So it’s that time of the decade again! A new director, a new direction, a new Batman. Or as we’re meant to believe, at least.
The rumours have been doing the rounds for almost a year now that The DCEU will be recasting The Caped Crusader for Matt Reeves’ Batman trilogy. This is down to reports that Ben Affleck, who filled Christian Bales’ shoes in the role only a number of years ago in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is wishing to step down from the role. This doesn’t come as a surprise to most fans as Affleck’s take on the character was hyped up only for the films he has appeared in, namely Dawn of Justice and Justice League, were panned by critics. Though his performance was great, it wasn’t enough to save the franchise or his take on the character seemingly.
So, here we are, potentially looking at Batman’s side of The DCEU being rebooted so to speak. Without further ado, here are my top choices for the big roles that will/could be popping up.
Richard Armitage - Bruce Wayne/Batman
When the casting rumours were flying around for Dawn of Justice, I had two favourites in mind: Richard Armitage and Josh Brolin. For a grittier, older Batman, Brolin wins second to none. But for someone who could fit every version of Batman you’d throw at him? Armitage.
He can play the charm, and can most definitely play the dark and murky aura. Whether his American accent would be up to scratch is up for debate (Captain America: The First Avenger... watch and discuss), but his grizzly voice and the idea of seeing him under the cowl would be a stroke of genius. He fits the comic profile perfect.
Timothy Dalton - Alfred Pennyworth
Dalton has always been my top choice to play Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, ever since I was a kid and watched him in Hot Fuzz.
This guy could take Alfred right back to his original incarnation. The past few years, on both TV and film, have worked heavily on breadcrumbing Alfred’s younger days as a soldier of some sort. I think it’s great to have that history established, but Alfred is supposed to be unexpecting. Like Bruce Wayne, no one should know what he is capable of. Sean Pertwee’s Alfred in the TV show Gotham must mention his old days in the military or get into some sort of brawl at least once an episode. Jeremy Iron’s Alfred was even described in the lead up to Dawn of Justice as not so much a butler but a bodyguard instead!
I think it’s great to play around with the character, and give him an updated look and a new edge, but reverting to his old ways would be even better now. Maybe having it mentioned once and then maybe a few films down the line having to watch Alfred defend Wayne Manor single-handedly. That would be enough. The rest of the time, have him as the old, frail butler so those military moments come as a great shock and a time to cheer Alfred on.
Dalton’s known history as a certain 00 agent would also add to this, with us not having seen him do anything James Bond-esque since those days and then getting a chance to see Alfred erupt into this old soldier just the one time. Would definitely give the old Bond fans a good time at least.
Bryan Cranston - Commissioner James Gordon
I know what some of you are going to say. "HE HAS PLAYED GORDON ALREADY! THIS CAN’T HAPPEN!"... I hear you, I feel you. Yes, Cranston portrayed an animated version of the Commish in Batman: Year One. But just... look at him. Listen to him.
Give him a much thicker moustache than in the opening seasons of Breaking Bad, a trenchcoat, and you have your Gordon. He can play a doting father (Malcolm in the Middle, Why Him?) and can play a man on a mission (Breaking Bad). THAT is Gordon. Forget Year One. Let it go. Back then Cranston was... dare I say it... the Gordon we needed, but not the one we deserved then... mainly because of Gary Oldman being in the Nolan movies at that point, but you get me.
Eddie Redmayne - Edward Nygma/The Riddler
This one may seem a bit out there, but Eddie Redmayne is yet to really sink his teeth into a villainous character. The truth? He definately has the chops for it!
Redmayne has proven he is quite versatile and could easily pull off a psychotic villain like The Riddler. But Redmayne could also bring something new to this character. You never really see villains with any form of disability and The Riddler has alway caught me as a character that would be good grounds to work with that. Maybe Autism? Look at the way the character could work with that and it would give another level to the character, something I believe Redmayne would pull off perfectly.
Ray Winston - Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin
Probably one my favourite castings ideas. The Arkham Games gave a really interesting portrayal of Cobblepot as a Londoner, and worked great!
Winston is the only actor who would give the villain the justice he deserves if he were to play him. With prosthetics at the level they used in Foxcatcher for Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, we would be onto a winner here!
Matthew McConaughey - Harvey Dent/Two Face
Not one of the most favourable suggestions you will probably be thinking, but it’s got potential. This guy can play it suave, but he can also play bat-shit (see what I did there?) crazy.
McConaughey is an award-winning actor who is yet to spring into a franchise as of yet. Do I think he’d suit a heroic role? No, in all honesty. A gritty villain for my man Matthew methinks. Harvey Dent would not be a classic fit for him but I think he would shape it in a unique way from how, say, Aaron Eckhart did it.
Kate Beckinsale - Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Beckinsale is around the same age as Armitage, and still looks amazing. Whether she would bring her English accent to the role, no clue. It would be interesting to try but let’s not get bogged down in that.
Sticking with the fact that her and Armitage would be BRILLIANT in a scene together, and her likeness to Selena Kyle is uncanny, it would be an interesting take for the character.
Rainn Wilson - Harvey Bullock
Okay, so Bullock has had zero appearances in films as of yet. Disgusting. Not good enough. Gordon’s right-hand (rough around the edges) man is perfect to have on the big screen. Enough of the whole "the public either love or hate Batman." Why not have it as everyone believes in Batman except this guy?
If you’ve seen Wilson in The Office, you know he can be a cynic and hard-faced really well. Dial the comedic side down, add a look that says "I’ve not showered in months" and Rainn Wilson is Bullock!
Daniel Day-Lewis - Ra’s Al Ghul
Same amount of names as he is known. Accurately could play him with some facial hair and a haircut. Day-Lewis is another high end actor who is yet to step into a franchise, and we are being cheated!
Yes, there has already been a British actor playing The Demon's Head before but come on! He’s terrifying as it is! This would be a brilliant turn for the actor! Yeah, it won’t be Oscar-worthy, because what superhero film is except maybe for costume or visual effects?
Jim Carrey - The Joker
No matter how old he gets, or off the rails he gets, or even if he gives up acting... Jim Carrey is a missing link to the key to making the Batman Universe perfect!
Watch every movie he has done. There will be an interesting element for The Clown Prince of Crime to incorporate. Would he need to rehearse the laugh or the facial expressions? HELL NO! What Carrey would really just need to key in on is having one specific journey for his character and not go off on a tangent.