Richard Armitage Auditioned For The DCEU’s Batman
Richard Armitage revealed that he was in the running to play Batman in the DC Extended Universe. The British actor was already a familiar face to viewers in the United Kingdom due to roles in the likes of Spooks (MI-5 in the U.S.) but came to international prominence after starring as Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. Since his stint in Middle earth, Armitage has continued his varied career, appearing in movies, television series and on stage and is currently on promotional duties for Ocean's 8. Armitage has also appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a small role in Captain America: The First Avenger but has yet to make a DCEU appearance.
Once Christian Bale hung up his cape and cowl upon the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. began looking for a new Bruce Wayne that would form part of their planned shared universe. In a move that provoked immediate fan backlash, Ben Affleck was eventually cast in the iconic role and has thus far appeared in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, with a small cameo in Suicide Squad to boot.
However, the situation could have been very different indeed. Speaking with Digital Spy, Armitage revealed that he came very close to playing the DCEU's Batman and was deep into the audition process before ultimately being turned down. The actor states:
"There was a little flurry once upon a time just after I'd come out of The Hobbit where I auditioned for Batman, it was at the same time that Christian Bale was leaving, there were about five or six actors that were in line for that character, so I went through quite a process with that."
Armitage showed enough brooding, heroic anger as Thorin Oakenshield and Spooks' Lucas North to suggest that he would've had the tools necessary to play the Caped Crusader and both of those characters could be described as having a sometimes skewed sense of justice, similar to Batman. Armitage is also around the same age as Affleck and undoubtedly could have provided the kind of older, jaded version of Batman that has been featured in the DCEU thus far.
This revelation perhaps begs the question of whether or not the casting of Armitage would've attracted the same level of anger from fans as Affleck's ultimately did. Given that the Brit has the appropriate physical appearance (a sort of upper-class ruggedness, perhaps) and hasn't appeared in the cinematic duds that often mark Affleck out as a figure of ridicule, it seems distinctly possible that the DC fan base would've been more receptive to Armitage than Affleck.
Whether Armitage's performance would've been better received critically as Batman is another matter however, and given how divisive the DCEU has been thus far (Wonder Woman aside), perhaps the actor feels a little relieved that he didn't land the part and can instead hold out for another big comic book role in the future. After all, Marvel could soon be seeking a new Wolverine if their deal with Disney goes through and Armitage has already lent his vocal talents to that legendary character.
Source: Digital Spy