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[dropcap letter="I"]t goes without saying that amongst the many superheroes created by our American colonizers, only a handful stuck to the Pinoy psyche. Some like Green Lantern or The Fantastic Four didn’t worm their way deep into our minds as the others. Perhaps they weren’t universal enough or were too vanilla for our Asian tastes.

There is one superhero though, so striking that he delivers a totemistic ring to all Filipino brains. Filipino have always loved him that he might as well come from the same publishing house as Captain Barbell or Zuma, or share a star in our pantheon of national heroes beside Bonifacio and Rizal.

No, folks, it’s not Superman. (Outmoded jokes about briefs worn on the outside not withstanding.)

It’s Batman. Filipinos can’t get enough of Batman.

So much so that even your lola can recognize him at the flap of his scalloped cape. So much so that you see Batman on t-shirts of school children and on the sides of jeepneys rendered in cheap neon paint, or hear about him from the homilies of your parish priest. So much so that the expression “bahala na si Batman” earned a spot in our book of Pinoy idiomatic expressions. So much so that in 1991, Joey de Leon starred as the Caped Crusader in a Bollywood-inspired Regal film called Alyas Batman En Robin. (Quite the cult classic, folks. Check it out here.)

A few days ago, Filipinos all over the Internet reacted strongly upon hearing the casting of Ben Affleck as the new Dark Knight. So involved were Filipinos about this news that writer Lourd de Veyra snarked:


TWEET Lourd de Veyra


To allay all that hatemongering, we at 8List whipped up a distraction to calm everyone’s bat-nerves. If poor casting choices make you angry, then we will take a stab at making ones that all Pinoys could be probably agree with. This comes with a twist, of course. What if we cast our very own local actors for a fictional all-Pinoy Batman film?

Of course, there are two ways of going about this. We could think of the movie as campy fare not far from the Joey de Leon cult classic, but nah, that’s been done. So we decided to make it one that could be taken more seriously, more in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed trilogy.

So rehearse your best Bat-Growl as 8List gives you 8 actors we’d like to see in a Pinoy Batman movie.

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Sam Milby looks more fit for Superman. Jericho Rosales lacks the mystery. There is no face we can think of but Piolo Pascual, who is perhaps one of this generation’s best thespians. Papa P has the height and the jawline (all in the jawline, right?) to play the Dark Knight. With strong, angular features, he could easily pass as Christian Bale’s long-lost Asian half-brother. Not to mention some acting chops that could easily sell the yin-and-yang of millionaire and vigilante. His recent turn as a cop in Erik Matti’s noir thriller On The Job could only validate our wishes.


Piolo Pascual as Bruce Wayne Batman-8v

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How long has it been since we had a bad boy teen star in the Philippines? Quite a while. It’s refreshing that we have Daniel Padilla, the rightful heir to his uncle’s bad-ass with a heart of gold attitude. Let’s eschew Burt Ward-pixie boots territory here, folks. Those fierce eyes and Tondo swagger would definitely be assets in playing the second Boy Wonder who had gone awry.


Daniel Padilla as Jason Todd  Robin-7v

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The compassionate eyes and the heart breaking furrow. If only the King of Comedy were alive, he’d be a perfect fit for Alfred Pennyworth, the Waynes’ trusted butler, or in this case, mayordomo. No stranger to playing guardians to orphaned boys, as evidenced by his tearjerking performance in the Lino Brocka classic Ang Tatay Kong Nanay, Dolphy definitely fits the bill in playing Batman’s surrogate father. This would’ve been a better swan song than his ill-received Father Jejemon.


Dolphy as Alfred-6v

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We would’ve given this to Joel Torre, but that would be too obvious. Pen Medina, a veteran thesp who all serious-minded indie helmers run to when casting morally gray father figures, can play Jim Gordon’s conflicted policeman in his sleep. It’s probably also the moustache. Pen Medina rocks an awesome moustache, one that could make Gary Oldman shave his in shame.


Pen Medina as Commissioner Jim Gordon-5v


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Need we say more? Epy Quizon is everyone’s darling character actor.  Playing the Clown Prince of Crime will be a day in Boracay for the curly-haired thesp. Of course, this is all familiar territory for him, after hamming it up as Stryker in the Vic Sotto-starrer Lastikman. Those menacing cheekbones! Those sinister eyebrows! Those big teeth! Quick! Somebody dye this man’s hair green already and toss him a purple tuxedo. ‘Why so serious?’ din pag may time.


Epy Quizon as The Joker -4v

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Casting the lady thief is quite difficult given that she’s quite the chameleon. She’s been played by two black women (Eartha Kitt and Halle Berry), a redhead (Julie Newmar), a blonde (Michelle Pfeiffer) and a brunette (Anne Hathaway). Indeed, how does one go choosing the right actress to play her? We should look no further than our very own Angel Locsin. No stranger to the spandex-clad after playing the role of Darna, the buxom actress is our best bet in playing Selina Kyle. She’s athletic and  hardworking enough to play her convincingly. The thought of her in a shiny PVC catsuit would definitely be every fanboy’s dream come true.


Angel Locsin as Catwoman-3v

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We would’ve given this to Vhong Navarro, but where’s the fun in that? He’d play the Riddler too close to Frank Gorshin’s and Jim Carrey’s manic ectomorph. If you want funny-creepy, look no further than the patron saint of unrequited love and omniscient narrator of Bakit Di Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo?, Ramon Bautista. His turns in black comedy territory such as Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles and San Lazaro could show you how a terrorist with a fetish for puzzles can be played with equal doses of funny and creepy.


Ramon Bautista as The Riddler

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Shave this guy’s head, shove a voice transformer in his mouth and bulk him up with protein shakes and he could definitely play the luchador from Santa Prisca prison. Dingdong Dantes’ strength as a physical actor and his intense stares could further add to the menace of Bane. Of course, the crowning moment awesome of seeing him go toe-to-toe with Piolo Pascual could prove to be a metaphorical war between the princes of GMA 7 and ABS-CBN.


Dingdong Dantes as Bane-1v

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Looking for someone to play the rotund, tuxedo-wearing, bird-obsessed villain proved difficult as choices were rather scarce. Panchito once hammed it up as the avuncular dunce, Tiyo Paenguin, in the 1991 movie to much comic effect. But this being a dark movie, we ended up with none other than (former) Philippines' Most Wanted, Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles. In her signature dark blue blazer, JLN casts an identical silhouette to Oswald Cobblepot. And given her rumored reconstructive surgery, she could definitely crush it if her nose has become more beak-like.

Celebrated Batman editor Denny O' Neil once said that Oswald Cobblepot signifies 'bureaucracy gone bad.' Coincidence?

We think not. It's just perfect casting.


Janet Lim-Napoles as The Penguin-1v

Wincy Aquino Ong

Wincy Aquino Ong is a writer, musician, filmmaker, actor, and comic book illustrator. His works have been published in The Philippine Star and Esquire. His horror fiction was part of Neil Gaiman's Expeditions anthology. He is best known for the indie film San Lazaro, which was released in 2011.

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