Josh Brolin Talks Losing the Role of Batman to Ben Affleck

Josh Brolin: I'm not Batman
Josh Brolin: I'm not Batman / John Lamparski/GettyImages

As more comic book movies and shows are delving into alternate realities and multiverses, we’re finding ourselves asking, “what if?” Today, we ask, “What if Thanos was the Batman?”

While on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, actor Josh Brolin reflected on the time he almost played the Caped Crusader. Brolin is an old hand at superhero movies, having played the iconic villain Thanos in Marvel’s Infinity Saga as well as Cable in Deadpool 2. As it turns out, he also auditioned to play Batman back when Zack Snyder was making Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but was ultimately passed over for Ben Affleck.

Josh Brolin says it “would have been a fun deal” to play an older Batman.

According to Brolin, Snyder’s willingness to take risks and experiment was what drew him to the project. “That was interesting to me,” the actor said. “Again, because something that is set up to not work at all, or to work flyingly—I like those odds. I like playing with those odds. I’m like, ‘Am I the guy who’s gonna make it all fail?'”

Whether Brolin’s portrayal of Batman would have helped or hurt Dawn of Justice, we’ll never know, although it doesn’t seem likely it could have made things worse. Batman v Superman is widely regarded as one of the weaker movies in the DCEU, for reasons bigger than any one actor.

Brolin is well aware of the pressure that comes with playing a character as well known as Batman. “I didn’t think [he] was bad, but you talk to [George] Clooney and he’s still talking about it—and it wasn’t his fault,” Brolin said, referencing Clooney’s self-deprecating stance on 1997’s Batman & Robin, where he played the Caped Crusader.

“That was before Deadpool 2, it would have been the older, more raspy [version] for lack of a better word,” Brolin continued. “Honestly, that would have been a fun deal, and maybe I’ll do it when I’m 80.”

The Batman is now on HBO Max.

Nowadays, Warner Bros. seems to be taking a different tack with Batman anyway. Ben Affleck is set to appear one last time as Bruce Wayne in The Flash, but all the Bat-talk of late has been about Matt Reeves’s darker noir film The Batman. That one saw Robert Pattinson don the cape and cowl to fight a Zodiac killer-inspired version of the Riddler, played by Paul Dano. Several spinoff shows for HBO Max have been announced, including one about Arkham Asylum and another following the rise of Colin Farrell’s Penguin.

The Batman is now available to stream on HBO Max.