Anyone playing The Dark Knight has a lot to live up to these days, especially with the negative reviews most of the DCEU has received to date.
But one man that is unperturbed by the task of keeping Christian Bale’s box office success in a standalone role is Karl Urban, who has admitted that he’d be ‘open’ to pulling on the cape and cowl.
Having made a much-lauded turn as Judge Joseph Dredd in 2012’s Dredd, Urban has also more recently delved into the comic-verse with a supporting role in last year’s Thor: Ragnarok.
With Ben Affleck’s own future as Batman now definitely confined to a selected time period – it’s now doubted that he will return to the role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman – Urban has found himself put forward by many fans and Hollywood tipsters for the role.
Addressing the rumours that have sprung up about him taking on Bruce Wayne and his haunted past, the Aussie star, 45, told JoBlo: ‘I don’t know, I haven’t really contemplated that [taking on the role of Batman]. Usually the way the process works for me is I get sent projects, sent scripts and I read them, meet with the filmmakers and really on that basis choose to get involved.
‘As far as Batman goes, I guess my favorite Batman movie was The Dark Knight. Chris Nolan is just an extraordinary director and I thought Christian Bale was a fantastic Batman, and obviously with such talent like Heath Ledger that was the perfect comic book movie right there. So, I don’t know, I’m open to any and all opportunities.’
That said, in Hollywood that’s as good as putting up a flashing neon sign that says, ‘CALL ME!!!’
But what would Urban’s casting mean for the direction of The Batman? And whats more, what would it mean for the Ben’s legacy as the character?
The Dredd star is the same age as the man currently filling Bruce’s shoes, so it wouldn’t be hard for him to slip into the character as defined by Affleck.
Though, with that said, if rumours are to be believed then that wouldn’t need to be a concern for Karl or director Reeves as Ben’s swansong as the character is now widely being tipped to be in Flashpoint, the standalone Flash film starring Justice League co-star Ezra Miller.
Most recently there have been murmurs (first gaining traction on Batman On Film) that The Batman will exist outside of the DCEU. This would effectively mean that Reeves is free to pursue his own vision for a Batman feature, and possible trilogy, and completely ignore everything that has been laid down on the big screen for the character to date.
Something many fans would be more than happy with given the reaction to Batman Vs Superman and Justice League (let’s stay away from Suicide Squad altogether for arguments sake).
It’s worth noting that he’s more-or-less said that Christopher Nolan’s genre-defining Dark Knight trilogy has been a massive influence on him so far, telling Yahoo! Movies: ‘What I love that [Christopher Nolan] did was that he took the genre seriously. What studios are willing to make at the moment is a very, very narrow band of films. What I discovered is that this genre has the potential to be about something more. You can use the metaphors of the genre to talk about [a lot of topics].’
But would Karl necessarily fit with Reeves’ vision?
At the moment, in truth, we have no way of knowing as the director is keeping everything about the movie close to his chest i.e. we don’t even know if Ben will be reprising his current role in the film he was once slated to make.
However, the director seemed to hint at the direction the film would take back last year, explaining that he was enamoured with a noir-like storyline.
‘I think there’s a chance to do an almost noir-driven, detective version of Batman that is point of view driven in a very, very powerful way that is hopefully going to connect you to what’s going inside of his head, and inside of his heart,’ he said during a sit-down with New Trailer Buzz last year.
The instant conclusion to jump to would be that Reeves has been looking at the Batman Noir: Eduardo Risso collection for inspiration – a collection of shorts and story arcs that is certainly gritty and atmospheric.
Given his work in creating a more personal view point between the viewer and Ceasar in his Planet Of The Apes movies – both emotionally and psychologically – the other rumours centering on an extended Bat family plot could be more in-line with his artistic tendencies; maybe even something along the lines of The Killing Joke or A Death In The Family.
Both Barbra Gordon’s horrific mauling (as well as her father’s psychological one) and Jason Todd’s ‘murder’ at the hands of The Joker would serve as a dark and emotionally captivating plot line for a trip through The Dark Knight’s psyche.
Given Urban’s incredibly stark/black and white portrayal of Dredd in what was essentially a two hour-long bloodbath in a slum, it’s safe to say he can handle the grittier side of things.
But whether he’ll even get a call when the time comes is still firmly up to the casting gods.
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