Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who Could Play J. Jonah Jameson

Marc Webb recently said that he would love J. Jonah Jameson to be in Amazing Spider-Man 3, but has no definite plans for the character.  This is astonishing news to me, because I consider JJJ to be a vital part of the Spidey mythos.  He is probably the most important supporting character, next to Aunt May (who the new movies are very much misusing).  JJJ's relationship with Peter/Spidey is fascinating.  Jameson pays Peter to take pictures of Spider-Man so Jameson can turn the public against him.  They are both simultaneously harming and helping each other in a brilliantly reliable piece of plotting.  I don't see how Sony can plan a Spider-Man movie a year without having set plans for this character.  He easily could be the franchise's Nick Fury, tying each movie together.

Webb mentioned that it would be difficult to top J.K. Simmons, which is a sentiment that is surprisingly echoed across the internet.  Raimi's trilogy seems to have fallen out of favor, but everyone loves Simmons' Jameson.  Which is easy to understand why.  Simmons is a brilliant character actor who fit perfectly in Raimi's caricatured universe.

Simmons improves every project he is involved in (he easily had the best scene in Up in the Air).  But I don't see his great portrayal should make the character off limits for others.  Jameson has been around since 1963 and has been interpreted in many different ways.  The original Stan Lee/Steve Dikto JJJ had a giddiness to him.  Ed Asner (my personal favorite version of JJJ) always delivered his lines for Spider-Man: The Animated Series slowly with an air of disgust.  This is a great character that a lot of awesome character actors could do great things with.

That said I don't think that a fun character like J. Jonah Jameson would fit in the dark, edgy Amazing Spider-Man films (unless he was a reporter who worked with Richard Parker to expose Oscorp, because everything needs to relate to Peter's parents for some reason).  But this was a still a fun list to make.

20. Rob Huebel
There are a lot of great asshole comedians who could really play up this character.  Huebel may be a bit young, but he is a great sketch comic who could really have a lot of fun making Peter's life difficult.

19. John Slattery
One of the few actors I have seen listed online as a potential actor for the part.  Slattery has the right look (sans mustache), has enough eloquence and intimidation to sell the professional, controlling newspaperman.

18. Bob Odenkirk
Odenkirk has one of the best comedic minds and he has been getting a lot of great work in recent years.  He is becoming a staple of character roles in addition to comedy.  He could go to some really interesting places with the role.

17. Craig Ferguson
Craig's TV persona is surprisingly similar to Jameson.  He is smug, giddy, excitable and can go off on incredible rants.  Ferguson doesn't get much acting work, but he is an incredible talent that could be a really fun bit performer.

16. Jeff Goldblum
Smarmy as all get up and an extremely dependable character actor.  Not necessarily an intimidating force, but he can sure portray the jerk side of Jameson.  I can really see Goldblum reveling in making things difficult for Peter.

15. Bruce Campbell
He's already been in three Spider-Man movies.  I really feel that if Raimi hadn't found J.K. Simmons that he would have been a great Jameson.  Casting him would be a bit gimmicky, but Campbell is a solid enough character actor that he could bring his own attitude to the part.

14. Ralph Garman
While looking at potential actors I was definitely looking at angry people.  Fans of the podcast Hollywood Babble-On know that nobody is angrier than Garman.  He regularly goes into yelling spats that the audience always enjoys.  Garman is a solid personality who has done his fair share of bit characters.  He is extremely talented, but has not crossed over into much success.  He also extremely open about his geekdom and his head is the same shape as J. Jonah Jameson.

13. Gary Cole
I am kind of surprised that we haven't seen Gary Cole pop up in a superhero movie.  He is an actor with a pretty impressive range as he regularly transitions from goofy comedies to scary villains.  Both of those skill sets would greatly benefit this role.  He is hammy enough but can stay grounded too.  Out of all of the people on this list I think that he would fit in Webb's movies the easiest.

12. Kurtwood Smith
Forever tied to his memorable role as Red from That '70s Show, Smith has great comedy chops and makes a great adversary.

