Friday Feature: Evans Above or How I Learned To Stop Worrying About Casting And Love Superhero Films by @CartoonBeardy

It has become something of an institution in recent years: an Internet merry-go-round surrounding casting of movies. This is now commonplace, but nothing new; since the days of Scarlett O’Hara, the public have always wondered who would play their favourite character. However, thanks to the Internet, one genre seems to come under a more intense scrutiny than most: Superhero films.

What is most interesting about the whole thing is how often a casting decision is decried, seemingly instinctively, by the fans, as the person cast is: too short, too tall, too funny, too serious, etc. People seem to miss the point that the star is supposedly an actor and should be able to portray more than a single character.

It’s funny to look back through the mists of time at old archived internet pages and see the collective embolism that the fan community threw at the news that an Australian stage actor most famous for singing roles in shows like Oklahoma was due to play Marvel's ultimate anti-hero Wolverine. “He’s too tall” wailed one Ain’t It Cool talk-backer; while another was far more blunt: “Logan isn’t a dancing fag!” Yet here we are, a decade later, unable to believe that anyone other than Hugh Jackman could play that character.

Wash, rinse, repeat for: Toby Maguire in Spider-man, Daniel Craig as James Bond, Christian Bale for Batman, all the way back to Christopher Reeve in Superman; and now here we are again with Chris Evans being announced as Captain America a few days ago.

Once again the internet is going through a schism over the casting decision, on the one side sits the “he only plays frat boys” / “He’s too tongue-in-cheek to play Cap” crowd, whilst on the other is the “He was good and serious in Sunshine” / “He was the best thing in Push” /  “He can do heroic” opinions.

Who is right? Who is wrong? Who can say? For some, Evans has already failed before he’s even lifted the pen off his contract signature. Surely the proof of the pudding is in the eating?

What seems obvious with hindsight is that giving the fans what they want concerning casting of their favourite characters always ends in disaster. Meanwhile, the unknowns, the left fielders, the actors you just wouldn’t expect, can be both surprising and revelatory if supported by a good script and director. After all, who would have cast Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark a few years back? Let alone making him Sherlock Holmes two years later.

So next time a story appears on the web about a casting rumour, stay your hand, don’t unleash the fury; because outrage will give you an ulcer and do little or nothing to change the studios hive mind.

Lee has a new home for his infamous podcast: The Black Dog. Check it out.

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