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It's Casting Time!, Part 1
Author: Jett
Sunday, July 16, 2006

Man, time flies when you’re having fun -- or so they say, right?

Anyway, it’s been a little over a year since BATMAN BEGINS first hit theaters and at the time, I’m sure it seemed like it would take forever to see the sequel. I know it felt that way to me. And it’s been fun this past year, right Bat-fans? I mean, BB was totally a success, the DVD rocked, it got great marks from reviewers, and we know for sure that “The Sequel” is coming.

So here it is, July of 2006, the year is flying by, and 2007 will be here before you know it. And you know what 2007 means, right? Filming will begin on the BATMAN BEGINS sequel.

However, before that happens, the dang thing has to be cast!

We know that Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldamn are definitely coming back. Morgan Freeman more than likely will reprise his role of Lucius Fox. And word has it that several other minor characters that we saw in BEGINS will return for another Bat-capade as well (Katie Holmes fans, quit hate’n -- let’s see what happens, OK?).

But, there are two VERY big roles that have not been filled as of yet. You all know whom I’m talking about here, right? Sure you do y’all.

The Joker and Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent.

The casting of these two parts has all of Bat-geekdom abuzz -- and rightfully so. The Joker is arguably the greatest comic book villain of all time, while, Harvey Dent, who will eventually become Two Face, is one of the best of The Batman’s rouge’s gallery. You know, tragic character, good guy gone bad because of a horrible act. I LOVE that character! But I digress.

Every fan has their own idea of who would be perfect for each part. Don’t believe me? All you got to do is go to any movie message board on the Net, and I guaran-damn-tee you that there will be a thread or 10,000 on who should play The Joker and Dent. Fans are arguing and debating incessantly over this topic.

And it’s not only Bat-dorks like myself. Everyone where I hang knows what I do. And I’m asked constantly, “Who is playing The Joker?!”

And since I’m a Batman geek too, I’ve got my own ideas of who should fill these two roles. Look my friends, I’m no more important than any other Bat-fan, but I do sort of have a pulpit that allows me to express my ideas to the masses. With that said, I also pride myself as being a conduit between the fans and the “powers that be;” who you never know, just might be reading.

You’ve heard all the names and suggestions out there for both parts, so I won’t rehash that right now. This is an unabashed, straight-up, opinion piece.

My opinion.

As I know that casting is near, I’m going to throw it out there one more time (well, for right now at least), whom I’d like to see nab these roles. And I promise Bat-fans, I will continue to let your voice be heard as well.

But today, I’m going to focus on…

THE JOKER
I’m more than certain that there are MANY excellent actors who could do this role justice -- no doubt. But it’s going to have to go to one person, right? And if I had my druthers, I’d cast the Australian thespian Lachy Hulme.

“Why?” I’m confident many of y‘all are asking yourself. Well for me, it’s simple -- I want an unknown in the part. I wholeheartedly think that’s imperative. There is no need to cast a “name” this time around as it was back in 1988 for BATMAN.

Look, I totally get why Nicholson was pursued to play The Joker and was eventually cast. However, it’s now 2006, BATMAN BEGINS was a success, and it more than legitimized the new Bat-series for fans and the “Average Joe” alike.

The Batman is the star of this series and he should remain the star of these films. That’s a nod to just how good Mr. Bale was in BEGINS.

Trust me, there is no need to bring in “Big Time Actor X” as The Clown Prince of Crime, so everyone can sit and watch and think, “There’s ‘ol ‘Big Time Actor X” acting like The Joker.” All everyone wants is “The Joker.”

OK, I’ve made my point about that, so back to why I think Hulme should be the man.

I don’t know, to be totally honest. Call it gut instinct or perhaps Bat-fan’s intuition. But from the moment I was told by an insider that Mr. Hulme was (maybe) up for the role, and then did my research, he’s been my, well, “#1 guy.”

He looks like The Joker physically for one thing. Perhaps it’s that intense, cold, blue-eyed stare that hooked me. He’s tall, around 6’2” I believe. He’s got a big head of hair that is just screaming “dye me green!”

And all of that physical stuff is fine and dandy. Let me be fan boy-ish frank here -- what made me swallow the lure is the fact that dude’s a huge Batman fan -- allegedly. Everything I’ve read that he’s said about Batman and the role suggests he's a Bat-fan to me. Maybe I’m rooting for him partly because, maybe, he’s “one of us,” so to speak.

Think about that for a minute. If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely been a huge Bat-fan for most of your life (If Vegas was setting the odds, I'd take the over). What if YOU were an actor, not well known, but had the chance nab a major role in a BATMAN film? How cool would that be? And figure in that this role is none other than The Joker!

In a vicarious sort of way, that’s why Hulme is my man.

But that fan stuff means nothing really -- that's just the fan in me talking. You have to have talent too, right? I've checked out Hulme in THE MATRIX flick and have even watched FOUR JACKS (He won "Best Actor" at the 2001 Melbourne Underground Film Festival).

So there, I’ve made my case for Mr. Hulme. But I’ve got to have a backup, right? Well I certainly do.

I like Paul Bettany, Adrian Brody, and even Robin Williams (too “Nicholson-ish” though -- think “The Penguin“). I certainly wouldn't have any beef with Bettany or Brody if cast. But, if it ain’t Hulme, I’d go with Hugo Weaving.

The guy was great in THE MATRIX films, tremendous in V FOR VENDETTA (I loved that movie!), is a hell of an actor, AND, is relatively unknown. I don’t mean “unknown” in that the guy hasn’t “broken out” per se, but “unknown” in that he disappears into his roles. My only problem with Mr. Weaving is his age. He’s a tad too old in my opinion. But hey, that’s just me.

And of course, I rank "age," chronologically, as just a number (Hell, I'm 40!).

So there you have it, I’m lobbying for Mr. Hulme to be Mr. J in BATMAN CONTINUES -- or whatever it’s going to eventually be called.

Whether you agree or not, thanks for “listening” to my argument.

Now with all that said, I trust Mr. Nolan completely when it comes to casting. Whomever he ends up going with for The Joker, no doubt I'll be fine with it.

Next up, I’m taking on Gotham’s District Attorney, one Mr. Harvey Dent.

"Jett" is the editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM and ON-FILM.NET.

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