Back in April, it was announced that Sony Pictures is planning to develop a live-action One Punch Man movie with the same writers of the hit movie Venom. Despite the success of Venom and Tom Hardy’s praise as Eddie Brock, it’s only natural for hardcore fans to be as pessimistic as Macaulay Culkin’s character in The Pagemaster. Given Hollywood’s track record of adapting most Japanese properties (looking at you Dragon Ball Evolution, KITE, and Ghost in the Shell), we sympathize with you. Since the movie seems to be going through, why not have some fun with the idea and share with you who should play Saitama Hollywood-style!
One suitable choice to play a ‘Murican version of Saitama, who better than The People’s Champion himself, The Rock!? He’s got the baldhead, and if you’re going to do 100 push-ups, sit-ups, and run 10km a day, The Rock definitely has the body for it! At 6’5” and 270 pounds of solid muscle, he’s the All-‘Murican hero. If Honey’s Anime was allowed to endorse politics, we’re sure we’d endorse him for president (better him than Kanye West. And to get it out of the way, Kanye West IS NOT one of our selections for Saitama, maybe as a villain that’s a gay fish?)! Despite his size, if you’ve seen him during his days as a wrestler, you can see that he’s also pretty quick and agile, which has been implemented in many of his roles as an action star.
Putting aside his physicality, The Brahma Bull has a one-of-a-kind charisma like no other, and that helped him succeed in professional wrestling in his younger days. While he may not be able to pull Saitama being unassuming, he can also serve as that mentor role he shares with Genos (as for who is playing Genos, that’s another topic for another time) just like how he has been training his daughter to become a pro wrestler.
If Hollywood wants to piss off fans even more, then another suitable choice for an American version of One Punch Man is Vin Diesel. Besides the bald head, his acting as the tough guy that has made him famous in the Fast and Furious franchise is the ultimate antithesis of who Saitama is. These qualities should be a nightmare for hardcore fans to drive them to make a hate mail campaign we would love to see. Yes, he has done comedy such as when he plays a Navy SEAL turned nanny in The Pacifier, but One Punch Man has a different brand of comedy that critiques masculinity in superheroes through Saitama. Casting Vin Diesel as Saitama would certainly hurt that, and maintain its track record that it knows NOTHING about anime. Hopefully, casting Vin Diesel and getting a negative reaction will convince Hollywood of that.
In addition to Vin Diesel, we think Jason Statham’s casting would be the perfect way to piss off fans and to show that Hollywood doesn’t know what they’re doing. He’s a modern action star and we know that in Hollywood sense, he’s the kind of guy you want to play a bald-headed hero who can defeat every enemy with just one punch. Maybe with his trademark British accent, he can probably give a certain edge to Saitama’s indifference to his ranking in the superhero community, but in a more cynical sense.
Undeniably, Statham is a credible martial artist, but that’s not who or what Saitama is. As seen in the second season, Saitama has NO technique and relies only on brute strength. Does Statham have the physicality to pull that off? No doubt he does, though, his looks may work for a Hollywood comic book film but NOT with a manga character!
When it comes to Hollywood saying they want to adapt a manga or anime property, it’s only natural and understandable that we immediately assume the worst. Dragon Ball Evolution is one of the worst films ever made to the point that Toriyama has publicly denounced it. Some time ago, one of the writers publicly apologized to the fans. Even before Dragon Ball Evolution, fans and even Tomino himself said they wanted nothing to do with G-Saviour, a live-action attempt at Gundam. Ghost in the Shell was met with mixed reactions, and Alita has been one of the very few adaptations to have positive receptions.
Nevertheless, One Punch Man is a different kind of thing that is uniquely Japanese, and we feel that adapting it to American audiences (if that’s the direction they’re going to take) is going to strip away everything that makes One Punch Man unique. So, we feel that by casting generic and established action Hollywood action stars in the role, we can prepare for the worst and get a good laugh because many fans are predicting that it will suck. So, if you were some clueless Hollywood big wig making a One Punch movie, who would you pick for Saitama? Give us your thoughts in the comments!