Hire Sharlto Copley as Kraven the Hunter, cowards
I don't know much in life, friends, but I do know this: Sharlto Copley was born to play Kraven the Hunter in a SPIDER-MAN movie.
Copley first burst into the scene in Neil Blomkamp's incredible DISTRICT 9, a movie in which the actor channeled his inner Jeff Goldblum as an asshole who transforms into a giant bug. A childhood friend of Blompkamp, the South African actor was recruited from his office job to star in the Oscar-nominated film and has since gone on to enjoy a varied career playing assholes in such films as HARDCORE HENRY, THE A-TEAM, MALEFICENT, and FREE FIRE. All of these roles as assholes in both Hollywood films and independent cinema was just prologue, though, for the day where he could strap on that silly lion face vest and play noted asshole Kraven the Hunter.
Now, I've seen folks online suggesting names such as Karl Urban or Jason Momoa as Kraven the Hunter. These folks are wrong. Only Copley has the acting chops needed to don those iconic cheetah print tights and attempt to throw nets onto Spider-Man. Only Copley will make audiences believe as he mixes jungle herbs together to create poisons and potions designed to weaken Spider-Man's reflexes. Only Copley can grow that majestic, bushy mustache that you KNOW has bits of gazelle meat still nestled in it from meals years previous.
And yet - there have been eight Spider-Man movies released and not one of them has featured Kraven the Hunter, let alone a Kraven the Hunter played by Sharlto Copley.
It was recently announced that J.C. Chandor has signed on to direct a Kraven the Hunter movie. While the idea of the guy who directed the underrated A MOST VIOLENT YEAR doing a Kraven the Hunter solo film is a ... fascinating one, I can't help but be skeptical. Kraven's whole schtick is that he wants to catch Spider-Man. I don't even think Kraven the Hunter robs banks, plots terrorist attacks, or attempts white-collar crime - he just tries to throw nets on Spider-Man. What is a Kraven the Hunter movie without Spider-Man?
I trust Chandor, though, so I eagerly anticipate learning how he plans to stretch this character concept out into a full-length solo film. I mean, I guess you can make a movie in which Kraven the Hunter hunts a group of poachers or spoiled, rich big-game hunters who lack the proper respect for the glory of The Hunt. Imagine PREDATOR, but it's a dude dressed in a lion-faced vest that doesn't cover his entire chest, throwing nets onto Donald Trump's sons. Actually, now that I think about it, I'd watch the hell out of that movie in a heartbeat.
That said, my dream cinematic Kraven the Hunter is closer to Brian Michael Bendis' depiction of the character in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. In this series, Kraven is basically the Crocodile Hunter, a reality TV star who shows up in New York City with his camera crew looking to bag Spider-Man, the ultimate prey. He makes a big show over the course of a couple of issues as he tracks Spider-Man through the city, following his scent and frequent sightings. When he shows up at Peter Parker's high school, in search of Spider-Man, though, he gets his ass handed to him with a single punch. Spider-Man is aghast - he assumed Kraven had superpowers and could take one of his punches.
Embarrassed by how easily he gets his ass handed to him, Kraven would eventually genetically modify himself and wound up looking like a THUNDER CATS reject.
The Kraven the Hunter from the main Marvel Universe is a lot more convoluted.
He's the half-brother of The Chameleon and has a ton of children that are near impossible to keep track of. At one point, in the '80s, he managed to defeat Spider-Man and take his identity. He would follow up this win by shooting himself in the head. During Kraven's time six feet under, his menagerie of children came out to play. There was a son who would eventually mutate into a lion, a daughter disappointingly not named Kravana, and then there was Al Kraven.
Despite starting off his career following his father's footsteps, Alyosha Kravinoff (or Al Kraven as he prefers to be called) eventually decided that he didn't want to hunt Spider-Man so he instead moved to Hollywood and hunted the Weinstein Brothers. Seriously. This was portrayed in the mini-series GET KRAVEN.
The series was a weird Hollywood satire, parodying GET SHORTY. The series was written by comedian Ron Zimmerman who had a handful of books he worked on during the early '00s, including a series that recontextualized the Rawhide Kid as a gay stereotype. The book had a sequel called RAWHIDE KID: SLAP LEATHER and, allegedly, the reboot infuriated Stan Lee. As a side note, I have a special fondness for the early '00s Bill Jemas era of Marvel that spawned GET KRAVEN, RAWHIDE KID, and even ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. Under Jemas' leadership, Marvel was constantly doing weird-ass things, like releasing MARVILLE, an entire comic that's sole purpose was to dunk on DC.
Kraven the Hunter was eventually resurrected and has sputtered around the Marvel Universe in recent years. He recently starred in a Spider-Man event called HUNTED in which Kraven captured the way-too-numerous Spider-Man bad guys are animal-themed (Scorpion, Vulture, The Gibbon, Black Cat, The Lizard, etc.) and led a hunting expedition for the ultra-rich. He used the money gained from this expedition to clone himself - raising these clones like one would raise puppies. He would once again die at the end of this event - tricking his clone into killing himself, because ... I'm not sure why. Either way, Kraven was essentially replaced with a baggage-free clone version of himself who was - as always - dedicated to throwing nets on Spider-Man.
But we've gotten off track. Don't be distracted by gay cowboys, Hollywood satires, or clones - the point of this blog was to show why Sharlto Copley is the only choice of actor to to play Kraven the Hunter in a movie. And so, why is Sharlto Copley the perfect man to play Kraven the Hunter? Why is the sky blue? Why does peanut butter taste so good with jelly? Why does Spider-Man always manage to dodge having nets thrown on him? Somethings just are.