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How do studios choose their leading man for iconic roles?
The problem with having to choose an actor for a major role is two-fold. First, audiences have to accept this man his portrayal of a lead character. They have to buy into his secrets, his seductiveness, maybe his super-spy skills or his slick con-man antics. He must be everything we've come to expect from books and movies past. And second, while open auditions do exist, classic and iconic roles will be offered to only one or a few select candidates. This means that casting agents and directors have to go off of performances they've seen, so actors that may have a history of comedy or dramatic roles might not get the chance to show their breadth and contend for the role. Alas, that's the nature of the business, so they can only work with what they've got. There has to be some serious draw and well-rounded talent to be considered for the next big blockbuster, and the men below have demonstrated they have what it takes. Keep reading to see if you agree with these assessments.
When you expect a little romance and a lot of stoicism, think of Rege-Jean Page. The 5'11 breakout star of 2020 definitely fits the bill of tall, dark and handsome. He captivated audiences while starring in Bridgerton as the Duke of Hastings which catapulted him to worldwide fame. Prior to this milestone role, the English actor played a few smaller parts in tv dramas and even some Shakespeare. While known for his quiet, impressive nature now, when he was younger he had a wild streak and played in a band with his brother.
Rege-Jean embodies the right amount of romance and charm of a modern James Bond, and is just getting started in his promising career.
A leading man definitely requires some street smarts and a certain amount of grit. A frontrunner for a variety of film types is Tom Hardy - a man with a wealth of talent and an extensive repertoire to boot. You know him from Mad Max, Inception, and as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Tom is a stocky Englishmen with the right British accent and soft smooth voice to conjure a seductive and mysterious protagonist. He has action chops and impeccable dramatic timing, making him a standout in any talent competition.
A huge draw for Hardy is his flexibility and his openness to accepting challenging roles. He won't soon find himself pigeonholed or typecast.
Because a core tenet of a Hollywood heartthrob requires him to be irresistible to women, he must be classically handsome and heroic, and Henry Cavill certainly fits that bill. He's another well-known combination action hero/smoke show. He's demonstrated that he can drive a film as a leading man, and he habitually scores well with audiences. Standing tall at 6'2 with a jaw that can cut glass, and a British accent that excites fans across the world, this man of steel is a strong contender for most desirable man in Hollywood.
Because he's already established himself as a major motion picture superhero, it might be difficult for audiences to agree to see him as anything else, but hey, Ben Affleck did it so it's not impossible!
Something we all like about our main man is for him to be a bit of a maverick; cheeky and perhaps a bit too clever. Picture someone like Richard Madden. Like other devilish actors, Richard Madden is Scottish. If his name doesn't ring a bell, you'll at least recognize him as Robb Stark on Game of Thrones, and as Ikaris in the new Marvel superhero film Eternals. He has the image and experience to carry the weight of the primary role, with the benefit of not yet being a highly-recognizable household name.
Madden brings both the charisma and cocked eyebrow to the screen, and is typically a hit with audiences. Even though he may not be everyone's first thought when comes to a lead casting, you have to remember that Daniel Craig was perceived as a confusing pick at first for James Bond, but has proven he deserved the role that has made him a star over and over.
As big-time characters typically are, Henry Golding is smooth, charming and dangerously handsome. And while audiences certainly enjoy watching him pursue a rendezvous with a beautiful leading lady here and there, he brings great power and focus to his role on screen. Golding exploded on the scene just a few years ago with his breakout role in Crazy Rich Asians, and since then, we can't seem to get enough of this suave, British-Malaysian hunk. He dominates the film with his presence, while bringing an impressive sophistication into every scene.
Golding has the stature and substance that exemplify the iconic movie characters, and he already has a few crime and spy movies under his belt. He would certainly be a fan favorite in any movie franchise.
Something we have come to expect from popular and established movie storylines are daring exploits and extreme stunts. Someone wild and understated like John Boyega personifies the cool, but daring demeanor of a man willing to pull all that off. He started acting at an early age, training at the Identity School of Acting in his native London. The British-Nigerian heartthrob is probably one of the lesser-known names on the list, unless you're a huge Star Wars fan. His first major role as the storm trooper Finn has led to additional sequels in the trilogy and increasing fame among fans. Through movements and public statements, he has remained a strong supporter of racial justice and equality both inside and outside the entertainment industry.
With his impressive appearance and demonstrated talent, John Boyega seems like a viable choice for the next big name in Hollywood, though there remains the question of whether he is seasoned enough to take on a major character. Someone like John definitely brings the right amount of Wild Card audiences are craving right now.
Key players in thrillers and action movies are energetic and cunning. An actor who embodies these characteristics is Clive Standen - one more Brit whose vein of movie genres perfectly positions him to take over as the reigning hunk of Hollywood. Classically trained in performing arts, you've seen his dramatic work in Vikings and Camelot. His cool and rugged demeanor would bring a fresh edge to the role and he's demonstrated his spy abilities in the TV version of Taken.
It's favorable that while he has experience and credentials, he isn't yet a household name, which is a quality studio teams tend to pursue when choosing the next actor for a newly minted classic film. And even though he has yet to headline a major movie, Standen would be a top pic to fill some big shoes. Audiences should rest easy knowing his performance isn't going to let them down.
© 2021 M Butler Stone