Stan Lee Rejected Gene Simmons From ‘Fantastic Four’

in Marvel, Movies

Gene Simmons playing bass for KISS

Credit: Joe Bielawa Flickr

Since their introduction in 1961, the Fantastic Four has been one of Marvel Comic’s tentpole superhero teams, with Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing, as a stand-out character. While many actors have gotten a chance to play or voice the human brick, one super fan never got a chance: the demon himself, Gene Simmons.

fantastic four mark wald
Credit: Marvel Comics

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While they haven’t had the same cinematic success as Spider-Man or Iron Man, the Fantastic Four is still the most important family in comic books. Made up of Dr. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing), the Fantastic Four have traveled to the far corners of the universe to save Earth.

One of their biggest fans was KISS bassist and lead singer Gene Simmons, particularly Ben Grimm. In fact, Simmons loved The Thing so much that he actually wrote a letter to creator Stan Lee asking to play him in a Fantastic Four movie. And it went about as well as you’d expect.

Gene Simmons Wanted To Be The Thing In ‘The Fantastic Four’

Gene Simmons from KISS, The Thing from Fantastic Four
Credit: Raph_PH Flickr, Marvel Comics

In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Gene Simmons revealed that he had written a letter to Stan Lee campaigning to play The Thing when he heard they were making a Fantastic Four movie back in 1982.

The letter read, “Dear Stan: Everybody’s telling me about plans for a Fantastic Four movie. To make a long story short. I want to be The Thing. Here are some scenes from KISS – Attack Of The Phantom which was a KISS co-production for television, and an Avco Embassy worldwide feature. Either way, all the best of luck with the movie. I have been a fan since the beginning, and still, am. Best of luck, Gene Simmons.”

Despite his earnestness, Stan Lee politely declined. “He called me, (He said) the politically correct thing, ‘We’re planning it. We’ll keep it in mind. We’re so happy,'” Simmons said.

Stan Lee
Source: CNN

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Despite this rejection, Simmons stated that he still loves Stan Lee. “To go through life and to create one memorable character is an achievement… This guy created 5000 characters. It’s insane. With their own mythology.” He also complimented Lee’s frequent collaborators, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, on who Ben Grimm was based.

That said, Gene Simmons doesn’t seem like awful casting for The Thing. If you remove the iconic KISS Demon look that he has become so known for, he has the perfect appearance for a “tough guy with a heart of gold” personality. On top of this, both Simmons and The Thing are Jewish.

When asked if he would write a letter to Kevin Feige at Marvel Studios to play the character now, Simmons laughed and said, “They Don’t have enough money.”

Who do you want to play The Thing in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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