The Superman movie has a director, writer, and producer. But who should be the star?

Superman-movie-castImage Credit: Anthony G. Moore/PR Photos; Michael Tran/FilmMagic.com; Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosWith the news that Zack Snyder won the derby to direct the newest Superman movie — produced by Christopher Nolan, written by David S. Goyer, and aiming for a holiday 2012 release — now comes the next, biggest round of wild media speculation: Who should don the Man of Steel’s red and blue tights? So let’s just get to it, shall we? Here are ten actors who could soon find themselves leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Henry Cavill
Why he’s perfect: He’s already been through this once before, back around 2004 when McG, and then Bryan Singer, were attached to direct a new Superman movie. Since then, he’s developed a cult fanbase thanks to Showtime’s The Tudors, but he’s still not so well-known that his star power would overwhelm the role. I mean, just look at him (he’s at the far left): The guy kinda comes off like he was built in a lab to play Superman.
Why he’s not: He’s already been through this once before, and Warner Bros. went with someone else. Plus, it does seem kinda odd to cast a Brit as someone who stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 2 to 1

Jon Hamm
Why he’s perfect: There’s not an leading male actor today who cuts a more classically heroic profile than Hamm, and his winning smile rarely if ever gets a showcase on Mad Men. His age (he’s 39) could be seen a detractor, but Snyder’s last two live-action movies practically made a fetish of separating the men from the boys, and Hamm is all man.
Why he’s not: Last spring, during the previous who-will-play-the-superhero sweepstakes (this one was for Captain America), Hamm had this to say to MTV: “It’s a tricky road to go down with some of those heroes, because they’re not flawed. Superman is Superman — he’s invincible, so where’s the drama?” Plus, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner would likely frown upon his leading man suddenly disappearing to transform his body into superhero shape. Straight businessmen in the 1960s did not have abs.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 4 to 1

Armie Hammer
Why he’s perfect: The timing could not be better for Hammer’s career-launching turn as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network — you better bet every casting director in town has moved his head shot to the top of their “leading man/superhero” pile. His height (6′ 5″) is right, he looks the part, and the visual effects process to play the Winklevi has certainly trained Hammer to deal with the effects-heavy role. Then there’s the fact that Social Network co-stars Andrew Garfield and Rooney Mara have gone on to land marquee roles as Spider-Man and Lisbeth Salander, respectively — a casting coup hat trick makes a certain kind of cosmic sense.
Why he’s not: At 24, he’s awfully young. And his Nordic good looks aren’t the best fit for the traditionally black-haired Superman.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 4 to 1

James Wolk
Why he’s perfect: He’s handsome, charming, a strong actor, and for the 4 million people who actually watched him on Fox’s recently canceled Lone Star, immediately appealing. Shockingly, this is not nearly as common a collection of traits in a leading man as you would think, and Hollywood always takes notice when an actor pops up who can pull it all off.
Why he’s not: Lone Star‘s anemic ratings and eventual cancellation don’t exactly speak well to Wolk’s immediate audience appeal.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 5 to 1

Tom Welling
Why he’s perfect: He’s kinda been auditioning for the role for the past 10 years on Smallville, and with the show ending its ten-year run (!) this season, he’s finally available to take it to the big screen.
Why he’s not: The feature film could feel like The Smallville Movie, a prospect that wouldn’t likely appeal to a studio seeking a global blockbuster. And who’s to say Welling isn’t ready to move on to non-Clark Kent roles?
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 8 to 1

Nathan Fillion
Why he’s perfect: C’mon, you gotta admit this is a pretty inspired idea. Fillion’s rakish good humor could be exactly the jolt of energy the franchise needs, and any Firefly fan can tell you he’s got the heart-stirring heroism thing in the bag.
Why he’s not: He could come off as too ironic for the part, and his kinda anemic feature film career could have Hollywood convinced his charms belong on television, not on the big screen.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 10 to 1

