Who's on the ''Batman'' casting wishlist? Jake Gyllenhaal, Christian Bale, and Joshua Jackson lead the Caped Crusader contenders

By Gary Susman
Updated September 03, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Looks like the revived ”Batman” franchise is going back to the character’s origins, since the actors being sought to play Bruce Wayne are on the youngish side. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. will spend the next three days screen-testing such potential Caped Crusaders as Jake Gyllenhaal (”The Good Girl”), Christian Bale (”Reign of Fire”), and Joshua Jackson (”Dawson’s Creek”), as well as such not-yet-stars as Cillian Murphy (”28 Days Later”), Henry Cavill (”I Capture the Castle”), and Eion Bailey (”Band of Brothers”). Also on the audition list is Hugh Dancy, if he can get away from filming on Disney’s ”King Arthur,” where he’s playing Sir Galahad — and if he can shave off his medieval beard.

Gyllenhaal was supposedly being groomed to step into pal Tobey Maguire’s Spidey suit if his back pain had kept him from filming the ”Spider-Man” sequel. Bale was one of the contenders to star in another Warner Bros. superhero resurrection, the still-uncast ”Superman.”

Director Christopher Nolan (”Insomnia,” ”Memento”) plans to shoot the film next February. The screenplay, whose plot remains as cloaked as the Dark Knight himself, is by ”Blade” scribe David Goyer, based on an idea by Nolan.