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Actor Tim Blake Nelson made his comic book movie debut in 2008 when he starred as a nerdy, awkward scientist in The Incredible Hulk, and now he's reportedly getting ready to head back to the genre... to play a nerdy, awkward scientist in Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.
The news of the casting comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which says that Nelson is currently in negotiations but has not yet officially signed on. Should he put his name by the proverbial X, however, he will play Harvel Elder, a scientist who is shunned from society due to his physical appearance and is forced underground, eventually taking on the name Mole Man. Beneath the surface he controls an army of monsters known as Moloids. The trade's sources say that Nelson will not actually become Mole Man in the movie, but that he is set up to become a villain in a future sequel.
In case you're unaware of what Mole Man looks like in the comics, you can get a gander at him below (along with some of his Moloids):
Even beyond the simple comic book movie scientist connection, this whole situation actually sounds remarkably similar to his part in The Incredible Hulk. In that film, Nelson starred as Dr. Samuel Sterns, a professor who works to try and help Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) get rid of the monster living inside him. During a confrontation with the Abomination (Tim Roth) late in the film, a drop of Banner's blood gets into a cut on his head, and it's teased that Dr. Sterns will eventually become the Hulk supervillain known as The Leader. Nelson has suggested that he would still be up for playing that role and presumably still has a contract with Marvel Studios, but the fact that he is joining the Fox's version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which also includes the X-Men) suggests that it probably never will.
The Fantastic Four cast already includes a group of very talented young actors, including Miles Teller (as Mr. Fantastic), Michael B. Jordan (as The Human Torch) , Kate Mara (as Invisible Woman), Jamie Bell (as The Thing) and Toby Kebbell (as villain Victor von Doom). Simon Kinberg is being credited with writing the script for the film, but the project has been in development for years and years and has gone through many hands in that time. Josh Trank will helm the film as a follow-up to his feature directorial debut Chronicle, and production has already begun in target of a June 19, 2015 release date.