Josh Brolin, Hobbit star Richard Armitage and – yes – Ryan Gosling are among Warner Bros's top choices to play Batman in forthcoming superhero sequel Man of Steel 2, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Speculation over who will play the new Bruce Wayne has been rife ever since the studio revealed that the second film in its new Zack Snyder-directed Superman saga would feature the caped crusader and the last son of Krypton battling it out on the big screen. Various polls and surveys have hinted that Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are front runners, but the US trade bible now says it has the genuine inside line on casting.
Top of Warner's list is 45-year-old Josh Brolin, with the studio said to be considering an older Batman in line with Frank Miller's classic comic book The Dark Knight Returns. That famous 1982 volume sees Gotham's defender come into conflict with Superman over the former's increasingly hardline crime-fighting tactics. Brolin has shown himself willing to take on comic-book roles before, and stars in Robert Rodriguez's upcoming Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, based on Miller's comics. He also took the title role in Warner's lacklustre Jonah Hex in 2010.
Next up is Gosling, who's younger than other contenders at 32. Other possible Batmans include Britain's 41-year-old Richard Armitage, currently starring as dwarf king Thorin in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, and Matthew Goode, 35, who played Ozymandias in Snyder's Watchmen. From the small screen, True Blood's Joe Manganiello, 36, and The Unit's Max Martini, 43, are also said to be up for consideration.
Snyder is planning to shoot Man of Steel 2 in early 2014 for a summer 2015 release in cinemas.
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