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Jake Gyllenhaal Says Playing Batman ‘Would Be an Honor Always,’ Two Decades After Losing ‘Batman Begins’ Despite Being Co-Writer’s Top Choice

Jake Gyllenhaal was a serious contender to play Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, but it appears losing the role to Christian Bale never impacted Gyllenhaal’s desire to play Batman on the big screen. Making the press rounds in support of his new Prime Video action movie “Road House,” Gyllenhaal was asked by Screen Rant if he was still interested in playing Batman.

“Oh, man. That’s a classic [role]. It’s an honor,” Gyllenhaal answered. “Speaking of playing roles that other incredible actors have played in the past … When I think about it, I’m going to play Iago in ‘Othello’ with Denzel Washington, and I think about like the history of actors that have played that role throughout time, and I’m intimidated by that. So that’s the first level. That’s what I’m working on right now. But of course. It would be an honor always. Those types of things and those roles are classics.”

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While Robert Pattinson currently plays Batman on the big screen (Warner Bros. recently moved the release date for “The Batman Part II” to Oct. 2, 2026), a new Batman actor will soon be found to star in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” That film is being directed by “The Flash” and “It” helmer Andy Muschietti and will officially bring Batman into the new universe that is being created by DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran. Pattinson’s Batman remains a standalone. Might Gyllenhaal be this new Batman? It sounds like he’d certainly be open to the idea.

David S. Goyer, who came up with the story for “Batman Begins” and co-wrote the script with director Christopher Nolan, recently confirmed rumors that Gyllenhaal was his personal top pick to play Batman in Nolan’s trilogy. Goyer admitted that “Bale is amazing,” and he also cracked the stories with Nolan for “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Gyllenhaal would later get a second chance at joining a superhero franchise when he was cast as the villain Mysterio opposite Tom Holland in 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

Gyllenhaal opened up to Howard Stern in 2021 about the difficulties of acting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, describing it as “a whole different craft.”

“It’s hard, man. That acting is hard. All of it,” Gyllenhaal said. “That world is enormous. And I joined that world way into that run; a train that was already moving. Normally, I come in way early on and I get to figure it out.”

Acting in a Marvel movie was such a big change of pace for Gyllenhaal that it resulted in bouts of anxiety on set. Or as Gyllenhaal put it, “I was freaking out. It was a scene with [Samuel L.] Jackson, Tom [Holland] … There were a number of actors in that scene. And I remember not being able to remember my lines. I was the wooden board. And they were like, ‘Whoa’.”

Gyllenhaal continued, “And I went up to Tom Holland and was like, ‘Dude, help me out’. He’s like, ‘It’s all good, man. Just relax’. It was like he was me in so many situations. And I finally did. I just put a lot of pressure on [myself] because I love that world. I had to walk up [to people on set] and be like, ‘Look man, I just came off Broadway doing a one-man show for an hour and a half onstage, so I got this. Please, believe me’.”

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” went on to earn more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, but it remains Gyllenhaal’s only appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.

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