Let me start by admitting my extreme bias. Cable is my all-time favorite comic book character, and I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see him brought to life on film. So, as you can imagine, I squee’d out loud in the theater when Deadpool confirmed in his post-credits scene that the character will be joining him in his sequel. Now, the question is, who is the right actor to portray him on the big screen?
Let’s start with a bit of info on the character. Cable is the son of Scott Summers, aka Cyclops of the X-Men, and Madeline Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey. He’s been a time traveler his entire life, having been transported as an infant 2,000 years into the future, in order to save him from the infection of the deadly techno-organic virus. Raised by his sister, Rachel, and psyche-clones of his parents, he was taught to use his mutant powers to keep the virus at bay. He was able to contain it in his left arm, giving it a mechanical appearance. He was also taught that his life’s purpose was to defeat the evil mutant Apocalypse, who wished to rid the world of both humans and mutants, and establish his own master race.
Cable has spent his entire existence bouncing around through the centuries, battling the immortal Apocalypse. He’s a hardened soldier – extremely serious, intelligent, and focused. His mutant abilities include telepathy, telekinesis, astral projection, superhuman strength and constitution, extreme physical and mental endurance, a cybernetic eye capable of seeing the electromagnetic spectrum and psionic energies, intelligence on par with the likes of Reed Richards, Bruce Banner, and Tony Stark, and near-instant healing.
Still with me? OK, now take a moment to picture this guy. He’s approximately 50-60 years old, 6’8, and 350 pounds of solid muscle (and metal). Ridiculously strong, fast, agile, and brilliant, he’s one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe. This needs to be conveyed by his portrayer’s physical presence, as well as by their acting ability. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the handful of actors who have been suggested for the role.
The youngest actor on our list, Hamm has built a reputation as a serious dramatic actor, having won a slew of awards for the acclaimed TV series Mad Men. He also has a fair amount of comedic performances in his background, so he most likely isn’t too stiff to play the foil to Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. However, he has zero action in his filmography, and the role of Cable is sure to be an extremely physical one. Also, with 3 films set to be released this year, and two more slated for 2017, it’s possible that he’s simply too busy. The biggest feather in his cap is the fact that he’s the personal choice of none other than Cable’s creator himself, Rob Liefeld.
Few actors have more experience playing a badass soldier than Lang. Lauded for his performance in Avatar, he also got in uniform for Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, Jarhead, Terra Nova, and even lent his voice to the Call of Duty video game franchise. Clearly, he’s believable in a military role. The biggest strikes against him are his age and size – he’s one of the oldest actors on this list, and the only one under six feet tall. Of course, it’s possible for camera tricks and CGI to make him appear larger. His age is probably the largest drawback, since Deadpool will most likely be an ongoing franchise. Even if filming begins as soon as this summer, he’ll already be 64, and you can probably add on two years for each successive installment. The physicality of the role might just be too much for him, before the series is over. Still, a great deal of fans think he’s the right choice, so his casting could go a long way toward appeasing the target audience.
Remember that bias I mentioned? Here it is. Look at those stats. LOOK AT THEM. Physically, Nash IS Cable. There is a 0% chance of finding someone who looks more like the character. He’s the only actor I can picture in the role, and I’ve thought that for years – long before I ever thought I would actually get to see Cable on film. His biggest drawback is the fact that he carries the stigma of being a former pro wrestler. Many people assume that it means the person in question will automatically be a terrible actor. However, Nash actually has a pretty extensive filmography. Some have been bit parts in terrible B-movies (Monster Brawl, DOA), while others have been sizable roles in successful major motion pictures (Magic Mike, John Wick, The Longest Yard). He simply loves to act, and will take most any part offered to him.
Personally, I believe he would bring the same dedication that Dave Bautista (another former wrestler) brought to the role of Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, immersing himself in training to give the best performance possible.
Much like Stephen Lang, Biehn has a long history of playing the battle-hardened soldier. Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, The Rock – all showcase his ability to be a stoic, yet badass presence. He has also played crap-ton of cops, proving further that both authority and physicality come naturally to this actor. He has a quiet gravitas that would lend further credibility to the comic book genre. That being said, this strength could also be a weakness. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have a lighthearted role, so it’s hard to say how well he would play the straight man to Deadpool’s ridiculousness. He might come across as too stiff or dour. But he’s a talented actor, and his resume speaks for itself. He definitely deserves consideration for this part.
This tall, dark Irishman has a great deal of experience in action movies, even tackling the daunting role of Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone. He’s also starred in several acclaimed TV series, including Rome and Dexter. Currently, he’s most visible as Volstagg, one of The Warriors Three in Marvel’s Thor films. He plays that role to the hilt, obviously having fun playing the battle-loving Asgardian warrior with a penchant for excess in pretty much every capacity. This affability could possibly be a detriment, though – he quite simply looks to nice and kind to play a man who has probably literally never smiled. Punisher notwithstanding, for me personally, it’s difficult to picture Stevenson as the ever-serious Cable. Also, his existing involvement in the MCU could possibly be an obstacle, though it certainly doesn’t disqualify him automatically. He wouldn’t be the first actor to appear on the screen in multiple comic universes.
With a distinctive face and an equally recognizable voice, Perlman nevertheless has had no trouble finding roles he can disappear into. He’s been in action, comedy, fantasy, horror, and drama films, as well as the TV series Sons of Anarchy, and has also lent his voice to several video games and animated films. His love of genre work is clear, having been involved in a plethora of comic-based properties. But, much like Lang, Perlman’s age may be the biggest black mark against him for this role. He’s the oldest actor on our list, and arguably the most prolific as well. He appears to be booked solid through at least 2018, so availability may also be a major factor in his consideration for the part.
What do you think of these actors? Taking all of this into consideration, which one is the best choice to play the time-traveling mutant? Or, if your pick didn’t make our list, let us know who you think deserves the role and why!