Jake Gyllenhaal Open To Playing Batman Decades After Losing The Part To Christian Bale

Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) wants a part of this in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Marvel Studios

Did you know Donnie Darko almost became The Dark Knight? It’s true. Road House remake star Jake Gyllenhaal was the runner-up for the part of the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins which spawned Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.

Bale is Batman pt 3
Christian Bale is Batman in Batman Begins (2005), Warner Bros.

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Few would doubt Nolan made the right choice going with Christian Bale, but the Oppenheimer filmmaker thought enough of Gyllenhaal’s audition that he called the actor personally to tell him his decision. He received a similar update from Baz Luhrmann about a role in Moulin Rouge, but that’s another story.

“To [Nolan’s] credit and to Baz [Luhrmann’s] credit, both of those directors called me personally to tell me [I didn’t get the role],” Gyllenhaal said on Howard Stern’s radio show via Variety. “And they will tell you why. When you get that far, there’s a real legitimacy to you potentially getting something.”

L to R: Cillian Murphy (as J. Robert Oppenheimer) and writer, director, and producer Christopher Nolan on the set of OPPENHEIMER.

He continued, “It’s not like they’re going, ‘Oh, thanks so much.’ They are going, ‘I saw these aspects of you that I really wanted in the role and are wonderful, but in the end, I ended up moving this way because it matches better with this person who is opposite you or would be opposite you. The color of their hair or their height, whatever it is!”

Gyllenhaal added he takes it all in stride and tries not to get caught up in unhealthy factors. “There are all these [nonfactors] that really are the inexplicable stuff that if you start to pick away at [why] it doesn’t work, it’s not healthy.”

Instead, the actor remains focused and motivated and views such calls not as rejection but as inspiration and reinforcement. “I just got a call personally from Christopher Nolan,” Gyllenhaal said.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Sergeant John Kinley in Guy Ritchie's The Covenant (2023), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Jake Gyllenhaal as Sergeant John Kinley in Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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“That’s pretty cool. I’ve gotten pretty far. I went from them going they aren’t sure [about me] to a call saying they’re really thinking about you for this movie. So okay, I should keep going. I should just keep going.”

The longer anyone goes or pushes in any profession, good opportunities have a habit of coming back around, which may happen to Gyllenhaal as James Gunn has a slot open for a Batman in The Brave and The Bold.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton in Road House (2024), Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer
Jake Gyllenhaal as Dalton in Road House (2024), Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Although no casting or script has been finalized by Gunn or director Andy Muschietti, Gyllenhaal is on many fan’s shortlists. Asked by Screen Rant about possibly playing Batman finally, he answered, “But of course. It would be an honor always. Those types of things and those roles are classics.”

NEXT: Christopher Nolan Has One Regret About The Most Famous Line From ‘The Dark Knight’

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