Even though a sequel to Mortal Kombat hasn’t been announced as being in the works, everyone has an idea of who they want to play Johnny Cage. Fans, entertainment sites and even the cast and crew that worked on director Simon McQuoid’s fighting game adaptation all have their favorite prospects in reaction to the big sequel tease at the end of the potential franchise starter. But somehow, some way, Wrath of Man star Josh Hartnett’s name has gotten into the mix, and upon asking for his thoughts, I learned that naturally, he’s totally up for playing the role.
In my recent interview with Mr. Hartnett on behalf of Wrath of Man’s launch this weekend, it was a good time to bring up this dream casting. Responding to the notion with humble surprise, but definite enthusiasm, Josh Hartnett was at first taken aback by the Mortal Kombat suggestion. Overall, here’s what he had to say.
Johnny Cage? Really? [laughs] Yeah, I mean I haven’t seen Mortal Kombat yet. I have to see what they’re doing, but yes, absolutely. That’s cool.
While it was suggested that Mortal Kombat’s Kano himself, Josh Lawson, had brought up Josh Hartnett’s name, it looks like his interview saw him touting friend and fellow video game movie veteran James Marsden as his pick. But no matter where Josh Hartnett’s name came from, it’s hard not to think of his role as Boy Sweat Dave in Wrath of Man as a sort of audition to play the mega star-turned-kombatant. This is especially true after watching Mr. Hartnett’s latest role, as his character lives up to his nickname with comedic precision.
Even Josh Hartnett himself acknowledged Boy Sweat Dave as the ultimate try hard, so he already has the chops to show those moments when Johnny doesn’t exactly live up to his brand of hype. That makes it a perfect opportunity for Hartnett to comedically riff on his time as one of Hollywood’s go-to guys for major castings. But besides Mortal Kombat being a fun, franchise gig, it’s also has potential for the Wrath of Man star to reconnect with a childhood favorite, as he admitted to a personal history with the Midway/NetherRealm Studios gaming franchise:
I mean, I played Mortal Kombat ‘til my hands hurt when I was a kid. It was one of those arcade games that was up at the corner store; and I’m not kidding you, it was actually called ‘The Corner Store.’ I spent countless hours up there, and pounded on those buttons. Yeah, that’s interesting. Wow. I’m flattered.
If anyone is looking for a Johnny Cage type to come out and play in Mortal Kombat’s big sequel push, Josh Hartnett sounds like a pretty fun candidate to slot into the auditions. While Wrath of Man’s action is focused on gunplay and harsh language, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to picture Hartnett slipping on some $500 sunglasses and dusting it up in the Outworld. Try and picture that for yourself, as Wrath of Man is currently in theaters, should you feel safe enough to venture out to the movies.