With the gears slowly but surely turning on Warner Bros.' planned "Justice League" movie, the studio is rumoured to be looking for inspiration in its previous attempt to bring the superhero ensemble to the big screen.
WB's current "Justice League" project isn't the first time the studio has tried to gather up the greatest heroes in the DC Comics universe for a tag team adventure. A "Justice League" movie almost happened in 2007, well before "The Avengers" movie was even a glimmer in Marvel's eye. It had a script and a director ("Mad Max" and "Happy Feet" filmmaker George Miller) and was reportedly well into pre-production before the studio threw in the towel due to the Hollywood writer's strike and other issues.
The 2007 "Justice League" movie even had a cast to play young versions of the DC superheroes, one that included "Dear John's" D.J. Cotrona as Superman, "The O.C's" Adam Brody as The Flash, model Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, rapper/actor Common as Green Lantern, and "Lone Ranger" star Armie Hammer as Batman.
Of those almost-Justice Leaguers, Hammer appears to be enjoying the most success these days. Thanks in part to memorable supporting roles in "The Social Network" (as the Winklevoss twins), "J. Edgar," and "Mirror, Mirror," Hammer won the role of the titular masked rider in director Gore Verbinski's "The Lone Ranger," opposite Johnny Depp. And things are continuing to look up for the actor, if reports are to be believed. With that much higher current profile, rumours are now swirling that Warner Bros. is revisiting the idea of having Hammer play a young Bruce Wayne.
Actor Christian Bale officially retired from the role with the end of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, leaving Warner Bros. up the creek without a Dark Knight for "Justice League." Having already won the part once, Hammer seems well-positioned to take up the cape and cowl now that he's a little more famous.
WB already have their Superman for "Justice League" in "Man of Steel's" Henry Cavill and possibly a Green Lantern in Ryan Reynolds (that is, if they choose to pursue their still vague "Green Lantern 2" plans). Those two are important pieces of the Justice League team, but central to the dynamic of the DC super group has always been the yin and yang of Batman and Superman -- the dark and brooding tactician and the big blue boy scout, respectively. Whoever ends up playing Batman -- whether it's Hammer or someone else -- will need to have good chemistry with Cavill for the whole thing to work.
Regardless, the project will be an uphill battle. Save for Batman, DC heroes have not enjoyed the same level of box office success as their Marvel Comics counterparts. Throwing a bunch of recognizable heroes together in a movie is not a guarantee of big returns; "The Avengers" only really worked because Marvel used numerous other films to introduce all of their characters. Warner Bros. and DC, on the other hand, will only have "Man of Steel" and possibly "Green Lantern" to do the same thing, forcing them to establish the rest of the League in the first hour or so of the movie. It's certainly not impossible to do, but it's still a tall order. Casting Hammer may be a great first step.
Do you think Armie Hammer has what it takes to play Batman? Or should the studio go in a different direction?