Yet the most surprising twist came when director Zack Snyder revealed that the film would be drawing from Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” story, with rumors that they’d be seeking an older, more grizzled actor to bring Batman to life.
Since our previous list of potential Bat-actors almost all fit that description, we’re clearly thinking along the same lines as Snyder when it comes to rebooting Batman (and are still amazed more people haven’t realized the potential of Luke Evans or Anson Mount).
Yes, we can’t help but think that the man long rum0red to be in the running to play an older Superman, Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, would be far more suited to the part of Bruce Wayne. While fans were the main source behind Hamm’s name being included in Man of Steel discussion, the actor took it all in stride, even laughing off the notion and explaining that playing Superman is “a young man’s game.”
But if Warner Bros. is truly looking for a convincing playboy who seems more at home in a suit and tie than a dark alley, and age is a bonus, not a hindrance, Hamm should be mentioned.
The major drawback here is Warner Bros.’s – and Snyder’s – preference for casting unknowns. Not only is Jon Hamm a known star for his Mad Men persona, he’s just as famous for being himself, if not more so. And that kind of baggage makes him a bit of a longshot in our eyes.
There’s no use in denying that Karl Urban can convincingly play a gruff, dangerous crimefighter with only his mouth, chin and voice to express himself – he’s done it already. But beyond that, he’s one of the few actors who can claim several blockbuster film franchises on his resume, and still fall into the ‘face, not a name’ category for mass audiences.
Easy charm, physicality and and more charisma in his eyebrows than some leading man have in their entire body make Urban an actor that most certainly could do the role justice, but may not have the time to spare (assuming he would want to play a role so similar to Judge Dredd again).
As a main cast member in the Star Trek series (and Dredd should a sequel arise), and assuming Almost Human is as popular as it looks to be, Urban will find himself with a full plate in the next few years. Perhaps too full.
Who doesn’t love an underdog? While Eric Bana may seem an unconventional choice, but given some of the names being thrown around concerning the next Dark Knight, the fact that we can honestly say Eric Bana wouldn’t embarrass himself or fans playing Batman gives him a leg up.
To be serious, Bana has made a career of experimenting in different genres; he’s gone epic (Troy), he’s gone dramatic (Munich), deadly (Hanna), villainous (Star Trek) and even comic book hero (Hulk, a film we’ve all agreed to forget). Yet Bana never becomes bigger than the role he’s playing; he’s famous for being an actor, not for being a single role.
The surprisingly understated Aussie (who’s taller than Henry Cavill – who knew?) would certainly play a convincing Bruce Wayne, and given his love of challenging roles, we have no doubts he’d lose himself in pursuit of a new Batman.
Ask anyone in the movie industry, and they’ll tell you that Joel Edgerton is sitting on the cusp of a breakout. In the past few years, Edgerton has added a role as a physically-intimidating MMA fighter (Warrior), an elite Navy SEAL (Zero Dark Thirty) and a millionaire audiences are supposed to loathe (The Great Gatsby) to his resume, and shows no signs of stopping.
If his time sharing the screen with the likes of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Bane (Tom Hardy) and Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) aren’t enough to convince you he’s primed for a superhero role, consider this: at 39, he’s got the age, looks, physicality and screen presence to steal from Henry Cavill – and that alone is saying something.
If Snyder and co. are after more than just wrinkles in their search for an older, more experienced Batman, then Edgerton would be a bold move; and one we’d look forward to.
No surprise here: Richard Armitage (Spooks, The Hobbit) was already one of our top choices for the character when we made our first list months ago, and as such, we were less than surprised when his name was mentioned among those currently being discussed by the studio. With the kind of looks and build that rarely come with age (except in the case of Hugh Jackman) Armitage has the poise that comes with experience, without the extra padding that usually accompanies it.
At 42 years of age and just over 6’2″, Armitage fits the bill on paper, but brings along his classical training, experience on both the screen and stage, and his time with the Royal Shakespeare company to boot. That’s the kind of experience that would make even Christian Bale blush.
With size, age, experience and looks that check every comic book fan’s checklist, well… let’s just say we’re happy to hear his name mentioned among those in the running.
That concludes our list of actors that we feel could bring all the necessary skills to a newer… older Batman in the Man of Steel sequel – and Justice League. They may not possess the fame or star power of some being debated by fans, but in our minds, that might be a good thing.
What’s your take on the recasting? Do you think any of our picks are particularly interesting, or will WB and DC buck the trend and go with a superstar?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Man of Steel 2/Batman vs. Superman will be released in 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.