I saw Magic Mike last night, and it was excellent. A great blend of scenes with legitimate gravitas with dance sequences filled with rippling, semi-naked men. But there was one actor who stood out like a sore thumb: Wrestler Kevin Nash, playing the burly Xquisite dancer nicknamed “Tarzan.” All of the film’s promotional materials had played up the presence of Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganiello, but hardly any had touched on this markedly older dancer. In fact, in the scene where The Kid is first getting to know the guys, I spent a whole minute trying to figure out if this grizzled beefcake were Mickey Rourke trolling us in a cameo.
For the rest of the movie, Tarzan seemed out of step with Big Dick Richie, Ken, Mike, and The Kid. I kept expecting him to seize up on stage from a heart attack or overdose on drugs; I figured he represented the dancers’ mortality, how one day you wake up and you’re 40 and still an exotic dancer. But no, he makes it through, always as an afterthought.
Now we’re hearing, from Kevin Nash himself, that he could have a part in a radically different movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. At the Magic Mike premiere, he told USA Today that he’s in talks for a role. “I just pray it’s recurring, that he doesn’t get killed,” he joked.
There seems to be only one part that would fit Nash’s physical stature and age: Brutus, the District 2 victor who volunteers to participate in the Third Quarter Quell. He’s a hulking guy in his 40s, yet it sounds like it’s more than just brute strength that helps him win; the fan wiki says that no one really knows how he won his Games.
Otherwise, I couldn’t imagine where else the casting directors intend to put Nash. Honestly, he was distracting in Magic Mike because he was so removed from his younger co-stars but his out-of-place-ness didn’t actually represent anything. It’d be the same deal here, though at least there’s a greater range of ages in the 75th Hunger Games. After all, one of Katniss’ allies is the seemingly senile old lady Mags. (Still crossing my fingers that Cicely Tyson takes on that role! She and Emma Stone worked together so well in The Help, I could see her and Jennifer Lawrence getting along just as famously.)
Now that I think about it, however, Magic Mike may be the reason why the Catching Fire producers are considering Nash. Spoilers! Brutus’ plotline in the second movie hinges on him and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) getting on each other’s good sides, though once the Games occur ultimately it’s Peeta who kills Brutus in a fit of rage.
So if this is true, maybe the producers are counting on the way your eye is uncomfortably drawn to Nash. To be fair, setting him up as a killer is more believable than as an aging dancer.
Photo: Warner Bros.