The story is already part of superhero movie lore, but in case you missed it, here’s the short version. Gearing up to film in 2008, George Miller‘s “Justice League Mortal” was eventually scrapped due to complications from the writer’s strike and a budget that wound up soaring when tax breaks couldn’t be secured in Australia. The cast would’ve included Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Adam Brody as The Flash, and Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, but alas none of it came to pass. However, Michael Angarano reveals was in the mix for the movie at one point, but his ego got in the way.
“I’ve auditioned for a couple [of superhero movies] in my life. I screen-tested, or came very close, for ‘[The Amazing] Spider-Man,’ the Andrew Garfield one. There was another one when I was really young. I auditioned for ‘Justice League’ and I got called back to test with George Miller,” he told Huffington Post. “I was probably 18 or 19 and I didn’t want to do it. It was a really strange thing because in my arrogant, choosy, actor mind, I thought, ‘I already did a superhero movie, I don’t want to repeat myself’ because I’d done ‘Sky High.’ I was like, ‘No, I just don’t want to do it.’ And you know what? I’m probably not the first actor who’s felt that before, but there is no reason why I should not be incredibly excited to go and audition for ‘Justice League’ in front of George Miller.”
It’s a humbling realization for the actor, who can only shake his head at his younger self. “I tried everything in my power to not do it, but I was almost physically forced to do it by the people who were close to me who love me and were probably smarter and making better decisions,” Angarano admits. “But I did [audition] and I have to say it was one of the things that I look back on and kind of cringe at because I know I was there, but I wasn’t fully there. I wasn’t wanting to be there and it’s tough to go against your own instincts sometimes. I’m not saying I was in the wrong state of mind, but at the same time I wish I had been in a better state of mind, just to be in the room with somebody like him. They deserve your full and utmost talent.”
And with more experience under his belt, Angarano knows that the talent required for a movie is the same, regardless of its size. “A lot of people would talk down a superhero movie because they think it’s inferior, for whatever reason, as opposed to doing an independent movie or something like that. But really it requires the same skill,” he said. “I have done big movies like ‘Sky High’ or ‘The Forbidden Kingdom,’ and it’s really hard. It’s not easy to turn in as a great a performance as Chris Pratt did in ‘Jurassic World‘ or the kind that Jennifer Lawrence turned in in ‘Hunger Games‘ or like Tom Cruise has done in every movie that he’s been in. It’s not easy because on these huge-budget movies, it’s not about an actor’s performance. There’s so much you have to look out for on your own.”
So, some wisdom gained by Angarano, who is now turning in some great work on Steven Soderbergh‘s “The Knick.” Season two has just kicked off, and you should definitely be watching it.