How to Get Cast in a ‘Batman’ Production

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As the DC Cinematic Universe enters a new era with James Gunn at the helm (yes, the same James Gunn who also directed Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy), one of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Batman, stands to undergo some changes as well. But as the studio figures out how it will proceed, several other “Batman” productions, such as Robert Pattinson’s  “The Batman: Part 2,” Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga’s Joker: Folie à Deux,” and Colin Farrel’s spinoff series “The Penguin,” are also in the works. It appears the Bat Signal will light the skies of Gotham City for years to come. 

In anticipation of what’s ahead for the Caped Crusader, this guide outlines everything you need to know about the “Batman” casting process, including how previous stars were cast and their best audition tips.


What is “Batman” about?

While each installment features its own arc, the story of Batman follows Bruce Wayne, the bachelor billionaire who moonlights as a self-made superhero. After his parents were murdered when he was only a child, Wayne dedicated his life to ridding Gotham City of the villains that torment its citizens. And thanks to his hidden Bat Cave, technological genius, and loyal butler, Wayne has the tools he needs to bring evil to justice.


Who has played Batman + what are the most popular “Batman” films?

Batman made his Detective comics debut in May 1939. Since then, numerous actors have embodied the Caped Crusader on the big screen. While the late Adam West essentially made a career out of portraying Batman, donning the cape in 1966, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and Robert Pattinson have all transformed into the vigilante in recent decades.

Keaton played Bruce Wayne in director Tim Burton’s “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992), and Kilmer assumed the role in the one-off “Batman Forever” (1995). Clooney wore the cape once as well, in “Batman & Robin” (1997). The franchise witnessed a resurgence when Bale took the role in Nolan’s trilogy: “Batman Begins” (2005), “The Dark Knight” (2008), and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012). Affleck never played Batman in his own stand-alone film—he starred opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and alongside a superhero ensemble in 2017’s “Justice League”—but the character once again took centerstage with Pattinson, who starred in “The Batman” (2022). Pattinson will return for the series’ second installment, “The Batman: Part 2,” in 2025.

Several spinoffs have also highlighted Batman’s villains, with the most popular being 2019’s “Joker,” which starred Phoenix as the comedic clown who goes mad. The origin stand-alone story was widely successful and resulted in its highly anticipated sequel, “Joker: Folie à Deux,” which debuts in October 2024. Other spinoffs include 2004’s Halle Berry–led “Catwoman” and Max’s upcoming 2024 limited series “The Penguin.”


Colin Farrell on “The Penguin” Courtesy Max

Who are the top “Batman” casting directors?

John Papsidera served as CD on Nolan’s Christian Bale–led “Batman” films. Lucy Bevan and Cindy Tolan served as CDs on Matt Reeves’s recent installment starring Pattinson, and Tolan is the CD for “The Penguin.” As for the “Joker” franchise, Shayna Markowitz cast the 2019 film, with Francine Maisler leading the sequel. 

As an industry veteran, Tolan wants actors to recognize that CDs help shape a story much like everyone else involved in a given production. “We’re storytellers, as well. It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, the cinematographer did this or the production designer did this,’ because what we are dealing with are people,” she shared with us. “But we are storytellers just like the cinematographer, the editor, the production designer. We’re just helping tell the story with real people, and real people always possess [innate qualities] that you can’t easily shake to transcend into a performer. It’s about knowing people and who’s going to fulfill the story that the director wants to tell in the best way possible.”

But if you want to stand out in Papsidera’s audition room, you need to be real. “A lot of it has to do with being a real human being and allowing themselves to be seen, not just physically but actually who they are. Being prepared certainly is part of it, and having an idea of what they want to do, making interesting choices—all of those things lend themselves to the overall experience of it,” Papsidera explained. “When you get to be in the company of an artist, those are the things and the moments I remember as a CD. I want everybody to rise to that level, because that’s what makes me remember them.”

Justice league


How does the casting process work for a “Batman” movie?

Although MovieWeb reported rumors that casting for “The Batman” involved rigorous vetting, Pattinson landed the role rather quickly. In fact, according to a Warner Bros. insider, the process was “quicker than normal.” They told the Hollywood Reporter that Matt Reeves, who directed the latest reboot, considered both Pattinson and Nicholas Hoult for the role, but Pattinson had not yet been attached to a Marvel film (Hoult appeared in “X-Men: First Class”), so he was the preferred candidate. Still, both men came in for a screen test, where they tried on a previous Batsuit to see which one embodied the role as Reeves saw it. After a short deliberation with executives, Reeves had found his man.

Keaton, on the other hand, created a backstory for the character—a common approach for the actor—to transform his mindset for the role, ultimately choosing to focus on Bruce Wayne over Batman. He said, “Bruce Wayne couldn’t be Bruce Wayne once he puts this thing on. And I go, ‘How does he get to that? And how does he physically know how to do this thing?’ And so I made a choice, just to justify it, that he kind of went into a zone…. In the eyes, you see me kind of go into this weird kind of meditation, where I disappear and lose myself in order to be Batman—because that’s the only way I could rationalize what he was about to go do, or how he could really do it.”

