Who I Would Have Cast: Superhero Edition (Part 1)

by Cole Albinder

 

Welcome to the first issue of the weekly column, Who I Would Have Cast. In this column, I’ll be looking at different movies and re-casting some of their actors with those who I personally felt would have been good for the parts. In some cases, I’m not trying to stain the original actors with my words, just re-interpreting the roles differently through my eyes. As always, a disclaimer: I am not trying to force my opinion down your throats, as I know that there are those who are fine with these picks and enjoy the movies themselves. You are entitled to your own feelings and opinions. With that said, let’s explore!!

 

SUICIDE SQUAD (my favorite punching bag):

Jeffrey Donovan as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot

Jeffrey Donovan in "Burn Notice".

Courtesy of Twentieth Television, Inc.

Will Smith in 2016's "Suicide Squad".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Starting off with Deadshot, who is the first in the line-up introduced to the audience. I love Will Smith, and I thought he did the best with what he was given (as did everyone), giving off the right amount of charisma and grit that the movie required (I swear that if Will Smith were cast as Ben Stein in a movie, he’d be more charismatic than the actual Ben Stein).

But that said, I do agree with several fans and critics on his casting: you don’t take him seriously as a borderline heartless assassin. Yes, acting is all about becoming someone you’re not, but you never got the feeling that this was a guy who truly felt the weight of being a killer and a family man (a better script could have helped in this regard, but still) The only other version of this character I’ve seen was on Arrow, and that version remained likable despite his extremely killer tendencies; that’s what we need to see from Deadshot. The first guy to pop into my head was Jeffrey Donovan, who you’ll recognize as Michael Westen from USA’s Burn Notice. From what I’ve seen of that series, Donovan effortlessly remains likable as he pulls off the hardest cons, and has the charisma and action experience down pat. He was also one of my picks for Batman, but I felt that Deadshot would be a bit more in his wheelhouse. Plus he’s gone toe-to-toe with Smith himself:

 

 

Ksenia Solo as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn

Ksenia Solo as "Kenzi" on "Lost Girl".

Courtesy of Prodigy Pictures Inc. in association with Shaw Media and Showcase.

Margot Robbie as "Harley Quinn" in "Suicide Squad".

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Margot Robbie was great in Suicide Squad, arguably stealing the movie with her every scene. Her energy was infectious, and I’m excited to see more of her (she’s set to star in a spin-off, Gotham City Sirens, alongside Poison Ivy and Catwoman). However, I couldn’t help picturing how well Lost Girl’s Ksenia Solo would fare in that part after watching her in the film Pet. See if you get any vibes out of this scene (start from the 0:48 mark):

Courtesy of Orion Pictures.

Pretty scary, right? Harley needs to toe the line between being witty, brainy, and dangerously psychotic (she’s obsessed with The Joker, obviously). This scene proves that Solo has the chops to take on the psychological elements of Harley’s personality. From what I’ve seen of Lost Girl, she’s also got very good comedic chops. Mix those traits together and you’ve got a bonafide Harley.

Courtesy of Prodigy Pictures Inc. in association with Shaw Media and Showcase.

 

Alan Tudyk as The Joker

Alan Tudyk in "Firefly".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Twentieth Television, Inc.

Jared Leto as "The Joker" in 2016's "Suicide Squad".

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ah, Joker, Joker, Joker. As I went over in one of my previous articles Jared Leto’s Joker: Were We Too Harsh?, I mentioned my preferred choice for the Clown Prince of Crime, Alan Tudyk, who’s been in everything from Firefly to Dodgeball to Moana. He’s taken more roles in every genre than you can name, and you need a good set of comedic and dramatic chops to take on this maniac. I’ve been told that his character Alpha on Dollhouse is very Joker-ish; I couldn’t find any direct clips of him, but I found this trailer:

      Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Very, very nice. In the meantime, I’m willing to give Jared Leto another chance with a different script.

 

Jake McLaughlin as Rick Flag, Jr.

Jake McLaughlin as " Agent Ryan Booth" on "Quantico".

Courtesy of Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Joel Kinnaman as "Rick Flag, Jr." in "Suicide Squad".

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Quantico‘s Jake McLaughlin would have been my pick for Col. Rick Flag, Jr.. His show character Ryan Booth is a born leader and skilled tactician, a person who weighs the pros and cons for every situation, ultimately going with his gut, not unlike Flag. The fact that he served in the U.S. Army (he was in the 3rd Infantry Division, and his unit was one of the first to go into Iraq) would have given him an advantage in playing this character as well.

Ryan Kwanten as George “Digger” Harkness/Captain Boomerang

Ryan Kwanten as "Jason Stackhouse" on "True Blood".

Courtesy of HBO Enterprises.

Jai Courtney as "Captain Boomerang" in "Suicide Squad".

