Recently, it was reported that Denzel Washington was open to playing a Marvel Comics Universe or DC Extended Universe character. Geek forums responded by theorizing about which role would fit one of the finest actors working today.
Being a geek myself, I gotta weigh in.
Here’s how I got to my notion.
First off, forget race based consistency casting. First off there are hardly any black characters to choose from (although it is thankfully improving) and those that do exist aren’t the A list tier (aside from the recently elevated Black Panther who was himself only a C list character before his explosive cinematic debut). A thespian of Denzel’s level needs a great role, not something like Cyborg (in general I think the Justice League as a group sucks. I do like some of the members on their own but Cyborg is just lame; he’s like War Machine’s uncool little brother).
But, conversely that doesn’t mean an A list character is the best fit. Marvel, with the Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises, has established that gold can be mined from source material that never inspired the print comic book consumer population.
I want something fresh for Denzel.
So forget a good guy. That’s predictable and Denzel showed his outstanding ability to play the heel in Training Day.
Some of you might say if you wanna go really bold let’s make him play a female comic book character. Actually none of you are probably saying that but regardless I don’t think we’re ready for that moment. Even though Shakespeare was doing that centuries ago.
The next question is DC or Marvel.
DC has plenty of iconic villains. But I don’t think Denzel’s severe, foreboding style matches bad guys like The Joker or The Riddler or even Lex Luthor. Secondly, DC has had very few good movies. Other than the first two installments in Christopher Nolan’s bat trilogy, I can’t think of another good DC movie. Yes, Wonder Woman was nothing special. Don’t @ me. Frankly, until DC delivers another great movie I wouldn’t send any great actors their way.
So we’re down to a Marvel villain. They say when you’re taking the SAT you will likely encounter a difficult question. You have no idea which box to check but despite that something pops into your mind. They say that magical first instinct is often right.
Here’s what popped into my head.
A Kingpin prequel. Daredevil’s archenemy has a take no shit, brook no nonsense personality. Even though he is physically imposing his very personality bristles with danger and power. I have nothing against Vincent D’Onofrio and his portrayal of Kingpin in the Netflix series. Well, I don’t have anything against his acting mostly. But I do have an issue with the direction.
The show’s writers made Kingpin throws mentally awkward guy who was clumsy around the woman he loved. This is not the Kingpin of my youth. The last thing that Kingpin would be is insecure. Kingpin needs to be played with utmost confidence and no forgiveness in his heart.
I’m tempted to suggest a Darth Vader type prequel where the well meaning young Wilson Fisk. I don’t like how they portrayed the young Fisk on the Netflix show. How many times has a villain had a traumatic childhood? It’s always that way. Can’t we do something different?
We can. Let’s drop into Kingpin’s early 20’s. Let’s make him a cubicle serf working a boring, shitty paying job. I’m not sure what the event should be that sends him on his path to organized crime greatness. That’s for good writers to decide.
And I definitely don’t want them putting Denzel in a fat suit. Besides being race blind, let’s work with some new physical aesthetics.
Denzel’s slow burn steely determination would power the Kingpin to new levels. Seeing him transform from an Everyman to The Man would be an entertaining and challenging acting mission.
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