11. Richard Jenkins
One of the few character actors who is comparable to Simmons.  Jenkins has proven that he can play any role of any size.  He is the most dependable person working in Hollywood and would seem like a natural fit.

10. Eugene Levy
Definitely resembles Jameson the strongest, all he is missing is a mustache and a frown.  Levy is a tried and true comedic performer.  He commits to every role, no matter what the quality of the movie is.  He is guarantee to elevate the material and would be a great choice for a more comic relief angle.

9. Johnny Knoxville
I don't understand why he was cast as the voice of Leonardo, because he seems like such a natural Raphael.  As much as I liked Chris Diamantopoulos' Moe Howard, I was excited to see the Jack-Ass star attached to The Three Stooges.  Jameson definitely seems to share a number of similarities with the stooge.  I think that Knoxville harsher sensibilities would work well.

8. Paul F. Tompkins
I am convinced that everything that Paul F. Tompkins touches turns to gold.  He has such a unique comedic mind, individual style and weird skill set.  I am really surprised that he does not receive more acting work.  Although most of his characters are impressions, he is the best at caricatures.  He is so natural as cartoony personalities.  He even dresses like Jameson.

7. Philip Baker Hall
There are a number of older actors that I considered for the part (I probably should have given spots for Dabney Coleman or James Cromwell).  But the one I keep returning to is the veteran Hall.  Hall has given so many brilliant performances that it is easy to see him fit in to this role.  Detective Bookman seems to share many similarities with the publisher.  Hall has the best timing in the business and would certainly make an impact in this part.

6. Stephen Tobolowsky
Seriously, how has Tobolowsky never been considered for this part?  Seems right in his wheelhouse.

5. Craig T. Nelson
Nobody plays angry better than Craig T. Nelson.  Him screaming hate for a man in a costume seems like such a natural fit for his acting style.  He can balance intimidation along with genuine sincerity (which Jameson does have underneath all his hard edge).  There would also be that extra angle of Mr. Incredible trying to destroy a superhero.

4. Ian Roberts
The founding UCB member has never found much mainstream success.  He has had several fun bit roles and is a stand-out in an improv ensemble.  Roberts can play this type of character really well.  He also has such an incredible commitment to characters with weird goals.  His comedy background really makes him desirable for a role like this.  He understands how to play off of others and where exactly to find the best joke.  He helped write a whole book on the art of improv (which is great), that experience would really help make this character stand-out.

3. Danny Trejo
Danny Trejo has certainly perfected a type, but I think it would be a lot of fun for him to adjust his tough guy character to this role.  Sure Jameson isn't a thug or a murderer, but he is intimidating and extremely cartoonish.  Trejo is a very over the top actor with an extremely expressive face.  I would love to hear Trejo yelling about how much he hates Spider-Man.

2. Ron Perlman
His huge amounts of geek cred will definitely make fans accept him in the role.  Perlman is one of the few badasses who is very good at comedic timing.  He would be able to drum up all sorts of hate for Spidey and deliver some memorable punchlines.  He can definitely play the hardened side of Jameson, but would still believably be able to throw some joy.

1. Christopher McDonald
What ever happened to Christopher McDonald?  He was a staple of 1990s films with memorable roles in Cheers, Thelma and Louise, Quiz Show, Leave it to BeaverFlubber, Requiem for a Dream, Spy Kids 2 and of course his scene stealing role as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.  Some of those movies are better than others (Quiz Show being the one you need to see right now) and his role isn't the largest in all of them but you remember him in each of film.  He has also done great voice work in Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and The Iron Giant.  He is a classy actor that can get away with playing huge jerks.  He could really make a Jameson that could stand on its own as equal to J.K. Simmons.  He is also a great actor that could benefit the most from this kind of exposure.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Who Should Play Indiana Jones

Yesterday there was a rumor that Disney was looking to reboot Indiana Jones with a new actor.  The rumor was killed pretty quickly (which is good, because I want to be considered if they are recasting for that character).  The responses I saw were surprisingly very supportive of the rumor.

