Several big name actors - Jack Black among them - are reportedly circling the human lead role in Paramount's live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie. The Sonic the Hedgehog video game character was created in 1991 and has since appeared in several cartoon TV series, but has yet to make the jump to the big screen in either live-action or animated form. Of course, that might have been for the best; video game movies have a notoriously poor track record in terms of quality and have only really begun to improve their reputation this year, thanks to the Tomb Raider reboot and Dwayne Johnson's Rampage.
Sonic the Hedgehog, which was set up at Sony before it moved to Paramount last year, features Deadpool helmer Tim Miller in its corner as a producer and is being directed by Jeff Fowler; the filmmaker behind the Oscar-nominated animated short Gopher Broke, who is making his feature debut here. There's a lot that remains unknown about the movie for the time being, including what it's even about and whether an A-lister will be voicing Sonic (a la how Ryan Reynolds is voicing the titular Detective Pikachu in next year's live-action film). However, it appears that Paramount is courting some well-known comedic talent to play Sonic's human partner here.
According to THS, the Sonic the Hedgehog human lead actor shortlist currently includes Black, as well as Jason Segel, Owen Wilson, and Ed Helms. All four stars are being considered for the role of Tom, a "sarcastic" human highway patrol cop who teams up with Sonic in the film to save the day, presumably by battling Sonic's classic arch-nemesis Dr. Robotnik. Following up on their scoop from yesterday, THS is reporting that Paul Rudd is no longer in the running to play Tom, though it appears that the Ant-Man actor was either being considered and/or circling the role at some point.
Plot details aside, Sonic the Hedgehog is gearing up to start production on July 30th in Vancouver - in order to hit its current Fall 2019 release target - and will cost around $90 million to make overall. While part of that budget will (naturally) be allocated to bringing Sonic and the movie's other fantasy characters to life in a flesh and blood world, part of it will also go towards covering the salary of Sonic's big-name costar in the film. THS's report doesn't indicated that there's a front-runner among the actors on the shortlist to play Tom at the moment, but that should change in the near future.
Kid-targeted IPs like Sonic the Hedgehog have certainly become Black's bread and butter of late, as evidenced by his roles from such critical/commercial hits as Goosebumps and Jumaji: Welcome to the Jungle. Black trading barbs with a CGI Sonic in a movie sounds entertaining enough, though the same could be said for the other actors listed here (none of whom are strangers to family-friendly fare, either). The production timeline for Sonic the Hedgehog should further work nicely with Black's schedule - since he doesn't have a major project until Jumanji 3 near the end of this year - so that's another factor that works in his favor here.
More on Sonic the Hedgehog as the story develops.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2019) release date: Nov 15, 2019