armie hammer batman

You may not know this, but Armie Hammer came very close to playing Batman in George Miller‘s never-made Justice League Mortal. We’ll never know if Hammer would’ve made a good Batman or not, but now we know how he would’ve portrayed the character – as a psychotic. According to Hammer, he really wanted to lean into how freakin’ nuts it is to have a billionaire running around dressed as a giant bat.

Back in the early 2000s, Mad Max Fury Road director George Miller came incredibly close to making Justice League Mortal, which would’ve been the first film to bring together a slew of DC characters, long before Zack Snyder helmed his own Justice League. The cast included D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as The Flash, Hugh Keays-Byrne as Martian Manhunter, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Common as Green Lantern, and Armie Hammer as the Caped Crusader himself, Batman. A writers strike, production delays, and the huge success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight grounded Justice League Mortal before it could take flight, leaving us to ponder what could have been.

In the years since, several of the cast members have offered some insight into the cancelled production, and recently, Armie Hammer dished on how he would’ve portrayed Batman. Speaking with Maltin on Movies, Hammer confirmed he would’ve played the Dark Knight with an extreme emphasis on the dark part:

“I wanted this Batman character to be so dark. I was like look, no one – and this was George’s idea as well, this was really in the script – but no one ever really shows how truly psychotic this man has to be. Like this is a guy who chooses to put on a costume, in all black, and sneak around at night and beat the s*** out of people.”

I’d argue that Hammer’s claim that no one had ever focused on Batman/Bruce Wayne’s mental state isn’t entirely accurate. The Tim Burton Batman films leaned heavily into the idea that Batman was kind of nuts. Hell, in Batman Returns, we see Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne literally sitting in the dark, lifeless, waiting for the Bat Signal to effectively bring him to life. The Batman comics have also taken plenty of time to explore Bruce Wayne’s psyche – but perhaps Hammer was only referring to movies.

Hammer went on to talk a bit more about how dark and crazy his Batman would’ve been:

“Bruce Wayne was the mask that you never really see. I’m probably not supposed to be talking about this, but they took the job away so whatever! So even in times when he would be sitting around, like let’s say he had his batsuit off and all that, he would be sitting down with the thing, looking at the thing with the cowl on, because that’s where he felt the most comfortable in his own weird, twisted way. He was a neurotic, like borderline schizophrenic dude who didn’t trust a single person, including anyone in the Justice League, and had all the dirt on every single one of them, and was ready to take all of them down at the snap of a finger.”

This characterization is kind of similar to Ben Affleck’s angry, violent Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – so make of that what you will. All in all, while I would’ve loved to see Justice League Mortal happen, I’m also fine with having one less crazy, dark Batman out there. Batman has been dark and violent for almost every single one of his film incarnations (save the two Joel Schumacher films). It’s time the Dark Knight lightened up a little.

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