Kevin Costner’s Role in the Man of Steel

22 Feb

With Deadline reporting that there is increasing interest in casting Kevin Costner for an unspecified role in the Superman reboot coming to theaters in 2012, speculation has risen as to what role he might play.  Recent box office performances by Costner have not been stellar as he is no longer the draw he once was.  His most recent film, The Company Men, quietly grossed just over 3 million domestically despite an ensemble of recognizable names.  Fans can’t forget the powerhouse that Costner once was, starring in such films as The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances With Wolves, Robin Hood, JFK, and The Bodyguard; almost all in succession.  A summer blockbuster like Superman: The Man of Steel could be the picture Costner needs to catapult him back into billing relevance, but the role and the capacity in which he contributes is still unknown.  I’ve listed the potential roles for Costner and taken my best guess at who he may play.

1. Johnathan Kent

This seems the obvious choice for Costner by anyone who has seen Field of Dreams (and that should be everyone).  Costner has shown he can play the simple-man farmer role with great success while providing the wisdom and moral guidance that the elder Kent provides for Clark.  Costner seems like a Hollywood version of John Schneider, the actor who played Johnathan in Smallville.  The problem with Johnathan Kent is that depending on which comic version they draw from, his age can vary greatly.  Costner would surely fit the age demographic for the silver and golden age superman, but the modern age versions have the Kents as a bit older and gray-haired.  However, Johnathan Kent’s role could be very important to the film if they follow the Death of Superman storyline which includes my favorite choice of villain – Doomsday.

2. Perry White

Casting Costner as Perry White would be mean a large change from the Perry White of Superman Returns, Frank Langella.  27 years younger than Langella, Costner’s White could provide a little more fire to the role of the Daily Planet’s editor.  If don’t see Costner in the new media type of role consider this; Christopher Nolan has said that he wants to present Superman in a modern context.  Given the current state of the print media industry, having Costner trying to revive what was once the most respected source of news in Metropolis, during economic decline, doesn’t seem like too far a cry from his most recent work in The Company Men.

3. Jor-El

Since this role has only been played by one man in both the Donner films and Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, Kevin Costner would have the large shoes of Marlon Brando to fill.  Jor-El’s almost god like stature doesn’t seem like the perfect fit for Costner, but the role has mostly been voice intensive in previous film incarnations and Costner could certainly do that.  Though he seems more working class than regal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Costner play Jor-El.  Just as Nolan said he wanted to bring Superman to a modern context, he has also mentioned the innovation of the Donner films for casting big name actors in non-leading roles.  Nolan has done this for Batman films and Costner certainly is a big enough name for the role of Jor-El.

4. Ron Troupe or Steve Lombard

This would certainly apply to a big name in a non-leading role.  Little to unknown by fans of the films, the two characters listed above are both reporters for the Daily Planet.  Ron Troupe is political columnist and Steve Lombard is a Sports Journalist.  Neither character seems relevant enough (based on their description) to warrant the casting of an actor like Costner, but their role in the plot could make them relevant.  As co-workers of Clark Kent and observers of his daily activity as well as the heroic acts of Superman, either one of them could become suspicious of Clark as Superman’s other identity.  Remember that in some origins Clark was an outstanding football player, something a sports journalist like Steve Lombard would be familiar with.  Casting Costner as either of these characters would require some character alterations though, since Lombard is a bit younger and more athletic than Costner, and Troupe is black.

5. Potential Villain

Even though Christopher Nolan is only producing this film in a Godfather capacity, he surely has a say in the casting.  Leave it to him to shock speculators just as he did in 2008’s The Dark Knight and cast an actor out of left field to play the villain (I’m sure you know who I’m referring to).  We have rarely seen Costner in a devious role (Mr. Brooks) so playing a villain might be the breath of air his career needs.  It is still unclear who the primary adversary for Superman will be in this film and that is a whole new can of worms, but there are some roles that Costner may be a fit for.  He is almost certainly too old to play Lex Luthor in this incarnation, but what about the second-most well-known of Superman’s villains… 

General Zod Terrance Stamp was 42 when he portrayed Zod in Superman II, and even though Costner is well into his fifties he doesn’t look much older than Stamp did.  We mentioned earlier this month that Zod’s soldier Ursa would likely appear in this film, so it seems likely that Zod will appear as well.  Zod on Earth would have all the same abilities as Superman, and with the right amount of Kryptonian soldiers by his side, even Costner would seem imposing to the Man of Steel.

BraniacIt would take a lot of makeup or CGI to bring Braniac to life on-screen the way he appears in the comics, but this is a Zack Snyder film we’re talking about.  If that were the case, the most recognizable aspect of Kevin Costner as Braniac would be his voice; and as we mentioned with Jor-El, this would alleviate any doubt he could fill the physical presence the required for the role.  Braniac (as obvious by his name) is an intellectual foe to Superman and utilizes his vast knowledge and alien abilities to match strengths with Superman. 

DarkseidI’m hesitant to mention the words Kevin Costner and apocalypse in the same sentence for fear of bringing up memories of Waterworld but Darkseid is a villain who’s been in Superman lore for over 40 years and doesn’t get much love.  Costner as the alien from Apokolips is unlikely though, Apokolips would require a lot more physical confrontation with Superman than the previously mentioned villains and his physique is a lot more imposing.  However, there’s always CGI and the current incarnation of Darkseid in Smallville doesn’t seem to be staying true to the comic.  However, the very recent portrayal of Darkseid in Smallville also makes his appearance in the next film unlikely.

DoomsdayAnother physically imposing character for Superman to face, Doomsday is my preferred choice for a Superman villain.  Costner as Doomsday would require mostly voice (and possibly motion capture) acting as the alien has little human characteristics, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Costner’s age may not be a concern if he were to play Doomsday either, keep in mind that Tim Roth played a similar role as The Abomination in 2008s The Incredible Hulk and he is only 6 years younger than Costner.  If the Doomsday storyline were to play out on film though, we’d likely see Costner in the role of Johnathan Kent.

At the moment though this is all speculation, one role among many that have yet to be announced for this film.  As we move closer to production for this film more and more of these announcements will come to light and the film’s plot will begin to take shape.  Superman: The Man of Steel is scheduled for release in December 2012.

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2 Responses to “Kevin Costner’s Role in the Man of Steel”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kevin Costner’s Role in the Man of Steel (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) | The Calculable - February 23, 2011

    […] Kevin Costner’s Role in the Man of Steel (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) Posted on 23 February, 2011 by Jarle Petterson With Deadline reporting that there is increasing interest in casting Kevin Costner for an unspecified role in the Superman reboot coming to theaters in 2012, speculation has risen as to what role he might play.  Recent box office performances by Costner have not been stellar as he is no longer the draw he once was.  His most recent film, The Company Men, quietly grossed just over 3 million domestically despite an ensemble of recognizable names.  … Read More […]

  2. Man of Steel Casting Rumors: Who Will Play General Zod? « Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood - March 2, 2011

    […] rumors for Superman: The Man of Steel seem to be heating up as news of the casting of Ursa, Jonathan Kent, and Kal-El himself have stirred up internet sites routinely.  The most anticipated casting of the […]

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