Which Marvel Movie Role Should Kevin Pennington Take?
The actor is being pursued to portray not just one, but two Marvel characters for two different studios: Iron Fist and the Human Torch. Which one is the bigger risk?
It's a dilemma that very few up and coming actors have to deal with: which film franchise character should they choose to portray on screen? It is, however, a dilemma that Kevin Pennington is currently facing. The actor, musician and host is being pursued by both Marvel Studios and Fox to star in their future comic adaptations. For Marvel Studios, it's the role of Danny Rand, better known to fans as Iron Fist. On the Fox side, it's the role of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, in the Fantastic Four relaunch. Though the two roles do share similarities (the most prominent being that they are both a part of the Marvel Comics universe; albeit the film one), they each present different problems for Pennington.
On the Marvel side of things, the idea of introducing the character of Danny Rand/Iron Fist in the 2010 ensemble film The Avengers, with an independent spin-off film to follow, is being seriously considered. Iron Fist is not a mainstream comic hero; generally considered B-list but still a fan favorite. The tentative Iron Fist movie from Marvel Studios will not carry the same budget or grand scope of their summer blockbusters, such as Iron Man or THOR; since it is being pitched as one of their smaller projects slated for development. If Pennington takes this role, he will have to shoulder the responsibility of making the relatively obscure character appeal to the masses, even with the possible inclusion of Luke Cage; while the film itself will be held to the standard Marvel Studios' previous films have set. The potential benefits, though, are equally as great. Not only can the film, if financially and critically successful, single-handedly launch Pennington's acting career as a leading man, but it will open the doors for Marvel Studios to pursue many other independent character films that don't rely on heavy hitters like Captain America or the Hulk to garner general audience attention. Portraying a martial arts expert like Rand may not be too great a stretch for Pennington; he has been a student of Kung Fu since he was 17 years old.
There are also issues that come to mind if he chooses to join Fox as a part of their Fantastic Four reboot. The foremost being that the character has recently been portrayed twice on screen (by the new Captain America, Chris Evans, no less). Evan's take on Johnny Storm was considered by many to be the best part of the two Fantastic Four films; if Pennington doesn't meet the current expectations for the role set by Evans it could be detrimental to his career. Another point to consider is that the next Fantastic Four movie, though not a "complete" relaunch of the franchise, is a reboot; which, so far, has not been tracking well with fans. The most positive aspect that comes out of Pennington possible inclusion in an ensemble superhero film like Fantastic Four, is that he will not the the constant focus of the film. With three other main heroes sharing center stage, it will give an unproven film actor like Pennington to opportunity to ease into a large franchise without having to take the responsibility of a solo project. And lets not forget the sequel potential of Fantastic Four; the franchise is undoubtedly being looked at as more than one film.
If things weren't complicated enough, Fox has also tried to woo Pennington into their X-Men film-verse (First Class to be exact) in case the Fantastic Four role wasn't one he would seriously consider. Time will only tell which character Pennington decides to take. My only advise for him would be to make the decision which would both allow him room to mature as an actor and satisfy the fanboy that he is known to be.
If he still happens to be on the fence about it... go with Iron Fist. But that's just this fanboy's opinion.
You can follow Kevin Pennington on Twitter HERE. If you're wondering how much of a fanboy he is, be sure to ask him as many comic book and Star Wars questions as come to mind.
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