There’s no doubt about it; Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment could do far, far worse than casting WWE pro wrestler The Miz as Booster Gold. In fact, it could be argued that to cast anyone else would be a mistake.
In a recent interview promoting his latest WWE Studios film, “Marine 5,” the Miz was asked if there was a particular superhero role he had his eye on. His first response was to lament the fact that Ryan Reynolds beat him to bringing Deadpool to theaters, but that’s fine because his next answer, DC Comics’ Booster Gold, is a much better fit. More than that, it’s the role the Miz was born to play, so much so that one can almost look at his entire career as an audition to bring the character to life.
For those unfamiliar with Booster Gold (real name Michael Jon Carter), the hero was created by Dan Jurgens for his own self-titled series in the mid-’80s. He proved popular enough to join the cast of “Justice League International” in the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis/Kevin Maguire era, where he and his best friend Blue Beetle (collectively known as as Blue and Gold) quickly became fan favorites.
A time-traveler from the 25th century, Booster is a former high school jock who hit hard times once he grew up and entered the real world. Faced with a dead end job as an after-hours janitor in a museum dedicated to superheroes of the past, Booster was presented with the opportunity to steal various gadgets and absconded to the past (our present) in order to use his knowledge of our era to become rich and famous while reinventing himself as a genuine superhero.
For those unfamiliar with the Miz (real name Mike Mizanin), the wrestler debuted in the WWE as the host of Smackdown in the mid-2000s. Though he began as a “party host” whose job it was to get the crowd cheering, he eventually moved to being an in-ring performer. Soon, he formed a tag team with fellow wrestler John Morrison, and the duo (sometimes known as “The In Crowd”) became tag team champions.
A loud-mouthed trash talker, the Miz is a former high school jock who, after graduating college, rose to fame as a cast member of MTV’s reality series “The Real World.” When presented with the opportunity to become a wrestler by way of the WWE’s own reality series “Tough Enough,” Miz rose to the occasion, and worked his way up through the WWE’s ranks to become rich and famous by reinventing himself as a top-shelf wrestler.
There’s a bit of a resemblance between the two of them, isn’t there?
Fast-forward to 2016, and things begin to get truly interesting. For the last year or so, the Miz’s performance on WWE’s “SmackDown Live” and “Raw” has been nothing less than a (most likely unintentional) audition tape for the role of Booster Gold. Booster has always been presented as a braggart, hiding his insecurities behind a mask of false confidence until, in his later appearances, he finally had enough of being treated like a joke. At this point, he essentially demanded his peers recognize that, yes, he’s every bit the hero they are. The Miz, similarly, has spent the last year of his career insisting that the fans, and more importantly former wrestler-turned-“SmackDown Live” general manager Daniel Bryan (more on him in a bit) give him the level of respect he’s earned. While the Miz’s character is, at his core, a heel (wrestling parlance for “villain”), and Booster is undeniably a hero, the parallels between the two characters are undeniable.
From the day he arrived in Metropolis, in the 20th century, Booster Gold has found himself in the shadow of Superman. While the Man of Steel doesn’t always approve of his methodology, he quickly recognized that despite his glory hound persona and consistent angling to promote himself and turn a profit from his hero work, Booster is a good person at his core, though this doesn’t prevent the two of them from clashing from time to time. And where Booster has the specter of Superman constantly looming over him, the Miz also has spent much of his career under the shadow of someone who is widely perceived as better than him — the aforementioned Daniel Bryan.
Bryan entered the WWE after Miz, but he already had a storied career in wrestling, one that stretched back several years longer than Miz’s, and was perceived by many to be one of the best in the world. From day one, the pair clashed, first with Miz being named Bryan’s mentor, a position from which he tormented and belittled the WWE newcomer, then as arch-rivals, battling in the ring to determine which truly was the better wrestler. When Bryan’s career was cut short due to injuries, he became the general manager of “Smackdown Live,” the show on which the Miz appeared, and was (for much of 2016) the Intercontinental Champion. The two clashed, with the lines between reality and kayfabe (a term for the fictional world wrestlers operate in) becoming increasingly blurred. Miz lashed out in interviews, claiming that no matter what he does, the public and other wrestlers have never respected him, a claim echoing similar speeches given throughout the years by Booster Gold. And when that appears to the Miz to fall on deaf ears, he takes another page from Booster’s book, “stealing” Daniel Bryan’s signature moves, adding them to his own repertoire in order to remake himself into a “proper” wrestler, thus (hopefully) earning the respect of his peers and, more importantly, the fans.
That the Miz’s persona has been crafted for over a decade into one that’s virtually identical to Booster Gold’s would be a bonus were he to be cast as the hero. In the world of kayfabe (or, at least, in his own mind), the Miz is a legend, a Hollywood A-lister whom the world admires and envies. He’s got the fame, the glamour and the money — all he needs to be fully complete is the respect that constantly eludes him. This description fits both his WE character, and DC’s hero, to a T.
The best part is, this doesn’t have to be idle fan-casting, or wishful thinking on the part of the Miz; Booster Gold is currently in development for a solo movie under the guidance of current DCTV overseer Greg Berlanti. Though Berlanti has been busy for the past several years running the ship on “Supergirl,” “The Flash,” “Arrow” and other shows, with “Titans” and “Black Lightning” on the way, less than a year ago he assured fans he was serious about bringing Booster to theaters.
This is where the Miz comes in. While celebrities who want to play a hero or villain in the latest DC or Marvel flick are practically a dime a dozen, few seem to be quite literally born to play the character they’re dreaming of portraying; Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool castings, appropriately enough, just don’t happen every day. But with the Miz, Warner Bros. would have a man who could — who has — lived, breathed and experienced the sort of journey Booster Gold would on the big screen.
It doesn’t hurt that the Miz isn’t a no-name actor, either. Though he may not wield the level of popularity of his fellow WWE superstar the Rock, millions (and millions!) of people tune in to see the Miz perform on a weekly basis, with millions more aware of him from his time on “The Real World,” and yes, his direct-to-video WWE movies like “Marine 5.” There may indeed be a bigger actor poised to sign with Warner Bros. for Booster Gold, but casting the Miz in the role? That would be…