BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!
NEWS ARCHIVES 25

Holden, not Pearce, will be Dent?
Wednesday, February 25, 2004: As I said, Dent is Pearce's role if he wants it. I guess he doesn't. Looks like Larry Holden--who has worked with Nolan previously--will be Dist. Atty. Harvey Dent in this film. BOF is not ready to stand by this 100%--as I was with the Wantanabe scoop--but it looks like that is what is going to happen. BOF is still digging for info on the remaining casting, so stay tuned.

Official WB press release; Goyer talks BATMAN; Who's going to be Gordon?
Tuesday, February 24, 2004 (second update): Here is an official press release from Warner Bros. Pictures regarding the latest cast addition, Ken Wantanabe....

Oscar-nominated actor Ken Watanabe has joined the cast of director Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated film about the origins of the Batman legend. The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Watanabe, who is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in "The Last Samurai," will play the villainous Ra's Al Ghul, alongside stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman; Michael Caine as his trusted butler Alfred; Katie Holmes as a childhood friend of Wayne's; Liam Neeson as Wayne's mentor, Henri Ducard; and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, a former board member and sidelined employee of Wayne Enterprises.

Directed by Christopher Nolan from a screenplay by David Goyer, the film is produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Larry Franco. The executive producers are Ben Melniker and Michael Uslan.

The project is scheduled to start production in London in March.

The film, which explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham, will be released worldwide in 2005 by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Click HERE and HERE to read an AIN'T IT COOL NEWS interview with BATMAN screenwriter David Goyer. It is a good read....So who is going to be Gordon? If I was a betting man, I'd lay a little coin on Dennis Quaid. I first heard this guy's name mentioned in conjunction to the role last July (2003). I thought he was out of the running, but based on what I am hearing now, I think he is the front-runner. And one very good BOF source is digging into it for me and will let me know as soon as he knows. Then y'all will know....As for the remainder of the cast, we should know something very soon. Oh, by the way, Guy Pearce will be Harvey Dent--IF he wants to do it. Don't hold me to that of course. Later, loyal BOF readers!

BOF told ya: Watanabe confirmed for BATMAN!
Tuesday, February 24, 2004: The greatness of BOF's Bat-movie reporting skills never cease! Just kidding! Anyway, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and VARIETY are confirming what BOF told you all on February 20th--that Ken Wantanabe has been cast as Ra's Al Ghul in the upcoming BATMAN (BEGINS?) film directed by Christopher Nolan. I found out that I actually had this info as far back as the 15th of this month, but it was laying in BOF's old email account, so I missed out by 5 days. Anyway, expect the official word who just who will be cast as Gordon, Falcone, Earl, etc. soon. Like within days. More later today in a second update. Late.

Watanabe: I am up for BATMAN; Bale finally speaks!
Monday, February 23, 2004 (second update): Ken Wantanabe himself has confirmed what BOF told you all first: that he is up for a role in the new BATMAN film. "Ken Watanabe revealed that he is up for one of two roles in the next 'Batman' film, one a major villain," writes USA TODAY in a report about the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The role he is up for is Ra's Al Ghul. Nothing else, trust me....Christian Bale has finally spoken about BATMAN! Here's what he had to say in an interview in the German magazine BUNTE....

"I think Batman is probably more aggresive than most everybody I've ever played, you know. I wanted to take it, because, firstly, when I heard that there was a consideration of doing more of the movies, I just felt like I hadn't been quite satisfied with what I'd seen in the other movies. Certainly in the last two. And it seemed as though there was actually a real character here, that it wasn't just a bland kind of superhero, one-dimensional. With him there really was an interesting character to be played. I loved the kind of fantastical notion of the superhero, but at the same time being able to bring a psychologically interesting element to that. And then Chris Nolan is directing who, you know, is not a director I would have expected to do this movie. So that was ideal to me, I liked the fact that the people hiring Chris, hiring myself, were going with people who did want to reinvent the story and have it not just be a continuation."

Watanabe had to decline BATMAN role? Quaid to be Gordon!?
Monday, February 23, 2004: This in overnight from one of BOF's best and longtime sources. This person knows. I know how he knows, but I can't reveal anything more about him. Let's just say that he has been dead on regarding many things beforehand--most recently with a certain girl who was cast in this film....

Ken Watanabe was offered the role of Ra's Al Ghul, and declined over scheduling problems. Warner Bros. then offered him the role of Ducard. Watanabe desperately wants to be involved in the "Batman" film, and the offer is still, apparently, there. I have no idea how this impacts on reports of Liam Neeson being cast as Ducard. Perhaps the initial reports of Nesson being cast as Ra's are correct, but I can't confirm or deny as I don't know. Also, expect a big or, at the very least, up-and-coming actor to be cast as Jim Gordon. There is a short list which I will have access to shortly. And FYI: The rumors of Laurence Fishburne being offered the part of Lucius Fox were complete lies. Fishburne is way too big a star for such a small role. That was total fanboy fantasy.

From this and what I can gather, Wantanabe is trying to get his schedule in order for him to take the role of Ra's Al Ghul. We should know how all this shakes out--plus other casting (Gordon, Falcone, & Dent) very soon....Speaking of Gordon, according to CINESCAPE ONLINE, "Dennis Quaid is 'close' to being signed for the part of Jim Gordon, the Gotham City beat cop that will one day become police Commissioner." BOF broke the story a while back that Quaid's name had been mentioned in conjunction for the role of Gordon--as far back as July of '03. I hope this pans out as I'd love to see Quaid get the role. The report also says--as BOF reported yesterday--that there is talk of making the official title of the film BATMAN BEGINS. Plus, there is a additional infor regarding The Batmobile and a fight scene. And it seems that CINESCAPE is doing the same thing that BOF and DARK HORIZONS is doing: not giving up major plot spoilers.

Additional BATMAN crew/location info; title rumor; & Watanabe up for....
Sunday, February 22, 2004: Click HERE to go to a SUPERHERO HYPE article with a rundown of BATMAN crew additions....Click HERE to read a BBC ONLINE story regarding the hanger in Bedfordshire (in the U.K.) that will be used to house a huge indoor set--said to be one of the largest ever--for Bat-filming....U.K. BOF reader "Tom" sent me a report regarding The Batmobile. His "gf" works for a company that is "....So what is the title of this film? I'm hearing that BATMAN BEGINS is becoming a favorite of some of those in charge. This is strictly rumor right now....What role is Ken Watanabe up for? The BOF source that supplied me with information that Watanabe might join the Bat-cast, says that he is up for the role of Ra's Al Ghul. Not Ubu. Not anyone else. Ra's Al Ghul is the role....And that plot twist? I am NOT going to reveal it. I am not going to ruin this film for you all. And if you ever get the chance to find out what it is, don't. You'll be thankful I didn't let loose with this info in the summer of 2005. Late.

Watanabe to join cast? A MAJOR plot twist in BATMAN?
Friday, February 20, 2004 (second update): According to a new BOF scooper, actor Ken Watanabe (THE LAST SAMURAI) will soon be announced as a member of the BATMAN cast. And it is a MAJOR character--one that I won't reveal right now (Suggestion--go to the Cast/Crew section--Jett). I will say that is it a villain....This source also let me in on a HUGE plot twist that is cool as hell--and that I know to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt. And one that I wish I didn't know, to be frank with you readers. And I'll never reveal it (So DON'T email me and ask--the answer is NO!), because I respect this film....This same source has told BOF that a young Harvey Dent--not Two-Face--is indeed in the script as speculated. BOF has long reported that Dent was included in the screenplay by Goyer and Nolan. So, who is playing him? Well, if the guy they wants takes the gig, at least he's worked with Nolan before.

Neeson's Ducard, not Ra's!
Friday, February 20, 2004: I gotta admit, this was surprising to me. And to a lot of people--including some BOF sources. According to VARIETY (subscription required), Liam Neeson is playing Henry Ducard, not Ra's Al Ghul as everyone believed. VARIETY describes the role of Ducard as being a "mentor to Bruce Wayne." So, who the hell is going to play Ra's in this film? Could Viggo Mortensen--rumored earlier for the role--be the one that Nolan and company have in mind? Or is it someone else who's name has yet to pop up on the rumor mill? BOF is digging like heck to get to the bottom of this--stay tuned....Click on this link from THE WHARF which details the reservation of a restaurant over a weekend in March. According to the report, it will be the setting for a scene between Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and Rachel Dobson (Katie Holmes).

Neeson, Freeman confirmed for Bat-cast!
Thursday, February 19, 2004: Looks like our BOF sources were right! First of all, a source told us last weekend to expect more official casting info this week. And now, VARIETY (subscription may be required) is confirming that both Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman are officially in the cast for BATMAN. "Freeman will play Lucius Fox, a respected businessman and the CEO of billionaire Bruce Wayne's mega-conglom, based in Gotham City." This confirms what many BOF sources have been telling us for a while now. Back on January 19th, BOF reported that "he [Freeman] may be--or was at one time--up for the role of Lucius Fox, and not a villain as rumored." The source was right. Neeson is now being confirmed as the villain Ra's Al Ghul. "Liam Neeson plays the villain, Ra's al Ghul, a wealthy international terrorist," says the VARIETY report. Which roles should we hear about next? Gordon and Falcone.

Another actor enters the Bat-mix!
Sunday, February 15, 2004 (second update): According to a SUPERHERO HYPE scooper, Irish actor Larry Holden is up for a unspecified role in the upcoming Bat-film. Two roles that Holden might fit would be Det. Sgt. Jim Gordon or Mob Boss Carmine Falcone. As a BOF scooper said in today's earlier report, official casting news could come this week. It certainly looks like that might be the case.

Bat-suit description?!
Sunday, February 15, 2004: A possible Bat-costume description from a reliable BOF source....

Now, I haven't seen the costume. And I know that very few people have actually laid eyes on it. But this is a bit of the buzz I've heard about it. It is made of silicone and a material similar to the "Spider-Man" costume. It has a armored look to it around the chest area. There is no yellow oval--the Bat symbol is like it is in the current comics. It may be part of the chest armor. The suit is dark, but not totally black. From the descrition that I got, it's dark gray. The cape, cowl, boots, and gloves are black. I've heard two descritions for the ears. One report said that they are shorter than they were in the previous films. Someone else told me that they are "Kane-style;" based on the orginal look of Batman back from 1939. I've also heard two reports on the eyes. I've heard it had lenses, and I've heard it didn't. I'm sure that costuming experienced with both. The utility belt will have pockets, but with a sleek look to it (nothing like what Adam West wore). Also black, I've heard. Now, if you use this, make sure to tell your readers that this is mostly rumor, but coming from people who would know.

Hear what he said? Take it as rumor. But it does sound pretty darn cool! I'd go with the retro, 1939-style ears myself. Not short, longer--sort of like those YEAR ONE concept drawings of the costume that leaked out last summer. But I like the shorter, "Jim Lee" style ears as well....

....Now this is nothing earth shattering, but another insider told BOF this weekend that more casting news should be coming this week.
(Thanks to "Stax," "The Only Woj," "Spiridoula," "Brandon," "Super85," & "Nick" for the lead!)

More possible Bat-titles; Iceland filming start date
Friday, February 13, 2004: I told y'all that things would be picking up as we get closer to filming, didn't I? Speaking of that, a LATINO REVIEW source tells them that filming will begin in Iceland February 25th and will film for about 10 days....And this just happened--because I have been checking daily--WB has secured more domain names. Which means that the final title of the film is still up in the air. Both batman-intimidationgame.com and .net have recently been secured by Warner Bros (Jan. 29, 2004). And it seems that producer Emma Thomas has secured both batman-begins.com and .net (Jan. 8, 2004). Looks like they are finally covering their bases as far as the film's final title is concerned. Geez! What the hell IS this film going to be titled? How about, uh I don't know, THE BATMAN? Actually, I kinda dig BATMAN BEGINS. It's sort of to-the-point of what this film is about.
(Thanks to "The Only Woj" and "Nick" for the lead!)

