With the recent announcement that Ben Affleck is going to play Batman in the newest installment of the Batman movie franchise, the Internet has been abuzz with superhero talk. Fans seem to have very clear-cut ideas of what it takes to play their favorite superheroes, and are quick to criticize when the actor doesn’t seem to be a good match for the character in question. Recent articles on Comic Book Resources Magazine, pop culture site The Inquisitr, and Celebrity Café have all taken issue with recent superhero casting decisions, poking fun at the studio’s difficulties in capturing what fans love most about these characters.
One way to approach casting superhero movies is to look closely at the personality traits of the characters, with the hope of finding actors that can most naturally embody those key characteristics. Lets’ take a look at how DISC can help assess the personalities of a few iconic superheroes.
Captain America: Personality type D
D personalities are competitive, prefer to lead rather than follow, and set high standards for themselves and others. This describes Captain America perfectly. Ask most comic book fans which of the superheroes they’d most trust to lead them into battle, and the majority will say Captain America. Good thing, too, because Captain America would be hard-pressed to let anyone else take charge. Cap is a natural leader, committed to representing America and the principles it stands for. He has set high standards of behavior and performance for himself, and expects those around him to live up to those standards, no matter what.
Like many real-world “D” personalities, Captain America has a strong sense of conviction—Once he’s made up his mind, he will stick with his choice and see it through to the end. Like most D personalities, he isn’t easily swayed by the opinions and desires of others:
“When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world—‘no, you move.’” –Captain America
Decisive, optimistic, and quick-to-action, he’s never detached or angst-ridden (like The Hulk or Spiderman). Captain America has a vision for the future, and will fight for it until the end.
Iron Man: Personality Type I
I personalities are charming, talkative, and outgoing. They love to be recognized for their accomplishments, and tackle projects with creativity and enthusiasm. That sounds exactly like Iron Man.
Iron Man is by far the most charismatic of the superheroes. While many heroes have a persona that is a bit of a blank slate, Iron Man oozes personality from every pore. As Iron or his alter-ego Tony Stark, he loves the spotlight, and is perfectly at home talking in front of large groups of people. In fact, he loves attention so much that he is one of the few superheroes who doesn’t try to maintain a secret identity. Most everyone knows that Iron Man is Tony Stark, and that’s just the way he likes it. After all, what’s the fun of being a superhero if you’re not famous for it?
Iron Man is impulsive, talkative, and fun-loving. As a leader, he is inspiring and enthusiastic. He does have his flaws, though. Cocky and not a great listener, he is sometimes more concerned with popularity than results. He tries to make everything fun, but when the fun is over and things start to become routine, he loses interest quickly.
Professor X: Personality Type S
S personality types are loyal, empathetic, and patient. No other superhero reflects these qualities better than Charles Xavier (Professor X).
Professor X is one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel world, and can both read and control minds. However, Professor X isn’t interested in power or control. He chooses to use his powers not to initiate conflict, but to resolve it. His goal is to build a society in which mutants and humans can coexist peacefully, and he mediates conflicts with compassion and clear-headedness. Never hot-headed or quick to anger, Professor X cares deeply about the welfare of others. The founder of the X-Men, Professor is a teacher, mentor, and father figure to all his students. Without him at the center of the X-Men, things fall apart quickly—Tempers and egos are quick to flare up without his calming and meditative influence.
Batman: Personality Type C
C personality types like to solve problems through careful consideration and research. They prefer to work alone, and have a reputation for being logical and precise. Though no stranger to the use of physical violence, Batman still exemplifies many of the most important cerebral personality traits of a C. His bat cave is essentially a functional lab, complete with supercomputer that he uses to research problems and come up with solutions. Batman spends a lot of time alone, brooding in his bat cave. While he’s there, he’s usually creating a plan of action, strategizing his next move.
Introverted, controlled, and quiet, Batman is not the impulsive type (like Iron Man, by contrast). He is rational and deductive, and likes to be prepared for any situation—For example, think of all the gadgets he carries around on his utility belt “just in case.” Batman can invent anything he needs, and is meticulous, thorough, and orderly.
With all this in mind, have you started thinking about how you see DISC patterns of behavior in your favorite superheroes? Tell us in the comments below: who’s your favorite superhero, what personality traits to you see in that character, and who would you cast to play it?