06 November 2019 773 Views

THE BATMAN Casting news Coming In. Jonah Hill out, Colin Farrell in? Serkis not Brosnan as Alfred. And Matthew Mcconaughey is Dent? That and other News on the Caped Crusader’s latest Caper

by James Murphy
BATMAN CASTING CAROUSEL  CONTINUES : Mcconaughey, Farrell, Serkis, Wright. 
Good news: The Batman is on course, gaining speed fast and readied for ‘action’.
Robert Pattinson is sensibly in training and it looks as though he is of course going to build muscle, but sensibly so? This could be a leaner, lithe, vigilante; able to take a punch but also move quickly to evade the baddies. One is reminded less of the Affleck /Bale brute force and more of Val Kilmer’s honed athletic poise (basically: a firm, masculine jawline and chest and some muscle but also a credible physique that can move with balletic precision?).
Jeffrey Wright has been cast as Commissioner Gordon. Great! It makes sense, because Gordon is to Batman what Felix Leiter is to 007: a field ally with a more rational and veteran eye for details our central hero might miss and ever dependable with that. Wright is also convincing as a career good cop fighter man, in a way Gary Oldman simply, to me, wasn’t (he should play villains or historical figures or historical villains).
If you think the mild change in race for the character is an issue in any way then you are a complete idiot. Race can change! These are comic books made flesh on film; the key is to capture the essence of a character. It’s why I have no problem with a black James Bond, provided he is classy/cool/good at action/macho, but cannot fathom why anyone would see a ‘woman’ Bond as that’s a different character altogether?.
Mcconaughey is the new Harvey Dent /Two Face. This makes a lot of sense. He is a big name but not so inaccessible a star that he would upstage the hero. It’s credibly an extension of / appendix to Matthew’s earlier work. Imagine the earnest crusading lawyer from the Grisham thriller A Time to Kill (directed by Joel ‘Batman Forever’ Schumacher) , gone bad, corrupted? It’s perfect! And he’s FUN when he goes proper crazy as well as a credible physical threat in hand to hand combat and handsome enough to make the scarring of one side of his face a tragedy in itself. Spot on. Predictable in many ways, but perfect, too. nI fact this could be the most logical Bat villain casting since Jack’s Joker! 
Sadly, we are not getting Jonah Hill as Penguin. Fine, ok. These things happen. But he was BORN to play that role. I cannot think of ANYONE better suited to somehow fusing menace to comedy and snobbery to criminality? There were rumours they simply then went looking for vaguely portly actors. That’s just lazy. But I contend that equally unimaginative, ironically is TRYING to BE imaginative in casting? COLIN FARRELL AS PENGUIN? WTAF???
We are always told by fans that ‘nobody believed in Daniel Craig as Bond when he was announced first’ or ‘remember the outrage when Heath Ledger was announced as Joker?’. In both of those cases, incidentally, I knew they’d be great, immediately. But anyway.
What I do not ‘buy’, though is the idea of deliberately casting someone you simply do not expect. The reinvention of Lex Luthor as a Zuckerberg type in Jesse Eisenberg for Batman V Superman simply did not work because it was TRYING too hard to LOOK clever, imho. And I feel same way about the mooted courting of Colin Farrell as PENGUIN?! This is miscasting. Plain and simple. Sorry. Yes, he’s a good actor and can gain weight /use make-up /give us a new take etc. But he’s also prone to hamming it up when not in a credible real world part and he has matinee idol, handsome leading man looks: the guy was actually thought to be Warners’ choice to play the actual BATMAN a few years back. Yes, it might work, depending on what the script and vision demand; but I also feel it’s a needless risk.
I always thought Farrell would end up as Tony Stark if Downey called it a day. Or something similar, anyway~: could have been Dr Strange, Mr Fantastic, Dr Doom, even? If he MUST do a big budget blockbusting comic book movie..make it count, Colin! 
Another Irish fella, Pierce Brosnan, was rumoured for Alfred the Butler. Seems they are circling Andy Serkis instead. Quite how and why Andy has now such a stronghold over comic book cinema is beyond me (he is directing Venom 2 and was in Black Panther). He’s a great mo-cap innovator, sure. But Pierce made so much more sense in this role and would have added just a hint of further box office baiting gloss and star power.
More to come in due course no doubt and we will cover and comment when it emerges. Same Bat Time etc..


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