Ben Affleck
Why he’s perfect: He’s in the best shape of his life, and he’s successfully rehabilitating his reputation with audiences with The Town.
Why he’s not: Playing a costumed superhero doesn’t really square with the Ben 2.0 career reboot, and the less said about Daredevil the better.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 20 to 1

Ryan Reynolds
Why he’s perfect: He played Deadpool last summer, and he’ll play Green Lantern next summer. Why not pile on another superhero franchise?
Why he’s not: If DC Comics and Warner Bros. have any plans for creating a unified superhero cinema universe à la Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, Reynolds can’t be Hal Jordan and Clark Kent. The multiverse would simply implode.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 100 to 1

Nicolas Cage
Why he’s perfect: He’s a comic book fanatic who almost got the part when Tim Burton flirted with directing a Superman movie in the late 1990s. He very well could be ringing up Zack Snyder as you read this.
Why he’s not: Uh. No.
Odds he’ll actually be considered: 250 to 1

Brandon Routh
Why he’s perfect:
He acquitted himself quite well in 2006’s Superman Returns, a film that deserves a second consideration.
Why he’s not:
From all reports, Nolan and Goyer are starting fresh. Sorry, dude, looks like you’re out of luck, but at least you were great in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Odds he’ll actually be considered:
500 to 1

Who gets your vote, PopWatchers?

Read more:
‘Superman’ director Zack Snyder on the Man of Steel: ‘He’s the king of superheroes.’


Comments (397 total) Add your comment
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  • Allison

    Why isn’t Matt Bomer on this list? He’s perfect for it.

    • Nate

      my thought exactly

      • mary q contrary

        How about Nicholas Hoult? Or a dark-haired Skarsgard? Let’s think outside the box a little, people!

      • Eralane

        Why not Victor Webster, He’s 6’3″, he has a black belt in tae kwon do, he’s already built like superman, he already looks like superman.

      • C Men

        What the he ll does a black belt in tae kwon do have to do with Superman?

      • Eralane

        it means he can handle all the physical rigors of stunts and fighting.

    • Jessica

      I agree. I’ve never seen White Collar, but he seems perfect for the part.

    • Briana

      Yes! I would pay money just to see him!

    • Snsetblaze

      Both are good suggestions. I’d also add Lee Pace.

    • Melody

      I was thinking Matt Bomer as well.

    • Dn

      Boner is short, so that’s a definite, no.

      • Jenna

        He’s 5’11.5″…

    • Sam and Freddie FOREVER

      FAIL – it has to be Brandon Routh

    • tia

      My vote is for Christopher Gorham. He can do nerdy (Ugly Betty) for Clark Kent, and hot and built (Covert Affairs) for Superman.

    • Allison

      Oooh, good thinking on Matt Bomer. Yum.

    • Elicia

      My thoughts exactly… Matt Bomer is perfect for the role!!!

    • murley

      always, always joseph gordon-levitt

    • Rashad

      I think Brandon Routh should play Superman again. Ryan Reynolds should DEFINITELY NOT play him because he already playing two other superheroes.

    • thorswitch

      Great, great, great suggestion! Bomer has incredible charisma and a wonderful, easy wit about him. The only real drawback I see is that he might just be a bit TOO handsome to pull off the “plain” Clark Kent part of the role. It’s going to take more than a pair of glasses to make him look more like he blends in, you know? Still, I’d go see him in Superman in a heartbeat!

      • Javabooknut

        I always said that about Tom Welling. The man is beautiful. But with the right amount of awe shucks he pulled it off. Matt Bomer probably could too. What about a beefed up Zack Levi. Oh I love him.

    • Lois

      I love this. I was just discussing this with my mild-mannered alien boyfriend. We met at Extraterrestrialdating dot com.

    • Amber

      And Bomer already won the part once. Be cool to actually see him play Superman.

