Rumour: WB looking for "established and rugged" Batman; Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Joe Manganiello among others on the list

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With Warner Bros currently on the hunt for a cape-wearing dance partner for Henry Cavill’s Superman – one of the most coveted gigs in Hollywood right now – you should probably get ready to hear the words “Batman” and “rumour” in the same sentence a lot. And according to the rumour mill you can also add “established” and “rugged” to that list, as WB are apparently looking for an older Bruce Wayne to face off against Cavil’s Clark Kent, and they’ve apparently set their sights on a werewolf, a man in black and a violent driver among others.

THR reports that while the script is still in the earliest of stages, and with no official contact being made with actors or their agents about the role yet, WB are looking to start shooting early in 2014 for Batman VS Superman‘s 2015 release. That means that director Zack Snyder and co are already looking at the type of Batman that they want, and according to several of THR’s sources, that is a Batman in his mid-30’s to early- to mid-40’s who has already been doing his Dark Knight thing for a while now already (yes, there will be no origin story).

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And there are apparently a number of names that match that description that WB are interested in with two sources proclaiming Josh Brolin to be top of the list. Now there’s no questioning Brolin’s acting chops, and he can certainly do “rugged” in a heartbeat, but after leading two duds from Warner Bros in the form of Gangster Squad and Jonah Hex, I’m not quite sure that WB will reward him with this. He’s also 46 now, which is at the tail-end of the age requirement. This certainly wasn’t a problem for Marvel and Robert Downey Jr, but I don’t know whether WB will have the same faith in their actor’s longevity, especially since it would be expected of whomever gets the gig to go on to perform in Justice League and however many follow-ups, with a group of probably much younger co-stars. I would certainly appreciate a Justice League where a Josh Brolin Batman wasn’t only the tactician but also the elder statesmen keeping the youngsters in check, I just don’t think WB would see it that way.

On the opposite end of that equation is Ryan Gosling, who at 32 is not only the youngest name on the list, but also the prettiest. While Gosling is a superb actor who just so happens to also sport seemingly photoshopped abs, I just cannot see him as either Bruce Wayne or Batman. He’s too subdued, too clean and did I mention how pretty he was?

One actor on the list that definitely won’t be accused of being subdued is Joe Manganiello, known to most as the hot-blooded werewolf Alcide Herveaux on HBO’s True Blood. However, was it not for that show, he would probably be known as something else: Superman. Manganiello was actually Snyder’s first pick by a long shot over Henry Cavill for Man of Steel, but his commitment to True Blood clashed with the shooting schedule for Man of Steel, taking him out of the gig, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Snyder now gave him a second shot at some spandex. While he’s never had to truly push his thespian abilities, he can certainly be a truly terrifying and intimidating Batman, and the guy’s physique is about as close to a comic book superhero as you’re going to get. It’s his Bruce Wayne I’m worried about though (and no, not just because of his appearance, as that’s nothing that a good shave and haircut couldn’t fix), because he would need to show a lot more range as Batman’s civilian identity than he has previously displayed.

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Another prospect on the list is Richard Armitage, probably best known to people as The Hobbit‘s Thorin Oakenshield. With Peter Jackson just recently wrapping the final day of shooting, Armitage certainly has some time on his hands. Well schedule-wise, as he’s already 41 years of age. He’s certainly not a bad pick, there’s just something about him that’s stopping me from seeing him as either Wayne\Batman.

Then there’s Matthew Goode – who was last seen as Mia Wasikowska’s creepy uncle in Stoker – also allegedly has his name in the mix. Now Goode and Snyder already have a relationship as he played Ozymandias in Snyder’s Watchmen, so he’s actually a solid pick, but there’s just one problem: Goode plays off-kilter, narcistic psychos so well because more often than not the guy looks like he’s one bad day away from being collected by the men in white lab coats. And last time I checked, crazy eyes was not a Batman thing.

Lastly we have Max Martini, most recently seen on screen as the heroic Jaeger piloting Aussie father in Pacific Rim, but he really seems a stretch as there’s nothing about him that shouts either Bruce Wayne or Batman, besides for the fact that he is male and possibly available.

Now out of all of these guys, my two picks would be Brolin and Manganiello;  the former because he could make a pretty cool older, grizzled Batman, and the latter because he is physically imposing enough to be a Batman that could believably kick the underpants off Superman and any crooks he runs across.

The operative words here though being “out of all of these guys”. Personally, I think it’s going to be none of them, as I’m sure WB will look for somebody a bit less low-key who will also be available to take on the inevitable movie requirements that the role would have. Unless of course Batman vs Superman tanks so badly that this is the last we see of him.

We’ll have to wait until 2015 to see whether that scenario plays out, but we’ll probably only have to wait a month or two before we officially hear who’ll be wearing the cape and cowl.

Last Updated: August 5, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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