With the Metal Gear Solid movie looking more and more tangible thanks to some recent releases and interviews by film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts – and better yet, like it might actually live up to the quality of the series – fans have been happily speculating about who would be best for the starring role. An icon of gaming, Solid Snake’s grizzled and stoic demeanor is one close to many a person’s heart, and as such, many hope that the person chosen will imbue the traits that make the character who he is into their performance perfectly. We’re very much in that camp, and to that end, we believe these eight actors are the cream of the crop when it comes to portraying gaming’s master of stealth.
The leading star of AMC’s The Walking Dead for nearly a decade now, Andrew Lincoln bleeds the get-it-done, persevering spirit so integral to who Snake is. Throughout his years on the hit TV show, he’s helped lend a believable layer of exhausted defiance to each challenge the zombie-infested world throws at him: the loss of his family to tragic happenstance, the constant assault of cutthroat survivor factions, and the never-ending needs of his followers all feel like they’re fraught with uncertainty, but are taken on and handled all the same. This would fit perfectly into the role of Snake, who finds himself more and more worn out by each new mission to save the world he takes on, but still sees it through without fail.
While certainly more on the beefy side than one would expect for a master of espionage, Hardy has shown himself capable of capturing the darker, haunted side of a character in Mad Max: Fury Road. Decisive and ruthless in a fight against the minions of Immortal Joe one minute, then stoically grieving for the loss of his family the next, he could balance out a performance of Snake wonderfully no matter what age or version they choose to put him in. Plus, thanks to his experience in the more action-heavy offerings of cinema, he could provide some truly entertaining recreations of Snake’s CQC battles with iconic villains and adversaries such as Gray Fox, Revolver Ocelot, and so many more.
The man who brought The Dark Knight to life in the most recent string of Batman films, Christian Bale is no stranger to the brooding anti-hero role. Able to carry the swagger and weight of the bat-loving vigilante with ease, he readily dove into the role physically and mentally, going the extra mile to make sure his character was memorable, while also remaining loyal to the source material. Not only would this be the perfect attitude for taking on the role of Solid Snake, but the similarities between him and the Dark Knight’s characters could translate over rather perfectly. Stealth-oriented and skilled in subterfuge? Check. Skilled in close combat and at the use of top-of-the-line technology? Check. Talk in a guttural, smoked way too many cigarettes kind of voice? Check.
A veteran of the action-heavy Bourne spy series, Matt Damon would be great for the spy thriller elements of a Metal Gear Solid film, but for the more lighthearted aspects of the series as well. Credited with rolls that span almost every genre, Damon could lend this variety to his portrayal of Snake to great effect. One moment, he could show Snake’s iron-willed side as he sneaks, shoots and fights his way through an enemy base. The next, he could exchange banter with a female operative, sharing advice and attempting to convince her of his cause. Then, he could dive into the absurdity of a codec conversation, swapping jokes and strange stories with Otacon.
A wild card when it comes to the roles he chooses, Jake Gyllenhaal may well be the actor to rise to the occasion as Solid Snake. With everything from a time-jumping government operative to a gulf war soldier rounding out his past repertoire, there’s more than a bit in his past experiences which would be in line with gaming’s star sneaking expert and his military activities. Not only that, but his experiences in romantic comedies, dramas, and science fiction indies could all help flesh out the more zany edges of Snake’s character, displaying the Kojima spirit many will want from any true-blue adaptation of the Metal Gear games.
Back in the limelight thanks to his stellar performances in the John Wick series, Keanu Reeves has a B-movie charm that would serve him well in a Metal Gear Solid adaptation. Stilted yet suave, with a pension for incredibly entertaining fight scenes, his style would be perfect for Snake’s secret agent antics; likewise, his more somber performances would be right at home with the put-upon soldier, lending him a perfect amount of lethargy and world-weariness for the more serious moments in the film. Most importantly, however, is that he can handle the balls-to-the-wall fights, shootouts, and Metal Gear set pieces to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
It may have been a few decades since Kurt Russell’s Snake in Escape From L.A. inspired Kojima’s design of Solid Snake, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for him in a Metal Gear Solid film. Still as full of swagger and bravado as he was in the past, the embers of his original action star performance are still there to be stoked with the right direction. Plus, thanks to Snake reaching a ripe old age before hanging up his sneak suit at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, there’s room for adaptation with the script to tell the tale of a worn and battered covert operative, returning for one last mission before he can finally retire in peace.
Responsible for giving a voice to Solid Snake and Big Boss, David Hayter is arguably the person to bring the character to life on the silver screen. Experienced in bringing the character to life with only the use of his voice, it’s not so much of a stretch to think he could adapt Snake’s behaviors and mannerisms into a live-action performance as well, giving shape to the person everyone already associates with the character by nature. Besides, who can say they wouldn’t love to see a reversal on the actor swap that occurred for Metal Gear Solid V, with a voice actor beating out grizzled and hardened screen actors for an enviable role?
Who are some of your picks for actors who could bring Solid Snake to life? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to check out some of the latest news on the Metal Gear series here.