In case you haven’t heard, there is a rumor floating around that Russell Crowe is being looked at to play Jor-El in the Superman reboot next year. This would be adding to a cast that includes Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, and Diane Lane as Lois Lane, Jonathan and Martha Kent respectively.
Now some may be immediately on board and others maybe scratching their heads going, “What the F*&@?” I’m a little on the fence but not because I’m not a fan of taking risks on casting, mainly I just have never been a huge Russell Crowe fan, but that’s just me.
My point is that with Comic Books transitioning into the Film medium die-hard fans certainly feel a connection to our favorite characters and may be resistant to casting choices on who is going to portray them. I know that when they announced the Spiderman reboot with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, I was questionable. However, I had never seen anything he was in until I watched The Social Network and saw that he could very well pull it off.
As fans and as a culture we need to take a step back and see what happens. Sometimes it comes back to bite us in the ass (Batman and Robin) but sometimes it pays out HUGE. I think the biggest turning point in this battle was The Dark Knight.
I remember when I first heard that Heath Ledger was going to play the Joker. I shook my head that the guy from 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight’s Tale was going play one of the most iconic villains of our generation. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the guy and what I had seen him do before, but I just hadn’t seen that edge or that spark that allowed me to see him as the Joker. His performance in Brokeback Mountain was truly amazing and bolstered my faith. However, not even that could have prepared me for his portrayal of the Joker.
No. Scratch that. He didn’t portray the Joker. He became him.
He exceeded playing a role and made it entirely his own. No one will ever play the Joker like that again. Ever. Heath Ledger set the bar for what we as fans can expect from film. Not only that, it showed that a comic book movie could not only get Academy Award nominations, but actually win.
Now we see well-renowned, award wining A List stars clamoring to play roles in comic book movies. Ten years ago, no one would have thought that comic book movies would carry such prestige. Times are changing and we need to adapt as well. I think that Hollywood has shown that they can treat our favored heroes with the esteem that we feel they deserve. With that, I think we can give them some room to take some risks when it comes casting.