The actors strike is over, and news has emerged that a biopic of Elon Musk, directed by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, is in the works. The movie from A24 is to be based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Musk.
So the guessing game is on: Who would best capture the essence of the mercurial, meme-loving tech mogul on the big screen?
It won’t surprise you to learn that the internet has already chewed over this question. In a recent Reddit thread, commenters’ top-voted casting picks for Musk were: Nicolas Cage, Rami Malek, Jesse Eisenberg and Robert Downey Jr.
Other suggestions from sundry corners of the web have included Brendan Fraser (who incidentally starred in Aronofsky’s “The Whale”); Matt LeBlanc of “Friends” fame; Scottish-American actor John Barrowman (“Doctor Who,” “Torchwood”); Kevin Durand (“The Strain,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”); and Matthew Broderick.
Here are some additional thoughts:
Elon Musk as himself: The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and owner of X (aka Twitter), hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2021 and he has taken a (brief) stab at stand-up comedy. The time commitment involved in shooting a feature-length movie would probably make this impossible, given Musk’s numerous other obligations. But Musk’s ego would be up for it.
Jon Hamm: The “Mad Men” star portrayed Musk-like tech billionaire Paul Marks in Season 3 of Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show.” Hamm’s resemblance to Musk isn’t quite on the mark, but it’s conceivable the actor could pull off a decent take on Musk’s clipped-and-mumble-y speech patterns.
An AI-generated version of Musk: This would likely amuse and intrigue Musk, who last month opined in a post on X, “Shows created with the help of AI will be extremely good.” Musk has alternately been excited about the potential of artificial intelligence (he co-founded OpenAI before exiting the company, and recently launched his own startup in the space, xAI) while also warning of the technology’s risks and saying that “AI safety is vital the future of civilization.”
Kathy Bates: The internet, like Musk himself, loves a good meme and it has been suggested more than once that Bates is a bit of a doppelganger. Fun but an obvious nonstarter.
Meanwhile, we posed the question of who would best play Musk to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The chatbot prefaced its answer with a cautionary note: “As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, it’s challenging to predict who would play Elon Musk in a movie since casting decisions depend on various factors.” ChatGPT continued, “As of my last update, potential candidates might include actors like Tom Hardy, Robert Downey Jr., or even someone not yet widely recognized but with the talent to capture Musk’s unique persona.”
Musk has launched his own AI chatbot rival to ChatGPT, dubbed Grok, but access currently is limited to verified subscribers of X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue).