Christian Bale announced earlier this month that he had filmed the last of his footage for The Dark Knight Rises, unofficially ending his stint as the Caped Crusader. I can sympathize; nobody wants to hang on to the same schtick for so long it dulls the appeal of the original. That being said, Batman just has too many villains to fit into three films (or twenty, for that matter), and longtime fans of Batman have voiced plenty of objections to casting decisions the director did make. Here are some character/actor combinations that Nolan just missed out on:
12.Robert Englund as Clayface
Basil Karlo was originally a well-known horror actor in the latter part of his career. When he’s asked to consult on a remake of his most famous horror film, he snaps and begins stalking and killing the cast and crew while wearing the distinctive makeup associated with his old role. Robert Englund, the actor who made Freddy Krueger a household name, is a natural for this role. He’s a venerated horror actor who would have been pretty justified in stalking and killing everyone associated with the god-awful Nightmare on Elm Street reboot.
11.Peter MacNicol as the Mad Hatter
Jervis Tetch might be among the shadiest members of Batman’s rogues gallery: a diminutive, introverted, mind-rapey little creeper with a disturbingly close relationship to headwear. His childlike demeanor and Lewis Carroll outfit make his violent criminal streak all the more disturbing. In Batman: Arkham City, we got to see a creepier-than-usual Hatter voiced by Peter MacNicol, also known as “the weird little foreign guy from Ghostbusters 2.” MacNicol nailed the role so well I’d give him the role in a live action adaptation without thinking twice.
10.Amanda Seyfried as Harley Quinn
This one’s obviously off the table because having Harley without Joker is only slightly less insane than trying to re-cast Heath Fucking Ledger, but in an alternate universe the ditzy blonde from Mean Girls and the violent post-demon freakout from Jennifer’s Body had a gloriously nutty baby. And they named her Harleen.
9.Michael Clarke Duncan as Killer Croc
Waylon Jones is usually depicted as a hulking, scaled mutant, but in the 2008 graphic novel Joker, a more realistic interpretation of Jones was presented. The resemblance between this large african-american gentleman who disposes of murder victims by eating them and Michael Clarke Duncan is already unmistakable. Infect him with eczema and file his teeth into points and you wouldn’t even need makeup.
8.Ben Kingsley as Black Mask
Roman Sionis is a sociopath raised by sociopaths, a corporate leader who is forced to sell out to Wayne Enterprises and makes the mistake of trying to take it out on Bruce Wayne. Sionis is at his best when losing his temper, which brings to mind Sir Ben Kingsley’s turn as crazy asshole Don Logan in Sexy Beast. The perpetually-furious, wildly delusional Black Mask deserves no less than that.
7.Kevin Spacey as Deadshot
Deadshot, AKA Floyd Lawton, is #43 on IGN’s list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains Of All Time, and for good reason. A master assassin and world-class sniper who happens to also be a borderline-suicidal nihilist is a hard role to do justice, but his tendency to try and goad Batman into killing him would be an excellent catalyst for Bruce Wayne’s feelings about failing to save Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. Deadshot was voiced in the Justice League animated series by Michael Rosenbaum, using an impression of Kevin Spacey’s calm, detached voice. After his performance in Se7en, I’m inclined to think Spacey himself would steal the show as Deadshot.
6.Emma Stone as Poison Ivy
Ivy is one of Batman’s longest-running foes, as well as one whose general appearance hasn’t changed much in the past fifty years. Always red-haired, her characterizations have run the gamut from sultry seductress to charmingly naive environmentalist, and it’s the latter where Emma Stone would shine, both as meek and submissive Pamela Isley and her fiery alter ego Ivy. Gwen Stacy be damned.
5.Arnold Vosloo as Bane
Sure, Christopher Nolan is giving us Bane, but a version that’s far more his own than the Bane that broke the bat in the comics. Not that we don’t trust Nolan’s instincts, but Tom Hardy doesn’t in the least resemble the canon Bane: he’s not tall, menacing or brown enough. Enter Arnold Vosloo. At 6’2″, he’s tall enough to give the 6’0″ Bale the right scale, unlike the 5’9″ Hardy who looks a bit like a wrestling midget fighting Batman in production stills. We know he can pull off “crazy bad guy leader” well thanks to The Mummy; and besides, he’s one of the only people we could hear say “animale” and not laugh.
4.Jeremy Renner as Hush
Thomas Elliott is the dark reflection of Batman, a childhood friend who grows to hate Bruce Wayne even before he learns of his secret identity. Renner has features that make him look like a total bastard and experience playing them, while being able to pull off a tuxedo like someone who’s worn them his whole life. Hush’s demeanor of calm menace is reminiscent of Renner’s character in The Town, which only sweetens the deal.
3.Sam Rockwell as the Riddler
Edward Nigma was played by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever, and his goofy, over-the-top portrayal was ideal for the Joel Schumacher camp-fest the franchise became. The current Batman, though, requires something a bit more serious. Not too much, however, since the Riddler is, by nature, a flamboyant character. Sam Rockwell has proven his chops at playing both serious dramatic roles as in Moon and crazy attention-seekers like Zaphod Beeblebrox, making him a natural fit for the role.
2.Bob Hoskins as the Penguin
It’s kind of sad that most people will remember Bob Hoskins from either Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or his disastrous turn in Super Mario Brothers. Maybe we’d all be better off remembering his roles as Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday, Manuel Noriega, hell even Bart in Unleashed. Danny DeVito’s Penguin was pitch-perfect for Tim Burton’s vision of Gotham City, but if anybody else were made to order for playing the greedy, brutal, obsessive Oswald Cobblepot, it’s the man who’s played one of the best British gangsters ever to grace the big screen.
1. Willem Dafoe as Mr. Freeze
Many would scoff at Victor Fries ever being a part of the Nolan batman universe, based partly on his incongruence with the realistic, gritty tone of the Nolan/Bale franchise and partly on a film history that includes Ahnuld at his absolute cheesiest. But if a good production designer could whittle down the science-fiction aspect of him, they’d be left with a sterile, menacing bald man. In 2000, Willem Dafoe appeared in the film Animal Factory as a sadistic skinhead leader whose fit for the appearance of Freeze is about as realistic and gritty as you can get.