Ll Cool J


  1. Michael Jai White, Spawn, 1996. All the obvious heavyweights – Cuba Gooding Jr, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, Tony Todd (Candyman), Denzel Washington  and Tarantino favourites Samuel L Jackson, Ving Rhames – were seen for the movies’ first black superhero. (The later filmed Black Pantherwas born first, in a 1966 comic – 26 yearsbefore Spawn).  Plus the usual rappers LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur. And the inevitable unknown: Allen Payne, from New Jack City (with Snipes).  Not easy, said White, to win audience sympathy for “the most tragic character I’ve encountered,” a government assassin back from hell. Hence, Spawn 2and Spawn 3: The Ultimate Battle never battled.

  2. Wesley Snipes, Blade, 1997.       Scenarist David S Goyer wanted Snipes and no one else. The studio execs were screaming: Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, even rapper J. Snipes was already in Marvel talks for playing Black Panther and one superhero led to another. He was effective, said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, because he understood the key ingredient in any interesting superhero is vulnerability, not omnipotence. Panther became Chadwick Boseman in the 18th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017.

  3. Cuba Gooding Jr, Shadowboxer, 2005.    Helping his stepmom – and lover – on her last hit job. The role had started white, aimed at Wes Bentley or Ryan Philippe… in the directing debut of actor-writer Lee Daniels.

  4. Idris Elba, Obsessed, 2008.     Poor Dris took over from the TV-committed Cool J in what Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers called it a ”crazy ass awful… stenchcloud” Fatal Attraction. Ali Larter had the Glenn Close role of the psycho stalker. Everyone swore this had nothing to do with Adrian Lyne’s film (no one had the rights, you see), yet Beyoncé Knowles, as the wife, was also called Beth – before someone noticed and changed it to Sharon.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: James Todd SmithUsual occupation: SingerCasting Calls:  4