Casting Couch: March News

Written by Daniel Cohen & Justin Matchick

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Casting Couch – March Round-Up

Beauty and the Beast Round up:

Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts

Thumbs Up on Gad & Thompson/Thumbs Down on Evans: I don’t understand the fascination with Luke Evans.  He’s in that Sam Worthington category of “forgettable actors who for some reason get a lot of roles.”  Gaston is a big part too, and I don’t see how Evans is going to bring the charisma and sinister quality that is needed for that character.  The other two are solid picks.  Josh Gad fits Le Fou like a glove, and it’s hard to argue with Emma Thompson in just about anything.  Isn’t Mrs. Potts the Tea Cup?  So is that going to be CG, or are we not doing the whole talking objects thing for this?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  (DC)

Thumbs Up: So far this live action adaptation seems to have gotten the casting pretty much perfect, with each of these three fulfilling their role to a T. Hobbit star Evans works well the hunky and cocky Gaston, while portly comedian Gad works perfectly as the bumbling Le Fou. Casting the incredibly accomplished Thompson as the wise and motherly Mrs. Potts is particularly inspired. All three will be joining the equally well cast Emma Watson as Belle, and this is quickly becoming a film to start getting excited about.  (JM)

Jeremy Renner Returning as Hawkeye (Captain America: Civil War)

Thumbs Spoiler Alert: This is what drives me crazy about superhero coverage these days.  Hawkeye could have easily been a death candidate for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but of course Marvel has to announce he’s in the next film, so obviously that tension is now gone.  Would it have been so terrible to hold off that announcement until a month after Avengers: Age of Ultron?  Although to be fair, no one stays dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anyway, so I suppose Hawkeye could still suffer a fake demise. (DC)

Thumbs Up: The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in large part to its excellent casting and its ability to keep these actors together across several years and films (the only notable recast was Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner after Edward Norton left, which has proven to be an improvement). Renner has been great as Hawkeye in all previous films, and I’m hoping his appearance in Civil War will be the one that finally convinces Marvel to give him a standalone film. (JM)

Channing Tatum as a Ghostbuster (Untitled Second Ghostbusters Film)

Thumbs Down On Everything Related To This New Ghostbusters Universe: There is no bigger Channing Tatum fanboy than me, but I’m going to be a big negative nancy on this whole Ghostbusters shared universe crap until I see something.  I understand Hollywood lives and breathes franchises, but I really think Ghostbusters needs to be put to rest.  It’s one of the greatest movies ever made, but it worked for its time because of the pure chemistry between those original four actors.  I just don’t think you can recapture something like Ghostbusters.  And even though I’m a big Channing Tatum fan, I fear his role in this will be too similar to what he does in the 21 Jump Street series. (DC)

Thumbs Up: Putting aside the implications that this second Ghostbusters is being made due to a lack of confidence that the all-female cast film will be a success, I think Tatum would work perfectly as a Ghostbuster. Tatum has more than proven his comedic abilities in the 21 Jump Street films, and I’m glad that he’s coming into his own as both an action star and comedy star. This role is a natural progression for him at this point in his career, and I think it’s the perfect place to start when choosing the next generation of Ghostbusters. (JM)

Ben Foster as the villain (Inferno, The Da Vinci Code Series)

Thumbs Up for the Wrong Reasons: Ben Foster is a mediocre actor.  The Da Vinci Code series is a boring, forgettable franchise.  I guess this fits. (DC)

Thumbs Down: I might be biased and just hate on everything relating to X-Men: The Last Stand (Foster played Angel in the film), but Foster has never excited me in any film I’ve seen him in. A perennial supporting actor, Foster does not seem to have the charisma to play a major villain. Then again, the Da Vinci Code series is arguably the most middle-of-the-road, milquetoast “action” series in Hollywood, so maybe he’s a perfect fit in an ass-backwards way. (JM)

Sam Strike as Leatherface (Leatherface, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel)

Thumbs I Don’t Care: I can’t say I’m familiar with Sam Strike’s work, but the idea of a prequel about the teenage Leatherface makes me want to puke in my cheerios.  Is this really necessary?  No. (DC)

Thumbs Down: Maybe it’s a prequel to the previous prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, or possibly a prequel to Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (which was a sequel to the 1974 original yet is not a prequel for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 for some reason), or it could just be a fresh restart for the series once again. Any way you slice it, Sam Strike does not seem like someone who could fill the shoes of mentally deranged murderer Leatherface. A young veteran of BBC soap opera Eastenders, Strike would have to go an extensive transformation to play a character that is as disfigured and disabled as Leatherface, something I do not believe he could do. (JM)

