When news broke a few weeks ago that Zack Snyder had nabbed the coveted directing gig for the new Supeman reboot, speculation immediately began as to what actor would be pulling on the tights and cape for the 300 and Watchmen director.
The new film is being produced by The Dark Knight and Inception mastermind Christopher Nolan, and Snyder has already said it will have no continuity ties to either the Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve franchise or the 2006 Bryan Singer reboot with Brandon Routh. And Armie Hammer, who played the Winklevii in The Social Network and sure as heck has the jaw for the job, has said Snyder is looking for an “middle-aged Superman” between 35 and 40 years old.
While we wait for news of a new Supes, the fan-favorite Smallville has started its final season on the CW, and Warner Animation and DC Comics continues to release really solid, entertaining entries in its DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. Recent titles include Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, and Batman: Under the Red Hood (on DVD and Blu-ray).
The latest is Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (currently available from redbox), which follows the arrival on Earth of Kara, the new Supergirl (Firefly and Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles‘ Summer Glau), and her abduction and corruption by Darkseid (Andre Braugher), the evil Lord of the fiery war planet Apocalypse. There’s even more Girl Power on hand, as Wonder Woman and Big Barda also get roped into battle–but be warned, like the other DC Universe titles, Apocalypse is created for teen viewers. (Kara refers to Kevin Conroy’s Batman as “Grumpy Ass.”)
So now is a good time to look at some of the more famous actors who’ve played the Big Blue Boy Scout in the past and then look to the future. And let’s hear your picks in the comments below as to your favorite Superman actors and your wish list for Snyder and Nolan’s re-imagining.
- Bud Collyer — Voiced the amazingly cool ’40s cartoon shorts by Max Fleischer. (Find ‘em! Watch ‘em!)
- Kirk Alyn — From the ’40s movie serials, the first live-action appearance of the character.
- George Reeves — Beloved (and tragic) star of the ’50s TV show The Adventures of Superman.
- Danny Dark – He voiced Superman in the classic ’70s Saturday-morning Superfriends cartoon!
- Christopher Reeve — Probably the most famous Supes of our time, from the excellent Superman and Superman II.
- Dean Cain — The TV Superman of the ’90s, playing opposite Teri Hatcher in the romantic comedy Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
- Tim Daly — Has voiced the animated Superman since 1996, including Apocalypse.
- Tom Welling — Finishing up his 10th and final season as young Clark Kent on TV’s Smallville. Does that mean the last episode will finally show him in the tights and cape?
- Brandon Routh — An Iowa boy like George Reeves, Routh was plucked from obscurity for Bryan Singer’s 2006 big-screen reboot.
- Ben Affleck — No, he never actually played Big Blue (though Kevin Smith always championed him for the role, and he was in the running for the new directing job), but he did play George Reeves in the very well-done 2006 drama Hollywoodland that asked “Did Reeves commit suicide or was he murdered?”
- Henry Cavill – The British actor from Stardust and The Tudors has been popping up on lists
- Matt Bomer — Texan TV actor (Chuck, White Collar), also getting casting buzz
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt — I love the (500) Days of Summer and Inception actor, Nolan loves him (rumors swirled he’d play the Riddler in the next Batman movie), but is he just too skinny?
- Armie Hammer — The Social Network‘s super-WASP twins says he (and the others?) are too young for what Snyder and Nolan have in mind
- Jon Hamm — So does that leave the acclaimed Mad Men star as the frontrunner?
Forget the “rumored” casting lists–who would YOU pick to play The Man of Steel?