When best buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck teamed up to write and star in Good Will Hunting, little did they know that the two hard-working actors would win Best Screenplay Oscars and be catapulted onto the A-List of Hollywood superstars. Affleck went on to star in such blockbusters as Daredevil, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor before making a name for himself as a director. Recently, Ben earned surprisingly strong reviews for his turn as a middle-aged Bruce Wayne in the otherwise divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and just last week, he was confirmed as the director of the upcoming solo outing for the Dark Knight.
Meanwhile, Matt Damon has really earned his stripes as one of Hollywood’s top leading men, with starring roles in such acclaimed blockbusters as The Bourne Identity and its sequels, the Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit, and Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Recently, the thespian suggested that he’d be open to starring in a comic book superhero film, but only if his BFF Ben Affleck were to direct.
Naturally, our thoughts turned to Affleck’s upcoming Batman film. What if Matt Damon were to co-star in the highly anticipated movie? Which of many iconic Batman characters could Damon bring to life? Here’s our thoughts on 15 Characters Matt Damon Could Play In A Batman Movie.
15. Harvey Bullock
In the comics, Harvey Bullock was a crooked cop who eventually returned to the side of justice and became one of Batman’s most loyal allies. If Ben Affleck’s Batman is lacking in friendly faces, then maybe he’d be willing, as he is in the comics, to give a second chance to the fallen detective. The overarching theme of the DC films thus far has been that of “second chances:” Superman is Krypton’s second chance to exist in the universe, BvS has the heroes giving each other a second chance after failing to murder each other, and Batman, after being beat down by decades of loss and cynicism, is trying once more to save his city from crime and corruption (and his world from extinction).
Matt Damon would be great as a hard-boiled cop, struggling to keep his bitter demons at bay and trying to the right thing for maybe the first time in his miserable life. As much as we’d like to see Damon play an enemy of the Caped Crusader, we must admit a desire to see Bullock and Batman, back to back, fighting bad guys as a team, a jaded and middle-aged Dynamic Duo.
14. Jack Ryder
Comic fans know Jack Ryder better as The Creeper, a violent vigilante with yellow skin who stalks the night and stops criminals with more lethal force. Fans of the Batman: Arkham series are familiar with Ryder’s radio/TV host persona, a glory-seeking journalist always out for the next big scoop. Arkham Ryder isn’t afraid to embellish the truth to make himself look better; he even claims to have saved Batman from certain death, which is precisely the opposite of what happened. Despite his alter-ego, The Creeper, never actually making a formal appearance in any Arkham game, this is the version of the character we’d like to see in a movie.
Matt Damon would really get to ham it up as the narcissistic reporter, and practically narrate the story while relaying the state of Gotham during Batman’s righteous campaign of terror against Gotham’s criminals. Then, if the film wants to really get buck wild, part of the ending could involve Ryder stumbling into the events which turn him into The Creeper, allowing him to be a villain or anti-hero in a potential sequel. Plus, we just really want to see Matt Damon in Creeper makeup.
13. Mr. Freeze
One of Batman’s most iconic villains is Victor Fries, better known as Mister Freeze. The most famous version of the character hails from Batman: The Animated Series, and has a tragic backstory involving his terminally-ill wife and being injured by evil corporate fatcat Ferris Boyle. Rendered unable to survive without a high-tech cryo-suit, Mister Freeze builds a Freeze Gun and decides to cure Nora, no matter what criminal acts he must commit to secure funds and equipment.
He’s a relatable and compelling character (the Animated Series episode which re-introduced the character won an Emmy for its writing), and there’s great potential for the character in the DC Extended Universe. Freeze’s face would be hidden by makeup and the fact that his helmet looks like a fishbowl, so it would take an actor as skilled as Matt Damon to add a human element to the overtly robotic-looking character.
The biggest drawback against including Mister Freeze in a big-screen version of Batman is that the often-ridiculed Batman & Robin is still, even after nearly two decades, fresh in the minds of Bat-fanatics. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of the character earned much ire for his hammy acting and obscene overuse of ice-related puns. That’s a hurdle that even Matt Damon might not be able to overcome.