Casting of Neeson confirmed; Filming start date!
Thursday, February 12, 2004: According to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, actor Liam Neeson "...is in final negotiations to star opposite Christian Bale in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming 'Batman' movie." Final negotiations = It's a done deal. Still no official word on what role Neesom is taking, but the word it is that it is indeed the villain Ra's Al Ghul....A report in FILM JERK says that filming begins March 16 in the U.K. The site also says that "the production is looking to cast an 'enormous' Asian man, who will be involved in a fight scene. Producers are not specifying an age range for the character, saying it can be 'any age as long as he is enormous,' as well as looks dangerous and is able to speak in broken English." Ubu?
(Thanks to "The Only Woj" & "Nick" for part of this report.)

Neeson: signed, sealed and delivered for BATMAN?!
Wednesday, February 11, 2004: COMING ATTRACTIONS at CINESCAPE ONLINE is back again today with more Liam Neeson-in-BATMAN talk. CA claims that the actor is "...signed, sealed and delivered [for BATMAN--BOF]. All that awaits is the Warner Bros. announcement." Their source also says that Neeson is playing a villain in the film, although which one is not clear. As BOF said yesterday, it has to Ra's AL Ghul--an international crimelord and terrorist. The other villain in the film is said to be Dr. Jonathan Crane (aka "The Scarecrow") who is rumored to be depicted as some sort of drug dealer--perhaps straying a bit from his portrayal in "BATMAN" comicbooks...."Rob" is back with more info on the Chicago shoot. He says that Bat-filming will take place sometime in June and that Chicago's "El Trains" may be involved.

Neeson in the Bat-cast mix?
Tuesday, February 10, 2004 (second update): According to a scooper ID'd as "trustworthy," CINESCAPE is reporting that Irish actor Liam Neeson "...is either already in the cast of 'BATMAN' or he's teetering on the cusp of being in that film's roster of talent." The exact role is not mentioned. Possible roles include Jim Gordon, Ra's Al Ghul, or some other character all together (Carmine Falcone? Wayne Enterprises acting head/asshole Earl?) . Being the first time BOF has heard Neeson's name mentioned in conjunction to BATMAN, I would assume that he'd be up for the role of Ra's--but that is nothing but speculation on BOF's part. I have seen Neeson's name mentioned for Ra's by many a Bat-fanboy previously. As BOF has said before, this should all shake out really soon as filming begins in a matter of days.... I just did a short interview for MOVIE POOP SHOOT's "THE BOTTOM OF THINGS." The premise is why is BATMAN on the cusp of filming, while SUPERMAN is still in longime development hell? The author of the story is Mike Sampson and he offers a great look into the histories of both BATMAN 5 and SUPERMAN 5. Click HERE to read the article titled "Batman vs. Superman Lives!"

Caine: Chicago to double for Gotham
Tuesday, February 10, 2004: Last week (Feb. 10th), BOF was the first to report a rumor that BATMAN may be filming in Chicago. In a recent interview with 15 MINUTES MAGAZINE, Michael Caine--who will be playing Alfred--confirms that Chicago will used as one of the doubles for Gotham....

Is it true you’re in the new Christian Bale-Batman film?
Yes, I’m Alfred, Batman’s butler and guardian and the film is being done by British director Christopher Nolan who did Memento. That’s an incredible choice because instead of playing it safe with a run of the mill, plodding director as they usually do, they’ve gone for experimental. I think he’ll make a great picture.

Isn’t Batman a bit old hat now?
This one is different, less comic-booky, and it starts with Batman as a baby. I am not a guy who just runs around with cups and saucers. The movie will all be shot in England in a huge Zepplin hangar in Hertfordshire, with some days in Chicago which will double for Gotham.

(Thanks to "Nick" for the lead!)

Great report on Nolan's Bat-film, Part II!
Sunday, February 8, 2004 (second update): Again, from VARIETY (subscription required). The "3 Rings" of a BATMAN movie....

The company [DC COMICS--Jett] has what it calls a circle of "three rings" that make up the Batman universe.

There's the "aspirational experience," which Levitz says consists of how people react emotionally to the Bruce Wayne character, his traumatic childhood involving the death of his parents and how that leads the billionaire to use his riches to fight crime.

"It's all about making you feel that if you went through something traumatic, you'd rise to the challenge in the same way," Levitz says.

The second ring: "You go to a Batman movie expecting certain moments," Levitz says. "You expect to see the Batmobile, the Batcave, the Bat Signal, his utility belt, Batman swinging across Gotham City. That's your wow."

Another expectation is the prospect of seeing something that hasn't appeared in other Batman outings. "There's always the question of how do you give the audience something they haven't seen before," Levitz says.

The final ring deals with the creative interpretation that the director, writers and actors bring to the project.

"They each want to bring things that are unique, but they can't fight the other rings of the circle," Levitz says. "It would be unique to have Batman tripping over himself, but that wouldn't be good."

According to the article, neither DC COMICS or TIME-WARNER have final script approval. (Thanks to "The Only Woj" for the head's up!)

Great report on Nolan's Bat-film!
Sunday, February 8, 2004: This is by far the best "mainstream" story done on Nolan's Bat-film yet! It's from VARIETY (subscription required). Here's a bit of it (By MARC GRASER, CATHY DUNKLEY)....

It's one thing to reinvent a franchise after a few decades. It's another matter to resurrect a series that became overly stylized, even kitschy, and petered out only seven years ago -- and to convince the public that a new film could be something entirely different.

After a disappointing fourth installment, and three false starts at a fifth version, Batman will be born again. But don't call this the latest in the series. Consider it "Batman: Year One."

This time around, it's about the genesis of Batman: How billionaire Bruce Wayne makes a series of decisions that turn him into the Caped Crusader. Batman will be more realistic and less cartoonish. There are no campy villains. Wayne -- younger, more vulnerable, more human -- will be getting as much attention as his masked alter-ego.

"I felt like doing the origins story of the character, which is a story that's never been told before," says Chris Nolan ("Insomnia," "Memento"), who takes the reins of "Batman" from Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher.

