One of the more exciting elements of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the inclusion of the great Ben Mendelsohn as the icy, clever, and ruthless Director Orson Krennic, the overseer of the Death Star project. Sure, the real win is the visionary style of Gareth Edwards but his cast, which also includes major talents like Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Riz Ahmed, sells the picture brilliantly, even when his vision seems to dull parts of the action. Mendelsohn, for his part, creates a fantastic embodiment of how obsession with power can both embolden a person and rot them out from the inside.
The ability he’s shown to play devious, controlled characters is certainly a major factor in the decision to cast him as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the anticipated Robin Hood: Origins. As Variety reports today, Mendelsohn is in negotiations to play the sadistic villain to Taron Egerton‘s beloved Prince of Thieves for director Otto Bathurst. If he is indeed the Sheriff, he would join Jamie Foxx, who is set to play Hood’s gregarious second-in-command Little John; Eve Hewson‘s Maid Marian, Hood’s primary love interest; and Jamie Dornan‘s Will Scarlett, Hood’s half-brother.
It’s great to see Mendelsohn getting more work in major motion pictures but his preposed casting in the Sheriff role is also a sign of something troubling: typecasting. Mendelsohn has a knack for villainy, both of the icy sort and the wild untamed sort – check out his exemplary work in Netflix’s Bloodline or Andrew Dominik‘s underrated Killing Them Softly. This could be seen as a sort of completely valid victory lap after a well-deserved shot in the arm from his Rogue One appearance, but I hope he searches for more complex roles soon after this. Though he got much less press in these cases, his work in Mississippi Grind, Adore, and Starred Up show a far more exhilarating side to this wildly inventive performer. Still, it would be nice to see him get his bad on as one of the most well-known villains in the history of fiction.