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Batman: 8 Actors We'd Love To See Play Mr. Freeze In Matt Reeves' Series

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Considering how Christopher Nolan’s goal with his live-action Batman movies was to bring Batman into the real world, it was always safe to assume we would never see Mr. Freeze face off against Christian Bale. However, as Matt Reeves’ approach appears to be making Batman’s world real, it does not seem like too much of a stretch that we could see the chilling foe face off against Robert Pattinson.

The director of The Batman has even said that he sees potential for the tragic villain - whose real name is Dr. Victor Fries - to have a place in his grounded, new vision for the Dark Knight. If Mr. Freeze’s return to the big screen for the first time since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s very campy and punny portrayal in Batman & Robin is destined to happen under Matt Reeves’ watch, I have a few idea of who might be a perfect choice to bring the role to life, staring with someone well-versed in playing tragic figures already.

Bryan Cranston as Walter Whit on Breaking Bad

(Image credit: AMC)

Bryan Cranston

Like many of the best faces in Batman’s rogues gallery, Mr. Freeze is a villain by circumstance - driven to crime in order to find a cure for his ailing wife, whom he has put under cryogenic slumber with the same chemicals that accidentally turn him, literally, cold-blooded. Another iconic example of a character whose desperate commitment to his family led him down a path of destruction is Walter White, played brilliantly in the Breaking Bad cast by four-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston - who might also be good as a Marvel villain some day. If there is one person best equipped to portray Freeze’s tragic evolution, it has to be him.

Gus Fring in a suit on Better Call Saul

(Image credit: AMC)

Giancarlo Esposito

Bryan Cranston is not the only former Breaking Bad cast member to cross my mind when considering who could be the next Mr. Freeze. Ever since Giancarlo Esposito played drug lord Gus Fring on the hit drama and later on its prequel spin-off, Better Call Saul, he has become a reliable go-to for playing TV bad guys, from Moff Gideon on The Mandalorian to Vought CEO Stan Edgar on The Boys. I think it’s time his knack for portraying villainy gets the big screen treatment, and his potentially frightening Freeze he would be the perfect entry point.

Mads Mikkelsen in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Mads Mikkelsen

An actor known for frightening audiences on both the small screen (such as in the Hannibal cast in the title role) and the big screen (including as Kaecilius in Doctor Strange or the new Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) is Mads Mikkelsen. However, in his lighter roles - like in the Oscar-winning dramedy Another Round - the Danish actor has shown he can effortlessly tap into an audience’s fuzzier side and earn its sympathy. Channeling both sides of his acting range would be key to pulling off Mr. Freeze, making him an excellent choice.

Christoph Waltz stands in his control room menacingly in Spectre.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM.)

Christoph Waltz

We have also seen Christoph Waltz play both honorable and unscrupulous characters, and to Academy Award-winning glory (each time in a Quentin Tarantino movie, too). However, between the charming bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained and the dastardly Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, I think the latter remains his defining role and Tarantino’s favorite of the characters he has written. I think it also provides a glimpse at what a more cunning and calculating Mr. Freeze could look like, and that is an interpretation I would kill to see.

Ben Mendelsohn on The Outsider

(Image credit: HBO)

Ben Mendelsohn

You may remember all of Ben Mendelsohn’s great, antagonistic performances in Star Wars: Rogue One or Captain Marvel (which turned out to be a misdirect, of course) or his Emmy-winning role on Netflix’s Bloodline. What you might not remember is that he also played a bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises - namely a construction company owner who attempted to assume control of Wayne Enterprises with the help of Bane (Tom Hardy). I think it would be fun to see the Aussie return to Gotham City as a more prominent villain, and with his penchant for playing blood-curdling bad guys, nailing Mr. Freeze, for him, would be a breeze.

The Collector in Thor The Dark World End Credits Scene

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Benicio Del Toro

Another veteran of both the Star Wars movies (as DJ) and the Marvel movies (as The Collector) is Benicio Del Toro, who brought a distinct eccentricity to each of his standout roles in those respective franchises. Eccentricity is not a word often associated with Mr. Freeze, who has typically been portrayed as over-the-top silly (such as on the 1960s Batman TV series) or stone cold serious (most famously in some of the best Batman: The Animated Series episodes as voiced by Michael Ansara). I am curious to see an iteration that finds that sweet spot in the middle and the Academy Award winner might be able to make that work really well in Matt Reeves’ Batman universe.

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Michael Fassbender

Another actor you may remember from the Marvel movies (just not of the MCU continuity), but may have forgotten was also in a DC adaptation, is Michael Fassbender. The German-born, English-raised actor’s villainous roles from each are entirely different, with the X-Men movies’ Magneto being very sophisticated and driven by a morally questionable sense of righteousness, and Burke from the 2010’s misbegotten western Jonah Hex being a sadistic freak. The former of those character traits is already essential when portraying Mr. Freeze, while the latter could be an interesting one for the Academy Award nominee to also experiment with for a new interpretation. 

Mark Strong as Merlin in Kingsman: The Secret Service

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Mark Strong

I will admit that this choice is almost a little too easy since Mark Strong already has extensive experience with comic book movie roles. In fact, two of them are notable DC villains - namely Sinestro (before going bad, that is) in 2011’s Green Lantern and Dr. Sivana in Shazam! from 2019. However, that and his physical appearance alone (I mean, does he not look exactly like Mr. Freeze from Batman: The Animated Series brought to life?) are enough for me to consider him as a fantastic choice for the role.

The mere idea of any of these tour de force actors cast as Mr. Freeze makes me even more excited and hopeful for his big screen return. If he is destined to be one of the potential villains in the sequel to The Batman, I cannot wait to see what ideas Matt Reeves has in mind.

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.