    • Gazza

      love JGL, but I don’t think he’d be able to get to the phisique required to play Superman :(… he’d better be in Batman 3 though…

    • Gazza

      btw totally agree with tia, Christopher Gorham is a good choice

    • Michael

      Matt Bomer is semi-openly gay man, hate to say it but there is no way in hell they’re going to give a possible franchise this big to him. I’d love to see it but never going to happen. Save all the “it shouldn’t matter” bs, the fact is this is hollywood and it’s a huge franchise, one that is big with straight guys, most straight guys won’t be able to wrap their heads around him as lead

      • Lisa London

        I was just thinking that. Sad reality…

      • Real Jersey Jeff

        Plus he has the body of a teenage girl.

      • PJM

        Being gay won’t disqualify you from playing Superman. He’s been a leading man for too long for that to bother people. Being only 5’11” and skinny would. Plus, I don’t think he can pull off the Clark Kent aspects of it.

      • @ Real Jersey Jeff

        If Matt Bomer has the body of a teenage girl… then I guess I’m not gay. His body is amazing. Sidenote to PJM: Matt Bomer was set to play Superman before Brandon Routh, it’s obvious he lost the part for one dumb reason. He could do a top-notch job, but who am I kidding? John Ham is Superman incarnate.

      • Ben LA

        Bomer stunning and too good for Supe role – career wise he is destined for better, ‘deeper’ parts. He was lucky in the end not to get it originally – didn;t do much career wise for Routh…

    • James

      I’m so glad others thought of Matt Bomer as well. When I first read this article, his name instantly popped into my head and I was surprised he wasn’t included on this list. (I wouldn’t mind Cavill for the part either)

    • kellybelly

      I think they should give Brandon Routh a try again. My question: Why are they redoing this movie…AGAIN.
      Granted Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns was a horrible movie. But Brandon was good.
      Other than that — an unknown is the way to go.
      (And Matt Bomer is NOT the way to go…he’s not tall enough. He’s about 5’6″)

      • elr

        That was my sentiment when I read this. Why are they doing ANOTHER Superman movie? Where can they go with the story? I couldn’t stand Superman Returns mainly because it was nothing but a rehash of the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeves and Gene Hackman. I don’t think the world needs another Superman movie.

      • BBW

        Um, make that a shade under 6 foot for Bomer’s height. Making ridiculous statements like “5’6″ just makes you look silly.

        That said, Bomer is too good for this role. They’ll go with someone more ordinary, mark my words.

    • Kvivik

      Chris Gorham…totally. But he needs a strong supporting cast. Don’t think he has the chops to carry the whole movie.

    • harry

      Brandon Routh

    • harry

      these are who i would vote for:

      Brandon Routh

      Henry Cavill

      Jon Hamm

      • Timmy

        Henry Cavill

    • William 21

      DWAYNE JOHNSON would be perfect as Superman. Groundbreaking and brilliant. The Great One as the Man of Steel. (and go with Ed O’Neil as Perry White!)

    • Sad Keanu

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt? NO. Just no.

    • Vicki

      Matt Bomer. My thoughts exactly.

    • Jaimelyn Gray

      Entertainment Weekly spoke on Matt as Superman several years back. I still have the issue (mostly because I once went fishing with him and a friend in Utah way back in 1998.) But if they considered him, I sure wish he’d put some weight back on.

    • G

      I’m sick and tired of hearing Jon Hamm’s name all the time.. he’s WAY too old, and too hairy. All I can think about when I hear his name is “5 O’Clock Shadow Superman”

    • V

      Interestingly, he was originally considered for Superman Returns, but a director change gave that part to Brandon Routh…

    • Eralane

      VICTOR WEBSTER please

      • Uh

        Same problem as Bomer. Openly gay, Hollywood won’t risk a franchise on that.

    • reason

      Dean Cain!!

    • Jake

      Yes. Matt Bomer

    • K

      @Lois – that was hilarious….so subtle I don’t know if anybody got the genius of that…

    • Garrett

      MATT BOMER IS SUPERMAN !!!!!

