we're hook-ed

Aye-aye, captain: Ranking the 9 hottest Captain Hooks from film and TV

Image Credits: ‘Peter Pan,’ Universal Pictures (left) | ‘Pan,’ Warner Bros. (Center) | ‘Come Away,’ Relativity Media (right)

For over 100 years, the magical Peter Pan has been whisking audiences away to Neverland, and has remained a timeless symbol for adventure, freedom, and childhood innocence.

But for as long as he’s been soaring over the London skyline, he’s had a nemesis by the name of Captain Hook, a mischievous pirate who, in turn, represents both the allure and the danger of adulthood. And… that makes him kind of sexy, no?

Originally created by J.M. Barrie in the early 1900s, both characters have since appeared in their fair share of adaptations, particularly from Disney, which this weekend released the new, live-action film Peter Pan & Wendy on Disney+.

Here, the fearsome Captain Hook is played by silver screen heartthrob Jude Law under a big, ratty, grey wig and some crusty makeup, further complicating our feelings for the villain. Are we supposed to think Hook is hot, or not?

Over the decades, it seems different filmmakers have wildly different ideas about that very question, which inspired us to take a deep dive investigation into the character’s past.

And with that, we present to you: A look back at some of our most notable live-action Captain Hooks, ranking them from “would feed them to a crocodile without a second thought” to “would gladly spend all night in their Captain’s Quarters, if you know what we mean.”

9. Dustin Hoffman in Hook (1991)

Image Credit: ‘Hook,’ Columbia TriStar

Steven Spielberg’s big budget take on Neverland was (Peter) panned by critics, which we’ll go ahead and attribute to the fact that Hoffman is not appealing whatsoever as Hook. In fact, the actor’s sniveling, garish approach to the pirate is what makes this family-friendly adventure proper nightmare fuel.

8. Ernest Torrence in Peter Pan (1924)

Image Credit: ‘Peter Pan,’ Paramount Pictures

The first official adaptation of Barrie’s work was this black-and-white silent film, which by its nature cast actors for their expressive features more than anything else. Therefore, 6’4″ character actor Torrence—with his cartoonishly villainous face—makes for a suitable Hook… if not an especially attractive one.

6. Jude Law in Peter Pan And Wendy (2023)

Image Credit: ‘Peter Pan And Wendy,’ Disney

As we said up top, Law’s one of our most reliable screen beauties, a British actor who we frequently have the hots for, whether he’s playing good or bad. But his take on the Captain is off-putting in a way we can’t quite put our finger hook on. Intimidating? Yes! Though we still see that charming twinkle in Law’s eyes.

7. Christopher Walken in Peter Pan Live! (2014)

Image Credit: ‘Peter Pan LIVE!,’ NBC

Call us crazy, but Walken’s got some swagger as the ‘ole Cap’n, no? Sure, he could barely muster up the energy to perform his big toe-taping number in live TV musical curio, but between the stage makeup and Walken’s idiosyncratic delivery, he gives the role some major camp appeal that we can’t help but be drawn to.

5. Stanley Tucci in Peter And Wendy (2014)

Image Credit: ‘Peter And Wendy,’ ITV

This British TV movie is one of many Peter Pan adaptations to use the same actor for both Hook and Mr. Darling, the father of the siblings who get whisked away to Neverland, and we’ll never complain about seeing double of daddy Tucci (a total ally) who brings a touch of gentlemanliness to his arch villainy.

4. Garret Hedlund in Pan (2015)

Image Credit: ‘Pan,’ Warner Bros.

This one feels like cheating because Pan operates as an origin story, portraying Hook as the younger “James Hook,” a dashing, swashbuckling hero who aids Peter in his battle against the maniacal Blackbeard. The movie’s a mess, and Hedlund’s almost too handsome for his own good… but he sure is easy on the eyes.

3. David Gyasi in Come Away (2020)

Image Credit: ‘Come Away,’ Relativity Media

This family fantasy received a quiet release in 2020, so you may not have even heard of it, but it stars Angelina Jolie and sort of remixes a couple classic fairytale characters. Among them is Captain James—a.k.a. “CJ,” a crime boss version of Hook—played by the gorgeous Gyasi who looks darn good in red silks and velvets.

2. Colin O’Donoghue in Once Upon A Time (2012 – 2018)

Image Credit: ‘Once Upon A Time,’ ABC

This ABC series similarly played things fast and loose with Disney and fairytale characters, here portraying Hook as a sexy, leather-loving rebel who nevertheless falls for protagonist Emma Swan. Maybe it’s the accent, but charming Irish actor O’Donoghue sure made us want to walk this pirate’s plank.

1. Jason Isaacs in Peter Pan (2003)

Image Credit: ‘Peter Pan,’ Universal Pictures

Many gays of a certain age will remember Jeremy Sumpter’s spritely Pan as formative viewing experience, but for the rest of us there was Isaacs’ tantalizing take on the Captain. More than any other Peter Pan adaptation, this was one that tapped into the villain’s raw magnetism and even showed his vulnerable side, nearly convincing a young Wendy that, actually, staying forever young isn’t nearly as exciting as growing up. Isaacs managed to make the menace sexy—and even had an eyebrow-raising shirtless scene—that made us think the pirate’s life was for us, too!

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  • Godabed

    3 and 4 are definitely more attractive than 2 and 1 on this list.

  • Diplomat

    #4 is a hot watch

  • skeldare

    Colin O’Donoghue for me

  • Kangol2

    David Gyasi is so gorgeous. He lights up the screen every time he appears on screen on The Diplomat.

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