Humanity and realism, says Nolan, is the crux of the new pic.

"The world of Batman is that of grounded reality," he says. Burton's and Schumacher's visions were idiosyncratic and unreal. Nolan says, "Ours will be a recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises."

Nolan, a self-confessed James Bond fan as a child, is keen on reinventing Wayne as more of a modern-day Bond than hapless playboy -- an action-adventure hero who has mythic qualities and battles the odds to save the world.

With "The Matrix" series over, Warner Bros. is anxious to whip up a franchise to rival Fox's "X-Men" and Sony's "Spider-Man." Since the old Batman quartet was running out of gas, the goal is to rethink the whole thing.

WB Pictures prexy of production Jeff Robinov says, "There's an emotional component to the film which grounds it and really tells us about Bruce Wayne's struggle."

While the new Bruce Wayne is getting emphasis, Nolan, scripter David Goyer and WB have focused on fixing problems that plagued the other pics. For example, Bruce Wayne was too dark and impenetrable and had lost the humorous side found in the comics. The character was basically just dead screen time until Batman appears -- which in the new film may not happen until 40 minutes after it begins.

"If we're successful, the thing that will be talked about a lot and on what we worked on the hardest is that the audience will really care about Bruce Wayne and not just Batman," Goyer says. It doesn't matter how much you spend on special effects -- if it feels hollow, no one gives a damn."

Nolan starts helming the film next month, and its summer 2005 release will prove whether WB has been able to breathe new life into the Caped Crusader -- and to rescue its biggest franchise outside of "Harry Potter."

WB's wants to tap into the "Batman" fan base and bring back audiences that wandered away from the original quartet. The 1997 "Batman & Robin" failed with critics, fans and the B.O., becoming the series' worst performer, with just $107 million domestically.

So the new, untitled "Batman" is getting a complete overhaul, backed by a roughly $150 million budget.

Rather than pit Batman against a new set of supervillains, the new film focuses on how billionaire Bruce Wayne becomes the Dark Knight.

"It's almost impossible to reinvent Batman," says Robinov. "Chris is reintroducing Batman, and it feels smart and cool and fresh. That's no disrespect to the other movies, but it's really Chris' vision of Batman, and that's what we're supporting."

Christian Bale will don the cape and cowl inherited from Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Michael Caine (as Alfred), Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy also star.

There'll be a new Batmobile, a new arsenal of gadgets, a new Batsuit (sans nipples) as well as a new musical theme.

Even Gotham City is getting a facelift. Previous pics made the city seem dark and claustrophobic or garishly stylized. Instead of lensing on sets built inside huge soundstages, the new film will be shot on locations in New York, London and Iceland, assembling pieces of each city to recreate Gotham as a modern-day metropolis.

"Gotham will seem like this great city in a contemporary world and will be created through various cities," Nolan says. "We are trying to avoid a villagey feel for Gotham, as it starts to get claustrophobic."

Goyer -- who penned the successful "Blade" series for New Line and was a former staffer at "Batman" publisher DC Comics -- adds: "As the Batman films progressed, they became increasingly more cartoonish and more like the campy TV show. We think the audience is tired of that, and it's at odds with the way Batman is depicted in the comicbooks over the last decade. Batman is a classic figure whose story is wrapped in tragedy."

Nolan jumps on that theme: "Few superheroes have the sense of purpose and destiny that Batman has. He is driven by an incredible sense of rage, sadness and grief because of the tragedy of his parents' murder at an early age. To me, Batman is the most interesting superhero because he doesn't have any superpowers. He is very human."

The casting of Bale, Nolan hopes, will not only give audiences a younger Batman to root for but also a weighty sense of his true character.

"Bruce Wayne is strong, and the things that are done to him to make him become Batman are all psychological and character-based," Nolan says. "We needed an actor capable of taking us along on this journey and showing the different psychological layers which inspire Bruce to become Batman."

Fans fearing that the new Batman has taken his passport and moved across the pond shouldn't fret, however. Nolan may be a fan of Bond, and the new installment may be made up of a mostly British cast, crew and locations, but Batman's remaining American.

DC Comics not only provided Nolan and Goyer with key elements of Batman's background, it also gave the filmmakers a list of what Goyer jokingly dubs "the 10 Commandments," a set of guidelines that should appear in every Batman story.

"Before they sat down with us, they had already done a tremendous amount of homework," says Paul Levitz, prexy and publisher of DC Comics. "Working with them has been a delight. We haven't been dealing with questions like, 'Is it "Bruce Wayne" or could it be "Bob Wayne" instead?'

"We started on the same emotional and intellectual level. We all want to make a movie that appeals to the most intense Batman fan as well as the person who's never seen a Batman movie or TV show before."

In terms of whether the movie will be too dark, Robinov says the film's more about conflict than darkness: about Batman's internal conflict and what drives him to suit up as a superhero.

The director's feeling the pressure to succeed. "It's an awesome responsibility," Nolan says, "because the fan base for Batman is extraordinary, and there's a lot of emotional investment in the character."

Warner Bros. also is understandably eager not to alienate or disappoint auds and hardcore fans with Batman's latest adventure.

A shroud of secrecy has surrounded the new pic since it was unveiled last year. Nolan and the new film's key creative team are reluctant to reveal too many details of the planned visuals or plot.

But daily updates and details of the new film's plot, characters and production designs are finding their way onto Web sites such as Ain't It Cool News, Batman on Film (Damn! BOF in VARIETY!!--Jett), Dark Horizons, Chud and Superhero Hype. (Finicky fans praised Bale's casting.)

The last thing Warners wants is a repeat of the early negative buzz that erupted on the Internet after Ain't It Cool News posted its scathing review of an early test screening of "Batman & Robin," which the studio said could have hurt the film's B.O. performance.

If the new film succeeds, WB's "Batman" franchise will have found a new direction for its sequels to take and compete with Sony's juggernaut "Spider-Man" and Fox's "X-Men" adventures.

Man, that is some really good stuff! A "realistic" Batman sounds fantastic! Finally, the REAL Batman will be seen onscreen! (Thanks to "Gill" for the head's up!!)

