The world of superhero news is overflowing with everything from Megan Fox as Poison Ivy to Logan being the best X-Men film ever. Those crappy days of Punisher: War Zone are long behind us as Hollywood keeps flying into the golden age of superhero movies. With DC in particular ballooning their slate of films, we have casting coups coming out of our ears. We already know that Watchmen's Patrick Wilson is sticking on his diving gear to join Aquaman, Billy Crudup will be tying his sneakers for a run in The Flash, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan played an ever-doomed Thomas Wayne in BvS, but could a fourth Watchmen alumni also be suiting up for the #DCEU?
As usual, the detective work comes thanks to Twitter. It may seem like a minor clue, but DC's Geoff Johns followed #JackieEarleHaley on the social media site. "So what?" you say, well note that Johns also followed Wilson and Joe Manganiello just before they were cast.
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A Jackie Of All Trades
Jackie Earle Haley is one hell of a creepy actor (in a good way), but if he really is hopping over to join Batman and Superman, just who could he be playing? After seeing him play Freddy Krueger in the maligned A Nightmare on Elm Street, surely it has to be a villain role?
There could be just enough room for Haley-esque character in Justice League Part 1 or The Batman, then expanding into a bigger role for the sequels; and given that Snyder helmed Watchmen, and is behind Justice League, bets are on it being a Bruce Wayne related cameo. However, we already know that J.K. Simmons's Commissioner Gordon won't get much screen time, but that it will lead into The Batman — so Earle Haley would likely play a small Easter egg rather than full villain.
Personally, I see the 55-year-old as any number of the villains from the Batman universe. You only need to look to Rocksteady's Arkham games to see that Earle Haley could be any one of their uber-grimy bad guys, but here are a few options:
Cillian Murphy was near-perfect as the wily Dr. Crane in Nolan's Batman films, but I never found him that scary. For a truly f*cked up version of the character, head over to Rocksteady. An emaciated Scarecrow formed a major part of the first two games and became the main antagonist of the third. Complete with gnarled skin and bio-weapon fear toxin, this version of Scarecrow made Murphy's look like a Care Bear.
For a while, David Hyde Pierce was rumored to play Edward Nygma in one of the Nolan films, and it has been hard to shake the image of a much frailer/wise Nygma since then. You can imagine Earle Haley as a more mature and psychologically tortured version of Nygma that would fit in with the darker DCEU. If we want a proper Riddler outing, DC should start setting up at least the trail of clues about now.
Dr. Hugo Strange
Away from the completely unhinged, could Earle Haley also play the super-intelligent Dr. Hugo Strange? As one of the few people who knew Bruce Wayne's identity, Strange used this to his advantage to not only manipulating Bruce, but all of Gotham. B.D. Wong currently does a great job over on Fox's Gotham, but until recently, Strange has been one of the most underrated Batman villains. Personally, if Haley was going to appear in the DCEU, I think he would make a great Strange as overseer of Arkham Asylum.
Haley's role as disturbed George Noyce in 2010's Shutter Island is reminiscent of the psychotic Victor Zsasz: a man who tallies his skin with each of his murder victims. As one of the men committed by Dr. Crane and later escaping, you may remember that Zsasz briefly appeared in Batman Begins, played by Tim Booth. Not only does Earle Haley look like both Booth and the comic book Zsasz, but this kind of role is small enough to not detract from the main story.
Given that Wilson, Crudup and Haley all worked with Zack Snyder on Watchmen, and that the disbanded troop of heroes fit into DC canon, there is some poetic comic book justice that more of the cast find their way into the DCEU. As the masked Rorschach in Watchmen, Earle Haley was easily one of the best parts of the film, so here's hoping that Johns isn't just double bluffing us.
Audiences have already cottoned on to the Twitter following trick, so it could be one big bluff. However, let's not forget that Earle Haley was once tipped to play Lex Luthor, so he has circled the DC slate before. If it isn't his time though, Jackie Earle Haley for a Deadman solo film in 2025 — you heard it heard first!
Check out Jackie Earle Haley in the disturbing "dogs" scene from Watchmen, and don't forget the poll below.