4 Better Suggestions for Who Should Play Batman

What had commenters on the internet fired up this week? The sentencing of Chelsea (ne: Bradley) Manning? Massacres in Egypt? The latest depressing NSA revelations?

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

208 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a month ago

thanks for the article.

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan2 years ago

Batman & Robin I like these movies no matter who they are.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson2 years ago

let's see....my list of demented batmen.....John candy(uncle buck)....john belushi....Harold ramis......chevy chase.....dan akroyd.....Daniel craig......johnny depp with a twist of HST.... kurt Russell .....bill murray.......Rodney Dangerfield..........I always liked George Clooney and Val Kilmer........how about crossing batman with shakes the clown with uncle buck as a chaser!

Leia P.
Leia P.2 years ago

who cares?

Jez wildmoon
jayne turner2 years ago

never mind Affleck, but Rihanna playing Josephine Baker? No way!

Will Rogers
Will Rogers2 years ago

The most interesting thing about this article is the 'swipp poll' this isn't real or important and if you think it is, you must have your head stuck up your arse.

Catherine Marr
Catherine Marr2 years ago

How about a black,gay,crippled she-male
to be Batman? I am being sarcastic
in case you were wondering.

I don't like Ben Affleck because he is
a mediocre "actor" at best.

My pick for the next Batman is Jim Caviezel

Try to imagine a "black" billionaire in the 1930's.

And as for Bruce Wayne/Batman being "gay" he is
NOT! He has had on again off again relationships
with Selina Kyle (the REAL Catwoman who is not
black either btw) and with Talia al Ghul the daughter
of Ra's al Ghul.In fact he has a son with Talia and
the boy's name is Damian.

How about a White Harriet Tubman,or a Korean Dr.King
or a black gay Confucius while we're at it? sheesh!

Chrissy Shi
Chrissy S.2 years ago

Wow... no. I'm all for being socially progressive, but Batman (or Bruce Wayne if you want to be stingy about it) is actually a character, not a symbol that can have any set of features attached to him. Making him a different race or sex would be like creating a completely new character. For example, imagine a blond Batman: it's just NOT his character even though having different color hair is not a big deal.

And what point does making Batman non-white, non-heterosexual (I'm not saying Batman is straight, he's got a hella lot of gay subtext), or female even serve? Are we just playing the oppression Olympics now? Is the next Batman actor after this going to transsexual, disabled, or from a different species? At what point is every audience member satisfied?

Instead of screwing around with pre-established characters, why not create another strong, independent, well-written character who can be non-white, non-heterosexual, or female?

If I'm coming off as racist, homophobic, or sexist, I'm not. As a fan of Batman, this article is giving me the impression that its opinion is that a character, who was written to be a white male, is... not allowed to be a white male?

Heatherjoy Klein
Heatherjoy Klein2 years ago

thought this article was going to be tongue in cheek

Deborah W.
Deborah W.2 years ago

Who gives a shit?

Could we get on with something serious to life as we know it ... before it all goes south.