In 2000 as Sam Raimi was gearing up to make Spider-Man there were rumors Doctor Octopus would be the villain and that Vincent D'Onofrio would play the part. He turned it down. Why?
"There are certain things you cannot do."
How times have changed: D'Onofrio just signed on to play Kingpin in Marvel's Daredevil Netflix series, making this the first superhero role he's taken... but not the first he's been offered* He turned down the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men film, a role that would have had him rolling in money for the last decade. He also turned down the lead in The Rocketeer, and gave TV Guide his reasoning back at the turn of the century:
"it was more money than I would ever imagine making, and I still haven't made to this day. I was thinking about [doing] it... [but] then I saw myself flying around with a rocket on my back, like this big guinea with a rocket on his back, and I said, 'I can't f---ing do this. This is ridiculous!'"
I wonder what's changed. The money, surely, is part of it; in the decade and a half since then D'Onofrio has, like many of his peers, begun to see the virtue in making a dollar. But is the post-Spider-Man, post-Batman Begins shift in quality superhero movies part of it? Glenn Close is in a Marvel movie, for pete's sake, so it isn't like these things are just slumming anymore. It's kind of a fascinating reminder of a time - not that long ago - when serious actors wouldn't even consider roles in superhero movies or TV shows. Now everybody's doing it.
Or maybe back in 2000 D'Onofrio felt like he had been there/done that - after all, he pretty much played Thor in 1987's Adventures in Babysitting.
Thanks to Phil Nobile Jr for reminding us of this little factoid!
* and I can't really say 'comic book' because Men In Black is technically based on a comic book.