A few months ago for Batman Friday, I looked at some of the actors considered for Batman Forever who weren’t ultimately cast in the film and tried to create the most incredibly bonkers theatrical group that might have been. Though I went with Tom Hanks for my Batman, I’ve found myself thinking more about another actor who was up for the part in the mid 90s: Keanu Reeves.
More specifically, I’m thinking of Keanu as John Wick, a character who 1) can defeat enemies that outnumber and outgun him significantly 2) is feared by everyone in organized crime, almost superstitiously, and 3) obsessively pursues the outcome he believes to be just. Those are some extremely Batman traits!
(Admittedly, John Wick has two very un-Batman characteristics: He has no secret identity and he has no problem with killing. I could get into an entirely separate argument about how Wick’s the more self-actualized character, because he takes ownership of his actions directly, including “a shitload of murder.” Another day, perhaps)
And Reeves isn’t the only actor who should get a chance to play The Bat. Here is a partial list of other thespians I think deserve to wear the cowl:
- Jared Leto. I’m mostly trying to make everyone very mad with this pick, but I am also open to the possibility that a screenwriter runs with this to create a very confusing film that overtly suggests Batman and The Joker are the same person whoaaaaaaa it’s about the duality of man whooooooaaaaaaa
- Harrison Ford. This is gonna be a cranky Batman, who’s constantly wondering how he got into this mess as if it’s not a prolonged and prohibitively expensive choice. PLEASE NOTE: We will not let Mr. Ford fly the Batwing.
- Linda Hamilton. Not one Batman villain is more terrifying than the T-1000. He doesn’t have any interest in riddles or quips or any of that nonsense. Linda beat the liquid metal monster, so I’m pretty sure she’ll do just fine against Calendar Man or whatever.
- Jeff Bridges. Look, it actually makes much more sense if Bruce Wayne’s a pothead.
- Russell Crowe. Most of the Batmen don’t really give us a sense of just how broken the Caped Crusader is inside, and i think Russell can pull that off without seeming impossibly morose.
- Pitbull. Batman doesn’t recognize the jurisdiction of any national, state, or local authority. Know what that makes him? MR. WORLDWIDE.
- Terrence Howard. In many ways, the cowl is just a very tight hat.
- Liza Minelli. Give me a Batman who siiiiiiiiiings!
- Mark Wahlberg. Sincerely shocked this hasn’t happened yet.
- Tyrese. I’m seeing this as a younger, brasher Batman, who crashes into police cars a lot but just sort of has fun with it.
- Mads Mikkelsen. Polar opposite of Tyrese Batman.
- Jackie Chan. If Batman’s not going to use a gun, he really needs to start doing some better flying kicks. No more of this gadget bullshit.
- Jimmy Smits. Pure fuckin’ gravitas, baby.
- Willem Dafoe. Has already played a billionaire tech wizard with some messed up ideas of family who turns to costumed extrajudicial hijinks instead of getting his life together.
- Rashida Jones. This is a Batman who’s mostly remarking on how stupid everyone else is being and making some good points that are promptly ignored due to being dressed like a giant bat.
- Winona Ryder. Part of a longer plan where I get most of the Beetlejuice cast to play Batman. (Catherine O’Hara would be next on the list.)
- Richard Dreyfuss. Maybe the funniest Batman casting possible.
- Angela Lansbury. If Batman’s supposed to be a detective, why not go and get one of the best goddamned investigators in television history?
- Jason Statham. ‘ELLO I’M BATMAN I AM, YOU WANKER.
- Ben Affleck. Wait, really?