It’s probably safe to say that most — if not all — of the actors who Matt Reeves has already cast for THE BATMAN were surprises.
When it comes to fan-casting, I don’t think any of these folks were on the radar of any fan-caster. And this is a good thing because 7+ times out of 10, the fan-caster’s suggestions suck. (This is why I don’t fan-cast and BOF doesn’t run fan-casting articles.)
Why is this the case?
Well, it because they go for the aesthetic of the actor over one’s acting chops. In other words, they tend to go for choices that look exactly like what’s in the source material, the comic books, acting skills be damned. This is how you get suggestions like some martial artists/stuntmen (who futilely campaign for the role) as Batman, a Gina Carano-type as Wonder Woman (no offense Gina Carano), or an 8 foot tall CGI Bane.
This is also how you get freakouts when Michael Keaton, Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway, Gal Gadot were cast as Batman, The Joker, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman, respectively. (Though, shouldn’t we have learned by not to prejudge casting by now?)
(Even more strange is what I call the “Affleck Anomaly.” This was when the actor cast was totally physically-suited for the role of Batman, but fans took to the streets/internet with torches and pitchforks in protest. Eventually, they proclaimed him as the “greatest Batman on film ever!” simply because he looked like the comic book version of Batman!)
Currently, we have four “for sures” — Robert Pattinson (Batman), Zoe Kravitz (Catwoman), Jeffery Wright (Jim Gordon), and Paul Dano (The Riddler) — and two “most likelys” — Andy Serkis (Alfred Pennyworth) and Colin Farrell (The Penguin) — castings by director Matt Reeves for THE BATMAN. Obviously, more is coming as THE BATMAN‘s cast isn’t going to consist of six actors.
Allegedly, Batman’s rogues’ gallery already exists in THE BATMAN and at least three more will appear in the film: Two-Face, Mad Hatter, and Firefly.
So, who will be added to the cast to fill it out?
To get an idea of not specifically who, but what type of actor will be cast, I think we need to look at whom Reeves’ has already hired: Solid actors (to varying degrees) that aren’t really “movie stars” and fit his vision of each particular character as well as the film as a whole.
And that’s exactly how Reeves should cast THE BATMAN.
The last thing Reeves should do is “fan-cast” his own movie by choosing a “name” to hype the film or hire someone simply based on how similar they look like a character from the comic books.
When you hire a good actor for a role, their talent and skill allow them to disappear into a role and become that character. Sure, they should resemble that character, but acting ability outweighs aesthetic.
Therefore as the casting process moves forward on THE BATMAN, what should we expect of Reeves’ choices?
That would be, well, the unexpected…and that’s a good thing. – Bill “Jett” Ramey