Gyllenhaal? Hammer? Five Picks for the Next DCEU Batman
Even though he's still good as Bruce Wayne in Justice League (albeit hungover-looking), Ben Affleck seems to be doing his ample best to ensure he never gets invited back once his contract is up. Matt Reeves has already implied he may be working with a new actor, and the current rumor is that Jake Gyllenhaal may be the frontrunner. Gyllenhaal has been a potential substitution for a troubled superhero star before, as he was once considered Sony's backup Spider-Man if Tobey Maguire was going to play hardball.
And we like him, even if Nightcrawler suggested he might be even better as the Joker. With movies like Southpaw and Stronger, Gyllenhaal has effectively transformed himself from the boyish puppydog type to a troubled man of action and strength, and there's no doubt about his acting chops. And even if Affleck does start learning how to behave, "older Batman" isn't a viable model if you want a superhero franchise to have Marvel-like legs for a decade or so.
Here are some other choices we like:
Armie Hammer - Hammer could be the Pierce Brosnan of the Batman series, having missed the opportunity once when George Miller's Justice League movie got cancelled. He's now more age-appropriate anyway, and deserves a chance at doing a more serious take on what he already played for deconstructionist comedy in The Lone Ranger.
Michael Keaton - How about instead of doing young Bruce Wayne, we go into the future and make Batman Beyond? Warner Bros. seems to think that doing so would somehow negate a Bruce Wayne series moving forward, but it shouldn't - the public accepts both Grant Gustin and Ezra Miller as simultaneous Barry Allens. Matt Bomer, who was nearly Bryan Singer's Superman, could play the Terry McGinnis Batman to Keaton's Old Man Bruce.
Michael Ealy - If you're looking for an actor that can provide the rage of Batman's vengeance but believably convince the world he's the playboy Bruce Wayne, one need not look much further than Almost Human's Michael Ealy. He's perfected the charm for Bruce in countless romantic comedies. He clearly has the physique to pull off the look, including a jaw line that won't ruin a cowl. Lastly, his performance in Sleeper Cell and as a detective in multiple shows demonstrates he can handle the intensity and intellect necessary to pull off Batman. There's no reason cinema's top comic-book hero shouldn't be cast colorblind for once.
David Mazouz - This will never happen, but it's really, really, really a shame that the Gotham City of Fox's Gotham, inhabited by Robin Lord Taylor's outstanding Penguin and Cory Michael Smith's scarily OCD Riddler, won't ever get a Batman. We'd like to see it, is all.
Images: Disney, Fox, Weinstein Co.