(This story contains spoilers for Batman begins And The dark knight stands up.)
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Christian Bale in the Batsuit for Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, but screenwriter David S. Goyer revealed that Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for the role.
During Thursday’s episode of the Happy sad confused podcast, Goyer, who helped develop the trilogy’s story and co-wrote the 2005 titles Batman beginssaid that after a number of people screen tested for the role of Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, in the first film, he “made the case for Gyllenhaal.”
“I mean, Gyllenhaal is great, Christian Bale is great, so who knows what,” he added.
When host Josh Horowitz asked if there was any footage of Gyllenhaal auditioning in the Batman costume anywhere, the writer said, “I believe there is, yes.”
Regarding other roles in Nolan’s trilogy, Goyer said, “There were a few different candidates in the running for Ra’s Al Ghul,” but he voted for Liam Neeson because he was “a little bit older.” He said it made more sense with the story they were trying to tell about “this fatherly story about his (Bruce’s) father’s shadow.”
In Batman beginsKen Watanabe was credited as playing villain Ra’s al Ghul as decoy, while Neeson, who was the real Ra’s al Ghul and returned for 2012’s The dark knight stands upwas credited by his alias Henri Ducard.
Later in the episode, Goyer also remembered a Warner Bros. executive. who introduced him at the 2008 film’s premiere The Dark Knight that Leonardo DiCaprio should play the Riddler in the next film. But Goyer told him: “That’s not the way we work.”
He said Nolan is “very process-driven” and was “firmly against” building a movie around the villain “because he said that’s not a fundamental way to tell a story. Let’s do it in a very naturalistic way, so let’s figure out what kind of story we want to tell and what we want to explore thematically with Bruce, and then let’s come up with a villain that fits that story.