Casting Call1 of 12This week, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – who will play Black Adam in the DC Cinematic Universe - hinted at his choice for the actor he’d like to square off with as Shazam – and let’s just say Newsarama and The Rock have similar sensibilities for who should embody that role.
Who did he pick? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out – and to find out our picks for nine other outstanding DC and Marvel film roles yet to be cast.
Some of our choices are unconventional, but as always, we’re thinking of which characters are a shoo-in to make it to the big screen, which actors fit the sensibilities established in the movie universes they’ll inhabit, and then, finally, who we think would be exciting and interesting to see.
Marvel and DC, you can thank us for doing this legwork later.
J. Jonah Jameson - Bryan Cranston2 of 12Let’s be clear: we’d gladly bring back J.K. Simmons’s high-intensity J. Jonah Jameson from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy for the new Spider-Man and wider MCU use, but with Simmons now cast as DC's Commissioner Gordon, we think that ship has sailed.
Enter Bryan Cranston. In an earlier version of this countdown we had Simmons returning to JJJ and Cranston playing Gordon, so we just flipped the script.
The irascible actor may seem like a lock for a villain after his portrayal of Walter White on Breaking Bad – and indeed, he’s expressed interest in playing a Marvel villain, and was rumored to be in consideration for Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman – but we think he’s got everything thing it takes to be a perfect comedic foil to Tom Holland's teenage wallcrawler.
Cranston is equally known for his dramatic and comedic roles, and he could harness that in 2017's Spider-Man to be an over-the-top personality that has some bite to his boisterous bark.
Plus, we know he can rock that mustache.
Shazam - Armie Hammer3 of 12Shazam! isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until 2019, making it a little early to start talking about casting the titular hero's youthful alter ego, Billy Batson. But with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson locked in to play his arch-enemy Black Adam, the role of Shazam himself requires someone of considerable physical assets – and screen presence – to stand head-to-head with the imposing former WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Armie Hammer has had a few goes at superhero stardom, being cast as Batman in the unproduced Justice League: Mortal, and taking the title role in the ill-received Lone Ranger. But while he’s had little luck in that market, he’s had success as a dramatic actor with a star-making turn in The Social Network. With the kind of “everyman” good looks required for Shazam – and a towering 6’5” frame – Hammer could do wonders as the embodiment of childhood wish fulfillment fantasies given superhero form.
And, what's more, Johnson himself recently hinted that Hammer as his personal pick for the role.
Nightwing - Channing Tatum4 of 12We're gonna pretend for a minute that the planned Gambit film isn't happening (because right now, we're not sure it still is) and say that the real perfect role for Channing Tatum is the DCU's prime eye-candy - and one of its most skilled physical characters - Nightwing.
Tatum's got the acting ability to portray the former sidekick's complicated relationship with his former mentor Batman, combined with the, uh, impressive physical assets and abilities to accurately portray Dick Grayson.
Hal Jordan & John Stewart - Jude Law & Trevante Rhodes5 of 12In considering who we'd like to see play the "buddy cop" duo of Hal Jordan and John Stewart in Green Lantern Corps, we decided to think about a pair of actors who could really mix things up and find a unique dynamic. And for that, we're looking at Hal Jordan as the more seasoned mentor of young recruit John Stewart (remember, Stewart came to the Corps after Hal, even in comic books).
And to portray that, we're thinking of Jude Law and Trevante Rhodes. Rhodes is the less proven commodity here - but with major roles in the Oscar-winning Moonlight and wildly popular Westworld, he's a star on the rise who is about to break, and who possesses the requisite attitude to turn Hal Jordan on his ear as John Stewart.
And then there's Jude Law, who is oddly due for a defining genre role. Of course he played the put-upon Watson in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movies, and pretty boy secret agent Bradley Fine in Spy, but here we're thinking of him as an older (slightly) wiser Hal Jordan who is forced to contend with a new recruit who shows some of the same brashness Hal once had.
Think Lethal Weapon - but this time, Riggs is the one who's "getting too old for this s---."
Batgirl - Emma Stone6 of 12Kind of a no brainer, right?
Yeah, she had an ill-fated turn as Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spider-Man films, but now it's time for her to take to kicking butt herself.
