EXCLUSIVE: Benicio Del Toro has joined the killer cast of the James Gunn-directed Marvel Studios franchise launcher Guardians Of The Galaxy. They are keeping his role under wraps, but he’s playing a character that is built to be part of future Marvel films, which means he has signed a deal with options that put him into multiple movies. It’s funny how when Marvel Studios first started making option-heavy deals, actors and their agents grumbled loudly. But guys like Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Ruffalo have done great stuff in short doses in incredibly high-profile films. Now, it will be intriguing to see what the company does with a property that doesn’t have the road-tested brand awareness of a Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man. I have to say that given the high bar for quality that Marvel has set under Kevin Feige — Iron Man 3 being the latest crowd-pleasing example — I’m more excited about this than the other space-based project Disney is banking on, Star Wars. Del Toro joins Glenn Close, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly and others in the cast.
Del Toro most recently joined the cast of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. He’ll next be seen in Jimmy P, the film that made its world premiere in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He’s also got the untitled film directed by Terrence Malick. Del Toro is represented by CAA and Rick Yorn.