“Batman? Batman? Can someone tell me what kind of a world we live in where a man dressed as a bat, gets all of my press?” A great quote from Jack Nicholson‘s Joker from Batman (1989) but could it be any more true? Yes, yes. Batman is making the news more and more these days; and not so much great news, mind you. Still, production is set to take place later this year and with rumors swirling that Affleck’s departure as director was because of script/story issues, one tends to believe there is something else going on behind the scenes. So what of the story? Who are the characters in it? Aside from the DeathStroke mention, we really know nothing of it. With repeat players Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons returning in their pivotal roles, we get a new addition to Batman’s team: J.K Simmons, playing Commisioner James Gordon. But allow me to indulge you on what The Batman film starring Ben Affleck should be about. It’s time for another Casting Call!
Joe Manganiello / Slade Wilson AKA DeathStroke
I think we’ve all seen the short clip in late 2016 of a certain assassin. What we all didn’t know was that was a tease for us fans that one of the villains, if not the main antagonist of the film would be that of Slade Wilson. While this is not the first time we’ve seen this anti-hero on-screen ( Manu Bennett / Arrow – Season 2 ), it is nice to see him make his was over on the silver screen. A nice change of pace from The Dark Knight’s usual gallery of villains. Joe Manganiello as the coveted anti-hero is a solid choice for three reasons: , he is believable as a menacing character no matter what role he’s in, he stands at a towering 6’5, and is in pretty good shape; a plus for this kind of role and movie. I have no doubt Joe will make his run as DeathStroke one to remember.
Adrien Brody / Kirk Langstrom AKA Man-Bat
While we’re on the subject of introducing more characters from the Batman mythos onto the silver screen, the tragedy of Dr. Kirkland Langstrom who becomes the Man-Bat creature should definitely have a role in it as well. Adrien Brody has the acting chops to pull off the struggling doctor, trying to fight his inner demon, quite literally. Much like the case of a certain “green monster” with the other guys, this would give us fans the opportunity to see the “detective skills” put to the test, with Batman trying to deduce who this Man-Bat creature is, and more importantly how to come up with a cure to stop him from any further metamorphoses.
Sam Worthington / Preston Payne AKA ClayFace
I think we can firmly say that we have reached a level of CGI that is pretty believable in movies to date. And since this movie would probably have a ton of effects happening, why not include another character that has yet to grace us in live action, but can be achieved nonetheless? ClayFace is one of Batman’s formidable foes (see what I did there?) and would definitely be a force to be reckoned with. While there are many incarnations of this character, Preston Payne (3rd version) would be my pick and you’ll find out that reason later so hold on to that “why” for just a bit. For now, picture Sam Worthington in the coveted role. He’s no stranger to portraying characters in big CGI films and has played one made completely out of CGI entirely in Avatar (2009), so this should be a walk in the park for Worthington. As far as his look, I’ll say while most of us grew up with the version from Batman: The Animated Series, they could do an amalgam of all the versions and comprise it into one. Kind of like how they did Robin in Batman Forever (1995).
Neil Patrick Harris / Edward Nygma AKA Riddler
While I believe this character was done flawlessly by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever, that was the last time we saw Riddler on-screen, until Gotham introduced him in their show. This version would definitely battle wits with The Dark Knight, amplified by 10 fold from that of Carrey’s. A fan favorite and my recommendation would be Neil Patrick Harris. Oddly enough, Harris has expressed interest in the role and with his semi pro magic skills and quirky demeanor, this would be an awesome rendition. Ironically enough, if Harris did get the role, that would be two roles he’s done after Carrey played them first, with the most recent being playing Count Olaf on Netflix.
Jared Leto / The Joker
There have been mixed reviews of this version of The Clown Prince Of Crime, however I think everyone is on the same page that Jared Leto portrayed that character extremely well. The only problem was that he was under used in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016). While the Joker is Batman’s most iconic and worthy adversary, I think this story should not use him all that much as stated earlier for the sake of other character story lines. Use him for a sequel and solely focus on him. But still, Joker could have a pivotal role in the film and I’m sure Leto wants to top his performance from the last we saw him; plus if that happened, he would be the first actor to reprise his role on film for a movie as The Joker.
Gemma Arterton / Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman
Every hero needs a girl, and in this case that girl is a bit of a feisty one. This was a bit tough for me due in part of other commitments and continuity issues from other actresses, but in the end Gemma Arterton, would ultimately be the best choice to play Selina Kyle. The sexual tension and innuendos she gives Bats has to be executed with precision all the while conveying to the audience she is up to some ulterior motive. She worked with Affleck previously in Runner Runner (2013) and the two appeared to have great chemistry. Another tidbit, Arterton was runner-up for the same part in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, but lost out to Anne Hathaway.
Paul Wesley / Richard Grayson AKA Nightwing
Probably the most renowned sidekick / partner in the history of having a second-hand. The last time we saw Robin on film was back when Batman & Robin (1997) graced us with those horrendous colors, portrayed by Chris O’donnell. You could say they somewhat teased us with his costume bearing the design that Nightwing uses in the comics, yet retaining the name of Robin. Either way, Nightwing needs to be on film, and with the recent announcement he’s going to get his own movie (finally), what better time than to do it with alongside Bats? This actor would have to be roughly 10-12 years younger and somewhat shorter than Affleck. Paul Wesley fits that bill nicely. With his square jaw line and good looks, all you need to do is dye his hair black and we’ll have our Nightwing at last. And please, let’s stop calling him Dick.
Darren Aronofsky / Director
I’ll admit, when Ben Affleck was tapped as director to his own Batman film I was pumped. Then he decided to pull his name from the hat for reasons I believe are valid. While Matt Reeves seems to be the man to helm The Batman, my choice would be that of Darren Aronofsky. If you’ve seen any of his work, you know that Aronofsky is a true storyteller and in fact, the story always takes precedence before just making a movie. I hope that Reeves sticks to his guns and provides the world with a solid Batman film, but hope there isn’t much change to the original idea that was created. And if that deal breaks and Reeves can’t take the heat, Aronofsky should take the seat.
So there you have it; The Batman Casting Call. Again, this is just a fan casting of an ensemble of actors I believe would be best suited for the roles depicted here. I don’t know what the story is or have and idea of what it might be but I can say if Deathstroke is still going to be a part of it still with the director shift, one direction could be that both Bruce Wayne and Slade Wilson were league-mates with The League Of Assassins organization. Then something happened between the two that caused DeathStroke to make a name for himself terminating everyone that got in his way all the way to Gotham to meet The Bat himself. Maybe the jealousy of a woman? Talia perhaps? As far as Man-Bat and Clayface in my version, since Langstrom and Payne are both scientists and we want to tie the DCEU together, they could both work for C.A.D.M.U.S on separate projects of mutagens. One transforms into a Bat and the other into a pile of…mud. (What did you think I was going to say?) That would help those characters get some recognition and time on the silver screen. Catwoman could be enlisted as help all the while playing both sides like she normally does to meet her own agenda. Since Nightwing is finally getting his own film, what better way than to have a role in this as help from an old protege? Riddler and Joker could be there for nostalgia purposes or to just introduce or reintroduce some characters. Maybe even hint at Black Mask and Hush. In the end, I’m sure the film will do just fine. If the rumors are true that the film might have a lot of villains and center around Arkham Asylum, this would be a great alternative. I wouldn’t mind seeing that, but I think most of us can agree, the games gave us plenty from that perspective. I really wouldn’t want to see a carbon copy from the Arkham City games to The Batman.