In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, actor Josh Brolin shared his experience of losing out on the role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder’s series of DC films. In the episode, which also features veteran director David Lynch, Brolin recounted his experience of ‘almost’ playing Batman.

Brolin admitted that ultimately Zack Snyder had passed on him in favour of Ben Affleck. “”That was his decision — that wasn’t my decision. That was his decision.”

“It would have been the older, the more raspy, for lack of a better word,” he said, while describing his own version of the role. “Honestly, that would have been a fun deal, and maybe I’ll do it when I’m 80,” he added.

“I’m really glad it didn’t happen, I haven’t thought twice about it,” he admitted, way back in 2018 after the box-office flop of 2017’s Justice League.

With the role itself lasting through decades and various different films, it’s no surprise that a huge pack of A-list actors have attempted to play the Caped Crusader long before Affleck, and now Robert Pattinson.

Here’s 10 of the most exciting names on that list:

9. Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm Conan

Back in 2017, after Ben Affleck announced his disinterest in continuing with the Batman role, it turned out that his good friend Jon Hamm took up a serious interest in playing the character for the next upcoming Bat-film – Matt Reeves’ newly-announced The Batman.

Unfortunately, at 50 years old, Hamm did not fit well into the young, inexperienced vigilante persona crafted by the director, and did not make the cut.

8. Nicholas Hoult

Nicholas Hoult Tolkien

Most superhero film castings are massive affairs full of dozens upon dozens of auditions, but that wasn’t the case for The Batman. Only Pattinson and Hoult, who had earlier played Beast in the X-Men films, were on the table.

After they both auditioned in Val Kilmer’s old Batsuit, Reeves and the studio executives spent a week before locking Pattinson.

7. Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe Light Sleeper

Yes, believe it or not, everyone’s dream Joker casting actually was once considered as a serious option to play Batman. Speaking to MTV News in 2009, Dafoe revealed that back in 1989, “very early, they talked to me about playing Batman.” 

6. Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke Before Sunrise

As we now know, Michael Keaton picked up the role in 1989, and held it for another film before deciding to give up the Batsuit, meaning that the producers at Warner Bros. had to find a new Batman for (the ironically titled) Batman Forever.

They offered the role to Ethan Hawke, who turned the film down, fearing that it would lead to him being typecast. While he eventually admitted to Collider that this decision led to regret, he did end up appearing in Before Sunrise in 1995, one of the greatest romantic films of all time.

5. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal Demolition

Several reviewers have compared Pattinson’s performance in The Batman to Gyllenhaal’s work in films such as Donnie Darko and Nightcrawler. Apparently this hits pretty close to home, considering that the actor was a major choice for the producers of The Dark Knight trilogy.

Now that would have been one hell of a way to reunite the actor with Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger!

4. Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan Die Another Day

According to The Guardian, back in the ’80s, Tim Burton’s producers for the ‘89 Batman film were seriously gunning for none other than James Bond himself, who was still over half a decade away from playing his most famous role back then.

Brosnan however obviously declined the role, stating that he did not want to play a comic book character.

3. Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy Inception

Christopher Nolan sure has an eye for talent. Similar to Gyllenhaal, Cillian Murphy was also in the running to play Nolan’s Bruce Wayne.

While his audition tapes convinced neither of them, Nolan still saw great potential, and cast the Peaky Blinders star as the Scarecrow instead.

2. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson Tequila Sunrise

Another actor who was offered the Wayne role in Tim Burton’s film, Mel Gibson seemed fairly interested in playing the Caped Crusader. However, his commitment to Lethal Weapon 2 pushed him away from the role.

1. Bill Murray

Alt Text: Bill Murray Ghostbusters

It’s pretty amusing to see how many great comedic actors got close to landing big superhero roles, even before the explosion of the genre in the 2000s.

,Murray’s was a bit of a long shot, but we’ll include it in this list. For starters, he was on the Warner Bros. table long before Burton even took the helm of the franchise in the 1980s. Before him, the producers were interested in making a campy, Adam West-style film with Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman in the director’s chair. Thankfully, we got Burton’s dark reimagination instead.

(Featured Image Credits: Warner Bros.)