Ronda Rousey is one of the top female athletes in the world. Olympic medalist and former Bantamweight Champion, it seems there is no challenge that Rousey won’t rise to meet. When you think of Rousey, she seems like a real life superhero, endowed with qualities that make her seem almost nonhuman, and popularity stemming from an ability to defeat opponents in an unparalleled short amount of time. Of course, what’s appealing about Rousey’s story is that she had to rise to get there. From her father’s suicide to living out of her car, to her famous Holly Holm loss, Rousey has experienced both defeat and loss.
Rousey was one of the most googled celebrities in 2015. She wrote a best-selling autobiography My Fight/Your Fight, and it only makes sense that they would try to secure the rights to make a film out of this most popular female athlete of our time. If we were in charge of casting for the role, who could portray the Ronda Rousey in the way that she deserves? She’d have to be a powerhouse with a vulnerable side, who could also look the part. We would want more than just a popcorn flick, so we would want to cast a serious actress. Here are some the top 17 contenders. Who would you cast?
17. Jessica Biel
If we wanted to go with a more commercial option outside of the few we will mention a bit later, who could do it? There is an obvious option here, although she would not be among our leading choices. When you think of some of the most fit, muscular women in Hollywood, Jessica Biel, who doesn’t really need an introduction, is probably one of the first women you think of. But, she’s not a great actress. She already has the body to play the part though. Maybe if she studied hard enough, she just might be able to nail the role. If she was successful, this would be the “comeback” of her career. Soon she’d be in Oscar contention and finally be considered a serious actress.
16. Amy Adams or Emma Stone
What about Amy Adams? She definitely has the acting abilities, but could she train hard enough to look the part? Maybe. She has already been nominated for an amazing 5 Academy Awards. This could be the role, and the physical transformation, like Theron in Monster that could finally bring home an Oscar. And then if Adams is busy, there’s her virtual Hollywood twin, Emma Stone. Stone would also be an interesting choice – everyone loves her after all – but we would put her in the same ‘lots-of-training’ category as Adams. We are unsure if she could transform herself enough to look the part, but you never know. Both women would be interesting contenders, both critically and as box office magnets.
15. Gina Carano
We’re just going to throw the suggestion out there to generate some controversy. Gina Carano as Ronda Rousey? Yes, she would be a very unexpected contender for the role indeed. However, she does have one benefit that others don’t have on this list: the fact that she is a former MMA fighter herself, her popularity of which even led to her being called “the face of women’s MMA.” Obviously, she has the body to be able to portray Ronda Rousey, even if she was in the featherweight division and not bantamweight like Rousey. She also martial-arts experience, being famous for her Muay Thai skills in particular. Carano also has some acting experience, most notably in 2013’s Fast and Furious 6 and 2016’s Deadpool. Most people at least give her a pass on her acting skills and with some coaching, it’s possible she could improve even more. What do you think of casting Carano to play Rousey? Too bizarre? Or could it work?
14. Kate Beckinsale
When it comes to why Kate Beckinsale could work for the role of Ronda Rousey, we ask you to recall her role as Selene, the vampire, in Underworld. She was mentally strong and could do the whole combat thing sans weapons very well. No, she doesn’t exactly resemble Ronda Rousey, but sometimes that’s not the most important thing. Case in point: Ashton Kutcher in the biopic of Jobs in 2013. He looked like a young Jobs, and walked like him, too, but didn’t deliver. The critics, as well as the movie’s rating on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes will support us on that one. In any case, Beckinsale is a pretty good actress and could definitely be a candidate for the role. While she might be a somewhat unexpected casting as Rousey, we think she could be a good fit and a lot of people would be into seeing her take on the role.
13. Sophie Turner
Sure, we may not think of Sophie Turner, who plays the role of Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones as being a particularly strong character, but she is definitely coming into her own as the show progresses. What we do know is that Turner is a good actress, regardless of whether or not you liked her character on Game of Thrones. Sure, she’s no Daenerys, but her performance in the show has been well regarded. So, why do we think she could work as Ronda Rousey? In addition to everything we’ve listed above, Turner does look like Turner when she has her red hair. With a little work in the gym, Turner could definitely train to look like the real Ronda Rousey. Sure, she may be a decade younger than the real Rousey, but Turner doesn’t look particularly young to begin with. This may be somewhat of an unexpected casting, but it has the potential to work.
12. Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde, known for various roles including Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley in House as well as 2010’s Tron: Legacy, is primarily known for more dramatic roles than anything else. However, she did do several action-sequences in Tron: Legacy which required that she do a lot of martial arts training to prepare for the role. In other words, taking on the role of MMA fighter Ronda Rousey wouldn’t be completely new for her. Not only that, but Wilde definitely has the acting chops to be able to tap into Rousey. Although she has yet to win any kind of serious award for her work, she has been considered largely underrated. She also strikes us as being very fierce, which would make her very believable in the role as well. The only weak point is that we see Wilde having a different body type than that of Rousey, meaning that Wilde would have to do a lot of work to get into Ronda Rousey kind of shape, but we’re sure she would be up for the challenge.
11. Scarlett Johansson
We know how popular Scarlett Johansson is, so how could we not include her? When it comes to Johansson, you basically want to cast her in just about every film you can. She’s the most bankable actress in Hollywood right now and also became the highest-grossing actress of all time this year. Obviously, we will all show up at the movie theatre if Johansson is the star of the show. Of course, she’s not just a smoke show, either. She has shown her worth as an actress in films like Lost in Translation, but she can also take on more commercial, powerhouse roles like that of Natasha Romanoff in the Marvel films, the latter of which would be particularly crucial to taking on the autobiographical role of Ronda Rousey. We’re pretty sure Rousey would be pretty pleased if Johansson was cast. Who wouldn’t want Scarlett Johansson to play them?
10. Katee Sackhoff
Katee Sackhoff, who is most recognized as playing Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, may seem like somewhat of an unexpected choice on this list, but hear us out. She’s super tough, fit and just an all-round badass. Isn’t that exactly the kind of woman you would want to play your beloved Ronda Rousey? Sure, she doesn’t resemble Rousey in the slightest, being blonde and all, but that’s nothing a box of hair dye or a wig wouldn’t fix. We care much more about Sackhoff’s acting abilities, which is why we have included her on this list. When she was playing Starbuck, the producer of the show made the flattering remark that “We saw this whole other side that was all because of Katee: vulnerability, insecurity, desperation. We started freeing ourselves up to explore the weakness of the character because we knew Katee could express those things without compromising the character’s strength.” Rousey has definitely struggled in the past, from her father’s own suicide to financial struggles to her Holly Holm defeat. That side of Rousey would be crucial to a well-rounded portrayal and Sackhoff could definitely rise to the challenge.
9. Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez has built her career playing tough women in action-packed roles. From Fast and Furious to Avatar, Rodriguez is basically typecast into these roles at this point. Ronda Rousey would also describe herself as a tough chick, saying, “People love tough chicks… If I could really be that person in real life, people are going to love it. That’s what I kept thinking. They love tough, empowered women. There is demand there.” The tough chick is who Rousey is, or at least who she has marketed herself as to the public. It makes sense that casting Rodriquez would be a natural fit. Plus, she has already played a boxer, in 2000’s Girlfight, a role that even garnered critical acclaim. In other words, we already have a bit of a taste for what Rodriguez would look like taking on the role of Rousey and the potential is definitely there, even if she doesn’t look exactly like Rousey.
8. Jennifer Lawrence
We have a feeling a lot of people would turn out to watch Jennifer Lawrence play Ronda Rousey. She has already played tough characters and done a lot of fighting in her acting career, from Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games to her role as Mystique in the X-Men series. She knows how to train for a role. Plus, wouldn’t you want someone with an Oscar to play them? Lawrence’s portrayal of Joy Mangano in 2015’s Joy, a biopic of a woman who became a millionaire because she invented the self-wringing mop, was highly regarded. If that wasn’t enough to convince you that Lawrence would be a good fit, we ask you to consider that she is one of the highest-paid actresses of all time. What does that mean, you ask? It tells us that she definitely has a huge fanbase that would turn out to see her play Ronda Rousey just because she’s Jennifer freaking Lawrence. Do we really need to say more?
7. Natasha Lyonne
There are several reasons why Natasha Lyonne, perhaps most recognized for her role as Jessica in American Pie, would be among our top contenders if we were in charge of casting for the role of Ronda Rousey in a biopic. Right off the bat, Lyonne could very easily pass as Rousey’s twin, at least when she is on Orange is the New Black. The similarities are quite uncanny. Not only does she resemble Rousey physically, but she also has experience of playing a strong, tough character, but with a vulnerable side as Nicky on OITNB – that’s exactly who Ronda Rousey is. Lyonne’s portrayal earned her critical acclaim and an Emmy nomination meaning that her acting skills are on point. Casting Lyonne into this role works on several levels: not only does she look like the real-life Rousey, but she also has the acting skills to be able to give Rousey justice.