12. Black Mask
Like Hush (more on him later), Black Mask is a character who resembles Bruce Wayne as seen through a broken mirror. Black Mask answers the question, “What would Bruce Wayne be if his parents were jerks?” The answer is Roman Sionis, a patricidal maniac who squandered his family’s fortune and decides to become the biggest mob boss in Gotham City, while concealing his true identity with a black mask.
We would have Matt Damon play Roman Sionis as he slowly consolidates power within Gotham City, using Batman’s attacks on organized crime as a smokescreen to hide his gradually expanding army. In the comics, Black Mask truly earns his namesake when, during a battle with Batman, his mask is permanently burned onto his face by intense flames. Because Matt Damon is such a handsome guy, we would obviously have to save his deformation until the end of the movie. Plus, the emotional trauma of having his face replaced with a hideous mask would make Sionis an obvious candidate to be locked up in Arkham Asylum, and raring to break out in the inevitable sequels.
11. The Riddler
Easily one of Batman’s most famous and popular adversaries, The Riddler is notable for attacking Batman with intellectual puzzles and mental challenges, rather than the more traditional physical battles of much of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery. Jim Carrey’s take on Edward Nygma in 1995’s Batman Forever was inspired by Frank Gorshin’s portrayal of the character in the iconic 1960s television series.
Were Matt Damon to step into the role, we’d like to see him represent a combination of different versions of the character. We want to see Damon embody the slowly-bubbling psychosis of Cory Michael Smith on Gotham, and his stalker-like fascination with Bruce Wayne and Batman from the Jim Carrey version, all combined with the grimy aesthetic and violently self-obsessed leanings of the Arkham video game incarnation.
Matt Damon is a large hunk of a man, and we want him to be challenged in a role one might not immediately associate with him. We’d love to see Damon play a basement-dwelling Riddler incapable of challenging the Bat in hand-to-hand combat, throwing insane temper tantrums every time Batman completes one of his seemingly-unsolvable conundrums.
10. A Joker
One of the many rumors about the future of the DC Extended Universe, as it is being called, is that Jared Leto’s Joker, as seen in the upcoming Suicide Squad film, will not be the only character to bear the title. In the recent DC Rebirth comics, they have introduced the concept of multiple Jokers, three to be precise. Not a gang, per se, but a trio of personalities, which makes sense, when you think about it.
The Joker is a very dissonant character; always evil, but sometimes more mischievous than murderous, and it could be interesting to have multiple actors tackling different versions of the Clown Prince of Crime. Jared Leto will be the consummate showman, and maybe Damon could be the version of Joker who is personally obsessed with Batman.
The final Rocksteady video game, Arkham Knight, played with a variation of this idea by having multiple civilians, tainted by infusions of Joker’s blood (gross), become infected with his disparate personality traits. Maybe an approach like this, while a bit overly fantastical in nature, could work in an Affleck-directed Batman movie, really getting into the psyche of The Joker by dissecting his mind one sadistic character trait at a time.
One of the more bestial creatures in the Batman mythos is Dr. Kirk Langstrom, better known as Man-Bat, a straight-up nightmare fantasy right out of a horror movie. Ben Affleck’s Batman is the most violent incarnation of the character since the controversial All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder version, so it would make sense for him to go face-to-face with a feral monster.
Like Batman himself, Man-Bat’s outwardly fear-inducing visage is only part of the character’s identity. Dr. Langstrom is a good man, a scientist working hard to cure his own deafness; however, like so many sci-fi comic book scientists, lack of oversight and regulation leads Langstrom to go too far and wind up creating an abomination that exists only to kill.
Casting Matt Damon in the role could enhance what otherwise might be a fairly standard Jekyll and Hyde story, of which there are plenty in Batman’s rogues gallery. Damon can bring a manic desperation to Dr. Langstrom’s quest for a cure, as well as a visceral savagery to the monster within.
8. Green Arrow
If Ezra Miller can play The Flash, then that means no CW television characters are truly off-limits. It could be just a matter of time before Green Arrow makes his debut in the DC Extended Universe. In the comics (and on CW’s Arrow show), The Green Arrow is the poor man’s version of Batman, in that he fights for the working-class denizens of Starling City against corruption and, yes, the occasional super-villain.
