Today Deadline reported that Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder are now officially looking for the man who will be Superman in their upcoming film. The newsworthy bit is that they’re specifically looking for an unknown (possibly from TV) in the 28 to 32 age range, and that their June 2011 start date rules out any actors with regular roles in fall TV series.
So, that’s two strikes against John Hamm. Sorry, fans, but trust me — no matter how vocal you are on these Internets, you don’t really want studios to listen to you. You want to be surprised. Remember when you wanted a version of Watchmen that was ultra-faithful to the book and then, when you got what you wanted, you realized you didn’t really want that? Yeah.
Then again, I really hoped for Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm and got what I wanted. And, despite the movie itself, that was pretty good. Sometimes you’re just right, y’know?
Anyway, while we clamor for, dread, and give lots of money to superhero movies, the casting itself is almost its own spectator sport. As a kid, I used to read Wizard magazine looking forward to the regular “Casting Call” section, where the staff would dream cast a different superhero movie every month. Looking back, a lot of the casting was foolish (Howie Long as Captain America? Having seen Firestorm and countless Radioshack commercials, even then I knew that was stupid), but we love imagining who will don a ridiculous costume and pretend to be Stilt Man on a screen for 100 minutes.
The other thing we love is complaining about casting. This is the bit when our biases, perceptions of actors, and identification with characters take hold and have us typing furiously at our laptops, computers, netbooks, iPads and Telex machines. We flipped out when unknown Aussie Hugh Jackman was cast as Wolverine (oh, how wrong we were) even though we got our favored Patrick Stewart as Professor X. A year ago we screamed bloody murder when Michael Cera was our Scott Pilgrim (cuddly milquetoast comedian playing the kid least likely to be a martial artist — perish the thought) and once again at the idea of erstwhile Human Torch Chris Evans wielding the shield as Captain America (not like Toshiro Mifune played a samurai more than once).
When Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, tens of thousands of fans wrote Warner Bros. in protest.Could you imagine if there was a WORLD WIDE WEB back then? And some ’80s analogue of Nikki Finke reported that Mr. Mom was playing the Dark Knight? Servers would melt.
Which isn’t to say that there haven’t been bad casting decisions in history. For about five minutes earlier this year John Krasinski was a frontrunner for Captain America and, while I like the audacity, that couldn’t have possibly been any good. And did you buy Ioan Gruffudd and Jessica Alba as Mr. and Mrs. Fantastic? Yeah, me neither.
That said, let’s put the fantasy casting on hold and just wait. Me, I really hope the person they cast as Superman will be one that surprises and pisses everyone off. Maybe they can set up a reality TV show contest. Or cast Nic Cage again.