In this new weekly feature, exclusive to LRM, we'll do a bit of Fantasy Hiring for your favorite fanboy projects. The inaugural Fantasy Friday project will be Ben Affleck's DC epic:
If you grew up in the 90s, and you were a comic book fan, you likely occasionally got your hands on an issue of Wizard Magazine. They used to have a great, recurring feature where they'd do dream-casting for superhero films. It's funny to think that back then the idea of superhero movies were sort of a novelty. It seemed far-fetched that we'd ever get an X-Men, a Justice League, or an Avengers film one day, and so those features truly felt like a fevered fanboy pipe dream.
Little did we know what the millennium would bring...
Scully and I were recently talking about those great, old Wizard magazines. We recalled how, in 1995, they proposed that Patrick Stewart would make for a great Professor X and totally nailed it. Then it occurred to us that it would be fun to bring a feature to LRM that harks back to those quaint days, long before we all became inundated with endless comic book movies and countless movie sites dedicated to dissecting them.
So what follows here is a simple bit of fantasy, dream-casting by two lifelong fanboys who happen to be best friends. These aren't predictions. They aren't necessarily based on industry chatter; They won't always be realistic (Come on, Clint! Do a Kingdom Come movie!); They're just our dream picks.
Scully & MFR Cast The Batman:
These last few days, the internet has been abuzz with information about Ben Affleck's The Batman. The production now has a start date, and a release window. Actors are talking about it, and it's sure to become a major focal point for Warner Bros. and their DC Extended Universe. As of now, we know certain key roles have already been cast, but we've also heard rumors and whispers about the film's plot being similar in structure to Rocksteady's fantastic Arkham games.
In that game series, Batman would face off against multiple villains in the course of one really bad, really long night. An old report, from a trusted source, once stated that in The Batman, "They're going to have a big, sprawling Bat universe already in place."
So, with that in mind, we decided to round out the cast of The Batman, under the assumption that we're going to have an Arkham-style caper on our hands.
Fantasy Casting: Bryan Cranston
Back when Zack Snyder was putting together his cast for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there was a movement by fans who were campaigning for the Breaking Bad star to play Lex Luthor. Obviously, that didn't pan out, and Jesse Eisenberg ended up with the part. But as we discussed what a shame it was that a talented actor like Cranston- who sounded he'd be game for the DC film- didn't get to play the iconic villain...I thought of how perfect he'd be as Mr. Freeze.
What Cranston pulled off with Breaking Bad was nothing short of amazing. He took a character that was extremely vulnerable and entirely sympathetic, turned him into a ruthless, cold-blooded killer, and then somehow redeemed him in the end. Dr. Victor Fries is a fairly fascinating villain who, while definitely a bad guy, has a deeply tragic origin that makes him rather sympathetic. Cranston can absolutely pull that off.
Mr. Freeze should be the one who knocks...
Fantasy Casting: Eddie Redmayne
Scully came up with this one all by himself, and I couldn't have agreed more. We were both thinking about actors in the current landscape that can be extremely enigmatic, cunning, and versatile. Redmayne, who just appeared in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them for Warner Bros., would be an inspired choice. The Oscar winner has shown himself to be a bit of a chameleon, and we think he'd be the perfect Edward Nigma.
A quality that Redmayne inherently brings to every role he does is that you never quite know what's going on inside his head. You always get the sense that he has a very rich, very complex internal life. For a character like The Riddler, who has a genius-level intellect, you need someone that seems like the smartest man in the room, and who can pull that off better than the guy who played Stephen Hawking?
Fantasy Casting: Armie Hammer
Not that long ago, Hammer, Joe Manganiello (who's playing Deathstroke in the film), and DC President Geoff Johns, playfully fueled rumors that he'd be appearing in The Batman. Fans quickly jumped to speculate that Hammer was none other than Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Why? Well, we have no idea, other than he’s a square-jawed white guy. We disagree with that speculation wholeheartedly.
While we're not trying to base our fantasy picks on real-life, the idea of Hammer appearing in the film does have appeal for us.
For starters, there's the novelty that he was once set to play Batman in George Miller's aborted Justice League Mortal. Before the plug got pulled on the project, people complained that he was too young for the role. At the time, Hammer was a baby-faced 23 year old who looked more like Robin than freaking Batman! Well, fast forward to 2016, and the 30 year old is the perfect age to play Nightwing to Ben Affleck's middle-aged Dark Knight. It works as he’s just about 13 years younger than Ben Affleck, and with movie magic, the age disparity between the two could be heightened or lessened depending on the story's needs.
