Josh Brolin one of many names in the mix as Warner gears up a new ‘Batman’ search

It is early days as far as the hunt to find a new Batman is concerned, but what is rapidly becoming clear is that Warner Bros. has a very distinct approach in mind for who they would cast to step into the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Understand this… anyone outside the studio who claims to know the full approach of this film is blowing smoke. This is very much a project that is in development, and thinking on the film has been very fluid up till this point. When Warner Bros. made their announcement at Comic-Con, confirming that the “Man Of Steel” sequel would feature Batman, they knew full well that they were throwing red meat to the fanboy press, a question that they can spend weeks and weeks chewing on while Warner sets to work behind the scenes.

For a preview of just how this will all play out, look at this weekend, when early wish list notes became a major story, with people determined to try to spin something concrete out of something that is very much not concrete yet. All Warner is doing at this point is opening the lines of communication, considering types and names and schedules. Borys Kit is doing some very solid reporting, and I like that he’s careful to emphasize how early all of this is.

Here’s the thing: just because this is the approach that they’re discussing right now, that doesn’t mean it’s the approach they’ll be still following when they actually make their final choice. Calling Josh Brolin the frontrunner right now is probably accurate, but that in no way means he’s been offered a job.

At this point, “frontrunner” just means “guy who Warner Bros likes,” and certainly they’ve indicated in the past that they like Brolin. He starred in “Gangster Squad” for them this past spring, and he was their “Jonah Hex” when they rolled the dice on that film. Brolin is on the tops of many lists these days, I’m sure, because he’s got the right combination of rugged masculinity and arthouse credibility, and that balance seems like the right way to bet for studios. It makes sense that Ryan Gosling would also be on that list if you’re looking at it from an abstract sense, but in specific practice, I think Gosling is a horrifying choice. Suggesting him for Batman implies you’ve never seen a Ryan Gosling movie or a Batman movie. He’s great at what he does, and what he does is nothing like Batman. At all.

I wouldn’t put my money down on anyone yet, including Joe Manganiello, Richard Armitage, Max Martini, or Matthew Goode. They may well be in the mix, but if I were forced to bet right now on who gets the part, I’d say the final contender is most likely someone whose name isn’t even being discussed at the moment.

We’ll see, since Warner Bros. says they’re releasing the film in the summer of 2015. My guess is they won’t finalize any decision until they have at least a working script in place.