It is without question the success of the Dark Knight trilogy is due to the brilliance of Christopher Nolan. Although his adamant refusal to continue directing the saga is completely understandable, it is also disheartening to the fans of the Dark Knight. In unison, Christian Bale has turned down reprising his role as Bruce Wayne. So a complete revamp is the only option, if the studios are intent on cashing in on the box office success of this trilogy.
True patrons would agree that a masterpiece that washed out the foul taste of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, should be left as is and not be revisited for decades at the earliest. However, Nolan and DC Comics agree that a reincarnation of Batman strengthens the legacy of the Dark Knight.
It is difficult to presume where the studio is going to go with this. Will it convince Nolan to become a producer and keep the series art house and within the constraints of his vision, or will there be free reign with the new team of filmmakers. Will the Bruce Wayne be young and impressionable or aged and wise?
With these questions in mind, here is a list of actors who we can expect to be the next Bruce Wayne.
8. Jim Sturgess
Who? This British actor shot to fame with the musical film, Across the Universe, which he followed up as the lead in the box office success, 21, the film adaptation of Bringing Down the House. Jim also played Martin McGartland in Fifty Dead Men Walking, the action thriller based on McGartland’s experience as an IRA informant for the British.
Why? There is nothing in his past work to really define Sturgess as a prospective Bruce Wayne. However there wasn’t very much to indicate that Heath Ledger would make an excellent Joker either. If the story arch calls for a young batman, Sturgess is an oddball, high-risk, high-reward casting choice who, given the role, would need to transform himself completely to meet the demands of the character. Will it happen? Highly unlikely.
Who? This Englishman played supporting roles in the critically acclaimed films, Match Point and A Single Man. He also recently starred in the romantic comedy, Leap Year.
Why? Minus the English accent, Matthew Goode fits the part. His role as Adrian Veidt in the film adaptation of Allan Moore’s Watchmen is very similar to the character of Bruce Wayne. It can be argued that Matthew Goode would be type-casted if he were to take this role. Goode, still in his early 30s, would fit the young or mature Bruce Wayne story arch, and is worth considering for the revamp of the Batman cash cow.
6. Sam Worthington
Who? This Australian actor shot to fame with his performance in Terminator: Salvation, and the epic blockbuster Avatar, a role he will be reprising in the sequel. Since then, Sam has solidified his action hero status by playing Perseus in both Clash and Wrath of the Titans.
Why? Sam has proven he can provide box office success even with the terrible 3D-based Titan series, which combined, grossed close to $800 million. We also know that he can stand on a ledge, an important attribute to being Batman. Sam has the action hero chops that the role would demand, but he is a hard hard sell for the sophistication of Bruce Wayne. If Sam Worthington is to propel himself into Hollywood’s next big action hero, this is the role that will take him there. Now, how he will Ari Gold himself into the role is the real question.
Who? British Columbia native, Kitsch was the tailback in the hit TV series Friday Night Lights, but did not become relevant until he played the lead in Disney’s John Carter. Since then, he has been in two summer blockbusters - Battleship and Savages.
Why? Taylor Kitsch has proven he can be a leading man on the big screen. His characters have all had the brute force quality that defines an action hero. Taylor may just be the new young face Warner Bros is looking for to develop the next saga of Batman. Likewise, this is would be a career-defining role for Kitsch.
4. Gabriel Macht
Who? Harvey Specter from the legal drama, Suits. Gabriel is a far lesser known actor than his fellow Bruce Wayne candidates. His biggest role came as the lead in the newspaper comic film adaptation, The Spirit, which was written and directed by Frank Miller. Miller penned the graphic novel, Dark Knight.
Why? Gabriel Macht plays a witty, cocky, high-powered attorney. His quick, calculative and fierce decisions make the difference between winning and losing a case. His enigmatic, playboy persona is muddled in a very grey moral and ethical code. If he isn’t an eccentric version of Will Gardner from The Good Wife, he can very easily be the legal equivalent of Bruce Wayne. Furthermore, Frank Miller, the author of the Dark Knight himself, casted him to play the Spirit. Now despite its box office failure, it does have a cult following as can be seen in its DVD/Blu-Ray success. It is a bold bet to see Gabriel getting the green light on a major production, but if his success continues in the way that Suits is gaining a following, don’t be too surprised if you see him in another comic film.
3. Armie Hammer
Who? Armie is famous for his role as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. Armie Hammer also played Clyde Tolson, in the J.Edgar Hoover biopic, J.Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood.
Why? Other than his 6’5 ominous stature, Armie, much like Bruce Wayne, is the son of a multi-millionaire, and philanthropist. He was also handpicked to play Batman in a 2007 production of the Justice League, which unfortunately got shelved and later cancelled in 2010. His standout supporting performances in both acclaimed films have now garnered him credibility. If the studio decides to go with a young Bruce Wayne, Hammer would be the perfect candidate for the role and it looks as if Warner Bros agreed in 2007.
2. Idris Elba
Who? Idris is infamous for his role as Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell on arguably the greatest television show of the new millennium, The Wire. He also won a Golden Globe for his performance as detective John Luther on the BBC One show Luther. Idris has also made it onto the big screen in both leading and supporting roles, and recently co-starred with another probable Bruce Wayne, in Prometheus.
Why? Although conventionally Bruce Wayne has always been caucasian, there has been a recent adaptation by DC Comics presenting a Batman with of African descent. That in mind, the studio can reboot the series completely with a black Bruce Wayne. This would be a great opportunity to bring much needed diversity in lead males as superheroes. Denzel is too old. Idris has the stature and the poise to pull it off.
1. Michael Fassbender
Who? If you aren’t familiar with Michael Fassbender by now, you either live under a rock or haven’t seen a good film in sometime. Fassbender’s acting prowess came to light in his role as Bobby Sands, in Steve McQueen’s underrated masterpiece, Hunger. However, he is probably most famous for his role as Lt. Archie Hicox in the Inglorious Basterds!
Why? Fassbender’s notoriety is rising at the same rate as the number of action films he has undertaken. From 300 to Haywire, he has brought a different element to each of the characters he plays. Fassbender is now listed as playing the lead in the film adaption of Assassin’s Creed, and already has one comic character under his belt with Magneto, in X-Men: First Class. Bruce Wayne’s mystique, morose and charm are all attributes Fassbender has excelled at characterizing in several critically acclaimed performances. If Warner Bros can tag Nolan to produce the next installment of Batman, much like he is now with the Man of Steel, Michael Fassbender will be perfect for the art house theme Nolan is renowned for.
Agree? Disagree? Did we miss somebody? Next Projection is interested in your thoughts of who should be the the next Bruce Wayne. Leave us a comment!