Hammer has proven he’s capable of being in action roles, including The Lone Ranger and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (where he starred opposite Superman himself, Henry Cavill), and we can totally see him having an interesting dynamic with Affleck. There's also something fun to us about the idea of a Dick Grayson that's actually a little taller than Batman, as it would add a literal element to the old sentiment that he'd outgrown being The Boy Wonder and no longer wanted to live in Batman's shadow. Hammer's got an inch on Affleck.
For this pick, Scully also threw in an HONORABLE MENTION for Steve Yeun (The Walking Dead) as Nightwing.
Fantasy Casting: Matt Damon
Like I said at the outset, not all of these picks will be realistic, but the idea of Damon was too good to pass up. The well-established real life friendship between him and Affleck would bring heft to the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. We've seen variations of Dent's mythos where he and Wayne are the best of friends, which makes Dent's eventual transformation into Two-Face all the more gut-wrenching for our Caped Crusader. Since we're likely entering a Bat world that isn't going to be spending too much time fleshing out backstories, hiring Damon would create a bit of a shortcut for them.
Then there's the fact that Damon, as talented and as versatile as he is, has never really played a downright villain. It'd be an intriguing stretch for the actor, and give him some new fertile ground to explore; Ground he only flirted with in The Departed. Two-Face can be an incredibly complex villain, with the violent struggle between good and evil within him- not that anyone would've ever guessed that if they saw Tommy Lee Jones play him in Batman Forever. He's honorable and idealistic (Damon in The Good Shepherd), but he can also be a stone-cold killer (Damon as Jason Bourne).
It'd be interesting to see Damon go full-on evil.
Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin
Fantasy Casting: Paul Giamatti
I'll let Scully take this one entirely on his own, cause I agree 100% and I can't say it any better than he does:
"I’m not holding being the Rhino [in The Amazing Spider-Man 2] against him. That’s better left forgotten and was so insignificant that it shouldn’t disqualify him from being another comic book villain. Here, imagine Cobblepot exactly how he’s been shown in the Arkham games, and in most Batman incarnations; A gun-peddling, nightclub-owning, “legit” businessman. In the movie, as I see it, it wouldn’t be a major role, but more like a scene where Batman needs to find out who’s supplying Slade (Manganiello) with weapons, and Penguin is the guy he needs to talk to. Giamatti can play the sniveling, cold-hearted type really well and, when needed, be imposing with his words and glances. This isn’t a guy who might take you in a fight, but he will find so many other ways to make you wish you were dead.
John Goodman. Ok, hear me out. With today’s movie magic, if they can make actor John Rhys-Davies look like a dwarf, they can work with getting John Goodman to appear less physically large. He’s shown he can be a very scary businessman type; A boss who switches from warm and friendly to horribly evil in a blink of an eye. Skip the silly British accent thing that’s happened over the years and just let Goodman do whatever he wants with the character."
Roman Sionis/Black Mask
Fantasy Casting: Matt Dillon
Here's another one that's all Scully, with my instant stamp of approval. Take it away, Jeremy!:
"Sionis is a mixture of 'old-school gangster,' with touches of sociopathic murderer, and a sprinkle of charm. Matt Dillon exudes all those elements perfectly, and he would be believable in the role of a rising mobster, using his business acumen to assist him in his takeover of the underworld. Dillon is no stranger to violent roles, and physically is more-than-capable of appearing intimidating and as someone that could handle themselves against Batman (even just for a little while). If the movie wanted to borrow any of the major Black Mask story lines, I wouldn’t mind 'War Games,' or the recent Arkham: Origins video game.
Sionis could even be the guy who’s hired Deathstroke to kill Batman.
Joaquin Phoenix. This would definitely go more with the 'cool and collected' Black Mask who’s giving this façade off to hide his t rue psychopathic tendencies. A very different Black Mask from how I picture Matt Dillon, Joaquin would be very much one to enjoy the bloody part and potentially outright challenge The Batman."
Oh, and with the recent news of Gotham City Sirens and the rumor of Megan Fox being up for Poison Ivy...maybe Dillon can convince Harley Quinn and Ivy to take a dip in the pool with him...
That concludes this first edition of Fantasy Fridays! Hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to comment below with your own two cents, and feel free to make suggestions for future projects you'd like us to cast. It doesn't even have to be solely about actors. We've got one in mind for an upcoming edition where we pitch who should DIRECT a certain upcoming comic book movie.
Thanks for reading!
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