Friday, April 8, 2011

From Smallville to Superman: Man of Steel

The cast for Superman: Man of Steel (2012) is forming and boy are the Smallville fans pissed. Well, at least some of them are pissed.

After all, Tom Welling wasn't cast in the role as Clark Kent/Superman and Erica Durance wasn't picked to play Lois Lane. What's worse, the actors selected aren't the names that were being tossed about the Superman/Comic Book/Fantasy blogosphere. The producers chose to select actors we never saw coming over the horizon. Let's see what we have.

(Click the photos below to see larger versions. I had to shrink them down so they didn't overwhelm the text)

Tom Welling vs. Henry Cavill. I'm not going to attempt to compare these individuals as actors. Welling has played Clark for ten years and that's (as far as I know) the only role he's been playing. Sad to say, I've not seen a single thing that Cavill has acted in, so I have no idea about him at all.

But how to these two guys compare as far as "the look"? Do you see either one in the big red cape and long blue tights? That's where it at least has to start. You have to "look" the part. We've all gotten used to Welling defining his own "Clark look" but we'll have to wait and see about Cavill. Unlike Welling, he'll have to pull off a convincing Clark and Superman. That's not easy.

Let's take Christian Bale as an example. Of all the actors that have played Bruce Wayne/Batman over the years, Bale was the only one (in my opinion) who was convincing as both. All of the other actors did a good, or at least decent Batman and a lousy Wayne or vice versa. It's hard to be both. That's Cavill's challenge. Welling will be "Superman" for maybe a few minutes screen time in the tail end of the last episode of Smallville, just to fulfill his destiny...not to really play the role.

Moving onward, how about Lois Lane? We have Durance vs. Adams. A lot really depends on how Adams will be playing Lane. I didn't like Margot Kidder's Lois because she was both an airhead and frankly, not very tough. Durance's Lane can be an airhead but at least she's got a lot of fight in her (and she looks great in a tight tank top). I think Adams has the moxie to pull off Lane, but I hope she plays her as both tough and smart. In the comic books, Lois is smart (but for most of her history, not smart enough to figure out that the guy she works with every day is really Superman).

The roles of Jonathan and Martha Kent probably generate a lot less angst than those of Clark and Lois, but since those roles have been cast in the film, we might as well examine them.

Annette O'Toole vs. Diane Lane. O'Toole is beautiful and she's able to communicate "Mom" on the screen. How about Lane, who's not that much younger than "sonny boy" Clark? Of course, she could play Martha when Clark is a boy and not appear in the film when he's a (Super)man, or she can be artificially aged, either by makeup or CGI. The main thing is that she has to convince the audience that she really is Mom. She practically has to be our Mom. I always thought of O'Toole's Martha as Mom.

John Schneider vs. Kevin Costner. I've never liked anything I've seen Costner in. I don't know. Maybe I just don't respond to his style of acting. He kind of bores me. When I first started watching Smallville, I didn't connect Schneider with his role in the Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985), thank God. Let's just say I'm not a fan of that show.

At first, I thought Schneider was a little too young and active to be Jonathan. I got used to thinking of Glenn Ford (from Superman the Movie 1978) as "Dad", but Schneider's portrayal of Jonathan as the loving but hot-tempered, hard-headed Kansas farmer quickly appealed to me. I just hope Costner can make me feel like he's the same "man of the earth" kind of guy as Schneider's Jonathan.

Oh...that's it. No more cast members (so far). I guess we still need a few other primary roles filled, such as Perry and Jimmy. Then, of course, there's the villain(s) whoever that/they will be.

I know that Smallville fans will have a difficult time making the transition. Thanks to DVD technology, they can continue to experience Welling and Durance as Clark and Lois for years to come and even ignore the new Cavill/Adams film that will be released next year.

But for this up and coming generation, especially for those people who are really young now, Smallville will be an "old" TV show and Superman: Man of Steel will be Superman. That's not evil, that's the passage of time.

One more thing. This is for Tom Welling fans. I found this photo at a fan website and thought I'd share. Oh my! Tom Welling with long hair, a beard, and carrying a few extra pounds around the middle. See? He can look like any other guy. Looking like a hero takes a lot of work. Welling's only human after all.

Just thought I'd add a bit of perspective.