The Casting Couch: May & June Round-Up

Written by Daniel Cohen and Justin Matchick

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Captain America: Civil War Round Up

Martin Freeman in an unspecified role
Paul Rudd returning as Scott Lang/Ant-Man

Thumbs Up on Freeman/Thumbs TBD on Rudd: The Avengers 3, I mean Captain America: Civil War (my apologies), is certainly growing in cast and character.  Martin Freeman was one of the few tolerable elements from The Hobbit trilogy, so that’s a good addition.  I’ve never been a big Paul Rudd fan, and the trailers for Ant-Man don’t exactly fill me with confidence.  He looks about as charismatic and excited to be Ant-Man as I am to be watching Ant-Man, but to be fair, I haven’t seen it yet, so we’ll see if I want Paul Rudd immediately back for Captain America: Civil War(DC)

Thumbs Up: The success or failure of Ant-Man is yet to be seen, but it’s nice to know that Marvel has at least enough confidence in Rudd to expect him to be popular enough for an appearance in Civil War. Freeman’s role is still largely unknown at this point, but I enjoyed him enough in The Hobbit films that I imagine he will do just fine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is of similar size and scope. (JTM)

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Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One Round Up

Ben Mendelsohn as the primary antagonist

Diego Luna in an unspecified role

Thumbs WAY Up on Mendelsohn/Thumbs Up on Luna:I’ve stated before how I’m beyond excited for the primary Star Wars series, but when it comes to these spin-offs, I’m a huge negative nancy.  This casting news does inspire confidence though. Ben Mendelsohn is a hugely underrated actor who was excellent as Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises playing a real slime ball.  He was also fantastic in the criminally underrated The Place Beyond the Pines.  Him as a villain significantly raises the profile of this film.  I haven’t seen much of Luna, but he’s been good in spurts, so I’m curious to see what he can do when given a big movie. (DC)

Thumbs in the Middle: I don’t know much about Mendelsohn’s work outside of a small part as the villainous Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises, so I’ll have to pass on judging him for the role. But Diego Luna is a vastly underrated actor (especially in the often overlooked film Criminal), and I’m happy to see him get a part in such a big film. (JTM)

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Samuel L. Jackson as a biochemistry professor (The Blob Remake)

Thumbs Up: It’s Samuel L. Jackson playing a biochemistry professor in The Blob remake. Sure, why not?  At some point, I would like to see Samuel L. Jackson in a real acting role. Just once, it would be nice to see him not play a cartoon. (DC)

Thumbs Up: As long as Jackson performs each line at the top of his lungs I will love this. With luck this will join Deep Blue Sea and Snakes on a Plane in the genre of “bad horror movies improved by a scene where Samuel L Jackson yells loudly.” (JTM)

Reese Witherspoon as Tinkerbell (Tink)

Thumbs Up: Believe it or not, I think there are two competing Tinkerbell projects in development, the other being with Melissa McCarthy. Normally I wouldn’t care, but Reese Witherspoon playing Tinkerbell fits her like a glove. She’ll certainly be better than Julia Roberts was in Hook. Ugh. (DC)

Thumbs Up: Witherspoon is hoping to continue her career uptick after her Oscar nomination in last year’s Wild. Disney seems to be going full steam ahead in its mission to turn every one of their animated classics into a live-action film, and now it seems that Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell is the next character due for an adaptation. Witherspoon has proven to be a great actress when it comes to both comedy and drama, and this role will likely tap more into her Legally Blonde comedic side than anything else. Disney has been pretty spot on in casting these live-action remakes so far, and hopefully this continues the streak. (JTM)

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Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One (Doctor Strange)

Thumbs WAY Down: I have nothing against a good female actress playing a role that is mean’t for an elderly Asian man. If she fits how the character is written, then go for it. Here’s my issue: In my opinion, this is typical Kevin Feige MCU over thinking it. This smells of Ben Kingsley being cast as a fake villain. It’s obnoxious and overly clever. Is it really necessary for Tilda Swinton to play this character? If the casting makes sense when I see the movie, I’ll admit I was wrong. For now though, it feels like the biggest stunt casting of all time. They just want to get people talking about the movie.  Credit to them from a business perspective, but as a moviegoer, I’m calling BS. Also, just as a side rant, can we all calm down with Tilda Swinton’s performance in Snowpiercer. She was fun, but an Oscar nomination? Really? Cut me a break.  (DC)

