When it comes to live-action portrayals, there are some roles that are just so iconic, we know they will be played and replayed by different actors until the end of time. There’s James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, and the list goes on. As for superheroes, it’s inevitable that Superman, the Joker, and of course, Batman, will see many more iterations in our lifetime and beyond. There are so many storylines to explore from the comics, not to mention new plot points that writers can come up with, that we’re sure fans just will never get tired of seeing these characters on their screen.
Batman is, without a doubt, the most recognizable superhero of all time, so it shouldn’t be surprising that we’ve seen a long list of talented actors play the brooding character in live-action. (We’ve ranked all 12 Batman actors here if you want to read our opinion on the performances). From Michael Keaton’s iconic portrayal in Tim Burton’s Batman films, to the absolutely perfect performance by Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, every superhero fan has their favorite.
Currently, Robert Pattinson is bringing the Caped Crusader to life in Matt Reeves’ Batman movie series, with the sequel scheduled for a 2025 release. He’s done a fantastic job in the role and pleasantly surprised the skeptics.
Actors who almost played Batman
But what about the actors who almost played Batman? The audition process for a role this big is likely grueling, and unsurprisingly, many actors have screen-tested to play Bruce Wayne but were turned down. So let’s get into the seven most talented actors who nearly put on the dark cape, and then discuss two actors who could be great for the role. We’re starting off with one of my personal favorite actors, Jake Gyllenhaal!
- Age: 42
- Most Notable Roles: Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Prisoners
- Awards: Nominated for 1 Academy Award
We got the news just this month that Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of Batman back in the early 2000s when Nolan was casting for Batman Begins. During an interview on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast (as reported by Collider), the film’s screenwriter David S. Goyer revealed it came down to Gyllenhaal and Bale:
"“There were a number of people who had screen-tested for Batman, and I had advocated for Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s amazing, Christian Bale is amazing, so who knows?”"
There’s no doubting Gyllenhaal’s talent and versatility as an actor. He’s brought so much to comedic roles as well as darker parts, and can perfectly fit into a wide range of characters. He’s incredibly in tune with different acting techniques and really knows how to prepare for roles — if you don’t believe us, watch his interview on Hot Ones. Now that he’s getting older, there may never be another chance for him to play Batman on the big screen. But we know he’d be amazing in the part.