As Affleck's future as the Dark Knight continues to be in doubt, Gyllenhaal actually auditioned for the previous cinematic iteration of the caped crusader launched with 2005's Batman Begins. Gyllenhaal was screenwriter David S. Goyer's first choice for the role that would eventually be won by Christian Bale, who donned the batsuit for director Christopher Nolan's acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy.
In 2015, Gyllenhaal stopped by The Howard Stern Show to discuss Southpaw, when a curious Stern asked how Gyllenhaal would have handled the batvoice:
Stern: I wonder how you would have played Batman, though. Would you have been like, [deep voice] 'I'm Batman.' Do you change your voice for that or—
Gyllenhaal: No, I would have been like — if you're hanging a guy by a string, right, and he's like hanging upside down and you're in a batsuit, he'd be like, [scared voice] 'Who are you?!' and I'd be like, [nonchalant] 'I'm f—king Batman, you kidding me?'
Stern: Is that what you would have said? 'I'm f—king Batman?'
Gyllenhaal: I wouldn't say 'f—k' 'cause it's PG-13, but—
Stern: It would be cool if they bleeped you. You'd be like, 'I'm f—king Batman, beep!' What do you mean, you would have played it like, hey—
Gyllenhaal: 'I mean come on, man, look what I'm wearing!' It's like, you know what I mean?
Stern: Yeah, but aren't you trying to scare people as Batman? So wouldn't you put on an ominous kind of a, [lowered voice] 'I'm Batman'?
Gyllenhaal: Note to self. Don't have Howard be your acting coach.
Stern: Is that right?
Gyllenhaal: I don't know. I don't know what I would do, and I will never have that opportunity, so I don't know.
Stern: Maybe you ought to think it through so you'll get the role the next time.
Gyllenhaal: I should have been on this show a lot earlier!
More seriously, Gyllenhaal — who just barely missed out on Batman and Spider-Man — spoke on his superhero flirtation with the UK's Daily Mail, where he addressed not stepping into a supersuit of his own:
"I believe whatever happens, happens for good," Gyllenhaal said. "I was definitely open to both the roles. However, at a certain point, you realize there is always someone more interesting, talented and ready to do the role. In any case, you are not going to get every role you go for. So you can say I neither rue nor am I thankful for having not worked on these superhero films."
"You can't ask an actor in Hollywood who hasn't auditioned or been in the running for one of those roles. It's almost a rite of passage," Gyllenhaal told The Daily Beast in 2016.
"But you pay for everything you do—and don't do. For me, I've always wanted to have the opportunity to play a number of different roles, and I knew it wasn't necessarily the role, but how you played them. There's all this strategizing people do where they think, 'Oh, if I do this then I can do that.' I think I've come to a point where your intention is everything. Your intention is very clear and people can feel your intention, so as long as you're true to yourself, then people will respond to that."
Stronger — starring Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing — releases to Blu-ray and DVD December 19. Justice League, starring Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher and Amy Adams, opens November 17.
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