I didn't think I was going to have anything to say about the recently announced Fantastic Four reboot cast that I hadn't already said in previous posts. But then they forced my hand with the Jamie Bell casting. If you don't frequent mainstream click-baiting movie blogs (most of which live for superhero movie news) the news goes like so:
- Mr Fantastic, Reed Richards (stretchy scientific genius) - Miles Teller
- Invisible Girl (Mr Fantastic's wife, Sue Storm) - Kate Mara
- The Human Torch (Sue's brother) - Michael B Jordan
- The Thing, Ben Grimm (Reed's best friend) - Jamie Bell
I don't understand a single one of those actors in those roles. Teller is great but doesn't project gravitas and mensa-like intelligence. Jordan is super but all of his best work is dramatically heavy and nuanced and this character is traditionally one of the least angsty among the tights-wearing set. I know it's unfair to hold a movie as bad as That Awkward Moment against anyone but let's just say that Jordan seemed totally adrift in the dumb light comedy register that Teller and Efron were fine with even if neither of them have yet shown acting chops to rival his.
BUT ANYWAY... who knew that I'd be most upset about The Thing, my least favorite of the four character in the comics. Why would anyone think to cast an actor as talented and as easy on the eyes as Jamie Bell in a role that required his gorgeous mug be buried in orange CGI rocks? Seriously, what is Hollywood's problem with him? If he were a girl he would have already been an Oscar nominee by now -- Billy Elliott was that kind of performance, but only little girls get lead acting nominations -- and Hollywood hasn't really done right by him since. That's 13 years of mistreatment.
Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Marvel wants Doctor Strange to be their "hub" character (think Iron Man) for Phase Three of their long term plan of eventually dominating the cultural landscape to such an extent that superhero epics are the only genre that ever gets made. Super powers for everyone!
If the rumors of lynchpin character are true, that explains those earlier Johnny Depp rumors for the mystical doctor. A hub character would require either a major star or tremendous faith in the lesser known chosen to pin billions of dollars of revenue on his untested charisma. Depp would have been a great choice for that role if this were the 1990s or the early Aughts back when he was a restlessly inventive actor. But does he still have it in him to make any new character different and special? And if this character doesn't feel different than the other heroes out there, what's the point. Expand your range, Marvel, or don't do it.
The list of directors Marvel is eyeing is all over the place, the only thing uniting them is not much experience in the directors chair. They're seeing Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair who has done one previous Danish film with supernatural elements), Dean Israelite (Welcome to Tomorrow), Jonathan Levine (the zombie rom com Warm Bodies) and Mark Andrews (who co-directed Brave so at least there are odd spells in his past!). I think Arcel and Andrews are interesting possibilities (if only to see what else they can do) but shouldn't they be going for a director with a super confident facility with vibrantly odd visuals to bring this mysticism to life?
If you could suggest a director / star pairing who would it be?
Do you think the superhero bubble is going to burst soon or not until the 2020s? All things are cyclical after all.