6. Caity Lotz
Caity Lotz is probably most recognized as Sara Lance/the Canary from Arrow where she fought Green Arrow like a boss and is currently doing much of the same in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. She does the fighting herself – no stunt doubles required! Both of these roles have equipped Lotz with enough badassery to be able to take on the role of Ronda Rousey herself easy peasy lemon squeezy. In real life, her fighting skills are just as impressive, meaning that Lotz definitely has the body that might match Rousey’s with her long history in martial arts. Now that she is playing a superhero, she has stepped up her workout routine even further by doing Krav maga and Muay Thai on the regular. Obviously, Lotz is very much in shape, which is pretty important for someone to be able to take on the role of Rousey.
5. Eliza Dushku
Eliza Dushku is known for her role as Faith in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Do we need to say more here? Okay, if we must. First of all, she is more than capable of playing a super tough character. She’s aggressive. She’s also done a lot of fighting in her day, you know, fighting demons and all. Plus, she looks pretty buff and physically she is the almost the same height as Ronda Rousey. Once she coloured her hair, she could really quite resemble Rousey as well. Although she is still acting, she is somewhat off the radar in that not everyone would know who she is, giving her the freedom that other big-name actors might not be able to. All in all, Dushku would definitely be one of our leading choices when casting for the role of Ronda Rousey.
4. Julia Stiles
Anyone can see that these two women look pretty much identical, minus the muscle factor. Julia Stiles has been around Hollywood for a while now, getting her big break in Ten Things I Hate About You, back in 1999, opposite Heath Ledger. Then her leading-lady career kind of took a dive after Save the Last Dance, maybe because it was a dancing film, and she wasn’t that great of a dancer. That means she really didn’t do much training or research for the role, which makes it questionable whether she could properly bulk-up to play Rousey. That said, this role could revitalize her career, and if she pulled it off, she’d be an A-lister again.
3. Hayley Atwell
Playing the role of Peggy Carter in all of Marvel’s works from 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger to 2016’s Captain America: Civil World, Hayley Atwell already has been honing her fighting skills that would be required to play Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey for quite some time. Years, even. And that wasn’t even where Atwell was at her best. It was probably in the 2010 mini-series, Pillars of the Earth, which saw her get nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Her determination in this particular role, exactly what Ronda Rousey always talks about having, was central to the character she was playing and it was done very well. Atwell definitely has the acting chops and has a diverse resume that could allow her to do something different. Plus, if she were to die her hair, she would kind of resemble the real Rousey, too. Casting Atwell checks most, if not all the boxes.
2. Ronda Rousey
We put Ronda Rousey on this list not because we think it’s a good idea (on the whole, it’s probably a bad idea), but because it may actually already be happening. If you’re not caught up, here’s what’s currently going on. In 2015, it was reported that Rousey would star in her own biopic, which is actually quite rare. However, it just so happens that Rousey has some acting experience, from 2014’s The Expendables 3 to 2015’s Furious 7 to 2015’s Entourage. While her acting isn’t appreciated by all (and that is probably putting it lightly), Paramount took advantage of Rousey’s best-selling autobiography, My Fight/ Your Fight and now have the rights to turn it into a biopic. However, not everyone is sold on the idea. What do you think? Could the movie be more than just a popcorn flick if Rousey was cast? Would you go and watch it? Should they cast a more experienced actress in the role instead? And if the Rousey-starring flick flops, a remake will surely follow, just like Kutcher’s panned Jobs (2013), and Fassbender’s acclaimed Steve Jobs (2015).
1. Summer Glau
Summer Glau may just be our pick when it comes to portraying Ronda Rousey in a biopic. If you aren’t familiar with Glau, let us introduce her. First of all, she has a lot of badass roles on her resume. Her most notable role is that of River Tam on Firefly, which involved a lot of fight-scenes, meaning that Glau stepping into the ring would be pretty natural for her. That show was very critically acclaimed and hints at Glau’s impressive acting abilities. She put her fighting skills to the test again in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, to name one of her roles. Glau is also a badass in real life, too. Not only does she spend a lot of time doing dancing, but she does kung-fu, kick-boxing and wushu. She is obviously in peak physical condition and the role of Ronda Rousey seems like a natural fit for her. She really looks like Rousey too, minus the fact that she has dark hair, but that can be easily fixed.