Various bit of Bat-news
Thursday, February 5, 2004: A few bits of Bat-news for you all....SUPERHERO HYPE! has some news regarding a possible site for Arkham....THE BEDFORD TODAY reports of the huge affect that the filming of BATMAN will have on that community....BOF recieved an email today from a new source suggesting that this film could be filming in Chicago for a few weeks. Can't confirm this, but I am looking into this story....I have it from several good sources--and this is really no surprise--that Cillian Murphy will indeed be playing Dr. Jonathan Crane (a.k.a. "The Scarecrow") in BATMAN INTIMIDATION....DARK HORIZONS has posted a nice story sypnosis worth checking out. (Thanks to "The Only Woj" for the head's up for part of this report!)

Cooper on turning down Gordon; Freeman close to accepting Bat-role?
Tuesday, February 3, 2004: THE SCARLET CARPET caught up with actor Chris Cooper, and told them he turned down the role of Jim Gordon in BATMAN INTIMIDATION. "I read the script and decided the substance of the script and the character was not up to what I expected,” said Cooper. BOF reported back on January 13th & 17th that Cooper had likely turned down the role. Cooper's quote pretty much confirms it....In related news, could Morgan Freeman be close to accepting a role in the upcoming Bat-film? And of so, just what role? "Morgan Freeman told us [THE SCARLET CARPET--Jett] he's considering signing on for a part." A BOF source speculated recently that Freeman was more likely up for the role of Lucius Fox, rather Jim Gordon--as the part of Gordon is written as a late 40ish Det. Sgt. in the screenplay....I have heard this before, but I've now heard it from a good source that I really trust: a character rumored to appear in this film, just indeed might. And an fairly well-known actor might take the part. I can't be anymore specific, but one of the major trades could break the story on this very soon. You'll know what I am talking about, once--and if--it pans out and it hits the trades. BOF has reported previously--more than once I believe--that this particular character from the Bat-mythos was rumored to be in the script....I did some checking, and this adds a little validity to the LATINO REVIEW script review from last Friday. And vice-versa. But, solid BOF sources told us--and it was reported here September 19, 2003, that "...this Bat-film will feature 'flashbacks.' The exact details are unknown, although there is speculation that The Batman's origin is a candidate for such treatment. This could involve Ra's as well." Spot on. Late.

Freeman not up for Gordon?
Saturday, January 31, 2004: "I seriously doubt that Morgan Freeman is up for Gordon," says a trusted BOF source. "He is 66 which is obviously too old for the late-40ish Sgt. Gordon that will appear in the upcoming film. Plus, I believe that Freeman's plate might be too full in 2004 for any role in 'Batman.' Now that's just my opinion, but it is an educated one based on what I've been hearing." After doing some checking, it does seem that Freeman may be too busy for BATMAN. He is scheduled to star in LONG WALK TO FREEDOM sometime in 2004 and has just finished or is near completing his work in FREEDOMLAND. Also, COLORS STRAIGHT UP is on his schedule--but listed as being in turn-around--as well as EDISON. If Freeman is indeed up for a role in BATMAN, it may be more likely that it's for the smaller part of Lucius Fox--which wouldn't take up as much of his time for filming. BOF has heard from more than one source that Freeman is indeed up for Lucuis Fox, but some have questioned why he would take such a small role. With filming set to begin in a matter of weeks, we should soon find out if Freeman is going to be in this film--as well as who will fill the rest of the cast.

BATMAN script review!!
Friday, January 30, 2004 (second update): If this is legit--and I have NO reason to believe it isn't, then I can't WAIT for summer 2005 to get here! It jells with just about everything I have heard about this film. So, click HERE to read the LATINO REVIEW's script review for BATMAN INTIMIDATION. And it is spoiler free. Enjoy....One last thing, "Chaz" pointed BOF to VARIETY's prouduction chart for the film, and it now includes New York as a locale. FYI.

BIG BATMAN news?
Friday, January 30, 2004: (From SUPERHERO HYPE) A first-time scooper for SHH spilled the beans--maybe--on some big Bat-news. BOF warns--as does SHH--to take this with a grain for salt....Remember how BOF had heard a good while ago that Morgan Freeman was up for Gordon? Then we later found out that he was up for the smaller role of Lucius Fox? "Morgan Freeman is no longer up for Lucious Fox" says the scooper, "but is up for Gordon. Initially he was, but when Chris Cooper refused, Nolan turned to Freeman." The SHH report goes on to say that the casting for Fox has yet to take place. What about other casting/roles in the film? Here is what the same source had to say"

Cillian Murphy will play Jonathan Crane, and Katie Homes as Harvey Dent's assisstant Rachel. Harvey Dent has yet to be casted, having Guy Pearce be the only one test for that. The role of Earle has been brought up to several people, none of them rather big name stars, but lesser known character actors. Same goes for Boss Carmine Falcone.

Interesting. BOF did here in the past that a pre Two-Face Harvey Dent was in the film, but the character did not show up in the DARK HORIZON script review a few weeks back. Anyway, the report also includes a description of the Batmobile, filming locale info, and this description of the Bat-costume:

The costume-jet black as well. It is not spandex, under armor, or even rubber. It is a new material, that can stretch and bend easy, but won't be overly skin tight. Padding in the ribs and chest area as well as the arms and upper legs will be added, with large black boots for the feet. There will be about 4-5 of them.

And lastly, the scooper says that the press conference--first reported here at BOF--is set for Feb. 17th. I guess we'll find out then if this report is true or BS. (Thanks to "Stax" and all of you for the head's up.)

Cassel not involved with BATMAN
Sunday, January 25, 2004: BOF recieved an email from CINEMA CONFIDENTIAL informing us of the following: "Due to an error on my part, I had incorrectly identified Cilian Murphy as Vincent Cassel. I did mean to write Cilian Murphy instead in the story." So scratch Cassel off you Bat-cast list....Katie Holmes is officially signed for the role of "Rachel" in the upcoming Bat-film. According to a new source who glossed himself as "Bane-Freak," only Christian Bale, Holmes, and Michael Caine have signed on the dotted line. Other BOF sources--and the actor himself--confirm that Cillian Murphy is officially on board as well.

