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Jonah Hill Is Demanding Big Money For The Batman

When you absolutely, positively have to have Jonah Hill for your tentpole picture, be prepared to pony up some major cash.

The star, who is in talks to appear in writer/director Matt Reeves' The Batman in an undisclosed role, is reportedly seeking a figure equivalent to twice what the flick's star Robert Pattinson will pull down. Variety film reporter Justin Kroll disclosed the tidbit on Twitter.

Kroll's tweet added some context to the news that Hill is being eyed for a role in The Batman, which we reported yesterday. Exactly which role that is has been kept under wraps by studio Warner Brothers, but it's been speculated by many (including us) that the star could be cast as the Riddler or the Penguin; according to Kroll, this is dead accurate.

"So on the Jonah front," Kroll wrote, "he's had the offer for over a month and besides money being a bargaining point (at one point heard he wanted 10 which is wild since Rob isn't making half that) but also which character he would play, whether its the Riddler or Penguin."

There's quite a bit to unpack there. Kroll states that Hill has been sitting on a firm offer for over a month, which could be taken to mean that — while he's still technically "in talks" for the role — negotiations have stalled somewhat. The reporter also asserts that "at one point," Hill was asking for a whopping $10 million dollar payday to appear in The Batman, but it can be inferred that he's not going to get it. If Warner Brothers were cool with coughing up his reported asking price, there would be no reason for Hill to have been sitting on their offer for this long. 

It's likely that the studio countered with a figure more in line with what Pattinson will be making, which Kroll says "isn't... half" of $10 million dollars. It has to be pretty darn close, though; superhero salaries for a first solo picture tend to fall within the $3-$5 million dollar range, and it's safe to say that Batman is a pretty high-profile property. By way of comparison, it's been reported that Brie Larson was paid $5 million dollars to star in this year's Captain Marvel, while Benedict Cumberbatch pulled down right around $3 million dollars to lead 2016's Doctor Strange. Yes, those are Marvel pictures, and therefore come with something of a built-in audience, but nobody is going to argue that either of those properties are as potent as Batman when it comes the potential for huge box office bucks.

We haven't even gotten to the last part of Kroll's tweet, which is perhaps the most interesting of all: apparently, a major sticking point between Hill and Warner Brothers has to do with which character he'll be playing, which implies that the two parties are not seeing eye to eye on the matter. It seems as if the studio wants Hill for one role, while the actor would prefer another — an unusual, if not unprecedented, situation.

We're going to go out on a limb to suggest that the role of the Penguin would be the most obvious one for Hill, since the actor is... how shall we put this... not of an incredibly slender build, and the nefarious Oswald Cobblepot is traditionally depicted as being short and portly. It seems likely that this is the role that Warner Brothers has in mind for the actor, while Hill is more keen to take a crack at portraying Edward Nygma, the Riddler — which, if we're being honest, seems like a pretty darn good fit to us. 

Hill may be known primarily for his comedic roles, but he is a gifted actor, and we can absolutely see him bringing just the right notes of cunning and madness to the role of Nygma. Reeves has said that he'll be fielding a more grounded, noir-influenced take on Batman than previous filmmakers, so while it may seem a little on the nose to cast a comedic actor as the Riddler — after all, you don't want audiences expecting a repeat of Jim Carrey's manic performance as the character in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever — Hill has proven that he has the chops to use his comedy background to add a bit of flavor to the role without overwhelming it.

It remains to be seen how the month-long stalemate between actor and studio will be resolved, or indeed, if it will be at all. It's obvious that Hill and Warner Brothers began their negotiations pretty far apart on what the details of the actor's contract would be, and it's not like there aren't dozens of thespians in Hollywood who would fall all over themselves for the chance to play either of the roles Hill is reportedly being eyed for. The very fact that Warner Brothers has left their offer on the table for this long, though, implies that the studio is pretty intent on landing Hill's services for The Batman — and now that details of the talks are becoming public, we can probably expect some movement on this particular bit of casting sooner rather than later.

Of course, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for any developments, and we'll keep you up to speed. The Batman is expected to begin production late this year or early next; the flick swoops into theaters on June 25, 2021.