Casting Roulette: Superman edition
Written by Sarah
Yesterday it was announced that Zack Snyder (300, Legend of the Helmet-Wearing Owls and the upcoming Sucker Punch) will direct the Superman reboot that Christopher Nolan is producing for Legendary Films/Warner Brothers, with the working title The Man of Steel. Details are thin about the project--Snyder’s hire is the first piece of concrete news since Nolan signed on to produce a few months ago.
Well now that the director is hired, let’s get to the important stuff--who should play Superman? Actually, this is the wrong question. It should be--who should play Clark Kent? Because Superman is boring. Really really boring. He’s such a boy scout. Superman never does anything wrong. He can’t be bought, bribed, or compromised. He doesn’t have a conflicted alter ego like Batman. He doesn’t mouth back, like Gambit or Deadpool, he doesn’t go berserk, like Wolverine. On the list of boring superheroes, Superman is number one (Captain America and The Hulk are the other two). So forget casting Superman. He sucks. A cardboard cutout would do just as well as anyone. Instead I hope they focus on Clark Kent, the human face of Superman.
Clark Kent isn’t a real alter ego in the sense that there is no difference in how Clark or Superman behave or will react in any situation. Where Batman will do things Bruce Wayne never could, there is nothing Superman would do that Clark wouldn’t also do. He only uses the Clark Kent mask because he fears his enemies using his friends and family against him. But therein lies the key to creating an interesting character. Unlike Batman, who is made up of gadgets and ninja moves, Clark can’t “shut off” Superman. I want to see a man who struggles with managing his super strength day-to-day, who sometimes sees things he shouldn’t because he has X-Ray vision, and who is actually an alien--wouldn’t that give him a different psyche? I’d be interested to see a Clark who struggles to understand human interaction because his mind works in a fundamentally different way than humans do.
This may be asking too much, though, so I hope they cast someone who will make me interested in this boring guy. Of course the clamor for Jon Hamm has already begun, but I don’t see it. Captain America or Bruce Banner I totally could have bought, but I can’t quite make Jon Hamm = Superman in my mind. Other obvious names that occur to me are Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Kitsch--Jake G has the right coloring but I think Kitsch would be the more interesting choice between the two. He’s the less-expected option and if there’s any hope of making Superman interesting it lies in going off the beaten path with the casting choice.
Another name that comes to mind is Matt Bomer (White Collar). He has the coloring and he’s charismatic and fun to watch. He’s wee but wardrobe and camera trickery can make up for that. TV guy fans are already promoting is Nathan Fillion but he has way too much charm for Superman. I can’t imagine Fillion keeping a lid on his ability to deliver a wisecrack and remain engaging. Zachary Quinto is bound to get fanboy support, too. He definitely has the looks and he could completely pull off that weird not-human vibe that might give some oomph to Clark Kent.
But if Snyder really wants to do something fresh he needs to get way, way outside the box. So….
How about Daniel Radcliffe? He has the coloring, he’s demonstrated an ability and willingness to get buff, and he’s got that camp edge that would help him pull off a blue unitard and red briefs. We know he can do that “do right whatever the circumstances” thing but Radcliffe has an as-yet unused ability to be weird and offbeat. He could combine Superman’s boyscout routine with a slightly left of center Clark Kent. A nice guy, a handsome guy, but a guy that’s just…not quite normal.
Like I said – it’s an unorthodox, out-box choice. But that’s better than the same old. We can yell about this later today during the LiveBlog.
Daniel Radcliffe for Clark Kent. Make it happen.
Written by Sarah
Photos from Wenn.com