Batmobile description? Freeman "90% certain" for Fox?
Friday, January 23, 2004: LATINO REVIEW is reporting that Morgan Freeman has "...been in talks and its 90% certain that he will get the part [of WayneCorp exec Lucius Fox--Jett]." On Monday, BOF was the first to report this from a new source that proved to be legit. This story from LR throws a bit more weight behind that rumor. Laurence Fishburne has also been rumored for the role....SUPERHERO HYPE has an unconfirmed report of what the Batmobile will look like. The scooper decribes Batman's wheels as "2 F1 style tires at front, and four huge monstertruck style nobbly tires at rear. Batmobile not long, but wide, also has jet at rear. 2 seater side byside, it was mobile and driving. The one I saw had no shell." The website also claims that the "Batman costume has short ears and that the Batmobile is indeed complete and ready for filming." BOF is working on a few things, as news is starting to pick up with filming right around the corner. Stay tuned.

It's BATMAN INTIMIDATION!
Thursday, January 22, 2004: (From THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) The aforementioned website is confirming in an interview (dated 1/21/04) with executive producer Michael Uslan, that the official title of the upcoming Bat-film is BATMAN: INTIMIDATION. BOF sources have indicated that this would be the title for the film--not INTIMIDATION GAME, and that the title would also be in the tradition of BATMAN RETURNS, and FOREVER. (Thanks to "Stax" for the head's up!)

Bale pic at Sundance, Freeman up for Lucius Fox?
Monday, January 19, 2004: Christian Bale--the new Batman--appeared at the recent premiere (1/18/04) of THE MACHINIST, and several pics were snapped of him. Bale is much bigger--obviously due to prepping for BATMAN--than the thin-as-a-rail Christian that showed up in public not long ago. Click here to check him out (Thanks to the MANY readers for the head's up!)....A new, but proven legit source sent BOF some info late last week. This source says that there may be something to the rumors of Morgan Freeman's involvement in BATMAN. This source claims that he may be--or was at one time--up for the role of Lucius Fox, and not a villain as rumored. BOF, and this source, says this should be taken as rumor and nothing more right now....And one last thing. I recieved some more plot confirmation. There are indeed some "elements," if you will, from the "YEAR TWO" story arc. The Reaper doesn't appear, so don't go there if you are trying to guess. I am sure at some time what I am refering to will become public and you'll know what I am talking about. All you Bat-traditionalists will be happy.

Bat-rumors, casting calls, and more!
Saturday, January 17, 2004: Just keep in mind that this stuff should be taken strictly as RUMOR right now, OK? So, here goes....Now this has been going around since 1998, but I've been hearing Kurt Russell's name yet again in conjunction to Gordon. It seems that the director's/producer's choice--Chris Cooper--doesn't want the role. So, have they turned their eyes towards Elvis? (Russell played The King in the 1978 telepic "ELVIS.") While Russell might have been considered, BOF says that it ain't going to happen. Plus, as a few of my "insider" friends tell me, Kurt doesn't like to work outside the U.S. And this film is shooting in the U.K. for the most part. Do the math....It seems that Viggo Mortensen is no longer in the mix for this film. Sources tell BOF that he turned down whatever role--Ra's or The Scarecrow--that was offered. If true, here's hoping he'll change his mind....Here is a casting call to check out....On that note, castingcollective.co.uk is advertising for "...Tibetan men and women of all ages (Himalayan, Nepalese, Bhutanese or similar looking) for filiming on a big Feature Film about to start shooting. Those successful will need a passport and be available for filming abroad for about a week in Feb." In Iceland, perhaps? Interesting....The FX company for the film will be announced soon....Remember, I told ya'll that BOF would not run any big-time spoilers? Well, I'll remain true to my word. But, I have had more than one source tell me that The Batman's origin is "true to the comicbook version." I'll leave it at that for now--you figure it out. I'm working on more, so stay tuned. Late. (Thanks to "Ras2005" for part of this update!)

Lucius Fox, Gordon casting rumors
Tuesday, January 13, 2004: According to DARK HORIZONS, Nolan is considering Laurence Fishburne for the small, but important role of Waynecorp exec Lucius Fox. The deal is reportedly for 3 Bat-flicks similar to the one given to Micheal Cain, who is playing Alfred. The report goes on to say that the director is "doggedly pursuing Chris Cooper for Gordon," which the actor has already turned down....BOF has been looking into possible casting of the roles yet filled. I have some info, but I am not ready to run with it just yet. Look for something this week.

More BATMAN filming location info
Monday, January 12, 2004: According to DARK HORIZONS, U.K. Filming will include 6 days of shooting in London--which will double for Gotham.

More BATMAN production info
Sunday, January 11, 2004: LATINO REVIEW has some additional and more specific production info regarding the upcoming BATMAN shoot. The report goes into more detail of just where in Iceland shooting will take place. There is also some comfirmation regarding the filming in the Cardington hangars in Bedford as previously rumored. And the site's scooper tells them that Chris Corbould ("Die Another Day," "The Mummy," "Lara Croft 1 and 2") is the special effects supervisor on this movie. Click on the previous link for the entire article....From the U.K. in THIS IS LONDON, there is a small blurb on Cillian Murphy saying that he "has just been cast as the villainous Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming 'Batman' movie." It is starting to seem that Murphy is indeed Jonathan Crane in the film. WB has yet to make an official confirmation of Murphy's role....Even though the official PINEWOOD/SHEPPERTON WEBSITE lists the production as "INTIMIDATION GAME," sources tell BOF that the film's current title is BATMAN INTIMITDAION. As previously reported, Warner Brothers owns four variations of the "Batman Intimidation" domain, but doesn't own any combinations of "Intimidation Game(s)." I think that WB would have already secured the domain of a title of a movie, if they intended on using it....The same source who told BOF that WB is planning a press conference for BATMAN just prior to filming, says it could happen before the end of the month....According to another one of BOF's best industry insiders, don't expect a heavy hitter--like DeNiro, Pachino, etc.--to be cast as a villain in this film. "I don't think they want to take a chance on anyone overshadowing Bale. Obviously, Batman is the center of the film's story, and Nolan intends for Bale to be in the spotlight," says our source. One of the problems with the previous films is that Batman was almost reduced to a supporing character. Since Bale is not a household name--yet--it probably wouldn't be wise having a DeNiro, Pachino, or the like in the cast. It is probably a smart move hiring lesser-known, but good actors (i.e. Cillian Murphy) for the film. Michael Cain is a well-known, great actor, but I don't see him being bigger than the film itself. Even if Chris Cooper--who is an Oscar winner--does indeed end up as Gordon, he still won't leave Bale in his shadow. I don't know if that could be said if a true superstar was hired for the film. (Thanks to "Ras2005" for the lead!)

