Matt Reeves’s The Batman further develops with the casting of Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner James Gordon.
Reeves confirmed on Twitter that after discussions, Jeffrey Wright has signed on to the project. His film credits include Shaft, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Hunger Games franchise. He is the first African-American to take on the role.
Previous film actors include Pat Hingle, Gary Oldman, and J.K. Simmons. On TV, Gordon was portrayed by Neil Hamilton in the 1966 Batman series. In 2014, Ben McKenzie portrayed a much younger Gordon in Gotham. Wright’s casting snaps the pattern of casting prominently Caucasian actors in an age of inclusion.
In addition to Jeffrey Wright’s casting breaking new ground, actress Zoe Kravitz is also the first woman of color to embody the character of Selina Kyle on film. Halle Berry had the title role in 2002’s much-maligned Catwoman, but that character’s real identity was Patience Prince. The only other African American woman to portray the actual Catwoman was the late Eartha Kitt on the third season of Batman. (However, the character’s identity of Selina Kyle was never revealed during the course of the series.) The film also stars Paul Dano as Edward Nygma aka The Riddler and Robert Pattinson takes over the role of The Caped Crusader from Ben Affleck post-Justice League.
While there is no word on the plot, it is allegedly taking inspiration from Jeph Loeb’s Batman: The Long Halloween. That limited series focused on a year-long mystery that culminated in D.A. Harvey Dent’s transformation into the psychotic Two-Face. If this direction is confirmed, it will be the first Batman film project that will focus on the character’s distinction as the world’s greatest detective. That part of the hero has been largely ignored in recent adaptations, its directors focusing instead on his fighting abilities.
The Batman is currently slated for a June 25, 2021 release.