There is still a lot unknown about Edgar Wright's Ant-Man. Will it be about Henry Pym, Scott Lang or both? The internet has been throwing a lot of names around the role of Henry Pym for a number of years. The consensus seems to be around Adrien Brody, Aaron Eckhart, Patrick Wilson, Simon Pegg, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion (who the internet wants to cast in everything). Here are my top ten choices for Pym. Definitely a difficult character. Pym has never held his own comic and is not well liked. Ant-Man (or Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, etc.) is a very different superhero. Not a traditional leading man, but very insecure and tragic. Casting the right actor is especially vital for this character as he walks the line between unlikable and tragic. Need an actor who has a lot of depth, can struggle and gain the audience's sympathy. Here are some of my picks:
Extremely unlikely that Marvel would consider an actor most associated with Spider-Man for one of their lesser heroes (mainly would confuse audiences). But in looking at what worked for Tobey as Peter Parker and what a lot of people did not like about his portrayal, those qualities would fit Pym perfectly. The solemness, sadness, self doubt. I have read a lot of criticism (that I don't necessarily agree with) that Tobey was a bad Spider-Man because he was too serious. Well Pym is very much Peter Parker without any breaks. I think it is a good fit, however unlikely.
This one is also unlikely, even though it would work so perfectly. Kinnear would be 52 or 53 by the time Ant-Man is released, which would make him too old to start out with the role. However Kinnear can play a likable sadsack. He can fail and be introspective without losing the audiences attention. If he was younger he would definitely be in the top five.
This was my top pick well before his Parks and Rec cohort was chosen for Guardians of the Galaxy (a casting choice I fully support). I think that comedic ability is important for the role of Henry Pym in order to not only keep him likable but also to capture his humanity. Scott has a certain reflectiveness and understated quality that can express a lot.
Casey never goes for likable. He takes a lot of risks and if he were to ever play a superhero this is the one for him to play. However humor is not his strong suit, and even if this is not a comedy he would come across as too serious to fit into the Marvel Universe. Still an actor who can make a weasel like Robert Ford fascinating should be considered.
Definitely does not seem like a fit on the surface, but Duplass very much has a loser, geeky persona that he has made work in a variety of projects. In fact I would use his character in Safety Not Guaranteed as inspiration for how to make Pym work in the movies. Not a movie star, but may be recognizable enough to work.
I have expressed my admiration for this actor on this blog a few times before. Pena has a great range and it is often unexpected. Physically, while he is in great shape, he is of smaller stature which would fit an insecure character like Pym. Marvel has been great at taking chances on actors and Pena is one who has not quite had his big break yet.
Sacha Baron Cohen
You don't cast Sacha in a movie that he didn't write unless he is really the best choice for the character. Talladega Nights, Hugo and Les Miserables would not have worked without this individual. I think that he is such a unique performer that he would need a character he could really make his own to justify him in a blockbuster. That is Henry Pym. Sacha is not trying to be a movie star, he is an artist that I think would find some definite undiscovered depths tot the character of Ant-Man. Although having him on board for multiple movies with multiple filmmakers may be difficult.
Can be a leading man without needing to be charming. Law can play unlikable and second fiddle. Fits in drama, comedy and action. Also we already know he could bicker with Iron Man.
I love this guy. He has only been in two movies, but he had created two perfect characters in those movies. Between District 9 and The A-Team, Copley has a wide range. His experiences in both movies would help him with this character. There is an exciting, almost Sam Rockwell, exuberance to Copley. For whatever reason Hollywood has not been using him, but this is one of those gambles that Marvel is great at making.
The best in the business at bringing humanity to difficult characters. If he can make an audience follow Dan White imagine what he can do with a mess of a character like Hank Pym. After Jonah Hex I imagine there would be some trepidation. But Brolin is a certain type of actor that is difficult to cast in a leading role. Ant-Man is his type of leading role.