Thumbs Up: Swinton is a bit of an odd choice to play a Tibetan man that is hundreds of years old, but she’s known for being able to adapt to roles well beyond her age and gender (like in Grand Budapest Hotel and Constantine, respectively). This did get me thinking that, since I am still not on board with Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange, I would much rather have seen Swinton playing the title role in this Marvel film. (JTM)

Chris Pine as Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman)

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Thumbs Up: I’m a big Chris Pine fan, and this casting fits him like a glove. My only disappointment with Pine as Trevor is that I would have loved to of seen him play a DC superhero. This guy should have been Hal Jordan, for crying out loud! But Trevor is an important part of the DC Universe, so I’m excited we”ll see him in Wonder Woman, and most likely Justice League. (DC)

Thumbs Up: Pine has been excellent as the new Captain Kirk in the Star Trek films, so I’m happy to see him joining the soon-to-be DC Cinematic Universe. Steve Trevor’s importance in the world of Wonder Woman varies greatly depending on the source material, but with a big-name actor like Pine in the role I’m sure he’s being set up to play a significant part. (JTM)

William Fichtner as a General Adams (Independence Day Resurgence)

Thumbs in the Middle: Before Ninja Turtles, this would have sat better with me, but after seeing Fichtner completely mail that role in, I’m expecting more of the same for this franchise. (DC)

Thumbs in the Middle: Fichtner has always been a great character actor and, although this doesn’t seem to be a huge part, will probably be a nice part of the cast. Nothing to get super enthusiastic about, but nothing to sneeze at either. (JTM)

Dwayne Johnson as Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China Remake)

Thumbs Down: I’ve actually never seen Big Trouble in Little China, but I’m opposed to all remakes as a rule of thumb. They are worthless money grabs.  We aren’t there yet, but Dwayne Johnson better be careful about over exposure. (DC)

Thumbs Down: All apologies to Johnson because he seems to be incredibly enthusiastic about this movie (going so far as wanting original director John Caprenter to come back and help make the film), but I really can’t see the benefit in remaking such a great cult classic. Carpenter has already expressed his ambivalence about the idea of a remake, and if they don’t continue the joke from the original of Jack Burton actually being a terrible action hero they will really have dropped the ball. Johnson has great action and comedy skill, but I wish they were put to better use than this. (JTM)

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Chris Hemsworth as the receptionist (Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters)

Thumbs WAY WAY Down: I love the idea of this! Casting a muscular meat head as the Ghostbusters’ receptionist for the female team is hilarious. Unfortunately, they got the wrong guy. I’m sorry, Chris Hemsworth is not a good actor. He was fantastic in the first Thor because of Kenneth Branagh. Everything I’ve seen him in since has been mediocre to bad. And since Brangah left, his performance as Thor has been forgettable and boring. The reason this gets the extra “WAY DOWN” is because you need someone who can actually do comedy in this role. We’ll see what happens with Vacation later this summer, but what evidence do I have that Hemsworth can do comedy? Sure, it will be a funny sight gag for a scene or two, but if you got a meat head who can actually be funny too, this could be gold! I know Channing Tatum was rumored for another Ghostbusters film, but he would have been perfect for this. I also think if you didn’t go the athletic route, Jonah Hill could have worked wonders as a Ghostbusters receptionist. Bottom-line: Great idea, bad choice. (DC)

Thumbs Up: I’m still up in the air over this Ghostbusters remake, but this seems like a really fun piece of casting. Taking over the role of Janine from the original films, Hemsworth’s comedic skills aren’t really well known. But I do love the funnier scenes in the Thor movies and I did love his appearance on SNL earlier this year, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say this is a good idea. (JTM)

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Thumbs Wake Me Up in Two Years: I’ll let other people rant and rave, hem and haw, and have panic attacks over this. Call me in two years. (DC)

Thumbs Undecided: This is a bit out of left field as I have never seen any of the movies that Holland has been in before, which leaves me at a loss to say whether he’ll be good or bad for the part. I will say though that he is easily the youngest looking person to play Spider-Man so far, which makes him a bit more believable as a high schooler than Tobey MaGuire or Andrew Garfield ever were. (JTM)
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