Stephen Lang. Michael Shannon. Kyle Chandler. David Harbour. Brad Pitt. Ever since Deadpool's Ferris-Bueller-parodying post credits scene confirmed Cable's introduction into the X-Verse, a whole host of potential cyborg-suitors have been linked to the role. But in a surprising Hollywood curveball, the chosen one is an actor who barely made any "top picks" lists — Josh Brolin.
Now the high-profile search for the perfect Nathan Summers has ended, it's time to reflect: the fan favourite was Stephen Lang; Tim Miller allegedly departed over a disagreement over his choice, Kyle Chandler; concept art with Brad Pitt's face sent the internet into meltdown. All things considered, is Brolin the right choice?
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Josh Brolin: The Perfect Fit For Cable In 'Deadpool 2'
In short, the answer is yes. Done. Case closed. But to identify why he is a preferred choice ahead of the rest, let's first turn to the biography of cinematic #Cable, as outlined by screenwriter Rhett Reese. Before the confirmation of Brolin, he explained how the creative team were looking for someone "intimidating, scary," someone who could act as a "foil for lunacy" and was "funny in a serious way."
#JoshBrolin fits the description perfectly. He's one of the most talented actors of his generation, and at his most alluring while playing "tough guys" roles. But an actor of Brolin's calibre doesn't play tough guy for tough guy's sake; he's able to mix typical traits of hyper-masculinity with raw, underlying emotion. Testament to his range, his only Academy Award was for his portrayal of politician Dan White in Milk (2008).
Brolin's most memorable performances — in the likes of No Country For Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010), American Gangster (2007) or Sicario (2015) — all balance the nuance of Brolin's physicality and steely nature with an emotional tenacity that could just as easily translate to violence as cool-headed rationality. He's equally adept at playing the bad-guy-you-can't-help-but-like to the good-guy-you-feel-you-should-hate.
Brolin's Roles Have Prepared Him For Cable
Tapping into this for Cable is essential — he's an antihero after all — but he also needs to have heart. That's the reason Ryan Reynolds portrayal of #Deadpool was so relatable; beneath the ultra-violence, the profanity and the jokes, there was a vulnerability and a sense of loss that drove the character forward.
Brolin has an abundance of experience in comic book adaptations that'll be handy. As well as his role of Thanos in the MCU, he's starred in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) and Jonah Hex (2010), and was in contention for the role of Batman in the DCEU (he's still a good back-up option should Ben Affleck hang up the cowl).
He'll need all the experience he can get — with a four-film deal in place, Brolin's Cable will become a formidable part of the R-rated arm of the X-Verse and will buddy with one of the superhero world's most popular characters in Deadpool. Fortunately, Brolin has the onscreen authority to lead the X-Force into live-action glory for years to come. Due to the longevity of the role, his age (he's 49-years-old) is an important factor putting him ahead of Stephen Lang, who turns 65-years-old in July.
Lang is perhaps the closest physical resemblance to Cable's comic book form, but that won't be an issue holding back Brolin. He's rugged and brawny, and will be more than capable of the step up in physicality. Compared to Michael Shannon — who is admittedly a great actor — Brolin has a tougher, more rugged demeanour, while also fulfilling Reese's requirement of Cable being "funny in a serious way," with his dry humor in Men In Black 3 (2012) a prime example.
The Signs Are Promising For 'Deadpool 2'
Following director Tim Miller's departure last October, things were looking a little worrying for #Deadpool2. Since then, good news has followed, with the appointment of John Wick director David Leitch, the inspired casting of Zazie Beetz as Domino and now Brolin as Cable.
With the quality on display in front of (and behind) the camera, there is a chance — and I'll whisper this — there's a chance Deadpool 2 could even be better than the first. Now that would be some achievement.
Do you think Josh Brolin is the right choice for Cable?