CASTING COUCH: The DC Universe Part 2 – Batman

Posted: December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Greeting Couch Potatoes! That’s the new nickname I’m kicking around for followers of this “Casting Couch” series. What do you think? Anyways, when last we were here I started to cast the DC Universe in a bold new series that would follow the Marvel method of introducing our heroes in their own solo adventures before uniting them for a world saving epic in Justice League. We kicked things off with the Guillermo Del Toro directed Green Lantern: The Emerald Dawn, in which we were introduced to Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern Corps and the existence of extraterrestrial threats to our home world. Now we’re going to take a step back and anchor things to Earth for a bit with the reintroduction of one of DC’s more recognizable heroes and film icons. Lady and gentlemen, I give you:

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Christopher Nolan did an amazing thing with his first two forays into the world of the Dark Knight (he lost sight of things a bit with The Dark Knight Rises, as he fell into a trap that many do with wanting to tell a larger than life story in a self contained trilogy that was just two big for those final two hours). But with the first two, Batman was grounded into a realistic and well thought out singular universe. They took some of the corniest notions of the comic and validated them in logical, real world situations. It was, for the most part, a successful little trilogy. But much like with Green Lantern before it, our Batman is going to focus on doing three things differently: 1) It obviously won’t be self contained. Our Batman is part of a bigger universe so there will be subtle allusions to the rest of DC Universe. Especially where the events of Green Lantern are concerned. Batman never fully trusted each member of the Justice League because of the power they wield. So with this first film we’ll start to explore that distrust. 2) It’s going to be more of an ensemble piece instead of just a Batman film. There are a lot of rich characters and points of view in the Batman mythology. Not to mention different degrees of psychology. We’re going to shake things up by showing you not just Batman but also interwoven storylines involving the GCPD, investigative journalist Vicki Vale and other members of the less explored supporting cast. 3) It won’t be an origin story. Nolan covered that ground fine and, honestly, Batman’s origin has been told so many different times that you’re essentially born with that knowledge now. So this film will kick off with Batman having already been crusading and have various people on his trail. Minor flashbacks strategically placed will tell his “origin” and also set up a grander mystery to be explored across the series.

So with that, let’s get into the grim and gritty…

A vigilante crusader known to the public as The Batman is fighting crime in Gotham City. But is he friend or foe? Many are trying to find out. But a greater menace surfaces as a lunatic starts murdering the city’s citizens in gruesome ways. Some will have to decide if catching a vigilante is worth the risk of letting a lunatic run free. But the question still looms, who are these masked people and what greater mystery is still on the horizon?

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David Fincher – Director

Seven. Fight Club. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Hell…even Alien 3 to certain extents…Fincher has proven time and again that he can tell a gritty, dramatic, character driven suspense story with plenty of action. And he has a huge talent for taking you into the minds of the characters involved, which would be a huge part of this new series. If he can tone things down to a teen friendly PG-13 rating you’ve got the perfect Batman director at the helm.

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Karl Urban – Batman/Bruce Wayne

Urban is a fantastic character actor. Whether he’s a Rider of Rohan (Lord of the Rings), a Russian secret service assassin (The Bourne Supremacy), a familiar Starfleet doctor (Star Trek reboot) or the epitome of motorcycle street justice (Dredd), you can’t help but fully believe he’s that character. The problem with Ben Affleck – and even Christian Bale after he hit big with the first film – is the recognition. When Man of Steel 2: The Dark Knight Returns hits theaters in 2015, all you’re gonna see is Ben Affleck. No matter how good of a performance he may deliver. Urban has managed to stay secluded enough within his characters for you to still be able to believe he’s Batman.

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Mads Mikkelsen – The Joker

Nobody can deny how great Heath Ledger was as The Joker. Not to mention Mark Hamill’s iconic voice work for the character than spanned 20 years. But for this version we’re looking at Mikkelsen. Perhaps you recall him from a little film called Casino Royal or have seen his work on Hannibal. Fincher has a great ability to bring out one’s inner psychotic. So these two would introduce us to one frighteningly evil clown price of crime. Maybe he’ll even wear a face with a gruesome twist on the New 52 version of the Joker.

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Yvonne Strahovski – Vicki Vale

Forget Kim Basinger! Sure…she was fine in the Tim Burton original with her pouty looks and modern business woman professionalism. But this Vicki Vale is going to be a bit more exotic. She’s the independent go getter that will do whatever it takes to land her story. And this particular story leads her to Wayne Manor! For that kind of sex appeal we’re looking right towards the veteran Chuck star. Sure, I would have loved to see her suit up in the Marvel universe as Agent Sharon Carter but Ms. Vale will work out equally as well.

