Since 1938, with the first appearance of ‘Superman’ in Action Comics #1, American superheroes have been the archetype for what it means to be a superhero. And for most of that time, American actors were the actors of choice to play those roles on television and in films.
But recently there has been a trend away from American actors playing our titular heroes. Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, I’m not struck with a touch of xenophobia. It just seems to me that with all of the actors just in Los Angeles, that something must be wrong with Hollywood that they can’t find an American actor who can pull off ‘Batman’. If a fairly unimposing and excellent comedic actor like Michael Keaton can do a convincing ‘Batman’ in 1989, what is going on today that’s different? It’s like casting Brad Pitt as ‘James Bond’. It would seem odd and wouldn’t sit right with many fans.
But, Brit Christian Bale is now ‘Batman’ following Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Andrew Garfield, raised in Britain, is playing ‘Spider-Man’. And now British actor Henry Cavill is playing ‘Superman’ after George Reeves, Christopher Reeves, John Newton, Dean Cain, Tom Welling and Brandon Routh. We also have Australian Chris Hemsworth as ‘Thor’. Canadian Ryan Reynolds as the ‘Green Lantern’. Australian Eric Bana played ‘the Hulk’. Patrick Stewart plays ‘Professor Charles Xavier’. Famke Janssen from the Netherlands plays ‘Jean Grey’. And Australian Hugh Jackman plays Canadian ‘Wolverine’.
Has the Hollywood system fallen into such a catch-22 where they don’t want to use an actor who is too well known. But yet can’t find an up-and-coming young American actor so they must travel as far as they can to find a proper candidate? Do we have to go such a distance for a character to maintain the proper illusion of a superhero? Or have American actors become too complacent to portray superheroes? Let us know what you think.