Over the last week or so, we’ve seen yet more casting rumours for the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. Most recently, we’ve heard that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is being primed to take on the part of The Riddler, based on as little as a supposed conversation on the set of Inception between Levitt and director Christopher Nolan. We’ve also been given an apparent start date. Seeing as the script probably hasn’t even been finished, the naming of actors for unwritten parts seems ludicrous. A release date may be easier to swallow, but really, how can these kind of unfounded rumours continue to spread?
These are not the first casting rumours regarding Batman 3 of course. Soon after the release of The Dark Knight, its huge financial success meant that ‘news’ stories regarding the next installment were everywhere. Just weeks after it opened, there were rumours that Batman’s producers had singled out Johnny Depp and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the stars they wanted for the third movie, as villains The Riddler and The Penguin respectively. Considering how paramount great casting has been to the quality of Nolan’s work, it’s impossible to imagine him ever again letting a studio dictate his casting, particularly for main roles. It was shortly after this that Angelina Jolie was being named for Catwoman. This before director or studio had even acknowledged the potential of a third film being developed.
The rumours have continued since, with a parade of characters being named, with The Riddler seemingly being the most popular. Actors have been mooted with just as much regularity, again a favourite has emerged, with Johnny Depp being the one most frequently referred to. There are numerous reasons why this is all so ridiculous.
As far as we know, the screenplay for ‘Untitled Batman Project’ hasn’t been completed, and without a clear storyline in place, even Nolan and Warner Bros don’t know who they are looking for. David S Goyer has been working on the story, and is writing the screenplay with Jonathan Nolan, but with Christopher Nolan tied up for the last several months with work on Inception, it seems highly unlikely that there has been any talks based around casting. It is quite possible that even character decisions are yet to be finalised. The only ‘guarantees’ are that Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman will be back. Certainly, without scripting and storyboards, a clear shooting schedule is unlikely to have been established, which again makes casting difficult due to potential scheduling conflicts.
Perhaps more importantly than this, is the fact that Nolan is habitually very secretive with his filmmaking. Both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were made under false working titles, The Intimidation Game and Rory’s First Kiss respectively. With his most recent film, Inception, the storyline has been kept almost completely under wraps until very recently, and is only now coming to light because it would be impossible to promote the movie without revealing some plot details. Based on the sheer number of rumours and stories that have been thrown around, the director would have had to have undergone a complete personality transplant for even a small percentage of them to contain any truth. The talented filmmaker will take the selection process very seriously, and would not want any details leaked until he was sure of his decisions first.
With Nolan now doing the rounds on the Inception promotional trail, it’s natural for questions to be asked of him regarding Batman. Any answers he gives are going to be open to interpretation, so there are obviously going to be numerous stories doing the rounds again. But Inception is the reason i think the stories need to be put on hold. By fixating on a movie not due for release for a couple of years, we are very much undermining Nolan’s latest film. Inception is just a month away. It is a highly anticipated film, one of the biggest releases of the year, with some fantastic actors, and right now it deserves all our attention.
Asking Nolan questions about a future project when he is trying to sell his latest vision to the public is actually pretty unfair. He wrote it himself, and based on the appearance of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the promotional pictures and trailer, it looks to be a very personal piece of work. Unlike Batman, it is a completely original concept. In a time when franchises, reboots and sequels are taking over our multiplexes, we should be falling over ourselves for the chance to promote this kind of movie. Nolan has never made a bad film, and his original stories and ideas have made him one of the most popular filmmakers of his generation.
The interest in Batman is inevitable, and once Inception has been released, i have no problem with looking ahead to the next, and probably last, installment in Nolan’s series. But for now, ignore the easy hits, let Batman 3 marinate, and anticipate the potential beauty, and brilliance, of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/baz_mann