Josh Holloway (you might recognize him as Sawyer from Lost) as Beowulf.
(I really wanted to do Chris Hemsworth, but I saw that Erika did that already and my argument is basically the same.)
First and foremost, look at this man. Does he no look like a Beowulf? (Would you not want to go see him as Beowulf?) More specifically, the text tells us he is a Geat, which we know to be ancient Germanic people. His physical features are characteristic of this group (blonde hair; light eye color; light complexion, despite his tan…) (He’s actually Dutch and Scottish.) Moreover, given some intense workout and a little movie magic, he could easily have the build of a “great warrior.” (Which of course is super important if we’re meant to believe he could rip Grendel’s arm of easy-peasy.)
Generally, I suppose he just strikes me as a tough guy, which I feel is appropriate for Beowulf. Josh Holloway has the rugged thing down, and I think that would translate well for this character. His ability to convey that strength and leadership, while still maintaining an air of humility, is favorable to this role. And he’s a strong enough actor to carry a lead role.
Just a little quote I saw the reminded me of the mead-hall and how well Josh might fare there:
On a [trailer] that aired in the UK, he stated “I do enjoy my beer,” and opined that the greatest invention of all time was “distilled alcohol,” while his Lost colleagues selected “pen and paper,” “the wheel,” and “the guitar.”
Teacher Sidebar Reflection
I think this was an awesome task; it would be a great bell ringer to introduce a lesson, or it could work really well as the main activity, given some tweaks to make it richer. This provides a different means of analysis for the students. It almost inverts the classic idea of a character analysis in that, instead of taking a portrayal and looking at that, the students get to decide who fits into the mold that the character’s attributes suggest.
Kids would be able to relate to it easily because you’re pulling from pop culture, things they know. A task like this isn’t daunting, and you can use it to build bridges to more challenging concepts. After the activity, you can explain to them what they’ve just done, which could give them the confidence to tackle more difficult means.
This activity can be tweaked so many different ways. You can put students in groups to collaborate, you can make it a project in which they have to do this for all characters of a novel, you can have them defend their choice in a debate or paper… there are so many possibilities. This task is like a standard cookie dough recipe; you can add things or substitute things, or just use it as is, and it will be wonderful, regardless.