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10 Marvel Casting Choices That Elevated Lesser Known Talent

Marvel continues to cast from a pool of unknown actors and given their great track record, we’re into it.
Spider Man Far From Home Tom Holland
Marvel Studios
By  · Published on July 7th, 2017

Tom Holland (Spider-Man)

Sure, this is technically a Sony property. But their collaboration with Marvel Studios really facilitated Peter Parker’s well-received comeback. Plenty of responsibility also rested in the “right” actor. It had to be someone with a fresher take on this much-loved character and Holland definitely delivered. Of the very few scenes he had in Civil War, he managed to create a deeply-layered performance balancing teenagehood and his feelings of social responsibility. In spite of all that, he remains optimistic and lovable in his effervescence. Combining all these qualities in a believable performance is a wonderful feat.

After a notable stage career in productions such as Billy Elliot, Holland rose to onscreen prominence starring in JA Bayona’s The Impossible. Carrying much of the emotional weight of the film, he was particularly praised for his ability to match big-screen veterans like Naomi Watts. With Spider-Man: Homecoming hitting cinemas this week, Holland will be back as a leading man and share the screen with some acting heavyweights. He would easily pull it off.

Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Aside from a small role in Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy, Klementieff’s filmography mainly comprised small French offerings before joining Marvel. She certainly landed a role in one of the company’s most distinctive franchises thus far. The series is well-known for creating signature looks and personalities for each of its characters – even their secondary ones. Klementieff transforms into one of the most memorable characters in the series, Mantis, both in terms of appearance and personality.

Klementieff’s presence is a jarring addition to the Guardians franchise largely due to her character’s good-naturedness – a much welcome change from the “assholes in space” refrain. She manages to push personality through the makeup and CGI, making Mantis both enchanting and unknowingly deadly. Vol. 2 would not have worked as well without her.

Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones, The Defenders)

Ritter’s TV credits have admittedly been remarkable even before being cast in Jessica Jones, but her turn with Marvel has been particularly rewarding for fans of hers. Breaking Bad‘s Jane Margolis found new life as a snarky alcoholic detective. Jessica Jones has been a more holistic test of Ritter’s capabilities as an actress and one that she passes in spades.

As Jessica, she is as funny as she is embittered and temperamental as she is kind. She never really got to flex those skills long enough on Breaking Bad. Another of her most noteworthy credits, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, was short-lived too. Ritter played the eponymous character in a gloriously amoral, careless way but was obviously far removed from the tortured soul she ends up depicting in Jessica Jones. As the only female Defender, Ritter is unapologetic – delightfully so.

Sebastian Stan (Captain America)

Prior to getting the role of Bucky Barnes, Stan was best known as Gossip Girl‘s resident bad boy. He had a penchant for petulant antagonists, memorably portraying one in The Covenant — a movie so bad it’s got a cult following. Bucky was a character shift for him that concurrently generated exponentially more exposure for Stan: he was finally a good guy. Mischievous and cocky, sure, but always possessing a good enough heart to be the perfect counterpoint to Captain America himself.

Stan further proved his acting chops in The Winter Soldier and Civil War. He isn’t really physically onscreen so much as the presence of that character was. Nevertheless, whatever time Stan did have amplified Bucky’s appeal due to his ability to convey a lot without words. There is a lot of unexpected, restrained power in his performances that make the character unique and sought after.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)