Actors Who Played More Than One Comic Book Character in Their Careers
Landing a role in a comic book movie is a big deal in Hollywood today. These films rake in huge bucks at the box office, and the stars in them have padded their bank accounts and become household names.
While most actors only get the chance to play one comic book character throughout their careers, others have locked down multiple superhero roles. For some, it's all about living out their comic book dreams. For others, it's a way to fatten up their portfolios.
Ben Affleck portrayed one of his favorite comic book characters in 2003's Daredevil. While playing the title character, he wore contact lenses to make him "blind." The actor didn't like the final result. "By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero," he said at the 2006 London premiere of Hollywoodland.
Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan portrayed Human Torch in the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four. Jordan spoke with former Human Torch Chris Evans about the character. "I did get a chance to talk to Chris [Evans] about it. I met him at this event, and he was basically like, 'Man I can’t give you anything. You’re great,'" Jordan told The Source Magazine.
In the original Spider-Man film trilogy, J.K. Simmons helped bring J. Jonah Jameson to life. Before Simmons was cast, actors R. Lee Ermey and Dennis Farina were eyed for the role. For many, Simmons was the ideal choice as the Daily Bugle's editor-in-chief.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson had no choice but to portray Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2001, his likeness was used for the Ultimate version of Nick Fury in the comic books.
While he was famous for comedy hits in the '80s, Michael Keaton was truly immortalized with his portrayal of Batman. Many critics didn't think he was right for the gig because of his previous work, but Keaton managed to beat out A-listers like Kevin Costner and Tom Selleck for the role and proved all those critics wrong.
Rocky star Dolph Lundgren played the role of Frank Castle in 1989's The Punisher. Michael Paré was originally in talks for the lead role, but the actor dropped out. Because of his background in martial arts, Lundgren did most of his own stunts. A sequel was in the works, but Lundgren walked away from the project before it happened.
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage played the role of Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past. His award-winning work on the HBO series led to his casting for the part. Trask was originally written for 2000's X-Men, but those plans were scrapped by the studio.
Michelle Pfeiffer has plenty of beloved roles, but most people still talk about her portrayal of Selina Kyle (Catwoman). A former dating relationship with Michael Keaton prevented Pfeiffer from playing Vicki Vale in 1989's Batman. Fortunately, she nabbed the Catwoman role in Batman Returns after Annette Bening dropped out due to pregnancy.
Ray Stevenson stepped into the shoes of Frank Castle in 2008's Punisher: War Zone. This film was a reboot of 2004's The Punisher. To get ready, the actor read every single issue of The Punisher MAX that was available. He also lent his voice to the character in one episode of The Super Hero Squad Show.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
As a fan of The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was thrilled to portray Negan on the show. Critics and fans alike can't get enough of him whenever he's around with Lucille in hand. His performance earned him two Saturn Awards for Best Guest Performance in a Television Series. Outside the show, he voiced Negan in Robot Chicken.
In 2005, Djimon Hounsou portrayed Papa Midnite in the film adaptation of Constantine. In the comic books, Papa Midnite is a shaman with his own New York nightclub. Depending on the situation, he could be either a friend or an enemy to John Constantine.
Karl Urban brought a solid performance with his version of Judge Dredd in the 2012 film Dredd. Although fans didn’t love Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd film, they were pleased with Urban's performance. Unlike Stallone, Urban never took the helmet off, which kept it true to the comics.
In 2010, Idris Elba played Roque in The Losers, directed by Sylvain White. In comic books, Roque has an array of knives at his disposal. This film teamed him up with future MCU star Chris Evans. Before The Losers, Elba worked with producer Joel Silver on RocknRolla and The Reaping.
Beloved actor Sam Elliott portrayed General Thaddeus Ross in 2003's Hulk. Although most actors read a script before accepting a role, Elliott did the opposite. He wanted to work with director Ang Lee so much, he accepted the part on the spot.
Jon Favreau helped usher in the MCU as Happy Hogan in 2008's Iron Man. Aside from playing the character, Favreau directed the film. More importantly, he chose Robert Downey Jr. to portray Iron Man. He extended his work on the film by doing motion capture work for the Iron Man suit.
