New York Magazine recently ran an article highlighting the fact that American men are almost nowhere to be found when it comes to being cast as superheroes in movies. Why is this?
John Papsidera, the casting director on both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, offers this opinion:
“You look at the list of American leading men, and in their twenties and thirties, they’re very boylike,” he says, adding, “Take Jesse Eisenberg: I put him in Zombieland, but he’s not going to play Superman. He’s much closer to what Dustin Hoffman turned into than John Wayne or Steve McQueen. It’s hard to find movie stars that live up to the needs of the story. Leo [DiCaprio] is growing into it, but for a long time, he seemed young and boylike. Inception was the first time Leo seemed to have fully grown into a man. You need to find guys who carry that heroic-ness with them.”
A Hollywood agent weighed in as well:
“I believe there’s been a certain feminization of the American male,” he says. “As a result, there are a lot of ‘mama’s boys.’ Kids are raised like veal. We’re afraid to let them play soccer. That kind of nurturing softens what we’re used to seeing on the screen. American men aren’t men on the screen.”
The article speculates that American men aren’t raised to be manly anymore, unlike our Canadian and European peers, and that American boys are steered away from acting when they’re growing up because it’s considered “gay” or “wimpy.”