How are we back here again so soon? Marvel is gearing up to dominate the box office in 2019 and DC is once again retooling what they want to do with their signature character. This time, they may be taking a page out of the MCU playbook by making a movie that has Mr. Wayne in his 20’s and give the character time to grow. The news that Matt Reeves will be taking over the cape and cowl direction and The Batman will be released in 2021 brings us back to the casting news that will have everyone on the edge of their collective seats.
Say what you will about superhero movies, none of the other characters have the casting backlash that Bats does. When everyone found out about Batffleck, the internet lost its mind, and rightfully so too, because Affleck never had a great moment in the character. I was willing to deal with someone that I thought wasn’t perfect casting for his writing and film-making abilities, but that quickly fell through and here we are yet again. So with casting call getting ready to start, who is young enough and versatile enough to fill the cowl? Here are some Batman/Bruce things I’m hopeful they will take into account when casting.
Somewhat of an imposing figure
Young enough to play the character for years, but not early 20’s playing older
Have the ability to play Bruce as a borderline psychopath who is just holding it together
Someone who understands that Bruce Wayne is the alter-ego here and not Batman
I love the idea of Bruce in his 20’s, but that is someone who you have to feel like is the worlds greatest detective and a billionaire, but it’s part of the reason I don’t totally buy Gotham. There needs to be some gravitas to Bruce Wayne and that is something a younger actor isn’t going to have. Also, I’ve seen several mentions of Oscar Isaac as dream casting. I think he’s a phenomenal actor, but he is not imposing enough of a figure. His villain run in the X-Men franchise seemed like good casting until you figure out that it’s hard to take Apocalypse seriously when he’s clearly 5’7. I understand that it shouldn’t matter, but you notice when it’s on screen. It’s the main reason Kit Harrington was left off of this list. Mr. Snow is a badass, but when he isn’t swinging a sword, it’s hard not to notice that his sister is 2 feet taller than him. With this criteria in mind, here is the list of actors that fit this description.
Nicholas Hoult is no stranger to the comic book realm since he was Beast in the X-Men franchise, but he’s also a very talented actor who isn’t afraid to stretch. He went from a tortured Hank to full on crazy person in Mad Max and was fully believable in each role. Sure, he’s not a household name, but who cares about that at this point. The point of what we want in this character is someone who possesses the acting ability to be versatile in this role. Do you think Hoult can pull off a melancholy Bruce Wayne, the world’s greatest detective, and then go all in with a fight against the Joker? Because that is what is going to happen and it’s all going to happen in the same movie. He absolutely has that range.
This might be my favorite casting idea that I’ve ever had. Talk about range as an actor! Iwan’s role as Ramsay Bolton was so effing believable that I’m not even sure that I could forget about it long enough to focus on The Batman. He was so perfect and if you think about it, the character he played that was very smart and had a ton of daddy issues isn’t too far off from Bruce Wayne. You have to believe that Batman is capable of just about anything and has the ability to put his mind in places that normal humans aren’t capable of to stay ahead of the kind of sick people he is chasing. This casting makes perfect sense and opens the door for a ton of casting news about Reek playing Penguin. This would work! I’m telling you right now that this will never happen, but it should and would totally be awesome!
I’m very torn here because I think Jake would be a fine Batman and I think he’s always interesting and gives good performances. He is also a little crazy in real life and might bail on the role after a movie. This is probably not ever going to happen anyway because he is coming out later this year in the new Spidey flick and it looks like we might get some Sinister Six action, so he’ll be busy in the MCU for a while. I wouldn’t imagine that Marvel would just let him do both, they are pretty smart over there. Plus, we already had one Gyllenhaal in a Batman movie and that didn’t go great, so let’s just move on while we are ahead.
I promise that I didn’t just write this because I miss old Game of Thrones characters. We are far enough removed from the Red Wedding that Richard Madden has been in several different post Robb Stark roles and just won a Golden Globe for his role in The Bodyguard. He’s a terrific actor and has been in enough things that I think everyone would be pleasantly surprised if DC announced that they were taking this serious enough that Madden was given the role. You don’t give him a role like this if you don’t believe in the project long term.
Short term belief would get you Ryan Gosling or Oscar Isaac and that puts us right back here in less than 2 years talking about who should be the next one. This would be a “we aren’t fucking around anymore and this is going to be our Batman for the next 15 years like Hugh Jackman was for Wolverine, so fuck off we don’t care about your opinions fan boys” casting. That is the type of casting that I am looking for! I want to settle in to a 15 year relationship with this Batman! I want us to buy a house together and go shopping for new sheets. I want us to work this time, I really do.
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org