Comic Book Movie Casting: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Could Star in Lobo; Jessica Biel to Play 'Viper' in The Wolverine
07.17.12 by BJSprecher
It seems the buzz surrounding comic-based movies generated by this past weekend's San Diego Comic-Con — not to mention the success of The Amazing Spider-Man and the fever pitch level of anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises, which opens this Friday — has prompted several studios to start making some progress on their own superhero movies. Yesterday, we learned that Marvel Studios will be adding some much-needed diversity to its cast of heroes, with the news that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) could be joining Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon. Now, we've learned that the long-in-devlopment Lobo live-action movie may have found its headliner, and Hugh Jackman will be squaring off with a green-haired vixen in The Wolverine.
Shelved after original director Guy Ritchie dropped out in January 2010 to focus on the sequel to Sherlock Holmes, the Lobo movie gained new life this past April with the hiring of Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) to rewrite and direct the adaptation. It seems that Peyton really enjoyed directing Dwayne Johnson in The Mysterious Island, because the actor formally known as "The Rock" revealed that he might be playing the space-faring bounty hunter and all-around badass "bastich" in the movie.
Rumors of me possibly playing LOBO are true. [Producer] Joel Silver and Brad Peyton working on it now. That could be fun.. ?#RockTalk
Lobo — whose name is Czarnian for "he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it" — is an alien bounty hunter and the last of his kind. As strong as Superman, as cunning as Batman, and as ruthless as Wolverine, Lobo was wildly popular in the early '90s after writer Alan Grant and artist Simon Bisley transformed the character from a somewhat ridiculous space-clown into a badass anti-hero with attitude to spare. The news that Peyton was taking over for Ritchie was not very well received in the fan community thanks to the kid-friendly fare on his resume like The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, but the addition of Johnson should go a long way toward placating many. Johnson has been lobbying for a superhero role for some time and is frequently at the top of fan cast lists for roles like Marvel's Namor and DC's Captain Marvel.
While the casting of Johnson as Lobo is hardly a done deal, Deadline has reported that Jessica Biel will be joining the cast of director James Mangold's (3:10 to Yuma) The Wolverine as Viper, a ruthless green-haired villainess with a past nearly as sordid and convoluted as Wolverine's.
Interestingly, Viper began as a villain of Captain America's, which should make her the property of Marvel Studios, not 20th Century Fox. In the comic books, she even held the mantle of Madame Hydra, leader of the international terrorist network created by the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. However, Viper also maintained a long-standing relationship with the Silver Samurai, who will be one of the primary antagonists in The Wolverine.
The addition of Biel to the cast of The Wolverine comes on the heels of the casting of six actors in major roles one week ago: Hiroyuki Sanada (Speed Race) as Japanese crimelord Shingen Harada; Tao Okamoto as Shingen's daughter and Wolverine's love interest, Mariko Yashida; Will Yun Lee (Total Recall remake) as the Silver Samurai; Rila Fukushima as the assassin Yukio; Hal Yamanouchi (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) as Yashida; and Brian Tee (Wedding Palace) as corrupt politician Noboru Mori.
The Wolverine is based on the classic Marvel Comics limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, creator of Sin City and 300. The screenplay was written by Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie), with rewrites by Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard). It is set to begin principal photography next month and will shoot in Jackman's native Australia, as well as on location in Japan.