Why Warner Bros. Told Milo Ventimiglia He Couldn’t Be Batman

Milo Ventimiglia plays kind of a “super man” on This is Us as Jack, everybody’s favorite dad. However, you won’t find him playing Superman’s opposite number Batman anytime soon.

Ventimiglia was interested in playing the part of the Dark Knight after Ben Affleck turned in his cape and utility belt, but the powers that be at Warner Bros. turned him down for a very specific and very strange reason: they said Ventimiglia was too old.

From Affleck to not Ventimiglia to Pattinson

Milo Ventimiglia
Milo Ventimiglia | Rachel Luna/WireImage

During a Variety podcast, the actor said, “Do I see myself in a cape and cowl?” He did, but “Warner Brothers didn’t …they said, ‘Ventimiglia, you’re too old.'”

The studio announced in May that the new Batman would be 33-year-old Robert Pattinson. Ventimiglia is 42. While that is a significant age gap, it’s worth noting that Affleck was 41 when he was cast as the caped crusader in Batman v. Superman. And perhaps that played into Warners saying no to Ventimiglia. 

While Affleck’s gruff performance was regarded as one of the better aspects of Zack Snyder’s otherwise disappointing movie, the disarray of the DC Extended Universe did Affleck no favors.

He made a brief appearance in Suicide Squad, which many considered to be a noisy mess, and there was little Affleck could do to salvage Justice League, which endured a director switch from Snyder to Joss Whedon and emerged as a jumble.

There was talk that Affleck himself would co-write and direct a solo Batman movie, but Affleck later admitted he couldn’t crack it, so Matt Reeves took the directorial reigns, having helmed two of the three films in the recent Planet of the Apes series. His movie, The Batman, is expected in 2021.

How old were the other Batman actors?

Turning Ventimiglia down because he was 42 seems odd not only in light of Affleck, but some other Batman actors as well. Michael Keaton was 37 when the 1989 Batman came out. Val Kilmer was 36 when Batman Forever became the third film — and George Clooney was also 36 when he starred in Batman and Robin.

Even Adam West was 38 when he started playing Batman in the TV series from 1966 to 1968. Pow!

Christian Bale was a bit younger, 31, when he took on Batman Begins, but by the time he finished his turn with The Dark Knight Rises, he was 38. With so many actors being in their mid-to-late 30s when they played the role, was Ventimiglia’s 42 really that much of a stretch?

Perhaps it would be, if WB makes three Batman movies. Whatever the cast, Ventimiglia insists there are no hard feelings.  

“It’s okay. It doesn’t matter,” Ventimiglia said. “By the way, I’m kind of busy.”

What else Ventimiglia is doing

He’s most certainly busy with This is Us. He’s just started shooting the fourth season, and This is Us is expected to run for six seasons, with the showrunners already saying they have the finale planned. The show had already been renewed for three seasons, so the current series order will expire along with the show as a whole.

“By the time we get there, it is going to morph into something that we could not dream or imagine it could become,” he told People

We never set out to make a television series that was going to last 18 seasons, and so we have a very direct plan,” creator Dan Fogelman told The Hollywood Reporter

Meanwhile, Ventimiglia has one more appearance on his dance card: the Emmys, where he got his third nomination for the show. He has a speech ready, but he’s prepared either way.

“I may be standing up on a stage, I may be sitting in the audience,” Ventimiglia said. “I try not to get too far ahead but also be respectful to the group of people that are assembled there. It’s like go up and know what you’re going to say and know what you’re going to say in 45 seconds and then move on.”