    • june

      YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS PLEASE! MATT BOMER. Have you seen the man in glasses? Or that Japanese commercial? He IS Superman!

  • Welling4Superman

    Cavill isn’t big enough, Hamm is too old, Hammer is too boyish…TOM WELLING is this generations SUPERMAN!

    • Brian

      Agreed! But only if he comes with Erica Durance as Lois Lane.

      • Laura

        Could not agree more.

      • viddingwithkyle

        Why not add Chloe and the Green Arrow while you’re at it? Uh, then it would be the Smallville movie. They’re trying to re-boot the franchise not continue another one.

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      I’d LOVE to see Tom as Superman but I doubt he would do it.

      • JaySin420

        Welling recently said he’d love to do it if given the chance. He may be tired of the role but he’d never turn down that type of money.

        I actually doubt any actor would turn down this role right now with Nolan running things.

    • Dn

      Welling just needs to learn to act. And fin some charisma. Posing in a trench coat or brooding won’t cut it.

      • Welling4Superman

        Welling has shown he can act. Lazarus had some pretty moving, dynamic scenes! He’s so much improved!

      • EJ

        He can act and he has plenty of charisma.

      • cs

        i love it. “No Charisma”??… 2 words: ten seasons. It would be poetic for him to take the role to the big screen. Oh, and those who suggested Matt Bomer, or Victor Webster… great idea but they both look like pricks (not saying that they actually are). But no good for the Big S.
        And Hamm is way too old. Perfect for Alex Ross maybe but not for a franchise that wants to do multiple films.

    • EJ

      Definitely my first choice

    • Robert

      Agree with you again my friend.
      Tom Weling for Superman he is our next and last Supermasn

  • Annie

    Brandon Routh was perfect for the role and still is.

    • HC

      agreed.

      • KISSman

        I also agree. The guy was a great Christopher Reeve-like Superman.

        I just don’t fully buy into the idea that audiences are perfectly fine with continually changing who plays these superhero characters — especially when only a few short years separates the films.

        Routh wasn’t the problem with the last film; he was the best part about it.

    • Cris

      Wow. Which movie were you watching? Routh was as much an embarrassment to the part as the movie was to the Superman canon.

      • J

        REALLY? What movie were you watching? Routh owned that film. Combined with the great work he recently did on Chuck and there’s no way he doesn’t deserve to return. Barring that, I’d go with the older Hamm over any other suggestions. Unfortunately, Smallville actually hurts Welling in this case.

    • C

      i’m sorry Cris but it has to be Brandon Routh still. he’s built for the part and looks like a young Christopher Reeves. plus, it’s only been a few years… changing the person now is like changing the weather. some people actually LIKE him, thank you.

      • wino

        Routh was OK, I doubt there be a backlash if he didnt receive the role. People are going to see this movie with or without him. Having said that, was the point of relacing him? Unless studio heads feel like new, fresh meat might be better for the franchice or a bigger name could bring in more fans? Its hard to say, sometimes these execs think with their arse, not heads.

    • Dave

      Absolutely – Brandon Routh was perfect and still is Superman/Clark Kent.

    • Michelle

      I agree. I thought Brandon was a fantastic Superman. It’s not his fault the story was crap.

  • Chappel

    2-in-1? 250-in-1? Those are some pretty strange looking odds.

  • Bre

    I thought the same thing with Matt Bomer, since he was considered when Brett Ratner was the director for Superman Returns. But it seems like there is a Superman curse, I would rather leave Matt at White Collar.

    • Marissa.

      Bomer is just a cheap Henry Cavill anyway.

      • Lucy

        Matt Bomer is a rich man’s Henry Cavill

  • kris

    Out of this list? Henry Cavill. definitely.

    • m

      i totally agree.

  • Leah

    My inner fangirl is currenty experiencing some crazy cognitive dissonance in considering both Nathan Fillion and Tom Welling for the role. Annuerism is likely.

