By Matt Donnelly, Variety
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known by his stage name Bad Bunny, has been cast as the newest Marvel hero in Sony Pictures’ portfolio of the super characters — and will lead the standalone comic book film “El Muerto.”
“El Muerto” is set to hit theaters on Jan. 12, 2024.
Introduced by Sony Motion Pictures Group president Sanford Panitch at CinemaCon, the annual gathering of movie theater owners in Las Vegas, Ocasio will be the first ever Latino actor to headline a live-action Marvel movie.
“To bring El Muerto to life is just incredible .. so exciting,” the chart-topping rapper told the crowd, adding that he grew up a fan of wrestling.
Known as Juan-Carlos Estrada Sanchez in the comics, El Muerto is a wrestler whose powers are handed down by ancestry in the form of a mask (which, according to Marvel’s official site, gives him superhuman strength). In past comic narratives, El Muerto has gotten in the ring with Spider-Man himself. On stage at CinemaCon, Sony brass suggested Ocasio will portray an antihero on the verge of inheriting his father’s power.
Sony’s adaptive Marvel rights have yielded three Spider-Man iterations over 20 years, with the current Tom Holland-led series most recently enjoying a massive hit in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Additional franchises include Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams’ “Venom,” Jared Leto’s “Morbius” and the Oscar-winning animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” A sequel to the latter was just pushed from a December 2022 release to June 2023.
Upcoming Sony Marvel projects include: the anticipated “Madame Web,” a female-led adventure starring Dakota Johnson, which is due in theaters on July 7, 2023; and the imminent “Kraven the Hunter,” led by “Nocturnal Animals” star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, which hits theaters on January 13, 2023.
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