Nikola Tesla is ripe for a biopic. His story has everything: Genius, madness, rags-to-riches-to-rags, world-changing inventions, and a tragic ending. Tesla is one of the smartest people to ever live—if that sounds like exaggeration, x-rays are just some sh*t he discovered on accident and we’re still not even touching the greatest of his inventions and theories—and he was also a real character, as the kids say. He was tall and handsome, a little delicate, VERY well dressed, extremely polite even by Victorian standards, and though he was capable of being a charming pitchman, he sucked at business and kept selling life-changing patents for pennies to keep the lights on in his laboratory. He’s also an immigrant who got sh*t done, coming from Serbia to, oh, just revolutionize the budding electric industry. There is no shortage of cool Tesla stories. There’s a reason David F*cking Bowie played this guy in a movie.
And now there shall be a Tesla movie, something for which we are LONG overdue. Besides Bowie portraying him in The Prestige, Nicholas Hoult recently portrayed him in The Current War, but these are both supporting roles in someone else’s story. But now, shopping around the European Film Market is a Tesla project to come from filmmaker Michael Almereyda (Marjorie Prime) and Ethan Hawke, who is set to star as Tesla.
Now, look. Ethan Hawke is a perfectly good actor. I have nothing against Ethan Hawke. But does anyone see Ethan Hawke as Nikola Tesla? I don’t. I got it immediately with Nicholas Hoult. If you told me RDJ was playing Tesla, I would get that, too. Tom Hiddleston, sure. But Ethan Hawke? I am whelmed. But this is what actors do, right? Convince you they are other people! That is the job description, but not every actor is right for every part. Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, would be a terrible Tesla. (But a GREAT HH Holmes, stop f*cking around and adapt The Devil in the White City, already.) Ethan Hawke will undoubtedly do a perfectly fine job as Tesla, but I don’t want to settle for “perfectly fine” when Tesla himself was so extraordinary. So someone call RDJ and fix this sh*t. And then call Anne Hathaway about a Hedy Lamarr biopic.