Stone is the perfect combination of smart and sardonic that fits Barbara Gordon to a T - and is right in line with the kind of leading lady Batgirl writer/director Joss Whedon writes for best.
Stone's got it all - star power, physical presence, range - and she's the perfect age to star as a potential sidekick to Ben Affleck's Batman.
Janet Van Dyne - Anne Hathaway7 of 12It might seem weird to pair the youthful Anne Hathaway with the aging Michael Douglas as Janet Van Dyne to his Hank Pym, but remember, Janet was fairly young when she became trapped in Ant-Man’s Quantum Realm. Judging by what we know about that admittedly odd dimension, it’s entirely possibly – even likely – that Janet would have stopped aging while trapped there.
Which means that Hathaway would be a pitch-perfect choice to play off Douglas and Evangeline Lilly as her family. Hathaway has the perfect blend of den-mother and fashionista to embody the woman who, in comic books, was the heart and soul of the Avengers. While she may not have that specific role in the films, her attitude and spirit as the winsome Wasp would be a perfect foil to the grumpy, uncompromising Hank Pym.
Catwoman - Angelina Jolie8 of 12With the drums for an Affleck-led solo Batman film continuing to beat, finding someone who could match wits - and her wiles - with the 43-year old Batman is a challenge: good thing Angelina Jolie is around.
Jolie has built a reputation for herself both on- and off-screen as uncompromising and direct, and her action film resume between the Tomb Raider movies, Salt, and the action-filled Maleficent seems to make her a - if not the - contender.
In 2010 before The Dark Knight Rises, fans buzzed about the idea of the actress playing Catwoman -- with Jolie even commenting on the speculation calling it "flattering." Anne Hathaway was ultimately cast in the role, but I'm sure for fans the catsuit would still fit the Salt star.
The idea of Jolie-as-Kyle would also mirror Affleck's casting as Bruce Wayne, leaving the door open to Jolie to possibly pursue a solo Catwoman film as star and director now that she has three films under her belt.
Jason Todd - Lucas Hedges9 of 12The DC film Universe practically has to tell the story of Jason Todd's death at this point - they've spent too much time building it up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad to leave the tale untold.
And to do that - whether it happens in Ben Affleck's solo Batman film or somewhere else - they'll need a young actor with the right attitude and intensity to portray the doomed Jason Todd. And for that, we've got our eye on Manchester By The Sea actor Lucas Hedges.
Hedges has already proven his acting chops at the young age of 20 (alongside an Affleck, no less!), and being a slightly older Robin works in his favor, considering Todd's past. Hedges also has Todd's acerbic attitude down pat - but not so much he'd be unlikable.
Now whether DC will be brave enough to venture into Red Hood territory once Jason's been put to rest, that's another story all together.
Adam Warlock - Riz Ahmed10 of 12There's no question that Riz Ahmed's star is on the rise - the one-two punch of The Night Of and Rogue One should have him on just about everyone's radar at this point.
And it's that range, along with Ahmed's physical presence and intensity that make him our choice for the inevitable role of Adam Warlock in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (presumably in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, if not earlier).
The stoic, perfectly formed Warlock has played many roles in the Marvel Universe, from missionary, to scion, to superhero, and Ahmed has the skill to pull off all of that and more - just see how wildly he swings from seemingly innocent bystander to potential murderer in The Night Of.
Ahmed is a little more straightforward a choice than Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn typically casts, but it's exactly that dichotomy that makes him a perfect counterpoint to the other Guardians.
Darkseid - Liam Neeson11 of 12The presumed “big bad” of the DC Cinematic Universe needs an actor of incredible gravitas and immense presence – after all, he’ll be playing a dark god, the ruthless ruler of an entire alien world.
So who better than Liam Neeson to menace the Justice League? Couldn’t you see the man with “particular set of skills” firing off some Omega Beams and monologuing in that baritone brogue?
Neeson’s usually the hero type, but he's played a villain on occasion - R'as Al Ghul in Batman Begins. Neither of those things preclude him from getting the call to be Darkseid; when you're looking to cast the big bad of your biggest movie, DC can't handicap their wish list at all.
Just don't tell Key & Peele's valets 'Neesons' is playing Darkseid. They're liable to hurt themselves.
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