Bad Boys II. Although, I’ve always thought of Lula very much as Loni Love.

  17. I’m a major Stephanie Plum fan!! Neither man is what I had in my head! Especially Daniel Sunjata, come on!!!! Ranger is one tough dude!!! This guy looks soft!! His face is too sweet and innocent for Ranger! It’s possible that Jason could pull off Joe’s character. With a little bit of makeup and darken his hair I could visualize him more than Daniel.

  18. Bad choice for Morelli…Not cute or Ilalian looking….

  19. I LOVE the casting, except for Morelli. This guy doesn’t come close to the image in my head. :( He doesn’t look italian at all! I’m eager to see the movie, but I’m pretty disappointed. Joe is my favorite character in the Plum series, and I hope I’ll be surprised and come to like him when I see him on the big screen.

  20. i think katherine will do good as steph i think the big miss is moreli that man better b able to pull it off orelse itll never work

  21. Stephanie should be played by Mary McCormmack of In Plain Sight… Vinnie should be Steve Buscemi. Grandma Mazur –Cloris Leachman,

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