The summer movie season has been pretty lackluster all-around; there have been a few standouts, but for the most part it’s been the likes of Independence Day: Resurgence, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows feat. Canadian Casey Jones, and Suicide Squad. Even the good movies—like Pete’s Dragon, Star Trek Beyond, Finding Dory, and Ghostbusters—haven’t been great so much as they’ve been “great compared to Now You See Me 2.” We’re all just kind of waiting for the August dregs to wear themselves out and the rest of the year to hopefully give us some good releases; there’s Rogue One and a new Scorsese on deck, at least, so we have something to look forward to.
There’s one man, though, whom the summer of 2016 treated worse than it did everyone who had to sit through The Legend of Tarzan. That poor sonofabitch’s name is Toby Kebbell, and this summer he had leading roles in Warcraft (aka that movie where Ben Foster almost probably definitely fucked an orc) and Ben-Hur.
Pictured: Toby Kebbell reconsidering his life choices.
Ben-Hur, in which Kebbell plays the not-gay-this-time-around-really-we-swear Messala, opened this weekend to $11.3 million against a $100 million budget; it barely squeaked into the top five. Warcraft, with Kebbell as the orc Durotan, was similarly a domestic flop, earning $47.2 million against a $160 million budget. Silver lining can be found in international territories, where it earned $386.3 million, more than half of that from China. (They still care about World of Warcraft there.) Both movies were savaged by critics.
Oh, and last summer Toby Kebbell was Cyberpunk Sub-Zero Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four. I saw his Black Mirror episode. I know’s good. Someone save him!
Things are look up for Kebs, though. Coming up later this year he as J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls, based on an incredible book about a tree monster (voiced in the movie by Liam Neeson) who helps a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) cope with his mother’s fatal cancer diagnosis; Kebbell has a supporting role as the boy’s largely absentee father. Yeah, have tissues ready for this one. Future projects include Kong: Skull Island and Category 5, an action thriller from the director Rob Cohen about “thieves attempt[ing] a massive heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches one of its Mint facilities.” If the latest from the man who brought us The Boy Next Door (first edition Iliad!) somehow does not come to be regarded as a modern classic, Kebbell still has his mo-cap work to fall back on; between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where played the baddie ape Koba, and Warcraft, he’s shaping up to be something of the Eve Harrington to Andy Serkis’ Margo Channing.
See, I could have gone with the “Mini-Me” reference, but I didn’t. Because I’m classy like that.