    • Liz

      Nah I like to think as Tom Welling just as clark. I dont want to see him as the man of steal not that he couldnt pull it off. Fandom just tells me he is clark. For some reason I have been thinking Cory Monteith but just cuz he has the build

      • Ugh

        I’m just going to have to sound sexist here. . . no way around it; but all the women here suggesting Joseph Gordan Levitt, Christopher Gorham, Nathan Fillion or Cory Monteith need to step away from the computer. This is SUPERMAN, not Teen Vogue or Tiger Beat! What’s next a Jonas brother?

  • Ian

    Give Tom Welling a chance. He’s one of the best Clark Kent’s ever, and I think he would make a great Superman.

  • Jennifer

    I love the idea of Tom Welling as a big screen Supes but like the article states, he probably will be looking to play a different role when Smallville ends. So for a second pick I’d say Zachary Levi.

  • Lee

    Tom Welling has earned this role. Warner Brothers owes him consideration. He is Superman for my son’s generation.

    • Sam

      I agree 100%

      • Lee

        absolutely. Tom Welling would be my choice also.

      • Robert

        Tom Welling For Superman and Erica Durance for lois Lane. . .
        Now give us villians like Brainak, Mongul, billion air buisness man lex luthor an dDarsied and OMG. . . DOOMSDAY ther is your 4 or 5 movies there. wiht the death and return of Superman. . . It will gross Billions more than The Dark Knight and Harry Potter combined.

    • cmas

      I want to see Tom Welling as Superman.

  • Gabriela

    Tom Welling hands downª!! and come on he has more chances to be Superman than Jon Hamm

  • RedRidingHood

    After the not-so-great acting turn last time around, I’m all about some Tom Welling taking on this role. Who cares if he’s on Smallville? You don’t have to cast all the rest of the SV actors (though Erica Durance and Michael Rosenbaum would make an excellent Lois Lane & Lex Luthor), Tom Welling understands Superman right now probably better than any other actor out there! He even spent on-screen time with Christopher Reeve!

  • weeay1

    Find someone new! Start a new Superman like they did when they found Christopher Reeve. Do not cast Jon Hamm or Nic Cage…..TOO OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He should be about 25 or so.

    • Jay

      As a 38 year old who remembers the original Superman, I’d suggest leaning closer to 30…25 would ostracize folks my age and above but 30 would be a happy medium. No offense to anyone, of course.

      • Julie Anderton

        Good points, Jay, although Christopher Reeve was 25 when he filmed the first Superman movie. Turned out pretty well, I think.

      • harry

        I agree closer to 30yrs of age for superman

      • Emily

        Ian Somerhalder!!! he’s 32 and soooo gorgeouss!!

      • Jenna

        I agree about Ian…

    • reason

      I think Jon Hamm is kind of perfect though, and once it was done, I think age wouldn’t be on everyone’s mind so much…and…how old is Dean Cain?

    • Timmy

      No More Movie Superman Dead Heart attack 5 ago Years Christopher Reeve

  • PK

    I’d love to see Tom Welling in the movie, but it’ll never happen. Honestly, I don’t care for any of the other choices listed here and can’t think of anyone that I’d want to curse with the role.

  • Becca

    There’s only one choice or Clark/Superman–Tom Welling (and with him, there’s only one Lois Lane–Erica Durance).

    Anyone else and it’ll flop like Superman Returns. If they insist on a movie by 2012, it’s Welling/Durance. Otherwise, wait about 5 years.

    • Cloiser38

      Agree Becca.

    • Brian

      Absolutely agreed!

    • Brett

      I’d prefer a Clark Kent/Superman free of all the CW-emo angst. Welling was fine fore “Smallville”‘s version of Clark. But that’s not what I, or most of the viewing public, would want to see on the big screen.

      • Spoiler

        They’d probably be better off with someone who can, y’know…act.

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