David S Goyer reveals Jake Gyllenhaal nearly played Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

Jake Gyllenhaal batman
Credit: Jake Gyllenhaal/Facebook, The Dark Knight

David S. Goyer, co-creator of The Dark Knight Trilogy, has made a surprising revelation about the casting of the iconic superhero film series. During a recent episode of the ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast, Goyer admitted that he had advocated for Jake Gyllenhaal’s casting in the first film, ‘Batman Begins’, highlighting that the Marvel actor was among the top contenders for the role.

Nevertheless, as we all know, the legendary role of Bruce Wayne ultimately went to Christian Bale, who reprised the character in ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

“Gyllenhaal is amazing”

“We would chat about all sorts of things. There were a number of people who had screen-tested, and I had advocated for Gyllenhaal. I mean, Gyllenhaal is amazing, Christian Bale is amazing, so who knows what,” Goyer told host Josh Horowitz on Thursday, September 21.

The spree of revelations continued when asked if there exists footage of Gyllenhaal auditioning for Batman in the suit, to which the screenwriter responded, “I believe there is, yes.” All in all, Goyer made it clear that the ‘Nightcrawler’ actor was his vote for the iconic role at that time.

Jake Gyllenhaal almost was BATMAN!

Why was Liam Neeson chosen for Ra’s Al Ghul?

Other than Batman, choosing the actor for the role of Ra’s Al Ghul, one of Batman’s main villains, also took a lot of thinking. Goyer mentioned that there were two actors under consideration for the role at that time. He explained that the role went to Liam Neeson because he was “a little older” while the other candidate was “a contemporary of Christian Bale’s, in terms of age.” Neeson’s portrayal also aligned well with the paternal theme of the story and the influence of Bruce Wayne’s father.

Leonardo DiCaprio for Riddler?

As the discussion proceeded, Goyer brought another unexpected casting idea to the table. Speaking more about Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Goyer recalled a moment at the 2008 premiere of ‘The Dark Knight’ when a Warner Bros. official suggested having Leonardo DiCaprio play the role of Riddler in the next Batman movie. However, Goyer swiftly shut down the suggestion, stating, “That’s not the way we work.”

He went on to explain that Nolan follows a very careful process when making films, adding that he is “staunchly against” building a movie with the villain as the main focus. Goyer quoted Nolan, saying, “That’s not a bottom, ground-up way of telling 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 thematically want to explore with Bruce, and then let’s figure out a villain that fits that story.” Ultimately, the Riddler did not make it to the live-action movie, and Tom Hardy’s Bane was finalized.