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Andy Serkis is going from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the world of DC, as the actor is in talks to join The Batman as the Dark Knight’s butler Alfred Pennyworth, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The move will reteam Serkis with filmmaker Matt Reeves, who directed the actor in two Planet of the Apes movies. Serkis played the villain Klaue in 2018’s Black Panther for Marvel Studios.
The Batman is set to star Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Colin Farrell as The Penguin and Jeffrey Wright as Batman ally Commissioner Gordon. Warner Bros. is set to open the film June 25, 2021.
Bruce Wayne’s faithful manservant — and Batman’s more-than-capable aide — Pennyworth debuted in 1943’s Batman No. 16, although he didn’t get his familiar name for 26 years; he was, originally, Alfred Beagle. No matter what name he went by, he’s been the sidekick responsible for keeping Batman alive for decades, being equally versed in manners of upper-class society and field medic techniques, thanks to a complicated backstory that means he is simultaneously the latest in a long line of Pennyworth butlers and also a former military man who knows his way around a scalpel and any number of weapons. He also has been a former butler to British royalty and a celebrated Shakespearean actor at times. In short, he’s a renaissance man.
Arguably the most indispensable member of Batman’s support crew, the Dark Knight has actually had to operate without him on multiple occasions, not least of which following his untimely death in 1964’s Detective Comics No. 328. (He got better a few years later, although he spent some of that time as a supervillain, because… comics.) In current comic book continuity, he’s recently been killed for a second time by the supervillain Bane, as part of the current “City of Bane” storyline.
Jeremy Irons played the most recent iteration of the character on the big screen in 2017’s Justice League, while Michael Caine portrayed Alfred in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Michael Gough held the role through four films, from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman to Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin nine years later. Alfred currently appears on the small screen as the star of his own Epix TV series, Pennyworth, which sees Jack Bannon in the role.
Serkis, who is repped by CAA, is preparing to direct Tom Hardy’s Venom sequel for Sony.
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