Five Actors Ready to Rock as The Thing

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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.

Nick Offerman

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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.

Michael Chiklis

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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?

Dean Norris

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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.

Terry Crews

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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.

Jake Johnson

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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.

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Comments

  • Matt_O_Steele

    Jake Johnson as Thing. Definitely would have to agree with this.

  • shaunn

    IMHO, terrible choices here, except for Terry Crews. I’d go with him. I liked Michael Chiklis, but I also think he was physically too small to be the Thing.

  • Alex Evans

    isn’t the Thing rumoured to be entirely CG in the new movies? If so, how physically large an actor is doesn’t really matter.

  • beefsquatch

    I agree that Terry Crews would make a good Thing. He’s in great shape. He’s also got great comedic timing, essential when you consider the FF to be a screwy family. I’m also willing to say that, in this case, color blind casting might be a good thing. I mean, Thing’s always been a white Jewish guy underneath, but we usually just see the rocky hid anyway.

    My real problem, though, is age. He’s about 10 years too old for the part. In fact, except for Jake Johnson, all of those actors are just too old. Unless the character’s going to be all CG, they’re going to have to choose an actor who can possible stick with it for at least a three (3) picture deal. Crews would be ~55 by the end of picture FF3. Not exactly too old to be an action star, but still.

    They could skew a little younger, as they originally did with Hugh Jackman, and pick an actor who’s 30-35. Equally possible, they could skew a bit older, as they did with RDJ, and pick an established actor 40-45.

    The advantage of the former is they they could potentially run with him for 7 movies, as they did with Wolverine. The disadvantage is that his price will climb once the intial deal is up. The advantage of choosing a more established actor is that star power sells. The disadvantage is that his shelf life is shorter and he comes with a price tag that may include points.

    Personally, I’d rather they go the younger route. Assume that Ben & Reed were friends in college. That’d make them 22 by the time the graduate. Let a decade pass before their origin story and Ben would probably be 32. That puts you square in the middle of that 30-35 casting range.

    My choices, in no particular order:

    1. Aaron Paul – We already that he can act. A little extra time in the gym and I’d easily buy him as a former college football star.
    2. Charlie Hunnam – Pacific Rim sold me on him as a top contender.
    3. Nick Zano – Much of of a TV guy, but he can act and does have an athletic build.

    It’s also imporant to keep in mind that they shouldn’t choose somebody too tall. Thing is NOT the Hulk. He’s only about 6′. Chiklis, though too old for the part now, wasn’t actually a bad height. 5’7″ seems a little small, but with 1/5″ of costume in all directions, he was probably closer to 5’10″ on on film, pretty close to Ioan Gruffudd’s Mr. Fantastic.

    Whichever actor gets chose, he’s going to get a 3″ height bump on screen. For the article’s actors, that’d be (in order): 6’2″, 5’10″, 5’10″, 6’6″, 6’1″.

  • beefsquatch

    Thing’s not large. He’s only 6″. Unless you’re casting somebody extremely tall or tiny, most actors will fit the bill.

    The actor’s height will matter for the origin bit though. That’s when you’ll need to put a human face to the character.

  • Mitch Cumstein

    The ONE thing that worked? Chiklis? Yeah Chris Evans sucked as the Torch. Luckily they changed that role completely and without any controversy either!

  • Andy Synn

    John Goodman.

    Yes, there’s a lot of issues there… but when I read The Thing, I always hear his voice as John Goodmans’s.

  • ComucFanSince1971

    Why does Johnny Storm have to be black (Michael Jordan)? Does this mean his sister Sue is going to be played by a black actress? Or by a white actress and then we have to have some complicated backstory about their parents to explain why they are different races? Or are Johnny and Sue NOT brother and sister now and they are changing the family dynamic aspect of the FF? If you must cast a black actor, make it Ben Grimm. Don’t change Johnny & Sue just to “update” them by making one or both black!

  • animalvegtablemineralman

    Holy shit, I never care for “dream casting” lists, but Jake Johnson would be amazing

  • Tommy Monaghan
  • SlamAdams

    Jake Johnson is probably the most inspired name on the list and, as far as age goes, workable (~10 years difference between Johnson and Miles Teller, and the original origin at Reed as a child prodigy who was ~25 by the time of the accident, so Ben, his college roommate might be the much older than him).

    Your description of Jake Johnson’s comedy style just made me realize he may have been the best choice for Raphael in a Ninja Turtles movie.

  • SlamAdams

    Why is it ok to make Ben Grimm black but not Johnny and Sue?

  • lewis4510

    How about none of the above. And not doing this at all. Because the more I hear about this the more it smells like another Green Lantern or Ghost Rider level fiasco.

  • Brobot

    I normally don’t do this, but all of the recent FF news has made me VERY nervous. Also, this has been building up inside me, and I just had to let it out:

    Mr. Fantastic – Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
    Thing – Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond)
    Invisible Woman -Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
    Human Torch -Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles)
    Dr. Doom – Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)
    Mole Man – Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens)
    Lucia Von Bardas – Jessica Walter (Arrested Development)