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With The Batman scheduled to begin principal photography early next year, it will be a while until we get our first looks at what Matt Reeves’ vision of Gotham City and its population of colorful characters. That said, you can often start forming an idea of whether a movie will be good or bad based on castings, and so far, The Batman has made some excellent hires.
It’s clear on the casting side of things that The Batman is emphasizing true talent and outside-the-box thinking over big names/celebrity status to draw people in. Yes, most of the actors who’ve been announced so far are well-known to one degree or another, but it helps that one wouldn’t have necessarily thought of including them in The Batman, but now that they have been, they’re great fits. Keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to look over everyone who’s been confirmed so far, as well as a few people who’ve only been reported/rumored so far, and explain why they’re welcome additions to this adaptation of the Caped Crusader’s mythology.
Robert Pattinson (Batman)
Admittedly, Robert Pattinson was an out of left field pick to play Batman, and most people still know him best from his time as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga movies. Nevertheless, in he years since that franchise wrapped up, Pattinson has primarily acted in independent/lesser-known movies, many of which had dark and dramatic beats. Cosmopolis and Good Time in particular are great examples of why he’ll do well in The Batman’s setting, with the former movie seeing him play a billionaire (albeit not one as morally conscious as Bruce Wayne) and the latter movie being a gritty and crime-ridden tale. The Batman will be familiar territory for Pattinson, it just that this time he’ll be wearing an elaborate costume.
Jeffrey Wright (James Gordon)
Jeffrey Wright has played a number of intense and determined characters over the years, like in Boardwalk Empire and currently in Westworld, and those descriptors fit James Gordon. You have to be intense and determined to enforce the law in a place like Gotham City. But Gordon also serves as the everyman figure in a city where colorful freaks are popping up more frequently. He’s not as flashy as Batman, but he emirates a quiet heroism that’s rarely seen in Gotham City. Wright can bring that energy to The Batman, and hopefully, unlike how J.K. Simmons was used in Justice League, this Gordon will factor prominently into the story.
Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman)
First off, let’s just acknowledge that Zoë Kravitz already has experience playing Catwoman thanks to The LEGO Batman Movie… but we can safely assume The Batman’s version of the character will be different than her animated predecessor who loved saying “Meow.” If this Catwoman is being modeled after how she’s depicted in modern stories, she’ll presumably be more of an anti-hero than straightforward villain who will flirt and may even fight alongside Batman, but ultimately follows her own goals and agenda. Kravitz can channel this balance of sultriness and independence quite well, and she’s also well acquainted to the world of franchise filmmaking thanks to X-Men: First Class, Mad Max: Fury Road and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, to name a few.
Paul Dano (Riddler)
The Riddler is a lot of things, but physical imposing is not one of them. He relies on his mind to terrorize the denizens of Gotham City, and Paul Dano has shown on several occasions he’s talented at playing characters who favor brains over brawn in their schemes. There Will be Blood and Prisoners particularly demonstrate this, with the latter movies ironically having his character wearing The Riddler’s favorite colors, green and purple. The last big screen interpretation of The Riddler, Jim Carrey’s in Batman Forever, was modeled after the campiness of Frank Gorshin’s in the ‘60s Batman TV series. Dano can give us the cerebral and intimidating Riddler we’ve been waiting for in a movie.
Andy Serkis (Alfred Pennyworth)
Although Andy Serkis is primarily known for his motion-capture work, he’s unquestionably a talented actor when judging him by the conventional performing standards. He’s arguably better known for his villainous work, including his time as Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he can also play good guys effectively, and he’ll surely do a good job of balancing Alfred Pennyworth’s caring nature towards Bruce Wayne with the tough love and sarcasm. Since Serkis is so far the youngest actor to play Alfred in a live action movie, perhaps that also means he’ll get to be more involved in the movie’s action, making him comparable to the Earth-One and Gotham incarnations of Alfred. And unlike the rest of these actors, Matt Reeves already has experience working with Serkis thanks to the latter two Planet of the Apes reboot movies, so it makes sense why Reeves wanted to bring Serkis aboard The Batman.
Jayme Lawson (Bella)
To be perfectly honest, Jayme Lawson is the hardest person to get a read on for The Batman. She’s a newcomer to the Hollywood stage, having recently graduated from Juilliard and The Batman serving as her first movie. And all we know about her character (who hasn’t been officially confirmed yet) is that Bella is a “grassroots political candidate running for office in Gotham.” Nevertheless, if Matt Reeves decided that Lawson’s acting talents were worth shining a light on in The Batman, then I’m looking forward to seeing what she brings to the table, and hopefully this is just the start of a rewarding career.
Colin Farrell (Penguin)
Unlike all the actors before him, Colin Farrell is still in negotiations to appear in The Batman, so don’t count on him playing The Penguin just yet. Nevertheless, he’s arguably even an more unexpected casting choice than Robert Pattinson was, especially since Penguin was one of two characters Jonah Hill was in consideration to play. But it’s the unconventional choice of Farrell playing Penguin that makes it so exciting. For one thing, rather than resembling the traditional short, stout Penguin, many fans have noticed that Farrell resembles the Penguin from the Batman Telltale games. And while we don’t expect him to get as hammy as he did for Bullseye in Daredevil, Farrell has shown he can have fun playing villains, so while his Penguin will presumably be more subdued than the Danny DeVito version, that doesn’t mean he’ll be any less captivating to watch.
The Batman hits theaters on June 25, 2021, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on how its coming along, including when more actors are added to the cast. Feel free to also browse through our DC movies guide to learn what else this superhero franchise has in store.