While we can’t really imagine Matt Damon signing a multi-film deal to play a costumed vigilante, we can’t help but dream, since Damon would be a perfect choice to don the green hood, especially when cast opposite Ben Affleck’s Batman. The two characters have their superficial similarities and differences, and we think having these two performers in those roles, actors who can bring out the best in each other, just as their characters do, would give the DC Extended Universe the deep character interactions that the films have been lacking thus far.
7. Maxwell Lord
Whether they love or hate his performance as Lex Luthor, even the most fervent Batman v Superman fans can acknowledge that Jesse Eisenberg’s take on the DC universe’s most cunning and iconic villain wasn’t quite what they were expecting. We think there’s a lot of potential for Eisenberg’s Luthor to evolve and become a unique threat in Justice League, but we would love to see a more traditional version of the character be a thorn in the side of the Man of Steel and his allies.
To that end, we’d be on board with Matt Damon playing a Luthor-esque incarnation of Maxwell Lord. On CBS’s Supergirl (moving soon to the CW network!), Lord is basically that show’s version of Lex Luthor — a cunning and duplicitous businessman with a multitude of aces up his sleeve. He created Bizarro Supergirl, infected her with Red Kryptonite. and conned his way out of maximum security prison. He finished the season more-or-less on the heroic side, but the best part about Supergirl’s version of Lord, and all versions of Lex, is that he’s only ever truly on his own side.
Damon could be a great choice to show off the shrewd businessman-like composure of Maxwell Lord, and leave most of his meta-human baggage at the door, or at least save it for the sequels. Plus, Damon doesn’t always have to play a gun-toting action guy; he’s an incredibly natural and versatile actor, and a role like this, a scheming genius, would make him a unique match for the significantly more brutal Batman.
6. Arnold Flass
Arnold Flass isn’t a hugely important character in the Batman canon, but he has huge storytelling potential and could be an asset in a solo Batman film. In Batman: Year One, Flass was Jim Gordon’s partner, and a heinously corrupt cop. Gordon will be played by JK Simmons in Justice League, and Matt Damon is obviously much younger than Simmons, but we would really like to see a Batman story which features a middle-aged Batman, Flass, and the previously-mentioned Harvey Bullock. Bullock was a bad cop who ultimately decided to fight for good; by this point in Batman’s history, Flass has surely been thrown off the force already. In the Dark Victory comic, Flass is working at a seedy nightclub, and is a forgotten loser.
Perhaps, in the years since being fired and jailed for corruption, Flass could make an appearance as a street-level informant for Batman, or even some kind of righteous vigilante himself, seeking penance for his years of misdeeds and disrespecting his police badge. Matt Damon is the perfect age, 45, to play a version of Flass who is old enough to be haunted by the sins of his past, but young enough to change his life and be a better man… Or maybe he’ll double down on villainy and need to be taken down by the Bat.
Matt Damon has had a long and prosperous career as an A-list star, but what if he wasn’t? What if The Bourne Identity had crashed and burned at the box office and Damon slipped into obscurity, never to return? It happens all the time, like, for example, to Basil Karlo, aka Clayface.
A thinly-veiled version of Boris Karloff, Karlo made his living starring in horror films, but had a nervous breakdown when it was announced that his classic film, The Terror, would be remade without him in the leading role. Naturally for a Batman villain, Karlo turned to murder. Although this version of the character had no super-powers at first, subsequent revisions of Clayface had the character’s body transformed entirely into mud. Clayface can shift his body to imitate anyone, right down to copying their DNA.
Clayface would be a totally unique visual effect in the DC Extended Universe, and the character’s deeply psychological backstory would be just the kind of role that Matt Damon would be attracted to. It’s not enough to just be a bad guy who mindlessly punches; we learned that lesson from Bane in Batman & Robin and Doomsday in Batman v Superman. Clayface has the potential to the wildest and most unique foe that Batman has ever faced on the big screen.
Lock-Up is one of several popular characters who were introduced in Batman: The Animated Series (a club which also includes Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya), and one who would be a perfect fit for a solo Batman film. He’s not quite gimmicky or over-the-top enough to carry a film by himself, but his deep psychosis is not unlike Batman’s own psychological issues, and he could be both a physical and mental match for Gotham’s Dark Knight.
