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Author Topic: CLEOPATRA and a DARK KNIGHT RETURNS movie  (Read 2928 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: September 04, 2006, 05:40:04 AM »

If they ever do a movie version of DKR, the worst actor they can possibly cast is a known craggy-faced tough guy actor. They would be better served by casting against type; someone unlikely, like William H. Macy would do.

The thing that is most magnetic about the Batman of DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is that he was a "great" man that is bigger than life. There are comparisons to FDR everywhere, for example.

In the Mankiewicz 1960s version of CLEOPATRA, Julius Caesar was played by (of all the actors in Hollywood) Doctor-freakin-Doolittle himself, Rex Harrison. If you think about it, this was totally brilliant casting, because Caesar's greatness was achieved by understatement, almost literal "Olympian detatchment." If Laurence Olivier or Brando had played Caesar, it wouldn't have worked as well as it did.

Beside Caesar "all men are little men," like Lizzie tells us in that flick. And Rex made us believe it. He made the best Caesar seen in movies, because not only was he quiet and let us see his greatness in deeds only, at the same time Rex played the character as being rather frail.

The DKR figure is Caesar, too: invincible but very frail at the same time. Batman knocks a thug out with a punch, but when the thug is on the ground, he grabs his fist because it's bruised and he might have broken a knuckle. Batman comes oin on a horse like a fairytale character, but when nobody's looking, he slumps like an old man in his saddle. The DKR Batman really grows on you, over time; he becomes likeable when one realizes he's a pitiable character in some ways.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2006, 11:17:44 AM »

At the rate that a DKR project is happening, I'd be quite happy with Kevin Conroy in the title role...  he'd be old enough.
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nightwing
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2006, 01:21:23 PM »

I don't see the point of a DKR movie.

Miller had something to say in 1986, back when Batman was reduced to soap-opera romances and the tedious duties of adopted fatherhood.  As Miller said at the time, Batman had become "fat and happy."  Readers needed a reminder of what the character was at his roots; a man who believed it was okay to use his own brand of violence to bring order to his world.

Balancing that out, IMO, were little moments that reminded us he hadn't gone completely over the edge.  There's the scene where he camps out on one of the twin towers waiting for Two-Face to arrive and then it turns out he picked the wrong tower.  He whips out a high-powered rifle and takes aim and for a moment we think, "Whoa! Has he totally gone over to the dark side?"  But no, he just fires a grapple to the other side.  Then there's that moment where he tells the kid not to curse, and so on.  It's a nice balancing act, for the most part.

Of course he blows it in the sequel and in the current All-Star book "Batman" has nothing going for him at all as a character...he's a one-dimensional caricature, more ridiculous than scary.  But the point is, when Miller did DKR it was a revelation.  Now it's the norm.  His blueprint has been so faithfully followed that for 20 years there has been essentially no difference between his "possible future" Batman and our "definite present" Batman.  

So why bother with a film? All those moments where the audience is made to think, "this is not your father's Batman" have been ruined by the very existence of the Burton films, where Batman kills regularly and broods constantly.  Whatever vestiges of the Adam West model remained in the public's mind are already gone now, so DKR would offer no surprises.  Take that away and all you've got is a Batman movie with an old man in the suit, and that dear friends will not sell toys.

Ain't gonna happen.

But if they did, Bruce Willis all the way.  With due respect to the great Mr Macy, we need a guy who looks like he's been through some battles, someone who obviously used to be a powerhouse but is now falling apart.  Miller's Batman, more than any other, is a Batman who stands or falls based on muscle and willpower, much more than brains.  Miller writes the least cerebral...no strike that, the flat-out dumbest Batman in all of comics.  Even the Governator would work better than a guy with real acting skill who doesn't have the build.
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Great Rao
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2006, 09:15:04 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
If they ever do a movie version of DKR, the worst actor they can possibly cast is a known craggy-faced tough guy actor.

I don't know about that.  Clint Eastwood would work pretty well, and he's the definitive craggy-faced tough guy.

S!
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 08:50:07 AM »

At first, I misread the title to this thread, and was quite excited at the idea of Batman meeting Cleopatra. However, I see Julian's point: Rex Harrison as Caesar is an inspired bit of casting (as is Peter Ustinov as Nero in Quo Vadis). I've pointed out before how interesting it would have been if character actors like Peter Sellers or Alec Guiness had attempted the Superman/Clark Kent thing.

Like Nightwing, I don't really see the point of a DKR movie now. Much of it was satirical of the media and politics of its day (Reagan is still president in a life support machine, the David Endochrine show; even Dr. Ruth gets a look-in), so it is a bit outdated now. I am one of the few people alive who actually liked the sequel, which is equally satirical of the internet world, but its frantic pace and obscure references would make it hard to film unless it were very watered down.

However, if someone did make a DKR movie, Bruce Willis might be a good choice; I just saw Sin City (illegal downloading! My first attempt), and he did a commendable job in a similar role. As a Coen Brothers fan, though, I'd like to suggest Gabriel Byrne or Jeff Bridges. Yeah, I said Jeff Bridges. Watch The Big Lebowski and tell me that he wouldn't be a great Batman. Hey, even John Goodman could do it.
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