The World That's Coming

November 12, 2013 Writingthoughts ,

10 Worst Suggestions for Superhero Movie Casting

Written for Newsarama for its Top 10 slot, this never got published because it was just a little too tongue-in-cheek for its own good. Nevertheless, I kind of liked it.

No matter what you think of the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman, we can all come together to wipe some relieved sweat from our collective brow over the fact that, yes, the Justin Bieber is Robin rumor turned out to just be a hoax. After all, Hollywood has a history of coming up with some really, really bad casting ideas based on whoever’s hot at the time, as anyone who remembers Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze can attest to (or, for that matter, Halle Berry’s Catwoman).

True, not all of these bad ideas make it to the final movie — if you think Jim Carrey was a terrible Riddler in Batman Forever, just be glad that Michael Jackson, who was attached to the role earlier, didn’t get the job — but seeing the uproar the Biebster caused with his Robin tease got us thinking: Who else would be entirely unsuitable for a part in a superhero movie — but is famous enough for studios to consider them nonetheless? Here are ten worse case scenarios.

Jason Statham is Alfred
It’s not unrealistic to think that Ben Affleck will need an Alfred when he appears in the sequel to Man of Steel as Bruce Wayne/Batman. If producers decide to follow in the tradition of Geoff Johns and Gary Franks’ Batman: Earth One, then the new Alfred not only has to be English, he also has to be a man of action — who better to fill that role than Statham, whose name is synonymous with the words “Surly English Action Hero That You Don’t Want To Give Too Much Dialogue To”?

Admittedly, at 46, Statham is arguably too young to play the role of Alfred, but that’s what make-up is for. Give him some extra wrinkles and he’ll be fine.

Donald Trump is Thanos
Having, uh, conquered the worlds of real estate and reality television, it’s easy to imagine that Trump would be looking for a new challenge — and, given his history (and ego), it wouldn’t be surprising if he turned his attention to the biggest movie franchise out there right now, and the biggest villain in the biggest movie franchise.

The idea of Trump taking on the role of mad titan Thanos has its charms — yes, he’d have to wear a helmet and therefore his trademark hair would not be visible to audiences, but just imagine the screams of pleasure from audiences as he blasted Captain America with the Infinity Gauntlet while shouting “You’re fired, Captain America!” in Avengers 3.

Paula Deen is Amanda Waller
It’s true that the casting of Deen — the controversial former Food Network star best known these days for her racism and particularly unhealthy recipes, in that order (Seriously, that’s a lot of butter) — as Waller would cause more than a little upset in fan circles. After all, Waller fans have only just gotten used to the new, thin version of the character, and Deen’s body shape might cause dissonance from her comic incarnation (Oh, and she’s white, too).

Consider what Deen would bring to the role, however: Like Waller, she’s a powerful woman, used to being in charge and bossing people around while being generally disliked by those around her. Like it or not, Paula Deen is Amanda Waller — except for all the ways in which she isn’t.

Keanu Reeves is Hank Pym
When you think Keanu Reeves, chances are you immediately think of Neo, the sci-fi savior he played in The Matrix trilogy — or, perhaps, you remember him in the Bill and Ted movies, or Johnny Mnemonic, or even (sudder) Constantine. Clearly, this man has a background in genre movies that should make him a shoo-in for any Marvel or DC movie you could imagine.

Imagine him in the role of Hank Pym, AKA Ant-Man, and marvel (pun intended) at the way with which he could bring the tragic, heroic character to life with his vast emotional range and utter believability as a genius scientist who could invent a size-changing formula! Think of the variety of facial expressions that he could offer as he talked to ants for the first time! This is an idea whose time must come.

Kanye West is Mr. Fantastic
Fact #1: Kanye West is one of the most well-known people on the planet right now, thanks to a musical career that has included six solo albums and a collaboration with Jay-Z, as well as a clothing line, restaurant chain and relationship with Kim Kardashian that keeps him in the tabloids. Fact #2: In the world of the Marvel Universe, Reed Richards — AKA Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four — is also one of the most well-known people on the planet, thanks to being Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four.

