When it comes to adapting comics, filmmakers are always at a disadvantage.  In the time it takes to make a single film, 20 to 30 issues of comics can be generated, and often, even if creators TRY to match their depictions, there will always be differences.  Wrangling actors can be even harder, with Christian Bale visibly aging throughout his Batman trilogy, and Hugh Jackman showing a lot of wear for a seemingly-immortal character like Wolverine.  When Ryan Reynolds finally gets his Deadpool movie, he will be nearly 40 years old, while reports are that Marvel Comics’ negotiations with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU fold may have snagged because Marvel wanted to recast Andrew Garfield as Spidey, and as for Ben Affleck’s Batman?  Best off we don’t open that can of worms, but it does lead to today’s casting-couch query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) was struck by how much David Tennant had aged in the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special last year, as well, asking: When it comes to live-action comic adaptations, would you rather recast the actor or deal with the problems that come with them?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. Alisha
    December 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm — Reply

    Honestly depends on multiple factors.

    I really, really liked who they recast as Bruce Banner for “Avengers” over the previous actor (not that he was too shabby either, I just liked the new guy better). Similarly, I liked the Don Cheadle better as Rhodes than I did the guy who played him in the first Iron Man film. And of course I REALLY enjoyed Kelsey Grammer as Hank McCoy over the guy who had appeared in a small TV appearance in a previous X-Men film. So sometimes a replacement can actually work out much, much better than keeping the original. After all, when it comes to comics, we’re used to changing artists and artistic styles once in a while. It isn’t that much different in comic movies changing an actor.

    But I do think there comes a time when age might hinder the belief that an actor is a certain type of character. As much as I hated the idea that Connor MacLeod was killed in the movie “Highlander: Endgame”, I also understood that the actor was getting on in years and it would be a bit difficult to keep bringing him back to a supposedly immortal character. Similarly, I can understand why James Marsters said he would only make a “Spike” movie within so many years after the end of “Buffy”. While I wouldn’t be thrilled with a recast of either of these roles, I could understand why they might be recast if they ever made new movies involving the characters. But they would have to REALLY find someone who can fill the role.

    Look at the fan series “Star Trek Phase 2/Star Trek New Voyages”. They have had to recast a few characters a few times (such as Spock), but they have made some good casting choices that I don’t feel any bumps in the transition. I do notice that it is someone else in the role, but at the same time I still feel like the character is still the character.

  2. Malone
    December 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    It really depends. Right now, I find it really hard to see anyone else than Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, hes so spot on, but would have no problem with, lets say, Hawkeye recast. Its all about how strong I see the character/actor association in my head. I would usually rather deal with aging, but after certain point, recast is necessary.

  3. Slappy
    December 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    It depends on the story they want to tell. A 40+ Iron Man works because they told stories that didn’t always matter with regards to age. Recasting Bruce Banner always worked because the story was constantly changing and a type or look didn’t matter.
    The aging Batman also worked because there was a story told about a real man without superpowers doing more than he should.

    In two different universes in two years, we will see Quicksilver drastically different, I doubt people will notice unless you are a comics fan.Personally, I loved the X-Men version.
    Recast Spidy, I don’t care. I wasn’t sold on Andrew Garfield nor did I despise him. Let’s see what happens.

  4. Oldcomicfan
    December 15, 2014 at 7:50 am — Reply

    I think it depends on the story you’re trying to tell. If you’re telling a Spidey story set early in his career, by all means, recast the role. It annoys me whenever they cast an older actor or actress in a young person’s role. (Two of the most infamous examples of this was casting Judy Garland at age 16 in the role of Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz. In the books, Dorothy was only seven or eight. The other casting choice that annoyed me was in the 1967 version of True Grit, where they cast a 22 year old Kim Darby in the role of the 14 year old Mattie Ross). However, if you’re filming a movie set later in Spidey’s career, then it’s an advantage to keep the actor who has aged in the role. A television show that is facing this problem is Game of Thrones. The characters of Sansa Stark and Arya Stark were ten and thirteen in the books, but they cast kids who were a year or so older than their roles and since they are only filming ten episodes a season, and one season a year, the actresses playing the role are now seventeen and eighteen. Sophie is now taller than most of the other adults on the cast, and Maisie has turned into a rather well developed butterball. It will be interesting to see if the producers of the show will recast the roles with children in the parts or keep trying to ignore the fact that the actresses playing the role of children are no longer kids. By the time they got to the end of the original cast Star Trek movies, I was ready to see them all go. It was painful to watch geriatric actors trying to play the role of action heroes. Even the younger cast members – Sulu and Chekov, were obviously getting rather long in the tooth, and let us not even mention Kirks receding hairline and his and Scotty’s expanding waistlines…

  5. Dan
    December 15, 2014 at 8:19 am — Reply

    i support Stephen’s “james bond” idea of recasting every few years/decade. it’s like dealing with a different creative team and their own artistic interpretation of the character. there are a few characters that will be indelibly tied to the actors, like RDJ playing Iron Man, but how is that any different from people really loving the Layton/Michelinie version of Iron Man? or Warren Ellis’s version? and how will we ever know if another actor could do Iron Man better if Disney keeps bringing Downey back til he’s 70?

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