Years before Independence Day and Jurassic Park actor Jeff Goldblum signed on to play the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, the actor turned down an offer from Marvel Studios to play a role in Captain America: The First Avenger, and studio head Kevin Feige couldn’t be happier that the deal failed to work out.
Since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has recruited some of the biggest names in Hollywood for both starring and supporting roles. Marvel has signed a number of A-list actors with long resumes that go back decades, including Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Bridges, Tommy Lee Jones, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Robert Redford, and Michael Douglas. More major stars (Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, and Goldblum) will appear in Marvel’s next blockbuster, Thor: Ragnarok.
In an interview with UPROXX, Feige was asked if there were any actors that he had been unable to land. Feige said that if he was asked that a question a year ago, the answer would have been Jeff Goldblum.
And we had come close. I mean, I’ll tell you, I think we spoke to him or offered him a role in Captain America: The First Avenger. I think the role of the senator that was part of that USO tour in the first Captain America film. And he either wasn’t available or wasn’t interested or whatever. And thank goodness, because that would have just been a small thing and instead we got to wait for the Grandmaster, which is about as amazing as a Jeff Goldblum ‘Goldblum-iness’ could be.
The role mentioned by Feige is that of Senator Brandt, the character who took notice of Steve’s PR potential and convinced him to join the USO tour. The role eventually went to Michael Brandon. Fans will likely see it as a good thing that Goldblum turned down the offer, as Senator Brandt was a minor character with a small number of lines and very limited screen time. The role wouldn’t have given Goldblum a chance to shine, as opposed to Thor: Ragnarok‘s The Grandmaster, which allowed the actor to improvise many of his scenes.
In the comic books, the Grandmaster serves as one of the Elders of the Universe, alongside his brother, the Collector, Ego the Living Planet, the Champion of the Universe, and many others. Each Elder has a specialty that they’re known for, with the Grandmaster being famous for his love of gambling. The Grandmaster could never resist a good wager, but the problem for the Marvel Universe was that the stakes were always on a cosmic level. The Avengers, Defenders, and other heroes would often have to compete against him to determine the fate of the Earth.
Described as “an enjoyer of life and tastes and smells,” Goldblum’s version of the Grandmaster differs from the comic book character in that he doesn’t have blue skin, but he appears to share his comic book counterpart’s love of watching people fight to the death. As seen in the trailers, the character oversees the gladiator fights on Sakaar, including the epic showdown between Thor and Hulk.
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