Simple science therefore demonstrates that West — who has, surprisingly, yet to make his big-screen acting debut — knows exactly what it’d be like to be Mr. Fantastic in a way that most people could never experience, making him uniquely placed to play the character in Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four movie reboot. Plus, come on: Could Kanye really pass up the chance to call himself “Mr. Fantastic”?

Beyonce is the Scarlet Witch
The idea of a new actor joining the Avengers cast for 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron has to be daunting. After all, the other actors have all been through the experience of the first movie’s mammoth success already, something that would make it hard for most newcomers to empathize with. If only there were someone who had experienced amazing success herself who could step into the role of Wanda Maximoff, AKA the Scarlet Witch… Oh, wait.

The artist formerly known as Sasha Fierce has, after all, already appeared in movies — who can forget her classic The Pink Panther remake from 2006, or the fact that she was in DreamgirlsEither member of Daft Punk is the Vision
Let’s face it — sometimes, you need to go left-field in your casting choices to get attention for your movie. That’s a lesson that Joss Whedon already knows, which lead to the announcement that James Spader would play Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron a few weeks back (as well as his surely upcoming announcement of Beyonce as the Scarlet Witch). But what if he went even more out there for a surprise casting announcement?

We don’t know that the Vision will make an appearance in Age of Ultron yet, but it’s certainly not something that’s outside the realm of possibility — So why not ask one of French electronic duo Daft Punk to play the character? It’s a perfect crossover moment: They already pretend to be robots, so it wouldn’t be a great stretch for whichever one took the gig, and just imagine how great the soundtrack they’d inevitably produce as part of the deal would sound.

One Direction are Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade
The success of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in last year’s Avengers movie almost guaranteed that we’ll see another Hulk movie at some point soon, despite many denials of such a plan. You can understand why Marvel would be shy about the idea — both solo Hulk movies so far have been flops in the grand scheme of things.

That’s why adding in pop phenomenon One Direction is a no-brainer — their very presence would guarantee the kind of box office success that made their concert film win the box office battle of Labor Day weekend. Also, having them play Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade would allow Marvel to finally bring in the fan-favorite character (and his underage posse) to the cinematic universe once and for all. It’s a win-win!

Miley Cyrus is Captain Marvel
Some might say that Cyrus isn’t the first choice to play Carol Danvers, the hard-nosed former US Air Force pilot turned super hero and Avenger, being only 20 years old and, you know, a Hannah Montana veteran instead of someone who flew planes for a living. To those people, there’s just one thing to say: You’re missing the obvious.

First off, working for the Mouse on a property like Hannah Montana is just like being in the military, as anyone who’s been through either experience will surely tell you. Secondly, Cyrus has been working for some time to try and alter her public persona from teen idol to something more mature and developed, meaning that she’s primed to stretch herself on a role such as Danvers. And thirdly and most importantly, she’s already got the hair, and that’s the most important thing. Cyrus for Marvel? You know it makes sense.

Lady Gaga is Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is the kind of iconic role that is almost terrifying to try and fill. What woman has the kind of self-belief, confidence and standing to step into the boots — once bright red, now dark blue for some inexplicable reason — without feeling just a little bit worried that she won’t live up to the expectations of millions of fans around the world?

Perhaps a woman like Strefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — better known to the world as Lady Gaga. She’s ideally placed to be a modern Wonder Woman, having already adopted an alternate identity, been named as one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes Magazine and one of the world’s most influential figures by Time. She even shares Wonder Woman’s love of humanitarian causes and self-empowerment and (as can be seen by her stage outfits) has no fear of dressing up in ridiculous and revealing outfits for her work.

Warner Bros., it’s understandable that you’re overwhelmed by the potential of the Wonder Woman property. Just give the role — and creative control of the entire project — to Lady Gaga. She’ll take care of everything for you, and make sure that no-one ever complains that there’s no Wonder Woman movie ever again.

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