Of course, Batman isn’t the only crucial role, as there’d be no plot without the villains of Gotham City. In the case of “Batman Begins,” Cillian Murphy auditioned for the role of Batman even though both he and director Nolan have admitted that they knew he wasn’t right for the part. Regardless, Nolan set up a screen test because he wanted studio execs to see Murphy on camera, so as to convince them that Murphy would be the ideal scarecrow. 

“We did two scenes—there was a Bruce Wayne scene and a Batman scene—and I made sure that executives came down and watched what you were doing on set,” Nolan said in a conversation with Murphy for Entertainment Weekly. “Everybody was so excited by watching you perform that when I then said to them, ‘OK, Christian Bale is Batman, but what about Cillian to play Scarecrow?’ There was no dissent.”

Papsidera, who has become Nolan’s go-to CD over the years, told us casting is all about helping Nolan find the missing piece of his puzzle, as the director always has a defined vision. “Our shorthand has become more valued and intensified, but I do always think that for Chris, it’s about finding the right piece of the puzzle. If you look at Chris’s films and the way his mind works, it’s [all] a puzzle,” Papsidera said. “What I realized during the ‘Batman’ series was that Chris just wants that piece of the Swiss watch to work. In his head, he’s already got the entire film planned out. There are not a lot of surprises once we make decisions. He knows what he wants. [The movie] might change flavor; it might change shape and what it looks like, but he wants the tone or the note to be played correctly. And that’s what he’s looking for. So, I am not a puzzle maker, but it is making a puzzle with him. It’s finding that piece that fits for him.”

The Batman

Robert Pattinson in “The Batman” Credit: Jonathan Olley/DC Comics

Which “Batman” movies are currently casting or filming?

While there are a number of “Batman”-adjacent projects set for release in 2024—including “Joker: Folie à Deux” and “The Penguin”—fans are looking forward to the two “Batverse” films scheduled in the coming years. “The Batman: Part 2,” the second installment in the Pattinson-led series, is expected to hit theaters Oct. 2, 2026. It was scheduled for Oct. 5, 2025, but got delayed due to the 2023 strikes. As for Gunn’s “Batman: The Bold and the Brave,” few details of its projected cast, plot, or release date are known to the public at this time. However, we do know that Andy Muschietti is directing the new film. 

Gunn is also working on several other films for his DCU revamp. These films, while not technically “Batman” movies, could feature the Cape Crusader in some capacity, including in the form of Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian Wayne. Along with “The Bold and the Brave,” here is the announced slate for the Gunn DC universe: “Superman,” “The Authority,” “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow,” “Swamp Thing,” and an Untitled Teen Titans film.


Where can you find “Batman” casting calls and auditions?

Unfortunately, no “Batman” productions are casting at this time. However, you can always bookmark our main casting page so the latest opportunities are constantly on hand. If you are looking to break into the superhero genre, this roundup of similar gigs will jump-start your efforts. We also recommend reading through our guide on how to get cast in a DC Comics movie or TV show as a primer for what’s to come.

What are the best audition tips for landing a role in a “Batman” movie?

As Tolan noted, “All you can do as an actor is be prepared and love what you’re doing. It’s out of your hands. It’s not a perfect world when it comes to business, but you have to remember it’s art married to commerce. It’s called show business. The business side is the part that can cripple an actor.”

Perhaps that’s why three of today’s most notable “Batman” actors—Keaton, Pattinson, and Bale—all believe that success begins by allowing yourself to embrace the different talents you bring to the table. Keaton, for instance, encourages actors to abandon their fear and try new things. “Make mistakes, man—not just in acting. Go make mistakes. Just don’t be afraid. Don’t play it safe all the time,” he told us. “That doesn’t mean go do something stupid! But take chances. My favorite actors are the ones who are courageous.”

Similarly, Pattinson notes that many aspiring actors ask him how to get an agent, but he believes the real ticket lies in finding like-minded artists, including up-and-coming directors who appreciate and echo your unique approach. “You can find someone making things on YouTube, and you go like, ‘They’re making performances look really good!’ And if you find that person just before anybody else does, you’re gonna be that person with that up-and-coming director. And [then] you’ve got a career afterward,” Pattinson noted. “Looking for unusual stuff, you suddenly realize what you can do. If you’re trying to figure out how to act by just going to auditions and stuff or trying to get an agent, everyone’s just gonna constantly be telling you ‘no’ about everything. And the thing that is going to work will be a thing everyone has said no to a thousand times.”

After all, as Bale told RSNG, success remains relative, but at its core, “[s]uccess is also not bowing down to what others expect of you—it’s being confident enough to forge your own path.” He added, “Success in the movie world isn’t necessarily success in life. Success comes about when you choose the things that make you and those around you happy. I’ve not worked as much as some other actors because my definition of success isn’t entirely linked to seeing my face on a screen.”