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Bryan Cranston – Commissioner Jim Gordon

The former Breaking Bad star has Jim Gordon written all over him. Sure, he’s possibly up for the role of Lex Luthor right now but come on! Look at him! And this wouldn’t be Gary Oldman’s version. This is veteran police commissioner Jim Gordon. The guy with the secret relationship to Batman that forces him to throw his own people off the trail. And trust me…it’s beating him down a bit as a particular few are getting closer.

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Jeremy Irons – Alfred Pennyworth

One of the most interesting things about Alfred is that he’s a former British super spy. Michael Caine can talk about Burma all he wants but his character’s past never really came out in that performance. English born actor and Die Hard With A Vengeance badass Jeremy Irons has everything you need for an Alfred with a bigger, if not slightly secretive, background.

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Bill Nighy – Carmine Falcone

Yep…we’re doing Falcone again. But it’s because Falcone is a strong villain deeply rooted in the Batman mythology. His involvement could later open us up to something in the realm of The Long Halloween. For our take on “The Roman” we’re looking at Bill Nighy, who has proven with various films like Underworld and the Pirates of the Caribbean series that he can easily play a calm, cool and collected villain. Even if for a shorter time than the film’s main villain.

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Eva Green – Selina Kyle

No, this film isn’t going to feature Catwoman per se. That would be way too much story. And one of the things I thought was most tragic about The Dark Knight Rises is that I thought Anne Hathaway was perfect casting for that role and the character was horrendously misused and under utilized because of the sheer amount that Nolan was trying to cram into that film. So no…no Catwoman. But you will be introduced to Selina Kyle in a small supporting role (if not cameo) represented in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One street tough prostitute persona. For that I’m looking toward former Bond Girl and Camelot star, Eva Green. She just has that certain exotic, tough girl exterior that can be easily translated into Madam Kyle and eventually (in the inevitable follow up) Catwoman.

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Guy Pearce – Harvey Dent

Yes…I know…Guy Pearce has already dipped his toe in the Marvel universe as one of the villains in Iron Man 3. However, since it’s incredibly unlikely that his character will be resurfacing I’d say that one-and-done performance doesn’t carry enough weight to hold him back from a little crossover action. Plus, he’s kind of a dead ringer for many artists interpretations of Dent; played one hell of a prosecutor in Rules of Engagement and was even rumored to be up for this very role early on into Christopher Nolan’s setup.

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Michelle Rodriguez – Det. Renee Montoya

Do I really need to go any further? The pictures featured above do all of the talking. The Fast & Furious actress looks tailor made for the role of tough lesbian detective and future superhero investigator, The Question. And Rodriguez has made a strong career out of being a team player on the ensemble front. She’d easily be able to pull off being part of the two cop pair trying to track down leads on The Bat and has a suspicion there’s a lot that Gordon isn’t telling her.

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Michael Madsen – Det. Harvey Bullock

Who better to play washed up, tough guy Detective Bullock than washed up, tough guy Reservoir Dog Michael Madsen? Y’know…if he took a break from whichever Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez flick he’s doing this week. He’d be a knockout – especially with Fincher’s direction – and it could really catapult him back into some mainstream glory…as long as he doesn’t get killed off by Mikkelsen’s Joker…

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Lennie James – Lucius Fox

Finally we come to head of Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox. It’s not going to be quite the same version of Fox you may be familiar with. He’s not going to know that Bruce is Batman (at least not at first) and he won’t be leaving any easy to follow paper trails connecting Wayne Enterprises to the Bat Mobile. However, he will have his own unique presence – perhaps more so as the series progresses – and for that we look to Mr. Lennie James. Like others on the list, James is a phenomenal character actor. Check him out in his two episodes of The Walking Dead if you’re one of the few who haven’t already!

So with that we close out the cast of Batman. But now it’s time to introduce a new segment that I didn’t include with the Green Lantern edition…

THE STINGER

For those of you who don’t know, a Stinger Ending is an additional scene that comes during or after the credits as a fun little way to advance the story. With Batman, we’re going to have two Stingers:

STINGER 1 (During the credits): Batman is sitting at his computer in the Batcave watching a series of reports on his jumbotron bat computer. Alfred walks in with a newspaper (The Daily Planet to be exact) and says “Master Bruce…the strangest thing seems to have just happened in Metropolis.” To which Batman replies through his teeth, “I know.”

STINGER 2 (After the credits): This is actually a scene I thought would have greatly benefited The Dark Knight. After the Joker is inevitably beat, he’s sent to Arkham Asylum. He’s in a straight jacket in his cell. The door opens and an attractive young woman walks in wearing a professional pant suit. She says “I’m Dr. Quinzel, your court appointed psychologist. Before we get started I’d like to ask for your name. As a matter of treating you I prefer not to identify you as ‘The Joker.'” Joker then looks up with a half sinister grin and says, “Then by all means…call me Mr. J.”

Dr. Quinzel smiles.

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