I am too.  As much as I love Harrison Ford and he will always be Indiana Jones this is a legacy that a lot of good actors could continue.  Indy is directly inspired by James Bond and classic pulp serials, characters that are meant to continue in further adventures.

Much like the upcoming Star Wars from Disney I really feel that new Indiana Jones movies could work.  The right director is incredibly important, but this is probably the most important casting decisions you can make in a movie.  Because more than James Bond or any superhero, Indy's appeal came from Ford.  He created that character and you need someone who can continue his legacy while bringing their own developments.  These are 20 actors that I think would be interesting archeologists.

20. Jason Sudeikis
Jason Sudeikis is a comedic actor in a leading man's body.  Handsome, funny, charismatic and incredibly likable.  If SNL did an Indy sketch he would have definitely been the one to play Dr. Jones.  While Indiana Jones movies aren't flat out comedies there is definitely a lightness and humor to them.  Someone who can match Ford's subtle comedic timing will be necessary.  Originally Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and others were up for the role of Indiana.  Sudeikis, who really fulfilled Bill Murray's role on SNL and has a film career similar to Chevy Chase's (before it sucked), would be an interesting comedian to consider.

19. Sam Claflin
Claflin had some bad luck in blockbusters with forgettable and underwritten roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Snow White and the Huntsman, but he made a huge impact as the scene-stealing Finnick in last year's brilliant blockbuster The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  His Finnick was cocky yet charming while having a considerable amount of depth.  He is definitely an action hero in the making.  May be on the younger end, but I would follow him as a fedora wearing archeologist.

18. Joel Edgerton
He is one of many people I am considering that has struggled in finding a blockbuster franchise.  Edgerton is a commanding presence that is very believable in a variety of settings.  Likable with the right build and scruffy enough for the legendary role.

17. Armie Hammer
Disney may hesitate to cast him after the legendary bomb of The Lone Ranger, but Hammer really should be a movie star.  Hopefully Man from U.N.C.L.E. gives him some better material to work with.  Hammer is a great dramatic actor who can also do comedy and action well.

16. Liam Hemsworth
The youngest actor I am considering, but Hemsworth has proved himself as an action star.  He is a badass waiting to breakout in The Hunger Games and outshone action legends in Expendables 2 with a very small role.  He has the right look for an archeologist and a good range to elevate the material.  Also worth noting is that he starred in last year's bomb Paranoia, the worst reviewed Harrison Ford movie of all time.

15. James Marsden
Hugh Jackman may seem like a more obvious fit, but his X-Men co-star reminds me much more of Harrison Ford.  Marsden is the type of actor who never steals focus but always brings a lot to any role.  That is really what made Indiana Jones, he is not an action star just an interesting guy to watch.  Marsden has really struggled in finding consistent success, he was tragically underutilized as Cyclops and has not found the right leading role.  But Marsden is likable with good looks and the right amount of theatricality for an adventure film.

14. Chadwick Boseman
Boseman had a terrific debut in last year's 42 where he got to act with Ford.  As Jackie Robinson Boseman played a traditional hero, but he definitely had some edge to him.  There was a lot of determination and self-reflectiveness in the role.  Watching the trailer for the upcoming Get on Up it would seem that Boseman has a lot of range to work with.  He is great in these biopics, but I really would be interested in seeing him in a more fantasy environment.  Also, he is a very physical actor which will help with the stunts.

13. Mark Ruffalo
One of the best working character actors (well, best working actors period).  Ruffalo has played such a huge variety of character types, but no real action roles (Hulk aside).  But Ruffalo has incredible comedic prowess that adds to his dramatic characters and can portray a badass.  He can always be guaranteed to give a great performance and I can just picture him in a fedora with stubble.

12. Jake Gyllenhaal
Disney tried to make him into an Indiana Jones figure in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  That movie failed, but the response towards him in an action role was very positive.  Gyllenhaal is a great leading man with solid performances in Zodiac, Love and Other Drugs, Source Code, End of Watch and others.  You can take him very seriously, but he is still likable and has appropriate comedic timing.

