Why Nicholas Hoult Lost Out on the Role of Superman AND Batman
Nicholas Hoult, known for his roles in movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and the X-Men franchise, has had a successful career in the commercial realm. He has also received critical acclaim for his performances in films like The Menu and The Favourite. However, despite his success, Hoult has always played supporting roles in his previous movies. Lately, it has become evident that he is eager to transition into a leading man status.
Hoult had auditioned for the lead roles in both The Batman and Superman: Legacy and was even a top contender for both parts. Unfortunately, he narrowly missed out on these highly coveted roles, which has been a setback for his career. In 2019, when casting was still in progress for The Batman, Hoult and Robert Pattinson were the final contenders for the titular role. Ultimately, Pattinson was chosen to portray Bruce Wayne/Batman in Matt Reeves’ BatVerse. Both The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, in which Hoult also lost a starring role, became major movies in 2022. If Hoult had starred in either or both of these films, he would undoubtedly be one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood today.
Despite his desire to play Batman, Hoult has admitted that he wouldn’t have been as well-suited for Matt Reeves’ Gotham City as Pattinson. He acknowledged the brilliance of Reeves’ ideas and praised Pattinson’s portrayal of the character. Hoult believes he wouldn’t have done as good a job as Pattinson and wouldn’t have fit into the world that Reeves created.
Before being considered for Batman, Hoult had already played the character of Hank McCoy/Beast in Sony’s X-Men universe. While Beast and Batman have distinct differences, Hoult’s experience as one of the X-Men’s core members could make him a great fit for another DC superhero.
After missing out on several career-changing roles, including a major part in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Hoult finally had a chance to play Clark Kent/Superman in James Gunn’s new DC Universe. However, considering his previous statements, it seems that Hoult didn’t see himself fitting into Reeves’ darker world as Superman. Instead, he believes he could have portrayed Superman’s struggles with his humanity and newfound connection to humans.
Unfortunately, Hoult did not land the role of Superman either, with David Corenswet being cast instead. Despite these disappointments, Hoult remains optimistic and accepts that casting decisions are part of the industry. He believes that when the chosen actor does a great job, it is the right choice, and he enjoys watching their performance.
While Hoult may have missed out on Batman and Superman, there might be a darker destiny awaiting him. There have been reports suggesting that James Gunn was interested in casting Hoult as Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch-nemesis. However, it is uncertain if Hoult would be interested in exploring this role after not being chosen as the Man of Steel. Nevertheless, Hoult’s portrayal of the deranged Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road showcases his ability to play a menacing comic book villain.
As Harvey Dent famously said, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Only time will tell if Hoult will appear as Lex Luthor in Superman: Legacy, slated for a July 11, 2025 release, or if he will take on another character in the DC Universe in the future.
Having starred in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road and various X-Men movies, Nicholas Hoult has had quite a commercially successful career thus far. Additionally, his roles in films like The Menu and The Favourite have earned him praise from critics.
While Hoult has found success, he was a supporting cast member in all of the previously mentioned movies. In recent years, it has been evident that the actor has been eager to take the leap into leading man status. Hoult auditioned to play the leading role in both The Batman and Superman: Legacy and was even one of the final contenders for both parts. However, both the highly-coveted roles managed to slip between his fingers, continuously setting the actor back in his career.
The (Not Dark Enough?) Knight
Back in 2019, when casting was still underway for The BatmanNicholas Hoult and Robert Pattinson were reportedly the two final contenders for the titular role. Unfortunately, after already losing out on a starring role in Top Gun: MaverickHoult did not land the role of the Dark Knight either. Of course, Pattinson took up the mantle of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Matt Reeve’s BatVerse.
While both films were originally intended to release earlier, The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick both hit theaters in 2022 and became two of the biggest movies of the year. If Hoult had starred in one or both of the spectacles that brought swarms of people back to the cinemas, it is likely he would be one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood right now.
While he undoubtedly would have loved to portray the Caped Crusader, Hoult has since admitted that he wouldn’t have been as good of a fit for Reeves’ Gotham City as Pattinson. He said,
“I think Matt Reeves’ ideas were fantastic and he made a brilliant movie. And I also think that Rob [Pattinson] did an amazing job with the character, and I loved seeing him in it. So I don’t think I would have done as good a job as him ultimately. I don’t think I could have fit as well into the world that Matt created as Rob did.”
Well before Hoult was even being considered for the role of Batman, he had played Hank McCoy/Beast in Sony’s X-Men universe. Hank’s superhuman abilities make him quite different from Batman. However, it is possible his experience playing one of the X-Men’s most integral members would make Hoult an even better fit to play another DC superhero…
A Beacon of Hope
After losing out on several career-changing roles (Hoult landed a major part in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts), there was finally some hope for the actor. Just years after almost landing the role of Batman, Hoult was a final contender to play Clark Kent/Superman in James Gunn’s new DC Universe.
As mentioned in the above quote, Hoult did not think he would fit into Reeve’s darker world as well as Pattinson. Therefore, if the actor was looking for something different, it is possible he would have been a great choice to showcase the optimism of Superman.
In the X-Men films, Hoult’s Beast was always one of the characters who kept the team intact and fought for mutant rights. However, he did face struggles of his own. In First Classspecifically, Hank was actively trying to find a cure to get rid of his physical mutation, as he was ashamed of his monstrous appearance. However, by the end of the film, his fellow mutants, particularly Raven, convinced Hank to embrace that side of himself.
While Beast struggles with the supernatural side of himself, Superman, a Kryptonian by birth, struggles with his humanity. Just like Beast relies on Raven and the other X-Men to embrace his mutant form, Clark Kent relies on Lois Lane, along with Jonathan and Martha Kent, to remain connected to humanity. Therefore, as an inverse of his X-Men role, it would have been interesting to see Hoult portray an alien who is struggling to accept their newfound connection to humans.
However, Hoult will not be the new Superman, with the role going to David Corenswet instead. While this is yet another major loss for Hoult, the actor’s previous comments suggest that he will move forward with optimism and hope:
“When they tell you for the first time that it’s not you, it’s painful, but then you have to accept it as normality. I think that’s probably a strength of mine as an actor as well. I can accept that they didn’t cast me pretty well and when I see the chosen actor doing a great job, and I enjoy it, and it’s good, I’m like, ‘oh yeah, they made the right choice. They knew what they were doing.’ So it’s not like I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to watch it now.'”
“You Either Die A Hero…”
While Hoult failed to land the part of Batman and Superman, it is possible a darker destiny is awaiting him. It has been reported that James Gunn was initially interested in Hoult for the role of Lex LuthorSuperman’s arch-nemesis. However, at this time, it is unclear if the actor would want to continue to explore that role after not being picked to play the Man of Steel.
Regardless, Hoult’s performance as the lunatic Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road proves that he definitely has the ability to play a whacky and terrifying comic book villain. As Harvey Dent once said: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Time will tell if Hoult will appear as Lex Luthor in Superman: Legacyset for a July 11, 2025 release date, or if he will play another character in the DCU further down the line.