And here we go! Expect things to move fast when it comes to that Superman and Batman movie planned for the summer of 2015, especially since Warner Bros. wants to begin filming early next year, probably at the same time Marvel will be shooting its Avengers sequel. Currently labeled Man of Steel 2 (expect that to change), the superhero team-up will be "informed" by Frank Miller's very popular miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, which featured an older, alcoholic Batman who comes out of retirement to fight crime and, eventually, Superman, who is tasked by the U.S. government to stop the Caped Crusader. Exactly how much they'll borrow from Miller's classic is still unknown, except for one interesting detail: apparently they'll want to stick with an older Batman.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, guys like Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Joe Manganiello, Matthew Goode, Max Martini and Richard Armitage are already rumored to be on director Zack Snyder's list of potential contenders. It seems like they won't go as old as Miller's series did (his Batman was 55 years old), and instead want someone in his 30s or 40s.
If they want a grizzled, disillusioned Batman, both Brolin and especially Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike) seem to fit that mold. Gosling would make a great Bruce Wayne, but not a great retired and weathered Bruce Wayne. He's too pretty for that. Martini and Armitage are decent picks, though the latter plays a big part in the Hobbit movies (Thorin Oakenshield), which may take attention away from his performance as Batman. Brolin is a the best actor of the bunch, but unlike Henry Cavill he's too well-known for Snyder. He also kinda botched Jonah Hex. Matthew Goode? Please, that guy is way too creepy to play Batman.
Knowing Snyder's fondness for lesser known talent when it comes to his lead roles, Manganiello is the best fit for this story, especially knowing that Snyder was originally keen on him for Superman before his schedule didn't permit it. He's buff and sexy (and American!), but at 36 he's older and knows how to rock that grizzly beard. When it comes to throwing punches, you'd believe a rock-solid Manganiello could give Superman a good beating under the right circumstances. And perhaps most importantly, his career doesn't give the crazy, lunatic fan base much to pick apart. Manganiello is still a fresh face on the big screen, and much of what he's done up until this point has been on TV, where he kicks ass as part of the cast of True Blood. Like Cavill, Snyder has the opportunity to once again help launch a lesser known actor to superstardom.
And, well, this won't hurt the marketing campaign either...