So, there’s this little independent movie called The Dark Knight (maybe you’ve heard of it?) that’s doing really well at the box office. So well, in fact, that almost as soon as it opened, the internets were abuzz with geek-chatter and rumors about who was going to be in the next Batman flick. Some of these ideas have been pretty spot-on, some have been okay, and some have been just wrong (see below).
As a service to DC, Warner Brothers, and you, Mr. and Mrs. Internet, I’ve compiled a list of some of Batman’s better known (more or less) rogues and who I think should play them in any upcoming sequels. Unfortunately, two of Bruce’s foes–Killer Croc and Man-Bat–were just too weird for me to convincingly think of a way to fit them into the uber-realistic Batman world that Christopher Nolan’s crafted for his films.
Anyways…here we go:
Angelina Jolie as Catwoman
Although I won’t deny that she’s a good-looking gal, I’ve always found Ms. Jolie to be more than a little terrifying. But, as a lot of folks have been saying, Catwoman has been the role that Jolie’s been auditioning for in every movie she’s ever made.
Timothy Olyphant as The Riddler
The rumors are linking Johnny Depp to the role of The Riddler. Now, I like Depp as much as the next straight guy, but I think it would be too easy to let him take Riddler down the twitchy, shuffling road that Heath Ledger’s Joker walked. No, I think Olyphant (Deadwood, Live Free or Die Hard) can pull off Riddler’s cold, calculating narcissism perfectly. When an Olyphant character thinks that he’s better than everyone else in the room, you believe it.
Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter
I think Hatter is a much better fit for Depp. I see Nolan’s Jervis Tetch being a combination of Sweeney Todd and Willy Wonka…and that would be truly frightening.
Bob Hoskins as The Penguin
Hey, everyone who thinks that Philip Seymour Hoffman should play Penguin, have you even read a Batman comic? Two, maybe two-and-a-half Cobblepots could fit into one of Hoffman’s suits. As much as I liked Tim Burton’s mutant freak Penguin, I also really dig what DC has done with the character in the last few years–turning him into a more-or-less legitimate businessman, who also happens to be a black-market arms dealer, among other things, making it hard for Brucie to run around and pound the stuffing out of him. Not only is Hoskins…um…physically perfect for the role, but he played such an awesome British gangster in The Long Good Friday, that I’d love to see him do it again in Gotham.
Christina Hendricks as Poison Ivy
Let’s downplay the “she can talk to and control plants” thing and focus on the “she’s a slightly off eco-terrorist” thing. She can still use toxins derived from exotic flora, and there’s no reason why Ivy can’t even possess her comic counterpart’s natural immunity to poisons. And who better to play the slinky redhead than a redhead who slinks her way through the halls of Sterling Cooper every week on Mad Men? And, if you don’t think that Christina Hendricks can be a homicidal loon, than you haven’t met Yo-Saff-Brig.
David Hyde Pierce as The Ventriloquist
What’s scarier than a puppet? How about a gangster puppet who may or may not be alive? Yeah, thought so. I know that Hyde Pierce has been tearing up Broadway lately, but I miss seeing him on the screen. I think he could bring the same kind of milquetoast fussiness that he brought to Niles Crane to the man behind Scarface.
Jeff Kober as Clayface
We’re going to have to alter Clayface a little bit to fit him into a Nolan-Batman flick. Sadly, gone will be the gooey mound of muck that I’ve come to love. But, we can keep the concept of him being a “Man of a Thousand Faces”-type actor. Only, this time, he uses his make-up skills to replace the people he kills–think Darkman, only evil and not so time-sensitive. Kober’s been around for a while and, besides being a little freaky to look at, he’s been under the make-up more than once, which I think would bring a bit of verisimilitude.
Ben Kingsley as Mr. Freeze
Arnold who? Forget the puns. Forget the ice-skating minions. When you get down to it, Mr. Freeze is a pretty intense villain. He’s a man who is physically and emotionally frozen. Since the loss of his wife, he’s devoid of any human feeling and seeks to make everyone else suffer the loss of their greatest love, as well. Can’t you picture Sir Ben as the shattered doc, systematically hunting down the people who he holds responsible for his wife’s death and watching, dispassionately, as they slowly freeze to death.
Steve Buscemi as Firefly
Not all of Batman’s foes are freakishly scarred lunatics. Some are just regular criminals who really enjoy their work–like the pyromaniac arsonist Garfield Lynns, a.k.a. Firefly. Sure, you couldn’t build an entire movie around Firefly, but if you had two factions (say, one led by Penguin and the other led by Riddler) who were trying to take over Gotham’s underworld, then an arsonist would certainly come in handy. And, let’s be honest, isn’t every movie better when Buscemi oozes across the screen? Yeah, I think so, too.
David Tennant as Calendar Man
Okay, guy dressed as Uncle Sam trying to steal the U.S. Constitution on the Fourth of July? Not scary. Pasty, basement-dwelling sociopath who crucifies three people on Easter? Scary. Don’t even get me started on the kind of body count he could have during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Calendar Man is a goofy name, but a dude who kills people according to the days of the week or the nearest holiday, can be kind of creepy. And, I’ve said it before, Doctor Who not withstanding, Tennant was pretty creepy in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.