The Bat-Facts
Friday, January 9, 2004 (second update): Remember not too long ago, when I told ya'll that as this project got closer to filming, that more info will become available? Well, it is happening. BOF readers, I know what is going to happen in this film--pretty much. And I am not completely happy about it (Knowing what will happen, that is--I don't think the movie is going to suck!). I want to be surprised by what Nolan, Goyer, Bale and all the others bring to this film. So I have made a decision--NO plot details will be reported by BOF. We'll report about the cast, how things are going on the set, etc., but no spoilers. I have waited a LONG time for the ultimate Bat-movie, and I think that this is the one. And I want you all to go into the theater in July of 2005 with a bit of excitement because you don't know how things pan out at the end of this film. So with that said, you will not find any plot/story spoilers here at BOF....Confirmed today by a couple of BOF sources, DeNiro will not be in this film. The role will go to Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Bill Parcells, a New Jersey native....According to sources, everything that Garth Franklin reported over at DARK HORIZONS, is true....The Wayne Murders are not a "mob hit" as speculated....I was kidding about the Parcells thing....According to the Irish website UNISON.ie, here's the role that Irish actor Cillian Murphy is up for....

Although already hailed as a major player, the 29-year-old Cork actor is set for worldwide fame when he appears as the villain in the next "Batman" movie. Beating "Lord of the Rings" superstar Viggo Mortensen to the role of Scarecrow, Murphy will begin filming one of the most expensive movies of the year after his Druid tour ends this summer.

While I am pretty damn sure of the plot and storyline, I haven't a solid clue about the cast. If Murphy is indeed Crane, who the hell is playing Ra's, Ducard (who I thought would go to Murphy), Falcone, and the remainder of the "major" players in this film?! That's what BOF is trying to find out....

Some BOF speculation, rumor
Friday, January 9, 2004: There is speculation by various BOF sources--due to rumors about the script, story, etc.--that the Wayne murders are the result of a mob hit. Could this "businessman that clashed with Bruces' father" be the one who ordered this hit? So is it Falcone or this Earle characer? BOF believes it is the former....I don't know how true this is, so keep that in mind. But some casting "scuttlebutt" has Robert DeNiro as a possilbility for the Falcone role....Cillian Murphy is most probably up for the Ducard role, while Viggo Mortensen is likely up for Ra's....Make sure to keep checking out BOF, as more news and details are surely to become available the closer the project gets to filming.

Yet even MORE BATMAN plot news!
Thursday, January 8, 2004: From DARK HORIZONS. DH is back with more details of the upcoming BATMAN film--this time with a much more legit sounding scooper. DH head-honcho Garth Franklin says he was sent a "full and in-depth synopsis of the shooting script," which he had verified as being legit. It does comfirm what BOF has said for months--that Ra's and The Scarecrow are the two major villians of this film. It also confirms the info given to BOF by another source that the film is a "true" BATMAN film by including characters important to the Bat-mythos--Gordon, Alfred, etc. And it is basically an origin film, which of course, has nothing to do with the previous four films. Here is a bit of the DH story (and please click on the previous link to read the entire thing). BEWARE! It does include some spoilers...

* All the characters mentioned so far are in it - Bruce Wayne/Batman, Alfred, Jim Gordon, DA asst. prosecutor Rachel, Jonathan Crane, and Ra's Al Ghul.
* Other characters include Ra's protege Ducard, Wayne Enterprise's Applied Sciene Dept. head Lucius Fox, mob boss Falcone, acting Wayne Enterprise head Earle, and various crims & law officials and a bunch of ninjas.
- There's no link or mention of the previous film's events, this not only ignores them completely but restarts the franchise as its essentially an 'origin' movie which changes elements such as the 'parents being shot' and 'how Bruce found the cave and took up the mantle' subplots.
* Despite the filming in London, almost all of the film is set around Gotham City (there's no mention of London) though there's numerous flashbacks to the past and early on the footage is set around a mountain monastery in China.
* A good first portion of the film swaps between flashbacks and the present. In the past we see stuff we're all familiar with from the comics and earlier movies - Bruce as a child with his father Thomas Wayne, the famous alley shooting of his parents, being cared for by a younger Alfred, meeting regular beat cop Jim Gordon, etc. In the present its Wayne mano-a-mano fighting with Ducard whose 'training/testing' him as such for his master Ra's Al-Ghul whose watching from the shadows. This is no doubt the sequence being filmed in Iceland at the start of production
* With Ra's Al-Ghul he does have insidious plans but there seems to be no mention of immortality, the Lazarus Pit, or Talia. His sub-ordinate Ducard is an interesting character with a clever connection to his master.
* One supblot has Wayne Enterprise head Earle trying to take over the company and using influence on public officials. Its revealed Gordon in the present is a Sargeant. There's also a small storyline about a mob boss whom Bruce has a personal score to settle with.
* One element I like is the discovery of the cave and its various entrances and the clever finding of the Batsuit described as "prototype spandex body armour". The Batman in full costume however doesn't appear for a while on screen (once he's there, he's there in force) which is a clever move and keeps one in anticipation.
* The Scarecrow is referred to only as Jonathan Crane who is the head of medicine at Arkham Asylum. There's a clever origin story to the fear toxin, and at certain points he covers his head in a sack/mask for protection.
* The second half (basically once the 'origin' elements are over) are more like a Batman movie we know but some cool new stuff and shots too which I won't spoil. Suffice it to say there's an elaborate plan which will wreak chaos on downtown Gotham. Key characters get drugged, Alfred pops in at the right time and place to save his master and offer wise counsel, and so on.
* Action fans will be happy with an extensive Batmobile chase through the streets, alleys and 'other surfaces' of Gotham. A decaying monorail system built by Thomas Wayne serves as the backdrop for some story elements.
* The coda includes mention of one of the Dark Knight's most famous villains--its pretty easy to guess which one.