In his introduction in Batman: The Animated Series, Lyle Bolton is hired to bolster security and keep the inmates in line at Arkham Asylum. However, he immediately shows his true colors as a brutal dictator who violates criminals’ human rights and dispenses his own twisted form of justice behind bars. He’s not that unlike Batman, actually, but with overt Taxi Driver influences and a more nihilistic point of view. We don’t ever want to see a remake of Taxi Driver, but we’d love to see Matt Damon channel his inner Robert DeNiro and bring a raw and unsettling energy to one of Gotham City’s lesser-known villains.
The question of how to humanely treat prisoners in jail is a controversial subject in today’s culture. How would Ben Affleck’s version of Batman fight against Lock-Up? We’re not entirely sure, but we’d love to find out.
3. The Question
As handsome as Matt Damon is, each of the top three entries on this list entail giving the actor a facial disfigurement or covering up his movie star mug entirely, as is the case with The Question, a libertarian conspiracy-theorist/crime-fighter. Question’s mask makes the character look suspiciously like The Blank from Dick Tracy, which is a great look, but it would take an actor with the dramatic range of Matt Damon to be able to do the legendary character justice.
Most die-hard fans probably already know this, but The Question was originally going to be one of the lead characters in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, until the decision was made that the story use entirely original characters. Rorschach was created instead, and went on to arguably eclipse The Question in popularity and cultural impact. We don’t want Matt Damon’s Question to be a copy of Rorschach, but to be more personable and reasonable, if still anti-government, like the character’s depiction in The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
2. Harvey Dent
Billy Dee Williams, Tommy Lee Jones, and Aaron Eckhart have all played the iconic Harvey “Two-Face’ Dent in various Batman movies, and we’re sure that it’s only a matter of time before the character makes his big debut in the DC Extended Universe. Matt Damon would make a great Harvey Dent, and an even better Two-Face. His roles in films like The Martian have shown that Damon is capable of bringing optimism into a dour situation, like surviving alone on Mars, or trying to free Gotham City from the vice-like grip of the mob.
Then, after it all goes to hell, Damon could bring a physical and bombastic approach to the Two-Face alter ego. Aaron Eckhart was a scene-stealer in The Dark Knight, but he was never a physical match for Batman. We’d like to see Matt Damon’s Two-Face, after his transformation, really go insane and turn straight-up monstrous, utterly subjugating Gotham’s seediest neighborhoods under his own totalitarian rule and bringing his own brand of law and order into conflict with Batman’s. Two-Face is one of Batman’s most cerebral enemies, and casting a high-quality actor like Matt Damon in the role would allow the fights to be viscerally physical, as well as emotionally engaging.
The most natural choice for Matt Damon in a Batman film (and one we’ve been behind for a while now) is one of The Dark Knight’s most brutal and psychotic foes, Thomas Elliot, also known as Hush. A dark and jealous foil for Bruce Wayne, the two were childhood friends with a similar upbringing, but young Elliot hated his parents, and resented Wayne for losing his own parents and inheriting their fortune.
Decades later, during the events of the exciting Batman: Hush, Elliot enacts a master plan to defeat his enemy by recruiting a huge team of villains to take down Batman and his allies. After this plan fails, Hush eventually returned in the Paul Dini storyline, Heart of Hush, in which he performed plastic surgery on himself, transforming his face to the spitting image of the object of all his hate, Bruce Wayne. The Arkham City video game presents a more violent version of this transformation: Hush murders numerous prisoners in an effort to collect their faces and combine them to make a perfect visage of Bruce Wayne, which he uses to replace his own face.
It’s pretty gross, but we’d love to see the image of Matt Damon, as Thomas Elliot/Hush, with patches of his face replaced by that of Ben Affleck. It would be a great special effect, and something totally within the wheelhouse of the dark and gritty world of Zack Snyder’s DC Universe. Plus, the bromance between Damon and Affleck would add an extra meta touch to the friendship of Elliot and Wayne.
Would you like to see Matt Damon star alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman? Who would you like to see him play? Sound off in the comments section!