Christopher Nolan Reveals Why Josh Hartnett Passed On Playing Batman

The Batman that almost was!

Josh Hartnett Christian Bale Batman

Christopher Nolan is once more set to take the box office by storm with his newest film Oppenheimer. During a recent interview for the project, he opened up about nearly casting Josh Hartnett as Batman in his trilogy instead of Christian Bale.

Many people consider Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy some of the greatest superhero films of all time, with Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne being no small part of that. However, it seems as though Bale wasn’t always a part of the filmmaker’s vision. During a recent interview for Oppenheimer, the auteur filmmaker revealed he had originally approached Josh Hartnett for the role before the offer was turned down:

“No, it never got that far,” Nolan told Variety. “I met with Josh and if I recall, he was a young actor whose work I was very interested in. I had an initial conversation with him but he had read my brother’s script for ‘The Prestige’ at the time and was more interested in getting involved with that. So it never went further than that.”

It seems impossible to imagine a world where Christian Bale wasn’t Batman in Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed trilogy. While Josh Hartnett would’ve certainly done a good job, Bale’s take on the character continues to have ripple effects in comics, animation, and movies to this day. While there have certainly been crazier near misses for casting in superhero films, such as Joaquin Phoenix being eyed to play Doctor Strange, it’s certain this will go down as one of the most fascinating.

The future of the Batman series

The first movie ended with Batman apprehending the Riddler, who has flooded Gotham City, though details about Part II are currently scarce. Matt Reeves is co-writing the script of the sequel with Mattson Tomlin.

The heads of DC Studios recently revealed that The Batman: Part II is set to hit theaters on October 2025. The first movie earned $770.8 million at the worldwide box office, a figure that makes it the seventh highest-grossing movie of 2022.

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Anthony Singletary

Anthony Singletary

Anthony has always had a love for stories. An aspiring screenwriter and video editor, he takes pride in connecting fans with the latest heroic news!