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Jason Stackhouse?? AUSTRALIAN?!! Yep. As convincing as he is as a Southern bad boy on True Blood, Ryan Kwanten was actually born in Sydney, Australia. The goofy charm and occasional recklessness he displayed on that series made him my first pick for Boomerang, who in the comics is known for being the Suicide Squad’s resident prick. Jai Courtney made the role his own (he was given too little to do, in my opinion), but I feel like Kwanten would have had a field day with this part.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: 

Jose Pablo Cantillo as Max Dillon/Electro

Jose Pablo Cantillo as Caesar Martinez on "The Walking Dead".

       Courtesy of AMC Studios.

Jamie Foxx as "Electro" in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2".

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

Cantillo might look familiar, and with good reason: he was a stand-out as Caesar Martinez, second-in-command to The Governor on a few seasons of The Walking Dead. But it was his role on Sons of Anarchy, as spurned Mayan MC member Hector Salazar, that made me want to cast him as Electro. He made the role of Salazar his own, a revenge-hungry, violent thug who could go psychotic (if he needed to) at the drop of a hat (sadly, I couldn’t find any clips of this role. Watch Sons of Anarchy though). The ability to go from normal to psychotic is crucial for playing Electro; get him too angry and he’ll sap the electricity out of an entire town to fry you alive. The ASM2 version of Electro didn’t go far enough in fleshing out its nerdier Max Dillon, his inner struggle to be accepted, and the level of his revenge he takes out using his new powers, and I feel that’s necessary for any future version of Electro. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe wants to play with Electro (and in my opinion, base it off the version from The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series):

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television.

Cantillo would be my pick for the role and he’d knock it out of the park.

 

Ethan Suplee as Alex O’Hirn/The Rhino

Ethan Suplee as "Randy Hickey" on "My Name is Earl".

      Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Paul Giamatti in Columbia Picture's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

With its version of The Rhino, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 checked off the “cheesy, over-the-top villain” requirement on its “How Not to Do a Superhero Movie” checklist (Green Lantern had Hector Hammond, Batman vs. Superman had Lex Luthor). As much as I love Paul Giamatti, this was not the role for him (he’d a great Penguin in a future Batman movie), though he got to live out his dream by playing the role. No joke: here’s the article:

http://comicbook.com/blog/2013/07/24/conan-obrien-responsible-for-paul-giamatti-casting-in-amazing-spider-man-2/

so that’s nice in a crossing-something-off-your-bucket-list kind of way.

In the main Marvel Comics series, The Rhino is a Russian-born man named Alexsei Sytesevich fitted with an irremovable artificial rhinoceros skin that gives him superhuman strength and speed; he’s usually known for charging at his enemies like an actual rhino (see below):

"The Rhino" from Marvel Comics.

   Courtesy of Marvel.com.

In the Ultimate Marvel line of comics (which re-imagine the characters with modern-day origins. Ex: in the original 60’s-era origin, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, but by a genetically-altered spider in the Ultimate comics), the Rhino is a suit of armor called R.H.I.N.O. (Robotism Heuristic Intelligence Navigable Operative), operated by Alex O’Hirn (whom we never see), which he uses to rob a bank in Manhattan.

"Ultimate Rhino" from the Ultimate Marvel Comics line.
Sorry, this was the only one that worked.

Courtesy of wikimedia.org.

The ASM2 version combined these two versions of the character, making him a Russian thug named Alexsei Sytesevich, who at the beginning of the film who attempts to steal plutonium from Oscorp, but is foiled by Spider-Man. At the film’s end, the mysterious Gustav Fiers breaks him out of jail (we don’t get to see this directly, another one of the film’s flaws), and gives him a high-tech rhinoceros-themed suit, equipped with missile launchers and machine guns. However, I feel that if Marvel wants to re-introduce the Rhino in a film (and it might be a while before they do that), then they’ll go with the original incarnation of the character, making him a common thug who receives his artificial skin through experimentation (perhaps like in The Spectacular Spider-Man):

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television. 

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television. 

(Sorry about the music on this one).

As you can see in the first clip, the animated version is named Alex O’Hirn, and doesn’t speak with a Russian accent but with a stereotypical Bronx-based one (this is also true of the comics version, even though he was born in Russia). The comics also tend to point out how he’s not too bright either; essentially brawn over brains. The first guy I thought of to play this Rhino was Ethan Suplee, better known to fans of My Name is Earl as Randy Hickey, the brother of the titular character. On that show, he plays a similarly dim-witted character, but one who has an undeniable amount of charm so that we’re not always laughing at him, which I’d want to see from Rhino. It also helps that he’s a big guy (though I think he’s lost some more weight recently) and whether it’s a computer-generated suit or not, I’d love to see this guy go toe-to-toe with Tom Holland at some point in the future.

 Stay tuned to the Non-Stop Film Talk pages on Twitter, Instagram (Cole Albinder), and Facebook for more posts, and leave your thoughts in the comments section!!!!! You’ll be seeing a lot more of me very soon. 

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