Eddie Murphy as Richard Pryor’s Dad (Richard Pryor Biopic)

Thumbs Up: If they made a Richard Pryor biopic years ago, Murphy would have been the only choice for this role.  It’s kind of interesting he’s now playing his dad, but it should definitely work.  When he wants to be, Murphy is a brilliant actor. (DC)

Thumbs in the Middle: Murphy had been a longtime friend of Pryor’s, starring in films like Harlem Nights with him and always listing him as a major inspiration. I’m sure he’s more than excited to play a part in the biopic of his hero’s life, but Murphy hasn’t played a dramatic character in the decade since his turn in Dreamgirls. While he got deserved praise for that performance, the 10 years after that has been one of the worst career stretches for any actor in Hollywood history. Reserved caution for this one. (JM)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in unspecified role (Fraggle Rock Movie)

Thumbs Up: Normally I wouldn’t care too much about a Fraggle Rock movie, but if JGL is involved, I’m intrigued.  I imagine this will be similar to what Jason Segal did with the Muppets, but I’m definitely more excited about JGL than I would be Jason Segal. (DC)

Thumbs Up: I’m still trying to figure how well Levitt’s acting skills will work as a Muppet, but I think I’ll support this anyway. Levitt is an absolute crowd-pleaser, and I’m glad that his involvement in the film seemed to finally jumpstart a project that had been languishing for almost a decade. Here’s hoping his transformation into a Fraggle goes smoothly. (JM)

Vivica A. Fox Returning as Jasmine Dubrow (Independence Day 2)

Thumbs Up: Sure, why not?  I’m guessing her character will serve one purpose, and that is to explain why Will Smith isn’t there. (DC)

Thumbs in the Middle: Fox wasn’t exactly the main draw of the first film, that would be the massive explosions and wise-cracking Will Smith, so her casting at this point isn’t that big of a deal. So far it’s just a nice sign that there will be at least a semblance of continuity between films. (JM)

Lana Condor as Jubilee (X-Men: Apocalypse)

Thumbs in the Middle: The actress is completely unknown, which I always support for a superhero character.  I was never the biggest Jubilee fan, but if they tone down her annoyance factor, I guess it can work.  Fireworks for a mutant power seems like it would only come in handy for one day on the calendar year. (DC)

Thumbs in the Middle: This is an absolute unknown; the adopted daughter of a newspaper columnist who’s only acting experience so far has been school plays. I’ll trust in Bryan Singer that she can play the young mutant with firework based powers, but with literally zero info on the actress I’ll have to abstain from deciding yet. (JM)

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc (Suicide Squad)

Thumbs Up: Wow, this came out of nowhere.  Definitely didn’t expect to see Killer Croc in a movie any time soon, but I’ll take it.  There’s definitely potential here for a bad ass villain.  What excites me more is the acting choice.  This role could have easily gone to “Insert Wrestler Here,” but the fact they went with an actor who did some damn good work on Lost tells me this DC Universe is heading in the right direction.  Love this casting. (DC)

Thumbs Up: Mr Eko! I’ve always been a fan of Akinnuoye-Agbaje, even after his hasty departure from Lost. Croc is a villain with a personality and look that seems to fluctuate wildly with each new interpretation of him. From being a criminal with a skin condition in the comics, to a lizard-like brute in the cartoons, to an impossibly huge monstrosity in the Arkham games, Croc is always one of Batman’s most dangerous adversaries. Akinnuoye-Agbaje will surely give the character the intensity he deserves, but he could also bring the character some rarely before seen depth. (JM)

Stephen Amell as Casey Jones (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)

Thumbs WAY Up: I was too harsh on the first Ninja Turtles film, but I still wasn’t very happy.  The fact this sequel is incorporating Bebop and Rocksteady, and now Casey Jones is starting to suck me back in.  Still waiting on a Krang confirmation.  Stephen Amell as Jones is inspired casting.  FANTASTIC CHOICE.  This guy does a great job on Arrow, and not just for a CW show.  He’s legitimately a good actor.  I can’t wait to see this guy bash thugs with hockey sticks and golf clubs.  Like I said, I’m getting suckered in again. (DC)

Thumbs Up: 110% yes. I’m a big fan of Amell and his work as Oliver Queen on Arrow, and I’m glad to see him getting bigger roles in films. Casey Jones is always a fun character in the TMNT franchise, so I’m hoping his transition to this film universe goes smoothly. I could not stand the first Ninja Turtles movie, but this casting could convince me to at least give the sequel a modicum of a chance. (JM)
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