Save, perhaps, the casting of Sin City actress Carla Gugino as the wedding guest narrating the story, there is no discernible reason why The Haunting of Bly Manor should remind anyone of comic books. However, the topic just happened cross my mind at certain moments while watching the Netflix original miniseries, particularly when Oliver Jackson-Cohen was on the screen. I mean, am I alone in believing that a role in the Marvel movies is in his future, or at least should be?
Despite a career that dates back to the early 2000s, the 34-year-old actor really began to breakout into the mainstream in 2018 from his role as an adult Luke struggling with addiction and the (literal) ghosts of his past in creator Mike Flanagan’s 10-part reimagining of The Haunting of Hill House. Oliver Jackson-Cohen would return for the 2020 follow-up (loosely inspired by The Turn of the Screw) as Peter Quint: a valet who (without giving too much away) has some unusual issues of his own, but is not quite as sympathetic. Yet, ironically I found myself picturing him fighting evil alongside the Avengers, or even vice versa.
That being said, I managed to think of six characters from the pages of Marvel Comics whom Oliver Jackson-Cohen sounds like a prime candidate to play in a big screen adaptation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I based most of my choices not only on his natural onscreen charisma and appearance (as well as one fan suggestion), but also on the sort of personalities whom he has portrayed in the past, such as this anti-hero who has a more abrasive method of dealing with spiritual encounters.
The power to breathe fire and travel through different spiritual planes might have come in handy for either of Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s characters in the Netflix Haunting series - so why not give the actor a taste of what he has been missing by casting him as this badass on a bike?
Though, to be clear, I may not be referring to the iteration of Ghost Rider (a darker Marvel hero cursed to hunt demons with a skeletal, incendiary appearance) you are expecting, since two have already been adapted for the screen: Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in two films and Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I recommend letting those portrayals be and giving Danny Ketch, the second person to be imbued with the Spirit of Vengeance, the live action treatment this time with Jackson-Cohen as the badass in blue flame.
Actually, even before Oliver Jackson-Cohen had his run-ins with ghosts in the Haunting series, he made enemies with the de facto leader of all nocturnal bloodsuckers in NBC’s 2013 series reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. One Marvel character who has also had a few awkward run-ins with Dracula is Hannibal King: a Milwaukee-based private investigator turned reluctant vampire who was previously portrayed in 2003’s Blade Trinity by Ryan Reynolds, opposite Wesley Snipes. With a planned MCU reboot starring Mahershala Ali as the half-man, half-vampire in the works, if there is any intention of bringing King into the mix, Jackson-Cohen seems ripe for it.
I imagine hearing Oliver Jackson-Cohen speak with a Scottish accent in The Haunting of Bly Manor must have been unexpected and quite impressive to many viewers including myself. I was especially surprised to learn Peter Quint’s voice was only slightly different from the actor’s real accent. I would have never guessed he was actually from London by how well he has hid it and I believe Marvel should reward this effort by casting him as a superhero who would actually require his natural affectation, such as Captain Britain.
Essentially the UK’s answer to Captain America, this hero is still well-known enough to attract the interest of actors like Simon Pegg and Orlando Bloom, meaning Jackson-Cohen better campaigning.
OK, I will admit it: the idea of casting Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Reed Richards began as just a funny, meta way of referencing his title role in 2020’s The Invisible Man, but in reverse, by instead playing the husband of the Invisible Woman. However, soon after, it got me thinking about how good he might actually be as the flexible leader of the Fantastic Four in a much-anticipated reboot of the Marvel’s first superhero family, considering how well he well portrayed a scientist whose research eventually becomes his greatest weapon in Leigh Whannell’s brilliant horror remake. Of course, he would have to beat out the fan-favorite choice for Mister Fantastic, John Krasinski, but that is why I have a back-up plan for him.
Instead of fighting alongside the Invisible Woman, why not pit “the Invisible Man” against her as the Fantastic Four’s greatest foe? Of course, that is a bit of understatement for the alter ego of Latverian monarch Victor von Doom, whose vast variety of extraordinary abilities (not even counting his intellect) have made him one of the top threats in the Marvel Universe, period, making enemies with all who get in the way of his way of achieving universal dominance. Taking a brief look at Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s more recent credits tells me that a playing power-hungry smart guy like Doctor Doom would be an effortless feat for him by now.
On the other hand, no actor likes to be typecast, so if Oliver Jackson-Cohen would rather play a good guy next, perhaps he should, at least, play one whose methods of bringing criminals to justice are of a questionable nature. Such is the case for Matt Murdock, who was blinded by exposure to radioactive waste that made his remaining five senses superhuman, allowing him to lay waste to the worst of Hell's Kitchen in the most brutal ways by night as Daredevil. The reason his vigilantism is questionable is the fact that Murdock is a lawyer by day, which is a unique complexity that Charlie Cox represented well in the cancelled Netflix series, but I imagine Jackson-Cohen could pull off a new, interesting take on that dynamic as well.
What do you think? Is it only a matter of time before we see Oliver Jackson-Cohen as the new "Man with no Fear," or does that meta Mister Fantastic casting sound even cooler to you? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the Haunting of Bly Manor star, as well as even more hypothetical comic book movie casting calls, here on CinemaBlend.