With its June 19, 2015 release date fast approaching, the creative forces behind the new Fantastic Four franchise have to start making some casting announcements, and fast. The film from Chronicle helmer Josh Trank already has one cast member possibly locked down – Chronicle and That Awkward Moment actor Michael B. Jordan might be flaming on as the Human Torch. For a split second, it looked like Josh Gad, best known for his role in Book of Mormon on Broadway and for voicing Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, would be giving Jordan’s Torch a hard time as the ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing. But as with most casting rumors, those were quickly proven to be false.
If those denial tweets aren’t actually a misdirect, then it looks like Josh Gad isn’t being fitted for blue tights and a rocky hide anytime soon. With that in mind, here are five actors who could pull off Ben Grimm’s lovable cantankerousness.
The Parks and Recreation star and part-time Renaissance man not only has the stern attitude and comedic timing to pull off a role like Grimm, he actually wants the role. In his episode of Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, Offerman stated that the Thing is pretty much the only superhero he could realistically play. With Dum Dum Dugan already cast over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’d have to agree that the no-nonsense Thing might be the most natural fit for Offerman. Fingers crossed that Trank and everyone else in charge of decision-making over at Fox are WTF listeners, because it sounds like the perfect actor for the part wants the job. Plus, Offerman kinda looks like a Jack Kirby drawing.
Even though the previous two Fantastic Four films were met with mixed-to-negative reviews from the Fantastic faithful, that’s no reason to overlook The Shield leading man Michael Chiklis’ fantastic performance as the Thing in those films. In fact, if one thing worked in those two movies, it was his equally comedic and touching performance as the man inside the monster. Casting an actor from the previous iteration of the team probably won’t happen, but why fix the one thing from the original incarnation that isn’t broken?
If Michael Chiklis is out of the question, might we suggest Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris? While the actors definitely look alike, they both bring wildly different energies to their roles. With Norris, the Thing could be both a bit comedically broader and a lot more intense. On Breaking Bad, Norris turned Hank Schrader from a slightly grating douchebag to an energetic scene-stealer, tormented super sleuth, and finally a kick-ass law enforcer. Ben Grimm, the reluctant and tortured do-gooder, is in Hank Schrader somewhere, and it’s a role Norris would bring to life.
Everyone knows that Terry Crews can play a tough guy thanks to films like The Expendables 2. And everyone also knows that Crews has serious comedic chops thanks to sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris and Are We There Yet? With his current show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crews has stepped his acting game up a notch and simultaneously hits comedic notes and absurd levels of gruff intensity on a weekly basis, playing the shell-shocked Officer Terry Jeffords. The Thing has to be played by an actor that can be both instantly likable and intimidating through a thick layer of orange rock, and that’s something that Crews’ strong charisma can handle.
With actors like Michael B. Jordan, Josh Gad, Miles Teller and Allison Williams rumored for “Fantastic” roles at one point or another, it seems obvious that this reboot might be skewing a bit younger than its predecessor. If that’s the case, then Trank’s team might consider New Girl‘s resident curmudgeon, Jake Johnson. As the charmingly schlubby Nick Miller, Johnson turns in performances that range from goofily charming to sincerely grumpy every week. There are few actors on television right now that can fly off the handle like Johnson, who injects all of his startlingly real fits of rage with just enough humanity to remain likeable. If someone’s going to be annoyed by Michael B. Jordan’s Torch-y pranks, it should be Johnson.