I am glad that "The Scarecrow" is in this film, and there is no "Reaper" as speculated. But I wonder, is the "businessman that clashed with Bruce's father" going to be Falcone or--as a internet collegue suggested--this Earle character? And I must say that these details seem to indicate a fantastic Bat-film is on the way! Make sure to click on the previous link to read the entire story.

More BATMAN plot news?
Wednesday, January 7, 2004 (second update): From DARK HORIZONS. A scooper for the site tells Garth that he has had a peek at the highly guarded script and offers this....

From what I've read so far (a whooping three pages) it opens with a dream sequence of Bruce as a young child and then cuts to him in the Himilayas being tended to by an asian monk.
One interesting thing I did notice when flipping through the script was that The Scarecrow (always referred to as Jonathan Crane) appears a lot more than has been suggested. I'd say by thumbing through he looks to be in it for at least half, if not more, and Ra's Al Ghul doesn't appear to nearly midway in [the film].

The same DH spy also says that there are three possible titles for the film: BATMAN: INTIMDATION GAME, BEGINS, and GENESIS. I don't want to call BS on this report, but don't you think that WB would have secured the domains to those titles if they planned on using them? Well two of them are available and one goes to a certain website that wants to "hype" the upcoming Bat-film. You decide.

More Viggo in BATMAN news
Wednesday, January 7, 2004: According to spies for COMICCON.COM's "The Beat" section, the rumors that actor Viggo Mortensen will appear in BATMAN 5 are "100% true." His role however, was not mentioned.

More Iceland filming info. No Scarecrow?
Tuesday, January 6, 2004 (second update): A scooper for the LATINO REVIEW website, offered more detailed info on the Iceland BATMAN shoot....

-Filming takes place in Höfn, Iceland (South-east Iceland) near the glacier lake Jokulsarlon (where "Die Another Day filmed").
-Location is said to be both green and icy.
-Set construction has already started.
-Filming starts late February,for approximately 2 weeks, right into March.
-Location Manager is Finni Jóhannsson.

Now this is from a pretty good source--a longtime industry "insider" that BOF trusts....

I thought for sure that this character was in the film. I was convinced. But I am not any longer. The latest "script buzz," if you will, says that The Scarecrow is not in the film. Perhaps Nolan eliminated the character in rewrites. Could that explain why Christoper Eccleston's name is no longer attatched to the film? WB and Nolan will have to come clean soon, because filming is right around the corner....

Now that is interesting. Could WB and Nolan have just used The Scarecrow as a smokescreen to throw people off of the true villains and plot details of the film? Could he have been in the film, and then cut in rewrites? Is he actually in the film as long speculated? Frankly, I just couldn't see having all of these villains in the film: The Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul, The Reaper, and whomever else. Something's got to give! But the source is right, we ARE about to find out soon enough! Stay tuned!

BATMAN to film in Iceland? Plot details?
Tuesday, January 6, 2004: According to a SUPERHERO HYPE scooper, the rumors of the production filming in Iceland are true. The scooper also let loose with some plot details....

A Superhero Hype! source - who shall be called 'Enigma' - has confirmed that filming will indeed take place in Iceland. As you may have read, the Warner Bros. production will shoot there for two weeks. What was not revealed was what will be filmed. We've got the exclusive scoop for you, but it's definitely spoiler material, so cover your eyes now if you'd rather not know... Still here? Of course you are. In the scene, Batman, played by Christian Bale, will be fighting on ice with Ra's Al Ghul's #1 pupil (who that is, you'll have to figure out). They won't be fighting for real, however, as it is more of a training exercise. We're also told by our source that "Batman: Intimidation" is a cross between "Year One" and "Year Two" and that it's interwoven very creatively. So start thinking about which characters appeared in each and you might get an idea. The film is also said to be very story-driven. Of course you want to hear about the costume. Let's just say that the costume concept the production is using is awesome! Just wait and see....

While BOF can't confirm or call BS on this new bit of news, I will say that solid BOF sources have maintained that Ra's is the main villain of this film, along with The Scarecrow in a smaller role. Rumors have been floating the The Reaper--a villain from the "YEAR TWO" story arc--could be in this film. BOF has yet to get a definative answer on that. Hopefully, WB will have that press conference as rumored soon and all will be cleared up.

BATMAN "kickoff" press conference?
Sunday, January 4, 2004: This in over the weekend. This is from a new source, so BOF can't vouch for the 100% validity of it. But this would make sense....

I work for Warner Bros. as a XXXXX (please don't reveal my position). While very few details about the new "Batman" film are available, I did hear this before the holidays. The studio may be planning a press conference soon with Nolan, Bale, and others involved with the film; much like the one prior to the filming of "Spiderman." And I don't think it will take place here in the U.S., so I am assuming it will be over in the U.K. where the film will shoot. Sorry, this is all the info I can offer you. The studio is keeping this thing under a TIGHT lock and key.

I hope this pans out. Perhaps then we will find out what characters will be in this film and who gets the roles.

WB secures more domain names
Tuesday, December 30, 2003: SUPERHERO HYPE! is reporting that Warner Bros. has secured yet more domain names related to the upcoming BATMAN film. Recently added domains are: "BatmanIntimidation.com," Batman-Intimidation.com," BatmanIntimidation.net," and Batman-Intimidation.net." There is growing speculation and whisperings that the film will be titled BATMAN INTIMIDATION--in the same manner as RETURNS and FOREVER.

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