[We wrote this a few months ago, but in light of the recent official announcement of a Superman/Batman movie, we thought we’d re-post this. – Ed.]
A character endowed with dual identities is nothing new to drama or fiction, and can lead to some of the richest – or shallowest – performances, depending on the talent entrusted with doing justice to both personas. Batman wasn’t the first masked vigilante, but he may have become the most famous. Not to mention the most challenging for actors.
Now that it’s been officially confirmed that there will be a Batman/Superman movie, we’ve singled out actors who possess the ability to play the charismatic philanthropist Bruce Wayne, the chilling Bat-Man criminals fear, and the brilliant detective that lays in between.
Putting personal hopes or fanboy desires aside, these actors have the skills to play the role convincingly – and more importantly, might actually be considered for the next Batman.
While Holloway may forever be known for his southern drawl as Sawyer from ABC’s Lost, we know he’s capable of much, much more. His turn as Agent Hanaway in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol showed he could pull of the secret agent persona better than some of his fellow cast members, and we’re not the only ones who see super-heroism in his future.
As much as we’d like our expectations for Quasar in the Marvel world to be tied to Holloway, DC could surprise us by snagging him first, putting his effortless charm into the creation of a new Bruce Wayne/Batman.
There was much to like about Lost‘s Sawyer: a truly scarred man who kept others at a distance, and used charisma to hide his suffering – until someone pushed him too far. Most importantly, Sawyer was a character we wanted to like, despite what darkness we knew lay just beneath the surface. That’s a proven Bruce Wayne if there ever was one.
As the lead in USA Networks’ White Collar, Matt Bomer’s no stranger to characters operating on the fringes of what might be considered ‘legal action.’ But the success of the show is due in large part to the nuances and likeability Bomer has brought to the stingy and sterile world of crooked millionaires – a trait we hope to see Bruce Wayne exhibit as well.
It’s easy to see why Bomer has found an audience among females, and gained more fans after his appearance in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike (2012). DC and Warner Bros. have also noticed Bomer’s range, signing him to voice Superman in their next animated feature, Superman: Unbound (2013).
The similarity of Bomer to British actor Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) has been noted in the past, looking more like brothers than dramatic foils. While some might see that as a drawback, passionate fans of both heroes’ animated TV series might argue that a shared jawline is more essential than problematic.
Many movie fans may only know Anson Mount from his time working on the railroad as Cullen Bohannon of AMC’s Hell On Wheels. Those who’ve watched the western don’t need to be told how much nuance (and beard) Mount has brought to the role, with miniscule dialogue with which to work, and a mission of vengeance driving his character.
But beneath that hair, grime and Southern drawl is the same ‘heartthrob’ that romanced Britney Spears in her big screen debut, Crossroads (2002), meaning Bruce Wayne’s public persona isn’t too much of a stretch either. If you saw the Jason Statham action flick Safe, you saw Mount’s action/combat skills as an evil ex-special forces bagman.
Portraying a brooding man on a secret mission gives Mount an edge at present, with the build and look that would fit right in among Gotham’s elite – after that, Batman should be a cakewalk. And as his quirky turn as bespectacled ‘Chris’ in the underground Poolhall Junkies (2002) proved, he’s anything but a one-note performer.
If Warner Bros. Intends on keeping up their habit of casting lesser-known but proven actors as superheroes with serious depth, then they would do well to take a look at Luke Evans as a successor to the cape and cowl. He’s even British!
Evans may certainly sit within the ‘face, not a name’ category at this point, but he’s been turning in standout performances in otherwise lacking films (see The Three Musketeers), pairing his looks with undeniable screen presence, and always with an edge or air of unpredictability. His star will continue to rise as ‘Bard the Bowman’ in the upcoming releases of The Hobbit trilogy, and the central antagonist of Fast Six (2013).
For now, the Welsh thespian may be most familiar for his recent performance as Zeus, opposite Henry Cavill in Immortals. Of all the actors on our list, Evans is the only who can already be seen alongside the soon-to-be Man of Steel, and the results speak for themselves.
As a regular on the BBC’s Spooks (broadcast in North America as MI-5) Richard Armitage has convincingly played one of the British government’s most respected (and personally troubled) intelligence agents, as adept at hand-to-hand combat as he is detection and counter-terror investigations. You see where we’re going with this.
Armitage, like Evans, will be garnering more attention thanks to director Peter Jackson, already having appeared as king-to-be Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That makeup and digital trickery conceals Armitage’s 6’2″ frame (and more than a passing resemblance to Hugh Jackman), so he has the stature to go along with the skills.
An unknown with a proven track record as a high-level covert operative makes him the perfect fit for the rebooted version of Batman we hope to see, and The Hobbit will certainly be putting him on studios’ radars; we hope DC and Warner Bros. are among the first to intercept him.
That concludes our list of actors that we feel could bring all the necessary skills to a new, rebooted Batman in the Man of Steel sequel – and Justice League. They’re not all headlining acts, but we think any director would be remiss to overlook them.
What’s your take on the possible recasting? Do you think any of our picks are particularly interesting, or will WB and DC buck the trend and go with an established star?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.