While there’s some attention for those stories, people primarily seem outraged over some Hollywood casting news: Ben Affleck will soon play Batman. It’s an announcement that has already spawned three different petitions on our site.
Despite his recent critical and commercial success with Argo, audiences aren’t convinced that Affleck can pull off a superhero, particularly those unfortunate enough to have seen Daredevil. In protest, fans of the Batman franchise have taken to Twitter and other forms of social media to declare who they’d like to see cast in the role.
Some of the discontent may come from the fact that Affleck is yet another white male in a string of white men, but you wouldn’t guess that from the fans’ favorite alternative suggestions: Jon Hamm, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Wouldn’t it be great if Hollywood took a progressive approach to casting one of cinema’s most iconic roles? Here are four potential actors who could bring something new to the Batman franchise:
1. Idris Elba
The one black actor who has received substantial fan support is Idris Elba. The acclaimed former star of The Wire has moved on to big screen blockbusters like Thor, Prometheus and Pacific Rim; hasn’t Elba proven himself talented and bankable enough to warrant a leading role? Hollywood may be hesitant to cast a black actor in a role traditionally awarded to Caucasians, but with all of the fans clamoring for an Elba-tman, it’s hard to imagine they’d wind up regretting the decision.
2. Daniel Dae Kim
The Korean-born actor has Bruce Wayne’s signature good looks and playboy demeanor, but could also add some diversity to the character. Kim, who gained fame on the ABC series Lost and can currently be seen on CBS’s Hawaii Five-O, has enough name recognition to satisfy audiences without being such a big star that his presence would overshadow the role altogether.
3. Zachary Quinto
How about hiring an openly gay actor? Zachary Quinto fits the usual tall, dark and handsome Batman build. While visually matching the status quo, his sexual identity could challenge Hollywood’s norms when it comes to how masculinity is defined and what types of people can assume leading roles. Although Quinto, best known for his part in the recent Star Trek movies and his role on the television show Heroes, would not need to portray Batman as gay for the casting to be progressive, why not have a gay superhero? Andrew Garfield who portrays Spider-Man on the big screen recently advocated for his character to be homosexual, asking, “Why can’t [Spider-Man] be gay?”
4. Hilary Swank
While we’re trying to push the boundaries, why not a female batman? Hollywood is stingy with its heroine roles, so it could be fun to do an unexpected twist on the genre. Since Batman is an alter-ego anyway, surely no one would expect “Ruth Wayne” under the batsuit.
My first instinct is to say “Meryl Streep” – although it may be hard to picture her as Batman, when has she ever not come through as an actor? Considering that even a female Batman would need to be younger, however, I think Hilary Swank could excel at the part. Plus, the double Oscar winner has shown she can handle a fight scene in Million Dollar Baby and The Next Karate Kid.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Erin via Flickr