Tommy Lee Jones
In 1995, Tommy Lee Jones played Batman villain Two-Face in Batman Forever. Billy Dee Williams, who played Harvey Dent in 1989's Batman, had a contract clause for his return as Two-Face, but the studio decided to buy out his contract so Jones could take over the role instead.
In 2012, Tom Hardy became Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. For this role, the actor gained 30 pounds of muscle. Hardy based Bane's voice on bare-knuckle boxer Bartley Gorman. The actor's performance earned him MTV Movie Award nominations for Best Villain and Best Fight.
Doug Jones is one of Hollywood's greatest actors you've never actually seen. In 2004, he took on the role of Abe Sapien in Hellboy and then reprised the role for 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army and two direct-to-video animated films that earned him a Fangoria Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Following a string of films, Halle Berry struck gold as Storm in 2000's X-Men. Her performance in X-Men: The Last Stand earned her a People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Action Star. Berry was last seen as Storm in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Evan Peters and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Evan Peters and Aaron Taylor-Johnson both starred in the 2010 film Kick-Ass, which is based on the Image Comics series. In the film, Taylor-Johnson played the title character, while Peters played his friend, Todd Haynes. Kick-Ass became a surprise hit with $96.2 million earned at the box office.
In 2017, Taika Waititi directed and starred in Thor: Ragnarok. In the film, he played Korg, who becomes Thor's ally as they escape Asgard. Waititi will star in and direct 2021's Thor: Love and Thunder, which begins shooting next year. Months before the release, he will star in The Suicide Squad in an undisclosed role.
In 2003, Jennifer Connelly played Bruce Banner's love interest in Hulk. For Connelly, director Ang Lee's vision led her to take the role. "I asked him why he wanted to make Hulk, and he said, 'Well, it's really a Greek tragedy. It's actually a psychodrama,'" Connelly told SYFY Wire.
Tim Blake Nelson
In 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Tim Blake Nelson plays Dr. Samuel Sterns. In the comic books, Sterns eventually becomes Leader, who becomes an intelligent supervillain after gamma radiation exposure. Although Sterns gets gamma radiation in his system, he doesn't transform in the movie. The return of the character in Hulk 2 is possible.
Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage turned up the heat as Ghost Rider in 2007's Ghost Rider and 2012's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Both were box office successes, but he declined to do a third film. "You never say never, but right now, today, I would say that I'm done," Cage told MTV.
Rebecca Romijn turned heads with her portrayal of Mystique in the original X-Men films. For the perfect shot, the actress had to wear 110 individual silicone prosthetics at all times. This procedure took nine hours to finish every day. Her work earned her a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2001. Her last performance was in X-Men: First Class.
Josh Brolin became the most feared villain in the MCU as Thanos. At the 2019 Saturn Awards, Brolin won for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Avengers: Infinity War. The actor also made crowds happy as Cable in Deadpool 2. With Deadpool 3 coming in the future, Brolin is looking forward to continuing playing the mutant.
Benedict Cumberbatch has the honor of playing two unique characters in the same movie. The actor gives a rousing performance as the title character in Doctor Strange. To properly move his fingers for spells, Cumberbatch trained with dancer JayFunk. In 2017, he was nominated for Best Actor in a Film at the Saturn Awards.
Chris Evans first gained attention with his portrayal of Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 2005's Fantastic Four. In 2011, he moved on to his biggest role to date as Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger. His performance in the film earned him a Scream Award for Best Superhero. The actor portrayed the popular Marvel Comics character in 11 movies.
In 2000, James Marsden gained worldwide fame portraying Cyclops in X-Men. His time on the original trilogy helped bring in $1.1 billion at the box office. In 2006, he jumped ship to DC Comics for Superman Returns. In the film, he plays Daily Planet reporter Richard White.
In 2004, Ben Foster portrayed Spacker Dave in The Punisher. In the comic books, Dave is a tenant in the same building The Punisher occupies for a short time. The two eventually became allies. Dave's movie portrayal nearly mirrored his behavior in the books.