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Summer is here and that means one thing—the block is about to be busted.
With all the big budget sequels dropping this year, we’re going to be seeing a lot of the same old stuff—well-worn story lines re-imagined, a few new characters and some new stud actor thrown into the lead role.
We get it: reduce, reuse and so forth.
That’s where I step in. If Hollywood is going to keep backtracking through franchises—prequel-ing and sequel-ing us year in and year out—it needs to at least start going way out there with the fresh faces it's slapping on its franchises.
Enter the athletes—the ones fans know and love, some of whom have personas that totally vibe with the characters in particular leading roles. The following are the professional athletes I would have hop in for the leading men and women of this year’s bevy of mega-dollar films.
I’m no talent agent, but the studios could’ve at least given these them a ring.
Johnny Manziel: Tony Stark ('Iron Man 3')
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Money is no object. Natural charisma for days. Neither bows to the cut-and-dry mold that comes with being public figures in their respective industries.
Johnny Manziel and Tony Stark love women, clowning and making genius look easy. Wherever they go, they’re somehow always steal the show, whether they’re the biggest swinging-est players in the room or not.
Also, we should all be completely sick of these guys at this point, but we're somehow still excited for another go-around.
Lindsey Vonn: Pepper Potts ('Iron Man 3')
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Considering she’s an understated “good girl” in a new relationship with a loaded womanizer, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is basically living the life of Tony Stark’s love interest, Pepper Potts.
The couple also likes attending swanky events together, where Tiger will certainly be hounded by the media and Vonn will deal with her uber-famous boyfriend’s all-consuming fame. Like Potts, it’s likely Vonn also has to spend a fair chunk of time keeping Tiger from ogling too noticeably in public.
Chael Sonnen: The Mandarin ('Iron Man 3')
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Evil geniuses stricken with overblown megalomania and strange codes of honor, the Mandarin and UFC fighter Chael Sonnen are the same entity living in alternate universes.
The only problem with this comparison is that the Mandarin can provide his arch-nemesis Iron Man a challenge still, unlike Sonnen.
Bryce Harper: James T. Kirk ('Star Trek into Darkness')
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He might. Not. Talk...like-William-Shatner, but Bryce Harper has a lot in common with the new revamped James T. Kirk played by Chris Pine in Star Trek Into Darkness.
They’re both young men with bright futures and rage-quit issues, and they’ve been tasked with handling huge pressure and responsibility with their respective “teams.”
LeBron James: Khan ('Star Trek into Darkness')
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LeBron James has plenty in common with Khan—the villain and arch nemesis of Captain Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness.
Much like Khan, King James is believed to be a genetically engineered superhuman. Even more like Khan, a large cross-section of people in this world have spent long hours screaming his name hatefully into the night.
Also, changing Khan out for LeBron wouldn’t change the movie’s script that much. Just substitute “KHAAAAAN!!” with "LEBROOOOON!!" and you’re set.
Shane Battier: Spock ('Star Trek into Darkness')
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Is it the ears?
Yes, it’s the ears—but—it’s also the game. Shane Battier can shut you down like a food inspector at a nasty deli, just like Spock can Vulcan Grip you into the dirt if he chooses.
Paul Bissonnette: Phil ('The Hangover Part III')
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Guys who live for everything but their 9-to-5 jobs and do their finest work after the sun goes down.
Paul Bissonnette doesn’t see much action on the ice, but the Phoenix Coyotes reserve is a first-string wing man. Like Phil from The Hangover (who is a school teacher), his real skills come out when he’s not on the clock.
Women love the Phil, but they can’t resist the BizNasty.
Brian Wilson: Alan ('The Hangover Part III')
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Alan is coming back for the third and final Hangover sequel this summer, and while we wouldn’t want to replace him, you could get away with throwing in Giants pitcher Brian Wilson as a stand-in.
The reason? Because someone could tell you “Hey, Brian Wilson drugged his friends and fed a tiger pepper-steak last weekend,” and your only reaction would be “And then what?”
He’s that guy.
Desmond Bryant: Stu ('The Hangover Part III')
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Got drunk, did something stupid and now will never be able to live down what happened to their face as a result.
Desmond Bryant’s wild night on the town ended in ugliness, thus making him a perfect fit for the role of Stu—The Hangover’s perpetually remorseful best friend who got way more than he was asking for.
Fortunately for Bryant, his face isn’t permanently marred by the incident like Stu's.
Chris Bosh: Mr. Chow ('The Hangover Part III')
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Rob Gronkowski: Dominic Torreto ('Fast 6')
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Vin Diesel is to acting what Rob Gronkowski is to interviews.
Having Gronk play Dominic Torreto—Diesel’s character in Fast 6—only makes sense. They’re character actors through and through, in the sense that who they are on-screen isn’t an act—it’s pretty much who they are.
Also, I’d rather see the Gronk scream “Fiesstaaaa!!” while jumping a Lamborghini onto a tank that’s on top of a flaming airplane, and I think you do, too.
Rampage Jackson: Luke Hobbs ('Fast 6')
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Name any situation where you’d prefer to see The Rock in a movie over UFC fighter Rampage Jackson. Unless it’s a film about fighting karate eyebrows, I think it would be infinitely more terrifying (and just as poorly acted) with Jackson on the screen.
Dwayne Johnson is playing Luke Hobbs in Fast 6—some goon bounty hunter.
Boom! Replace him with Rampage, who sustains himself on hard tack, discarded Soldier of Fortune magazines and the souls of the meek. Your movie just got an extra power bomb a minute it didn’t even ask for, which I believe is something we can all get behind.
I mean, the guy already did work on the A-Team remake.
David Beckham: Brian O’Connor ('Fast 6')
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Paul Walker, D-Beckham—is there really a difference?
Women love them and men hate them or want to be them. Beckham might be a smoother actor of the two, given his experience in diving during international soccer matches.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
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Started at the bottom, now they’re here.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. would slide into the role of Jay Gatsby like a fish into water. Like Mayweather, the leading man of The Great Gatsby came from impoverished beginnings and fought their way to the top of the social (and financial) ladder through unconventional means.
Between the cars, clothes and the mansion, Mayweather’s personal opulence offers plenty of parallels with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s protagonist. Both also has a tortured past with the woman in their lives.
Dwight Howard: Clark Kent ('Man of Steel')
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He’s already got the outfit.
Dwight Howard is the NBA’s Man of Steel—ridiculously strong, can leap out of the gym and has one monstrous, glaring downfall (the city of Los Angeles, apparently).
The biggest difference between Man of Steel and the story of Dwight Howard is the fact that this summer’s blockbuster is all but guaranteed to have a happier ending than the Lakers 2012-13 season.
Alex Morgan: Lois Lane ('Man of Steel')
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She’s the girl next door, and she’s not just a pretty face.
I can’t rightly put my finger on one specific thing, but U.S. women’s soccer star Alex Morgan just seems like the Lois Lane type—the perfect woman for Superman to take on a ride through the clouds, if he’s man enough to handle her (most defenses can’t).
First she needs to drop the zero and get with the superhero, however.