Here’s why Jake Gyllenhaal won’t play Batman

Sam Ashurst
Contributor

At one stage of his career, Jake Gyllenhaal was pretty desperate to play Batman. He auditioned for the role alongside Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, Joshua Jackson, and Henry Cavill for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins… and you don’t need us to tell you how that went (congratulations Christian Bale, even if your Batman voice does sound like a Disney wolf).

A life-long fan of the character, Gyllenhaal’s so associated with the role fans have even created pretty detailed fan art imagining what he’d look like as Batman.


Well, it’s time to tear up those tributes, as we’re fairly sure we’ll never see the actor in the role.

He certainly won’t play him in the near future. Gyllenhaal, was asked by Channel News Asia if he is going to be the next Bruce Wayne.

“Wow, that’s a very difficult question,” Gyllenhaal replied: “The answer to that question is ‘no’.”

We’re not sure if that’s difficult question because he’s technically not playing the character next, but might play him in the future, or if it’s difficult because it’s a sore point. We’d lean towards the latter.

Either way, it’s bad news for the fans who were hoping Jake would replace Ben Affleck in Matt Reeves’ new trilogy, a rumour that was started late last year by YouTuber John Campea, who claimed Gyllenhaal had met with Matt Reeves, who is set to direct the long-touted The Batman standalone film, about the possibility of taking over from Affleck.

“That is the name that was floated,” Campea said in a YouTube video. “There has been some conversations, but it’s not a sure thing this is happening. It’s not a lock, it may not happen.”

Looks like that definitely won’t happen.

Affleck, by the way, hasn’t actually left the project – speaking as recently as the Justice League promotional tour, the actor said, “I want to direct a Batman movie, and I never got a script that I was happy with, so they are starting over and writing another script.”

“And right now, I think a lot of different possibilities I think for the way the DC Universe could go, and I will just follow my interests in pursuing that. And I know that I love working with this group of people, and it was a real joy for me to make this movie.”

That sounds like Affleck’s in it for the long term – Reeves has talked frequently about how he sees The Batman as being the first instalment of a trilogy. Unless Affleck makes his Batman movie as seperate to that main narrative (which could happen, Warner Brothers have talked about potentially doing Multiverse versions of their most popular characters), that locks Affleck in for at least six more years of Batmanning.

So, even if the film’s released as soon as 2020 (it doesn’t currently have a official release date), that takes us up to 2026.

That would make Gyllenhaal 45 years old by the time he’s in contention to be cast in the role – five years older than Ben Affleck when he was announced as the character. As Affleck was playing a noticeably older version of Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman, that’s a problem.

Even if The Batman does incredibly well at the box office, Warner Brothers will want to go in a different direction when it is eventually time to reboot, and they’ll almost certainly veer younger.

All of this adds up to Jake Gyllenhaal never playing Batman in the main canon, with his only option being popping up in one of the potential Multiverse movies – perhaps we’ll see him facing off against Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.

When you consider Gyllenhaal’s career – he’s a big fan of edgy, risky projects – this is a possibility, and a one-off Batman movie makes more sense than signing his life away to multiple franchise installments, so there is still hope.

But we wouldn’t bet our Bat-cave on it – it looks like Jake’s chance to play Batman has passed, so no wonder he said it was ‘a very difficult question.’


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