Last week, Josh Gad briefly set the internet on fire by posting, without comment, a photo of Batman nemesis The Penguin. As we noted at the time, this also came on the heels of several DC Films executives following the actor on Twitter. That’s a not-inconsequential amount of smoke for any casting rumor, which led plenty of people (ourselves included) to wonder aloud if Gad would have a role in Ben Affleck and Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman movie.
Today’s rumor is somewhat out of left field, and yet entire plausible once you consider it: According to a suspicious tweet posted by Josh Gad, the actor and recent star of Beauty and the Beast might be playing The Penguin in The Batman. And while an actor sharing a photo of a fictional character seemingly at random could mean just about anything, there is some additional evidence to support his potential involvement.
When Ben Affleck stepped down from the director’s chair of the upcoming standalone The Batman movie, every person on the internet who had ever seen a Batman movie suddenly had the perfect suggestion for who should replace him. From David Fincher to Jennifer Kent to Joss Whedon — so close, that last one — fans speculated wildly about which filmmaker could bring the right combination of darkness and martial arts to the movie. It’s a credit to Matt Reeves’ work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, then, that most everyone was satisfied with his selection. Reeves had managed to revitalize a beloved franchise that had previously been undone by a campy take on the story; does that sound like any other Batman directors we know?
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
You think you know the “J.K. Simmons type” and then you look at his IMDb page. Yes, he’s played a lot of tough and scary dudes; the sadistic white supremacist on Oz, the terrifying music teacher in Whiplash, which netted Simmons an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. But for every intimidating Simmons role, there’s a softer one; the big-hearted father in Juno or the incredulous cop in the last Terminator. There aren’t too many actors who could convincingly play both bully blowhard newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson and crusading, confident Commissioner Gordon, but Simmons is about to in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
So, The Batman. Is it happening? Will we ever see it? Is Ben Affleck second-guessing his decision to join the Snyderverse? It seems every time we talk about this movie another doomsday scenario (no pun intended) is right over the horizon. It did finally acquire a new director — Matt Reeves has officially signed on after a short little negotiating game — but production is still, as far as we know, halted.
After a brief and weirdly intense game of will they / won’t they, it looks like Matt Reeves will direct The Batman for Warner Bros. and Ben Affleck. Following reports late last week that negotiations had broken down between the Planet of the Apes director and the studio comes a reversal, as Reeves has officially signed on to helm the upcoming solo Bat-project, which was previously intended as a directing vehicle for Affleck himself.
Since announcing that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing the upcoming standalone The Batman film, Warner Bros. has been in a full-blown crisis mode, working overtime to find a talented new director and prove all those “Is the DC Cinematic Universe doomed?” articles wrong. Back in January, Forbes reported that the Warner Bros. shortlist featured several interesting names, including George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Matt Reeves. And now, less than two weeks after The Batman lost its director, it appears that Warner Bros. has settled on its replacement.
These are dark days for the Dark Knight.
With Ben Affleck no longer directing the solo Batman movie (guess he finally watched Live by Night, huh?), the search is on for a new director to take his place. Amid various reports regarding Affleck’s exit from the director’s chair was an interesting tidbit of news you might have missed: The screenplay for The Batman, penned by Affleck with DC’s own Geoff Johns, received a rewrite from Chris Terrio.