Casting Call Sinister 6 fb

In this series, we speculate on what actors would be the perfect choice to play an upcoming character, or what type of character a particular actor is best suited for. Feel free to unilaterally agree with all our picks voice your opinion in the comments!


Once upon a time in 2013, Amazing Spider-Man 2 was going to be the biggest hit film Sony had ever released, and they were going to follow it up with an entire Spidey cinematic universe. The film even sets up the first spin-off, a modern take on the Sinister Six that would be directed by Drew Goddard of Cabin in the Woods.

As it happened, this new series was a mere fairy tale, but Goddard did turn in a screenplay for that Sinister Six, and now that Sony is collaborating with Disney and Marvel Studios on their new (second) reboot of Spider-Man, it just might be possible for the villains to take over for one flick. After all, fans are constantly reminding Disney/Marvel that their one big failing in the MCU is a lack of strong villains.

For those of us just catching up, the Sinister Six was the first big team-up of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery against the web-shooter. It was organized by Dr. Octopus and the plan was that each villain would attack our hero one at a time. Yes, Spidey does point out how dumb this is of them, rather than attacking all at once. Along the way, they kidnapped Betty Brant and Aunt May in order to force the hands of the wall-crawler.

So, who should play these original six members of the first league of petty nutcases? I know who I would want, but who would Hollywood choose?

1. Dr. Octopus

Possibly the most sinister of all, Dr. Otto Octavius is a classic mad scientist whose brilliant mind and not-so-brilliant body has been warped by his experiments. Though he’s a highbrow villain, he does have a blue-collar upbringing in Schenectady, NY.

Hollywood’s Pick: Alec Baldwin

He’s got that New York attitude required for the character (as seen in seven seasons of “30 Rock”), and a real refinement of voice and manner that would befit a PhD of Physics. Plus he’s a big ol’ star.

My Pick: Jared Harris

I’ll admit wholeheartedly that I’m too eager to cast “Mad Men” alumni like Harris, but that’s because they are all great actors. Doc Ock grew up in an abusive home and channelled his disdain for his father’s manual labor job into his own studies and achievements. Harris would bring real gravitas to this wounded side of the character, and he also looks really menacing in the right spectacles.

2. The Vulture

Another brilliant scientist, Adrian Toomes was completely screwed by his business partner who embezzled the funds that were financing his inventions. Taking his last innovation, a flying harness and wings, and using it for a life of crime, the Vulture has been one of Spidey’s most bitter enemies.

Hollywood’s Pick: John Malkovich

It was rumored back during the dark days of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 that he wanted Malkovich as his main villain. Malkovich also seemed right for the role due to his extensive stints as homicidal masterminds and eccentric crooks.

My Pick: Michael Imperioli

This might sound strange to cast Christopher from “The Sopranos” as the flying, bald, super genius. But stay with me… Imperioli has aged quite a bit since his days in the HBO mafia, and he would lend a certain streetwise crimelord vibe to the character, especially if he’s established as being one of the first of Spidey’s villains. Additionally, Imperioli has a physicality that would lend well to the flight capabilities and predatory sneers the role demands.

3. Mysterio

A movie special effects expert and magician who uses subterfuge and intimidation tactics to throw heroes off, Quentin Beck has all the transformative traits of a character actor along with all theatricality of a leading man. While the writers could make him an intimidating physical fight for the hero, he could also be a more cerebral, tormenting presence such as a Riddler-type.

Hollywood’s Pick: Jason Clarke

Recently playing a doomed climbing guide in Everest and the human lead of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Clarke is fittingly a bit of the cipher. While he has the good looks and figure of a leading man, something petulant and awkward lies behind his eyes as the most recent John Connor in Terminator: Genisys. Clarke would be as at-home setting a complicated psychotic trap as he would swinging a lead pipe at a teenage arachnid.

My Pick: Bruce Campbell

Anyone else hear that old fan theory that Campbell’s three different side characters in all of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies were actually Beck in disguise? It’s kind of a far-fetched idea, but it’s a fun one. Though the days of Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are gone, the Evil Dead and “Burn Notice” star would be kind of perfect, still. Beck feels rejected and disillusioned by Hollywood, just as Campbell has for years. And though Campbell is a hulking physical presence, he could still play the sadistic trickster with a big crazy grin. Maybe Beck could be reimagined as a former stunt-man and special effects guru, given Campbell’s real-life past with prosthetics and rough-and-tumble exploits on film. Beyond that, it would just be good to give him a big role.

4. Sandman

Perhaps the most physically scary of the six, Flint Marko was a small-time crook who accidentally was infused with irradiated sand, causing shapeshifting capabilities. Though usually used as muscle, he has recently been better defined by his devotion to his daughter.

Hollywood’s Pick: Kellan Lutz

He’s burly, he’s intimidating, and for some reason the studios really want him to succeed. Though his Twilight days are long over, he’s played the lead in Legend of Hercules and had a featured role in Expendables 3. Perhaps his name would jive with Sony’s never-ending compulsion to keep going younger.

My Pick: Jason Segal

Don’t go crazy. I know he’s a comic actor, but with a little body-building regimen he would be the scariest sucker ever. He’s 6’4″ and has shown great range in several projects. Particularly in his early work on “Freak and Geeks” and “Undeclared” as well as the more recent Five-Year Engagement, he has displayed an adept mask of wild-eyed simmering rage with a dash of psychotic possession. Sure, it was played for laughs, but what if it wasn’t?

5. Kraven the Hunter

A Russian immigrant and fierce hand-to-hand combatant, Sergei Kravinoff has taken down the most dangerous animals on earth with his bare hands. His most coveted trophy is Spider-Man, and he will risk any life to seize his prey.

Hollywood’s Pick: Viggo Mortensen

Heck, his character Nikolai from Eastern Promises is almost the same as Kraven, if you add a bunch of Russian mob tattoos and a few more bath-house brawls. While I do not doubt the man’s badassery, somehow I doubt he would want to be pigeonholed as the same character type… outside that one character who fought the armies of Mordor for quite a few years.

My Pick: Sean Bean

Lovely symmetry in this entry, huh? The other man of Gondor from Lord of the Rings has experience playing Russians and over-the-top villains, including the big baddie in Goldeneye and the lead terrorist in Patriot Games. Bean’s advancing age and penchant for characters who die before the credits roll suggest a great opportunity to do the “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline, a defining moment for the character.

6. Electro

An electrical engineer who was struck by lightning and decided to use his newfound shocking powers for a life of crime, starting with J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man as victims. A more contemporary version of the character in Marvel’s Ultimate universe is a bioengineered mercenary being sold to the highest bidder by his creator, Justin Hammer.

Hollywood’s Pick: Aaron Paul

The “Breaking Bad” and Need for Speed star has the perfect blend of quiet menace and bombastic violence to blend into a character with unregulated power and no moral compass. If the last iteration played by Jamie Foxx is any indication, he may begin meek and become imposing later. No problem for Paul.

My Pick: Fran Kranz

You’d never know it from his techno-master character on “Dollhouse” or his hyper-capable lanky stoner in Cabin in the Woods, but this guy is ripped and can pull off the creepiest glare imaginable. Though his action-packed shape and seething anger came to the forefront of Much Ado About Nothing he can still play a softspoken analogue to our young Peter Parker, and what might happen if he lets his powers go unchecked.


Agree? Disagree? More ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.

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