Walking Dead franchise star Lennie James reveals the two Marvel Comics superheroes he most wants to play and explains why Black Panther is a role he wouldn't "go anywhere near." The 55-year-old actor, who played staff-wielding zombie apocalypse warrior Morgan Jones on multiple seasons of The Walking Dead before crossing over to spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, admits he's "a bit long in the tooth" to play a spry superhero. Instead, James expresses interest in a role like Hugh Jackman's X-Men swansong Logan, about a super-human in the twilight of his crime-fighting career.
"One of my favorite characters in the [Marvel] universe was Daredevil, and I know it's a tricky one," James told The Nerds of Color about the blind superhero played in live-action by Ben Affleck and Charlie Cox. "I think they did a good origin story for it on the television show on Netflix [Marvel's Daredevil], I think they didn't quite get it right in the Ben Affleck version just because they got the suit wrong for him and just made it much too complicated."
James added, "But I did, certainly in comic form, have a real soft spot for Daredevil. I just thought he was really cool, so that character I love."
If he were to suit up as the horn-headed hero of Hell's Kitchen, James says, it would be a decidedly different take on Matt Murdock.
"I'm a bit long in the tooth to be playing Daredevil now, so they'd have to do a kind of Logan version of it, of Daredevil at the end [of his career] as a grown man not quite being able to bend his knees at the top of some skyscraper in Hell's Kitchen," he said. "And actually using the stick not just to find his way but also to keep him standing. We might have to do that version of it, but I've always loved Daredevil."
James is also a fan of Eric Brooks, the half-human, half-vampire better known as Blade. The character, most famously portrayed by Wesley Snipes in a feature film trilogy between 1998 and 2004, is being rebooted by Marvel Studios with two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali.
"I suppose if they did like they did in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse where they have different versions of Spider-Man, if they have different versions of Blade I might get a look in," James said, referring to the animated film involving multiple versions of Spider-Man from different dimensions. "But I think the new version [of Blade] they're gonna do, I'm really looking forward to."
As for playing a character like King T'Challa, the Black Panther, James believes it might be "disrespectful" for another actor to assume that role following the death of star Chadwick Boseman earlier this year.
"I think, after Chadwick, it's going to be very difficult to do a Black Panther anytime soon. And it would be slightly disrespectful," James said. "But after Blade, Black Panther was the other character I ran to school screaming, 'Have you seen who they've created? Have you seen who they've created?' And I had a huge affinity for it, and I think that obviously as everybody else does, what Ryan [Coogler, director], and Chadwick, and Danai [Gurira], and everybody involved with it did with Black Panther is monumental."
James added, "So it's not one I'd go anywhere near because I think Chadwick owns that for the foreseeable future. But those are my favorite characters, Blade, Daredevil, and Black Panther."
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