Note: I don’t give a rat’s ass what Zack Snyder calls it, the film shall always be “Superman/Batman” or “Superman and Batman” to me. This fanboy has spoken!
Now Zack Snyder and company have made possibly the most batshit (pun intended) casting choice yet: instead of getting Ryan “Hey Girl” Gosling (my personal favorite) or Josh “I’m In Every Crappy Movie Sequel/Remake These Days” Brolin, we got the one man NOBODY was expecting: Ben Affleck.
But moving on from Batfleck for a while, we’re going to focus on someone who hasn’t been talked about very much, but someone who has a very good chance of appearing in this new film. That someone is Alfred.
Alfred developed from a very minor character in the Burton and *shudder* Schumacher films to one of the most complex supporting roles in recent cinematic history. Christopher Nolan very smartly made him Batman’s conscience, and made him the surrogate father figure keeping Bruce Wayne in check. No other superhero has that kind of presence (though Man of Steel tried to do the same thing with Kevin Costner flashbacks, and partially succeeded), and the vast majority are generally without a voice in their fight against crime and women wearing clothes.
No, Spider-Man doesn’t count, since his Uncle Ben hallucinations were forced and stupid. The Amazing Spider-Man rather intelligently ditched that idea, one of the few things that movie got right.
And Tony Stark’s JARVIS is not a father figure, but rather an artificial companion serving as the helpful exposition device. I’m not dissing JARVIS at all, I love that AI and Paul Bettany’s performance. But it’s not even close to being a father figure.
Actually, Alfred was one of my favorite things about The Dark Knight Rises. The stress of dealing with Batman gets to him, and he just leaves. It had turned into a rather abusive relationship at that point, Alfred serving more as therapist and servant than friend. Luckily, he got his arc resolved in the end.
And yes, I know that whoever is going to be picked as Alfred, if he’s even in the movie, will only be twenty or so years older than Ben Affleck.
He’s a guy I want to see in this new movie. Even with Lois Lane knowing Superman’s identity, even with Henry Cavill not even bothering changing his personality as Clark Kent, even with all the things that Superman movie did wrong: I want to see Alfred. Here’s a few people who would make for a great butler:
1. Michael Caine
My number one pick for the role is the man who pretty much defined it to begin with. If I were to cast a movie about my life, Michael Caine would play the role of my grandfather. And since he’s still kicking, and will hopefully be doing so for quite a long time, who else should be in the role? We already know he kicks ass, he’s never been typecast, meaning he could play Alfred differently if he wanted to, and he seems to be an all around incredible human being, with years of experience. I’m not sure he’ll want to take it up again, since he’s stated that he only wanted to be Alfred in Christopher Nolan’s films. But he’s been in some terrible movies recently (Gnomeo and Juliet, Cars 2, Journey to the Mysterious Island), so it’s not like he’s got the most incredible standards. Zack Snyder may not be my favorite guy, but his filmography is loads better than that crap. So hopefully Caine says yes if he’s asked.
2. Forest Whitaker
“You just picked him because he was recently in a movie called The Butler, didn’t you?!”
The dude is an Oscar winner though, and no one could ever accuse him of being a terrible actor. And despite some of the direct-to-DVD stuff he’s done, I’m still curious to see what he could bring to the role. His Alfred would probably be a friendlier sort, but no less intelligent. Considering what a versatile guy Forest is, I think he could pull it off. I really really do.
Honestly, though, I don’t think he’s going to be chosen. His film was recently in a giant legal battle with Warner Bros, who of course is making this movie. Would be a strange move to choose the lead actor from a film you just tried to take out in court. Would be nice to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. If Caine won’t do it, Forest Whitaker’s the man to take over.
3. John Malkovich
Another acting legend up to the plate here. Malkovich, like his peers, has had an extremely long and storied career. He’s played pretty much every character in the book by now (my personal favorite performance of his is the proto-Michael Bay guilty pleasure Con Air), and he was even supposed to be the Vulture in the now defunct Spider-Man 4. They very well could bring him back for the rumored Sinister Six movie, but if not, Snyder should give him a call. His Alfred would probably be a slightly more calculating individual, and possibly a more violent one too.
Malkovich could also use a career boost after failures like Jonah Hex and RED 2 took him down a couple notches.
4. Bill Murray
Hear me the hell out on this one.
I know he’s the most unexpected choice. He’s never really been much of an action guy. He’s primarily remembered as one of the premier comedic actors in history. He is to comedy what Morgan Freeman is to everything (Frankly, I’d pick Freeman for Batman if it was a possibility).
Not only that, but he’s also one of the best actors of our time. He pretty much kills it in terrible movie after terrible movie, excluding the occasional bright spot like Fantastic Mr. Fox or Zombieland or Moonrise Kingdom. And yes, Lost in Translation is one of the most overrated films ever made, hush.
He’s never been given a meaty role like this one, though. It could very well do for him what Alfred did for Michael Caine. And he could provide that perfect blend of drama and comedic relief that personifies Alfred. The thing in his way is being able to do a proper British accent, which I’m not sure if he could pull off. Make it subtle, and Bill Murray’s the guy for the job.
Just don’t mention Garfield, we try to forget that even existed.
Fun fact: Murray was the original choice for Tim Burton’s Batman. I’m not kidding.
5. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks isn’t much older than Ben Affleck. But he could very well play a lot older, and he’d have to do that if picked. And why the hell not? Tom Hanks is probably the closest thing to a modern acting prodigy we’ve got. The man has done literally every kind of movie out there. He’s been in kind of a low point as far as his career has gone, and let’s face it, Larry Crowne wasn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. But even though he’s not the best writer or director (admittedly, Larry Crowne isn’t an awful film), the man can act the hell out of any role he’s in. Did you see him in the criminally underrated Cloud Atlas, AKA “The sole saving grace of the Wachowskis after the complete trash that was The Matrix Revolutions and Speed Racer“? Best performance out of that guy in a really long time. He played quite a few meaty roles in that one. Now that he’s too old to play a superhero, he should at least be given the best supporting role in Hollywood. I know he’s unconventional. But so is Ben Affleck.
BONUS ROUND: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!
Christopher Nolan and Ben Affleck are the exact same age. I’m not suggesting that he should play Alfred in this new movie. But in twenty years or so, he should give it a try. Because he’s already got the dramatic look of a thespian. In fact, he ties with Joss Whedon for Most Dramatic Looking Movie Director.
Speaking of Joss Whedon…
BONUS BONUS ROUND: JOSS WHEDON!
I’d cast that guy in anything. Batjoss, anyone?
S#!T Talking Central