Filmmaker and comic book guru Kevin Smith has some left field nominations for younger versions of Superman and Batman on the big screen — including Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan and Avengers star Chris Hemsworth.
Asked who he'd like to see step into the iconic roles in a recent episode of Fatman Beyond, Smith pointed to Jon Hamm for Batman, noting the Mad Men star has expressed repeat interest in the role should Ben Affleck step away. Smith said he'd perform a sex act to "make that happen," adding "I want to see that."
"You know who I love for Superman? There's this kid, I don't know if you've seen him before, Henry Cavill," added Fatman Beyond co-host Marc Bernardin of the possibly half-out-the-door Superman star. "I really think he's f— got something."
Smith backed Jordan for Superman after the Fant4stic and Black Panther star emerged as one of the actors studio Warner Bros. is reportedly eyeing for its next Man of Steel should Cavill leave the role.
"I'll be honest with you, when they said Michael B. Jordan the other day, I was like, 'Yes, do it, do it.' And that's not even a new, like, f— progressive idea," Smith said.
The once screenwriter of the never-made Superman Lives that would have been steered by Batman director Tim Burton, Smith noted Suicide Squad star Will Smith was once considered for taking over the role most famously filled by Christopher Reeve.
"When I was working on Superman in 1996, Will Smith was floated as Superman. And I was like, 'Oh my God, f— do it,'" Smith said. "And to be fair, that came from [producer] Jon Peters. Jon Peters was like, 'Will Smith should play this role.'"
When an audience member called out for Smith playing Jor-El, father to Jordan's Kal-El, Smith grew visibly excited.
"Will Smith as Jor-El if Michael B. Jordan plays f— Superman? Can I come see your movie, sir?" Smith beamed. "Oh my God, what a great idea."
For a younger Dark Knight — who is said to be the central focus of Matt Reeves' in-the-works The Batman — Smith named Blade Runner 2049 and First Man star Ryan Gosling, who told Variety in recent weeks he's doubtful he'd be suited for the role.
"I love Ryan Gosling, so I'd watch him in anything. But I don't know if I'd rather see him be Bruce Wayne-slash-Batman, or like, the Joker," Smith said. "He's a real good actor, he might take that role and f— run with it and do something else."
In searching for the next Batman, "I don't know if you want to take the world's greatest actor and put them into that role where half the time it's a stuntman anyway, so you just have to find somebody — it doesn't have to be the world's greatest, but it has to be somebody charismatic, somebody who can carry the costume and cape and stuff, and younger."
While mulling it over, Bernardin tapped Wonder Woman star Chris Pine for a blonde and charming Superman.
"You gotta be warm as sh-t, right?" Smith said. "Like here — Chris Pratt seems like an ideal Superman, kinda. In terms of personality, seems like a big cuddly kid, likes everybody, and stuff like that."
When another audience member called out for A Quiet Place and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski to tackle Superman, Smith enthusiastically embraced the suggestion.
"Krasinski is a great f— pull, man. Krasinski has like a Chris Reeve thing going on, excellent f— job," Smith said. "Krasinski is a really good f— pull. And you let him direct that sh-t as well! But you make him put dialogue in it this time. That's a really good idea."
For a younger Bruce Wayne, Smith was stumped.
"I know they keep saying like Jake Gyllenhaal," Smith said. "I've always liked him, but I don't know if I'm just like, 'oh, he's got dark hair like Bruce Wayne.'"
After a lightbulb moment, Smith pointed to one of Marvel Studios' biggest stars.
"Nobody's gonna be like, 'Oh my God! You've discovered him,' and sh-t, but you know who'd make an awesome f— Bruce Wayne and Batman? Chris Hemsworth. He f— made Thor work," Smith said.
"Just took a character where — in the comics I was never a Thor guy — and he made me f— fall in love with that character. And it was not right away. I think it was Avengers where I started to go, 'this guy's f— funny.' Once they stopped making him be old Thor... I like this version, where he's self aware and he can play into his charm and be funny."
When Bernardin raised the idea of casting any actor, alive or dead, Smith quickly zeroed in on the late Robert Shaw, referencing the "intensity of his performance" in Black Sunday.
"If I get to cast Batman across time? A young Robert Shaw from A Man For All Seasons, the one who played a young Henry the VIII, as Bruce Wayne," Smith said. "Robert Shaw is the guy who played Quint in Jaws, so imagine a younger version of him as a driven Bruce Wayne. I would cast him. That was one of my favorite performances of all time, him in Jaws, but his entire career is really worth watching."
Shaw was "a guy who could totally be a really gripping Batman," he added.
For Superman, Bernardin picked a mustached Burt Reynolds and The Man With No Name era Clint Eastwood for Batman. "Or maybe Charles Bronson," Bernardin said. "I think Bronson could do a really good Bruce Wayne."
"This ain't gonna be a popular call, but Tom Cruise circa A Few Good Men," Smith said of his ideal past Superman.2comments
"He has the kind of like 'aw, shucks,' and glint in his eye. He reminds me of Curt Swan Superman. The Curt Swan Superman in comics would periodically — at the end of a book or the end of an adventure — literally look at the viewer as if he was looking down the barrel of a camera and wink, so Tom Cruise could kind of pull that off."
Warner Bros. has yet to stake a release date for the Reeves-directed The Batman or a future Man of Steel followup.