Deathstroke Actor Joe Manganiello Auditioned To Play Spider-Man


Joe Manganiello is one of the few actors who’s managed to play supporting antagonists in both Marvel and DC movies. Recently, folks saw him debut as Deathstroke in the post-credits scene of Justice League, a role that he’ll hopefully follow up in his own solo film from director Gareth Evans. For his Marvel work, however, we have to rewind back to 2002 when he played Peter Parker’s high school nemesis Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

While speaking with Kevin Smith for IMDB at San Diego Comic-Con, Manganiello reminisced about his part in the wall-crawler’s debut cinematic outing, revealing that it was his first ever movie role. The actor revealed that he got the job by screen testing opposite James Franco, who went on to play Harry Osborn but at this point was auditioning for the title role.

“[Spider-Man] was my first role. When I moved to LA, I met [director] Sam Raimi and screen tested for him the weekend that I got to LA, straight out of drama school… Screen tested alongside James Franco, [who] was testing as Peter Parker. He was in the middle of shooting James Dean, he screen tests as Peter Parker, and I screen tested as Flash. And I had to like beat him up. ‘Here’s this guy James Franco, go beat him up.’”

What’s more, Manganiello dropped the bombshell that he also initially went up for the part of Peter Parker. As he jokes, though, the 6″4 star knew he wasn’t the right fit for the role but was too big of a comic book fan not to try anyway.

“I’m gonna tell on myself. I actually initially auditioned for Peter Parker as well. All the guys auditioned. I’m a big, huge comic book nerd. Big time. So I wore my glasses, and I had a button-down shirt, and I came and read for Peter Parker, knowing full-well — ‘Well, if I’m Peter, who’s Flash?’ Like a lineman from the Dallas Cowboys or something.”

Despite not being the right choice, Manganiello impressed the casting director enough for him to be brought back to read for Flash instead. This quickly led to him meeting with James Franco, as he previously explained.

“So I came in, and the casting director, Francine Maisler, said, ‘You were great, you’re totally wrong for this part, but there’s this other part in the movie that you’re right for.’ And I said, ‘Flash, right?’ And she said, ‘Yes. Let me go get you the audition sides.’ I said, ‘I already read them, I’ve got them memorized, let’s go.’ I unbuttoned the button-down shirt, took the glasses off, and turned into Flash. And then she said, ‘That was great, I want you to meet Sam Raimi,’ and so like four days later, I was on set getting paid — they paid me to screen test with all of the Spider-Man Peter Parker candidates, and James Franco was one of them.”

Clearly, Joe Manganiello has had his eye on a costumed comic book role for a while and though he didn’t get the lead in Spider-Man, he’s finally found one in DC’s Slade Wilson. The actor was very promising in the part in Justice League, too, so let’s hope his Deathstroke gets to make a bigger impression in future installments.