Reacher’s Alan Ritchson Reveals His Winning Strategy to Land the Aquaman Role in Smallville

Alan Ritchson Smallvile and Reacher

Due to his stature and size, the Reacher star has long been typecast as the “superhero type.” However, at this point in his career, Alan Ritchson is more focused on portraying real-life heroes.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Ritchson spoke about the future of his career, though he also looked back at his beginnings, such as his early role in Smallville. In the series, Ritchson played Arthur Curry, also known as Aquaman. He said he beat around 3,000 hopefuls to land the role, as he brought one thing to the character that nobody else had thought of.

“I was the only guy out of probably 3,000 people they auditioned that didn’t come in with some kind of affectation,” Ritchson explained. “I was just coasting on these instincts to be natural. He just happens to be a superhero, but he’s also just a guy.”

Alan Ritchson Isn’t Happy With Recent Marvel Offerings

Also in the interview, Ritchson explained his distaste for recent Marvel offerings. “Like everybody else, I sit back and yawn at Marvel movies regurgitating comic book stories that we’ve seen a thousand times because they’re the only way studios feel like they can make money,” he says. “I want to be a solution; I want to do something about it. So I’m using every bit of leverage that I have to create new, compelling stories. That’s my mission.”

The Reacher star’s concerns with Marvel reflect a broader feeling about the studio’s latest projects. Throughout 2023 and into 2024, Marvel films have received lower ratings and grossed less at the box office than ever before. Movies like The MarvelsAnt-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Madame Web have been panned for their confused storyline, surface-level character development, and stilted dialogue. Even Marvel TV shows have suffered, as Season 2 of Loki had a much less enthusiastic reception than the first.

Madame Web star Dakota Johnson commented on the film’s poor reviews saying, “Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that this has gone down the way it has,” Johnson said. “In these big movies that get made, decisions are being made by committees, and art does not do well when it’s made by committee[s]. Films are made by a filmmaker and a team of artists around them. You cannot make art based on numbers and algorithms. My feeling has been for a long time that audiences are extremely smart, and executives have started to believe that they’re not. Audiences will always be able to sniff out bullsh*t.”

Ritchson’s comments, however, shouldn’t be conflated for a dislike of superhero movies, or superheroes themselves. In fact, the actor’s first-ever role was that of Arthur “AC” Curry/Aquaman on an episode of Smallville. He would reprise the role later in the series when Green Arrow (played by Justin Hartley) assembled a crew to fight Lex Luthor. Ritchson also voiced Aquaman in the animated Justice League: The New Frontier. The actor also appeared on the live-action Titans. He originally auditioned to be Nightwing, but was eventually cast as Hank Hall/Hawk. Ritchson has also made it clear that he’d love to play Batman at some point.

Alan Ritchson as Aquaman on Smallville

Ritchson has gained notoriety of late for his portrayal of Jack Reacher on the Prime Video series, Reacher. Jack Reacher is a character from Lee Child’s novels, and when Tom Cruise was cast in the role back in 2012, fans were disappointed because the character is described as being well over 6 feet tall and built like a brick house. Ritchson was cast in the Prime Video series and he has proven to be a dynamic and entertaining actor, on top of possessing a physique that commands attention, which is fitting for his character.

His most recent role is Anders Lassen in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, who the actor describes as “the baddest dude I’ve ever seen on paper in my life.” The Guy Ritchie-directed film releases on April 19.

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