In order to properly preface the year's most hotly-anticipated sequel - Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, of course - I'm going to be posting more profiles than normal over the next few weeks to help get us all up to date on the creative forces behind this impending classic. Already in the virtual pages of this blog I've profiled actress Sarah Lieving and director Christopher Ray; if you don't know who the uber-talented Jaleel White is, I pity you, and I figure there are enough Trekkies in my readership that Robert Picardo of "Voyager"-fame needs no introduction, as well. But there's a dark horse in the cast I think bears closer examination, one Gary Stretch.
Bear with me a moment and consider something: Jason Statham. British, classically handsome, fit, fierce and simultaneously debonair, a dapper gangster with a steely attitude to match his fists, a grace in persona comparable only to his fluid mayhem. What could be cooler than Jason Statham? How about Gary fucking Stretch, who's all those things, plus, instead of being just an unfairly handsome British model, he also happens to be the glamour boy of early 90's British boxing. Yup, a for-real boxer.
A one-time light-middleweight champ, Stretch's one-two punch of personality and good lucks made him a staple in the British tabloids in his heyday, a popularity that helped pave the way for the inevitable transition into acting.
But before you start drawing comparisons to Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena or other muscular athletes who have tread the boards, Stretch is the real deal, often turning in impassioned, gritty performances that have earned him acclaim and accolades aplenty, including a British Independent Film Award nomination for his role alongside Paddy Considine in the 2004 thriller Dead Man's Shoes. It's performances such as that one which have kept Stretch's career on a steady ascent over the last few years, catching the eye of major Hollywood players including writer/director/firestarter Oliver Stone, who has used Mr. Stretch in two of his films, Alexander and World Trade Center.
In MSvC, Stretch plays a character named Nigel Putnam, who, based on what little I can deduce from the trailer, is some sort of giant crocodile expert, or at the least some sort of outdoorsy foreigner who first encounters Crocosaurus. Whatever he is, you can bet Stretch brings some smoldering intensity to the screen, and a bitchin' beard that kind of makes him look like a younger Lapidus from "Lost," or a scarier Pierce Brosnan in Seraphim Falls.
So there you have it, the second-billed star in MSvC now revealed. Check out Gary's chops this December 21st when the films is released on DVD. Add it to your Netflix cues now!
Oh, and Mr Stretch? Consider yourself saluted.