Justalkin Episode 69: Actors who have played Batman on screen
Robert Pattinson is getting to say “I am Batman.” For real! This is JusTalkin brought to you by in.com. Now there’s gonna be a new Batman movie, and director Matt Reeves was going crazy thinking about who would be the best person to play Batman on screen. He narrowed down the options to two people - Robert Pattinson and Nicholas Hoult. Nicholas Hoult plays the Beast in X-Men, and DC and Marvel have this sort of understanding where both the universes don’t really collide. Then again, Hoult spent most of his time as the Beast on the screen so there wouldn’t be too much confusion if he played Batman. So Matt Reeves, without going on a Twilight binge watching spree, watched some of Robert Pattinson’s other movies like Good Time, and The Lighthouse. Robert Pattinson picked some really unconventional roles! And that really set things off in his favour, because Matt Reeves thought if he didn’t really care about money and fame he must care about what he does on screen, perfect for someone who has to play Batman on screen! But whether he’s wearing a cape or is living his life as his alter ego, Batman aka Bruce Wayne is rich and famous! But yeah, tough luck for Nicholas Hoult!
So here’s what we can expect with Robert Pattinson playing Batman - he is gonna be around 30 years old, it’s not gonna be another origin story, and it’s not gonna be at a point in time where has already established himself as the saviour of Gotham City. It must be tough to play a character who has already been seen on screen so much, by so many amazing actors! Let’s take a look at some of the brilliant faces and voices who have transformed into the caped superhero of Gotham!
The first ever Batman on screen was Black and White. As Black as Batman’s cape, and as white as his face when he fell into that well and saw bats. And the first guy who played him was Lewis Wilson, way back in 1943. He was 23 years old when he was signed on to play Batman, and he is still the youngest actor to have played Batman on screen! He graduated from school and moved to Broadway, where he got a lot of notice, and it was still a gamble for him back then, because Batman the character had only been around for four years before this movie was made, and playing a comic character on screen wasn’t a very viable option. Till he became famous for eternity for playing Batman! Only downside though, this guy didn’t get to ride around in a fancy batmobile. He only had a red sports car. But he did what every other Batman has done - brood in his Bat Cave.
Robert Lowery is not the kind of actor you would expect to play Batman! This was in the Batman series that came out in 1949. If you see the pictures, you’ll think it’s a man in a dad bod dressed up as Batman for Halloween. But honestly, it goes on to show you don’t have to be super hot to play a super popular character! But Robert Lowery also had a kind of funny costume to deal with, because it seems like they didn’t have the budgets they wanted to. Robert Lowery had to keep his Batman costume in a file cabinet when he wasn’t shooting, he kept getting his cape tangled in fight scenes, and some of the plot lines in the series were really ridiculous but he played it with so much conviction! Lowery also played Batman in a Superman series, in 1956 - that was the first time these two superheroes were on screen together. And the weird fact, Robert Lowery, who played Batman a.k.a Bruce Wayne, grew up on Wayne Avenue. It’s like it was destiny!
A lot of people still think Adam West was one of the best actors to have truly brought out the essence of a character like Batman. And Adam West did what no other actor could do to the character - add an element of humour! Because the Batman we know today is super serious, and brooding has become a part of his identity. But in the series that Adam West was a part of, the plots were really goofy, the stories involved some crazy sci-fi theories and some episodes for downright ridiculous! For example, in one episode, the Joker kidnaps Gotham city’s best surfer, and the only way Batman can stop him from stealing his skills is by beating the Joker in a surfing competition. That wasn’t even the funny part. Batman wore bright yellow surfing shorts over his black costume!
Batman was back to being serious when the 1989 movie came out with Michael Keaton playing the superhero. Some of the actors who were considered to play Batman in this film were Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford. Ford could’ve pulled it off! Han Solo, Indiana Jones, AND Batman would’ve been incredible! But the producers and the director Tim Burton ended up casting Michael Keaton. And this really, really angered comic book fans so much that they sent 50,000 letters to Warner Brothers asking them what the hell they were thinking! But Michael Keaton went on to star in the movie, and it made a lot of money. And then Keaton refused to play Batman again in the third edition of that series, because apparently, Joel Schumacher who took over as director, told him “I don’t understand why it has to be so serious!” Isn’t that line reserved for the Joker?
Joel Schumacher really pissed off Michael Keaton, but he went on to make Batman forever. Schumacher had to go around the world to convince distributors to carry the film. Merchandise was a big way to make sure a movie would work, but even toy makers turned up their noses to make Batman and joker toys. But when the movie came out, it knocked everyone over with its colour - it looked like a comic book came alive on screen! And Val Kilmer got to play this awesome comeback of Batman. He had quite a few challenges playing Batman though, and not all of them were to do with relating to Batman emotionally. Apparently, the bat suit was tough to get into - almost an hour every day, and he needed help to do that, and once he did he couldn’t hear a thing because there were no ear holes! That’s not even the weirdest part of the costume - it had newly added nipples!
Batman and Robin came out in 1997, and it was the fourth and final installment in a movie series that Warner Brothers had started. Batman is played by George Clooney. This was the first time he played Batman, and it quickly became the only time it would happen. Val Kilmer had dropped out, they were wondering whom to cast, and the makers decided that George Clooney was a great choice because they thought he would play a lighter version of Batman, but that wasn’t the smartest choice they made, because by then Batman and his dark side were more popular. It still has a horrible rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And George Clooney was so pissed off, he told Ben Affleck not to play Batman when it was his turn!
Christian Bale played Batman for seven years. Bale got a lot of things right - the gruff voice, the constant scowl he needed to have on his face, and a lot hotter than some of the older actors who played Batman! He got the balance right, as a human that had a lot of problems and as a superhero who solved other people’s problems. And I’d say his biggest challenge was being a good enough superhero with Heath Ledger playing the super-villain opposite him. Bale said he didn’t mind competition, that it only made a movie better if both actors were trying to give it their best. He auditioned for the role of Batman, in the actual suit that Val Kilmer wore in the movies! Sans the cape, because somehow mysteriously it’s been missing. But Christian Bale even now looks back and thinks he could’ve been a much better Batman. Well, least he got to BE Batman!
Ben Affleck played the Superhero in three movies. One was Batman Vs. Superman. Can’t blame Ben Affleck for it, but it was just a movie about two really sad superheroes; it wasn’t just dark, it was boring. If there was no great opposing force to these two superheroes, at least the fights between them could have been made interesting. He also played Batman in Suicide Squad, which was a kickass movie but, the bad guys stole the show. Then again in Justice League, but that’s an ensemble cast so the movie isn’t entirely about Batman. Ben Affleck was supposed to come back as Batman and even direct it! But he didn’t really feel up to directing it. And so when Matt Reeves came on board and wrote a story about a 30-something-year-old batman, there’s no way he could’ve cast this 46-year-old guy like Batman. The longer Batman exists, the younger he seems to be getting!
You know what they say about these movies - Batman is only as good as his nemesis. So whether it’s the Joker or Two-Face or Bane or Penguin, the plot is as interesting and crazy as the intensity of the villain. Because otherwise, Batman could be a Tango dancer in a dark costume for all we know! We’ll see how Robert Pattinson fares as Batman but seems like the director is going to convert a lot of Twilight and Harry Potter fans into lovers of Batman! This is JusTalkin brought to you by in.com.Read More