Once upon a 2005, Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for Batman Begins. Christian Bale ultimately rose as the Dark Knight. Fast forward to 2017 and he might have another shot at the cape and cowl. If this particular rumor plays out, Gyllenhaal could be sporting his own utility belt ...
… one that is currently worn by Ben Affleck.
While speaking on his YouTube show, film journalist John Campea (formerly of Collider) reported that Gyllenhaal could potentially replace Affleck as the DCEU's Caped Crusader. Obviously, take it as nothing more than a rumor for now, but it's certainly interesting to consider.
With appearances in Donnie Darko, Source Code, Life, and Okja, Gyllenhaal is no stranger to the genre. And who can forget his raw performance in the western Brokeback Mountain? Gyllenhaal is a supremely talented actor.
But so is Affleck. Reception has been mixed, but Affleck plays Bruce Wayne’s grimmer side with an insecurity and humility we haven’t seen with other actors. He's had to overcome fan hatred dating to when his casting was announced — a year or so before he even appeared on screen. At least some of that vocal outcry was certainly because of the challenge of following up Christian Bale from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, as well as Affleck's near-disastrous superhero experience in Daredevil.
Batman, with his reliance on gadgets, needs to be smart. This is why Michael Keaton was a wonderful wild card in Batman history. He was cast not because he had a super-heroic physique. He was cast because he can act. Gyllenhaal certainly has the build for a superhero look, but also a bit of the talent balance that made Keaton so seminal in the role.
Besides, when an actor is covered from head to toe in black rubber, with little of his face visible, it’s all but impossible to emote. Heroic activities aside, Batman isn’t himself interesting on screen. Bruce Wayne, however, is arguably the most interesting piece of the puzzle.
As for whether Affleck will be replaced, we should learn more when we see the box-office take of Justice League, Affleck’s third appearance as Batman. Justice League is predicted to have a superhero haul at the box office, so who knows? Maybe Affleck will decide to just stick around anyway?