The Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s lesser known properties, so there isn’t a huge build in audience for it. They’d better have a really strong lead to bring the audiences in and keep them interested while they are there.
Deadline is reporting that the casting process for the ipso facto lead of the film has begun. Five actors have been hired for “test deals” for Peter Quill, a.k.a. The Star-Lord, the half-human, half-alien leader of the team. The website states that three more are also being considered, but have not been signed test deals yet.
Who are these actors? Here, let me tell you, starting with the five test subjects:
Where Do I Know Him From?: He starred in last year’s The Thing remake, Warrior and in this years The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: He will be in the Osama Bin Laden thriller, Zero Dark Thirty, opening in limited release on December 19th.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Edgerton is a hot property in Hollywood these days. His name is often mentioned in reference to just about every major male role in just about every film in development. Someone in Hollywood likes him, but his recent film output leaves something to be desired when it comes to box office receipts.
But does he have geek cred?: Yes. He starred as the young Owen Lars (Luke’s uncle) in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. And Joe Carnahan has said that he was the first choice to play Matt Murdock in Carnahan’s aborted Daredevil reboot.
Where Do I Know Him From?: He played Royce King in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: He plays Richard Harrow in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Though born and raised in England, he is descended from Hollywood royalty–the Huston family (he’s also descended from British royalty as well, the lucky stiff). Legendary character actor Walter Huston was his great-grandfather, legendary director John Huston is his grandfather. Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston, legendary status pending, are his aunt and uncle, respectively. If talent for film is genetic, then he’s got it in spades.
But does he have geek cred?: It’s in the family. Uncle Danny played William Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Marlow in 30 Days of Night. Aunt Anjelica played Morticia Addams in The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values and had a role in Art School Confidential. And grandfather John directed Annie and voice Gandalf in the Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit and The Return of the King. For him, well, Twilight counts, doesn’t it?
Where Do I Know Him From?:He played the lead in Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe and 21.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: He plays multiple roles in Cloud Atlas, currently in theaters.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: He is arguably the most well-known of the actors who are getting tests, with a number of high profile lead roles under his belt. And while he doesn’t seem quite as rough hewn as the comic book version of the character, he should pull off the character’s roguish charm fairly well. But back in 2008, Sturgess had this to say about playing a superhero in the future: “No, I’ve never seen myself as an actor who might pass off as a superhero … and I’m amazed that I’m even being considered for the Spider-Man role. Maybe it’s my long legs … I dunno.”
But does he have geek cred?: Yes, and Marvel Comics geek cred to boot. He worked with Taymor and his Across the Universe co-star Evan Rachel Wood to workshop Taymor’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark during it’s long and arduous trek to the Broadway stage. He played Peter Parker/Spider-Man. As mentioned above, he was rumored to also be in the running for the same character in The Amazing Spider-Man before the part went to fellow Brit Andrew Garfield.
Where Do I Know Him From?: He was the star of the cult-favorite ABC TV show, Pushing Daises.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: Pace is having a busy fall movie season, with roles in Lincoln, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2, and the forthcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: I’ll have to tread carefully here, because my editor-in-chief is a huge Pushing Daises fan, but nothing I saw of him in that role made me think that he would be perfect in the role as the leader of a band of alien freedom fighters. Granted, I have not seen Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (and likely never will), but I will be keeping a keen eye on him in The Hobbit.
But does he have geek cred?: If being the star of a short-lived TV show whose small fan base is in a perpetual state of mourning over its too soon end (and hoping it will be revived in some form or another) isn’t enough to give Pace geek cred, then playing King Thranduil will surely finish the job. Also, Twilight.
Where Do I Know Him From?: He played the focal point character Colin Clark in last year’s My Week with Marilyn.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: Redmayne will be playing Marius in the eagerly anticipated adaptation of the Broadway version of Les Miserables, opening on Christmas day.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Redmayne doesn’t have an extensive resume of known work that we can judge whether or not he will be good for the part. I don’t know enough about Les Miz to know if his role in that will give us any indication either. In my mind, that means he’s pretty much a lock for this part.
But does he have geek cred?: Well, yes. He is also on the short list of potential candidates to play Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That is enough to give him some geek cred in my eyes.
In addition to these five men, Deadline states that they have heard that Marvel is also interested in three other actors for the role. They are:
Where Do I Know Him From?: He has quite an extensive film career, acting in everything from Friday Night Lights to Eragon to Country Strong to Tron: Legacy.
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: He is starring as Dean Moriarty in the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel, On the Road, which is set to open in limited release on December 21st.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Hedlund, like Edgerton, is often mentioned as a possible candidate in a number of high-profile films. He already has one franchise to his name–Tron–so he probably would be able to deal with one more.
But does he have geek cred?: Well, he was in Tron: Legacy.
Where Do I Know Him From?: He played Cyclops in the X-Men films, Richard White in Superman Returns, Prince Edward in Enchanted, need I go on?
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: He plays Liz Lemon’s boyfriend Criss on 30 Rock and had roles in Robot & Frank and Bachelorette this year.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Personally, I think Marsden is an underrated actor. I think he’s skilled at drama, comedy and action. If I had a rooting interest in this contest, my money would be on him.
But does he have geek cred?: He played Cyclops. Geek cred, established. Playing the less creepy romantic alternative for Lois Lane was just icing on the geek cred cake.
Where Do I Know Him From?: He co-starred in Animal Kingdom with Joel Edgerton (one of many wacky connections between the actors on this list. Seriously, each actor is six degrees of separation from each other).
Yeah, but is he in anything now?: Well, you would have seen him in Gangster Squad, if that film wasn’t moved back from September to January due to the Aurora shootings. But if you have Cinemax, you might have seen him in the recently completed third season of Strike Back.
What am I supposed to think about this actor?: Um, damned if I know. I can honestly say I have never seen anything he’s been in. looks the part of a space-faring rogue, though.
But does he have geek cred?: Well, he does have the lead role in the 300 sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, set to hit theaters in August. That counts, right?