11. Josh Brolin
People were pretty upset that he didn't get Batman.  Brolin has not had much luck with blockbusters, but he seems tailor-made for a good adventure film.  He is a masculine, intimidating actor who seems natural as gruff anti-heroes.  I wouldn't be surprised if he owned a fedora and bullwhip.

10. Ryan Gosling
Gosling usually gets brought up in casting rumors.  He has stated before that he is not interested in big budget movies.  But Indy seems like a decent fit for him, especially with his charming persona.  He can bring his signature intensity but also utilize his comedic sensibilities.  Gosling is also very willing to change his appearance for the right role.  Get the right director and I would actually buy him as Indy.

9. Karl Urban
How often do people bring up Karl Urban in casting rumors?  We've wanted to see him as Superman, we've wanted to see him as Batman.  Urban is just so believable in fantasy and action settings with memorable roles in Xena, Lord of the Rings, Bourne Supremacy, Red, Dredd, Almost Human and of course his perfect portrayal of McCoy in Star Trek.  Just looking at the picture of him I would cast him as Indiana.

8. Sharlto Copley
I have only seen him in three movies, but he has been incredibly different in each one.  He was tragic in District 9, badass in Elysium and crazy in all the right ways in The A-Team.  He was the best part in each of those movies and can utilize all of those traits in the character of Indy.  Not a traditional action star, but Indy isn't a traditional character.  Copley is someone who can go different places with this role and create something that nobody else can.

7. Sam Rockwell
Have you ever not enjoyed Sam Rockwell?  He has played every type of role in every type of movie.  He is always believable and always fascinating.  He embodies several of the traits that Indy needs to work correctly.  Rockwell would be fascinating in the part and would be a great lead for an ensemble.  Can't get enough of this guy and definitely want to put a good word in for him.

6. Bradley Cooper
Cooper was the actor rumored to be at the top of Disney's list.  The rumor was of course debunked, but it makes a lot of sense.  Cooper makes pretty good career choices and has worked his way to being a major star.  He has worked in action, drama and comedy and often combines his sensibilities in each.  Cooper could easily play this part.

5. Michael Pena
Another one of my favorite actors who is always dependable.  He has been in plenty of action movies before alongside drama and comedy.  He does not have a traditional leading man look, but he has the intensity and likability for the role of Indy.  He has certainly paid his dues and worked his way up in Hollywood, he is certainly deserving of consideration for an adventure role.

4. Chris Pratt
Can you believe that we are considering Chris Pratt for Indiana Jones?  What is stranger I know that there will be no objections to this choice.  His diverse career has made some fascinating developments.  He is a stand-out ensemble member on Parks and Recreation, has been in three Oscar nominated films, is associated with the surprise hit The Lego Movie, stars in a Marvel Studios film and will headline Jurassic World.  We all thought of Indiana Jones when we watched the first part of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer anyways.

3. Anthony Mackie
Another dependable actor who is deserving of a big leading role.  Mackie's career is similar to Ford's pre-Raiders.  Mackie has been in Oscar darlings Million Dollar Baby and The Hurt Locker and he has been a stand-out in several supporting roles such as The Adjustment Bureau, Real Steel and Gangster Squad.  His profile will be raising with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  He is a great physical actor who is likable with a great range.  Definitely a leading man waiting to break out.

2. Michael Fassbender
Fassbender is one of those actors that the internet seems to want to cast in everything, but he seems to be uniquely qualified for this part.  Fassbender is charming and handsome, but is not a traditional good guy.  He has an incredible edge to him and would embody those anti-hero elements that make Indy work.

1. Chris Pine
The first actor I thought of when this rumor started.  It is a shame that Jack Ryan: Shadow Agent bombed because Pine is a perfect leading man.  He has stated that his Captain Kirk is based off of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, not William Shatner.  He is an action star that is influenced by Ford, but has his own modern sensibilities.  He already replaced Ford once, I would like to see him to it again.  I like him and trust him.