If you’ve ever played a Hideo Kojima game — and you really should have by now — you’re no doubt aware that the designer has a strong affinity for the cinema. Even forgetting the largely cinematics-driven Metal Gear Solid 4, all of Kojima’s games are rife with references to popular films — even the lead protagonist is an obvious rip-off of/homage to Kurt Russell’s character of Snake Plissken from John Carpenter’s 1981 film Escape From New York.
Thus, since a feature film based on Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series is currently in the works (with Kojima serving as executive producer, no less), it’s only fitting that the man would find an opportunity to voice his opinions on who should play the lead in the upcoming film. According to a new YouTube video from Clevver Movies (which you can find embedded below), Kojima initially hoped to land a “big name action star” for the role, namely Hugh Jackman, a man mostly famous in Hollywood for repeatedly portraying Marvel Comics’ lovably gruff antihero Wolverine in his many theatrical appearances throughout the past decade.
However, it seems that after discussing the idea with producer Avi Arad, Kojima has come to the conclusion that an unknown actor might better embody the character of Solid Snake. Jackman, and any other well-known stars, are inherently known for their previous work, and it seems that Arad and Kojima would prefer that their leading man be a totally blank slate around which they can create a proper cinematic iteration of gaming’s favorite cyclopian super spy.
Of course, that hypothetical unknown would have to meet a rather strict set of criteria. Not only would he have to look like the character, he’d also have to sound like him. Actor/screenwriter/voice actor David Hayter has been providing the voice of Snake since the PlayStation era, and it’s hard to imagine fans accepting any actor as Snake without his trademark guttural growling. That said, Kojima seems to have great faith in Arad’s ability to find the perfect actor. “Avi is very good at finding these people,” Kojima told Clevver Movies. “I think we can find someone who can make it big and have Solid Snake be their break into the movie industry.”
This film is still in the early stages of production, so we’re currently lacking crucial information on the project such as when it might hit theaters and who will be sitting in the director’s chair. Normally that would be sad news, but in this case it means we get to speculate wildly about this film’s potential cast.
If we can be totally frank, we have a hard time envisioning any known actor playing Solid Snake in our modern era. Kurt Russell could have been an amazing Snake in the early- to mid-1980s, but given that he’s currently pushing 62 we doubt he could capture the character’s early years. Then again, Metal Gear Solid 4 was all about an older, grey-haired version of Snake. Since we don’t know anything about this film’s plot or which iteration of Metal Gear Solid it might focus on, we’re going to continue pushing the idea that Russell really should appear in this movie, if only to bring Kojima’s cinematic influences full circle. Plus, despite his age, Kurt Russell is still quite capable of capturing the “world-weary badass” appeal that made him such a fixture in Hollywood action flicks throughout the 80s and 90s — which is far more than we can say for the vast, vast majority of twenty- and thirtysomething “action stars” these days.
Agree? Disagree? Who do you want to see portray Solid Snake? Leave your casting ideas in the comments.