Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/Netflix, John P. Johnson/HBO
Jonah Hill and Jeffrey Wright are in talks to star in The Batman — the Robert Pattinson-led reboot from War for the Planet of the Apes writer-director Matt Reeves that's not part of the DC film universe — per multiple new reports. Wright in being eyed for the role of Jim Gordon, a long-time ally of the Dark Knight who rises in the Gotham City Police Department to eventually become Commissioner. Hill is “in early talks” to play a villain, though his character hasn't yet been decided: the Penguin / Oswald Cobblepot, and the Riddler / Edward Nygma are the choices. Both are part of the so-called Batman's “rogues gallery” and would hence fit the approach that Reeves is going for with The Batman.
Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter were the first to bring respective word of Hill and Wright's potential casting in The Batman. Variety said The Batman producers at Warner Bros. have “long wanted” Hill to be part of the cast, but the talks were postponed until the lead actor had been found. Per people familiar with the matter who spoke to Variety, it “could still fall apart”. That's because, per another THR report, Hill has “become very choosy about the projects he tackles”. The second THR report also revealed the Penguin and the Riddler as villainous picks for Hill.
All of Commissioner Gordon, the Penguin, and the Riddler have previously appeared in live-action Batman films. All three were part of 1966's Batman based on the TV series. Pat Hingle played Gordon in 1989's Batman, 1992's Batman Returns, 1995's Batman Forever, and 1997's Batman & Robin. Danny DeVito portrayed the Penguin in Batman Returns, while Jim Carrey portrayed the Riddler in Batman Forever. Gary Oldman then played Gordon in The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–12), before J.K. Simmons took up the role in 2017's Justice League. The Penguin was referenced in that film, while the Riddler was originally set to appear in its predecessor, 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Hill is best known for his comedic roles in films such as 2007's Superbad, 2012's 21 Jump Street, and 2013's This Is the End. He has slowly transitioned to dramatic roles with 2011's Moneyball, 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street, and 2018's Netflix miniseries Maniac, two of which got him Oscar nominations. Hill made his film directorial debut with Mid90s last year. He has previously been involved in superhero films, as the voice of Green Lantern in The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
Wright currently stars in the HBO series Westworld. He is also known for playing CIA agent Felix Leiter in the James Bond films 2006's Casino Royale, and 2008's Quantum Solace, a role he will reprise in 2020's No Time to Die. Wright has also been part of The Hunger Games franchise, in addition to HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and the 2003 miniseries Angels in America, winning an Emmy for his work in the last of them. Wright will be next seen in the Netflix film The Laundromat, and the aforementioned Bond movie.
The Batman releases June 25, 2021 in cinemas in India and elsewhere. Pre-production is expected to start in September, though there's no fixed month for start of filming, with late 2019 or early 2020 currently being discussed, per Variety.