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Exclusive : Armie Hammer back on WB’s radar for Batman

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

When he was cast as Batman in George Miller’s “Justice League of America”, the anointment of actor Armie Hammer to a blockbuster superhero tent pole and, more importantly, such a legendary role drew mostly arched eyebrows and head scratching.

Hammer, like most of the young cast enlisted for the doomed project, was an unknown at the time. So as great as he might have looked in the black duds, most were still dubious.

Doesn’t much matter now, the film never happened.

As Hammer recalled in a recent interview with MTV, “We had gotten a long way into pre-production,” said Hammer about the ill-fated Australia-set production. “We were about to start shooting when the writer’s strike happened at the end of 2007, and then the Australian government denied a 40% tax rebate that they thought they were going to have, so a lot of things just when wrong.”

“It’s unfortunate,” he continued, “because the amount of work that was already done — I mean, they had finished pre-production and they were a couple of days away from starting to shoot, so it’s a shame that nobody got to see all of the work that got put into it.”

Sigh. The guy apparently loved wearing the Batman suit, too (“I loved it. But I didn’t even get a picture of it.”)

So the movie never happened. But Hammer’s career did.

Will the combination of recently acquired star power and role suitability get Hammer a second shot at bringing his take on the Caped Crusader to the screen?

Quite possibly.

Hearing, from a very good source, today that Hammer, who is now a hot commodity after such flicks as “The Social Network” and “Mirror Mirror”, not to mention his upcoming lead role in “The Lone Ranger”, is ”back on WB’s radar” for the part of Batman. Not for a solo flick, but for the ensemble “Justice League” movie [again].

The studio need a new guy to guard the cave now that Christian Bale has hung up the cowl. And with plans to reintroduce a younger take on the character in the upcoming “Justice League” movie, a draft of which has been completed by Will Beale, the studio has Hammer atop of their list of potentials. It’s really, when you think about it, a no-brainer. Thus, I wasn’t much surprised when informed this morning that he’s in with a good chance to play the part in the superhero tag-team movie.

It’s a win win, really. Hammer apparently wears the suit smartly, has already rehearsed for the gig before, but more so, is a much bigger star than he was three or four years ago.
Hammer headlines Disney’s “Lone Ranger” next year and while eyes will be on that film’s performance (Earlier this year there was some talk of Taylor Kitsch being a contender for the new Batman, and while that’s still a possibility, the lackluster performance of the actor’s “Savages”, “John Carter” and “Battleship” this year definitely didn’t do anything to boost his appeal) , the young actor is, at this stage, in with a very good shot to jump from a horse to a batmobile shortly after.

The only disappointing part of hearing this news this morning, for me anyway? Confirmation that Joseph Gordon Levitt won’t be the next Batman – or any Batman, it seems. That last moment in “Dark Knight Rises”, as most suspected, wasn’t so much meant to set-up a future film but just a nice moment for the movie to end on.

“But the Batman in this movie might only be used in Justice League movies”, we’re informed, suggesting Hammer’s Batman might be restricted to the JLA universe, so chances are someone else might be get a shot at donning the charcoal duds in a solo movie.

Casting is still a ways off for “Justice League” – Which will unite the characters of Superman, Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter – but Warner’s are smart in getting a head start in mixing and matching a workable team of thesps for the main roles.

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