According to a recently published report on Digital Spy, actor Armie Hammer (pictured above at right) is being strongly considered for the role of Batman in Warner Bros. inevitable film based on DC Comics’ Justice League superhero team.
If that sounds familiar to you, it’s not because we’re reprinting old stories in some kind of ill-conceived “Digital Trends Greatest Hits” initiative. Hammer was originally the top candidate for the Batman role back when Mad Max director George Miller was attached to the Justice League project. That attempt to get this movie made fell apart a few years ago, yet Warner Bros. is determined to pick up a slice of that sweet superhero team movie cash generated by The Avengers earlier this year, and will not rest until someone, somewhere is filming a big-budget Justice League feature film.
As for why Hammer once again leads the list of names vying for the Bruce Wayne/Batman role in this film, Digital Spy’s unnamed insider source claims that Hammer’s recent ascent to the fringes of the Hollywood A-list has put him “back on WB’s radar.” Hammer will next appear as the titular lawman in Disney’s Lone Ranger feature film alongside Johnny Depp (pictured on the right), which is undeniably a pretty major role (even if Depp’s silly, borderline-racist crow hat will inevitably overshadow Hammer’s performance).
In case you’re wondering if Hammer’s hypothetical Batman might officially replace the fan-favorite Batman portrayed by Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s recently-concluded Batman trilogy, don’t worry: According to the anonymous source, Hammer’s version of the character will only be used in this initial Justice League film and any sequels it might spawn. Unless plans change, Hammer won’t be appearing in any solo Batman adventures, and if he does they will be based on the new take on the character.
Finally, Digital Spy claims that the Justice League film will include a relatively standard roster for the superteam. Though the Justice League (and its innumerable spin-off groups) has seen hundreds of members over its half-century-plus in existence, this initial Justice League movie will focus on the core group of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and The Flash. No, we have no idea which iterations of The Flash or Green Lantern Warner Bros. plans to use, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything more concrete than just “our shadowy informant said…”.
Working under the assumption that these rumors are all true, this news doesn’t so much fill us with joyful anticipation as it raises questions in our comic book-addled brains. As much as we like Hammer — other than the Trent Reznor score, his work as the Winklevoss Twins in David Fincher’s The Social Network was easily our favorite part of that film — he simply seems too young and soft to properly portray Batman. Yes, Bruce Wayne grew up in a mega-wealthy family and has never wanted for money, but there’s a certain edge to the character that seems minor but is, in fact, one of his defining traits. Christian Bale was able to pull this off flawlessly, but so far Hammer has yet to do anything that suggests he might have that certain killer instinct that makes Bruce Wayne more than just your average playboy.
More crucially, if Hammer is cast, and his Batman is used solely in Justice League movies, what happens when The WB wants to start churning out new Batman films? Will they go back on their plan? Will they find another actor? Assuming the latter, won’t the public be confused by two entirely separate Batmen coming from the same production studio? Objectively speaking, one of them has to be better than the other, so in that case the studio would be running the risk of overshadowing its own projects and cannibalizing any potential audience either franchise might attract.
Whatever happens, this film isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until at least 2015, so Warner Bros. certainly has lots of time to figure things out. In the mean time, as usual, we invite you to visit the comments section below to either vilify this rumored news, or figuratively clap like one of those wind-up cymbal monkeys. Whichever more accurately conveys your current emotional state.