Monday, September 10, 2007

Danza suits up for Batman sequel

A Moon Topples Exclusive

Actor Tony Danza will return to the big screen next year in the latest Batman update from director Christopher Nolan.

Danza, primarily known to audiences for his role as boxer-turned-cabbie Tony on the television series "Taxi" and his subsequent role as boxer-turned-housekeeper Tony on "Who's the Boss," will reportedly play a character named Tony, a former boxer who is orphaned in his mid-50s when his elderly parents (Abe Vigoda, Betty White) die of natural causes a few months apart. His story catches the attention of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), who subsequently takes Tony under his wing.

"I do worry some about [the tone]," Nolan said at a press conference Friday. "The last one turned out a lot darker than I had intended, and I wanted to find a way to introduce some lighter elements while still propelling the story forward. Tony gives me a perfect way to do that. This will be a film my children can watch."

The new character is expected to fit into the main storyline in a sidekick capacity, as well as in a subplot featuring Wayne's valet Alfred (Michael Caine). In the latter, Alfred is resentful of the new living arrangement and begins acting out. His bickering with Tony escalates, and the two draw a line down the middle of stately Wayne Manor to divide the mansion in two, one half for Alfred and one half for Tony. Both sides soon realize that the situation is less than ideal: Alfred has access to the Batcave, but Tony has the kitchen. The two eventually learn to work together, and even become friends. Nolan has admitted that some elements of this plot owe a debt to Neil Simon's The Odd Couple and 1970s American television.

"This is about storytelling," Nolan said. "Batman is an American icon. So is Tony Danza. The pairing of the two really allows me to add elements of American situation comedies to the film, which was my intention from the start."

For his part of the main storyline, Danza will play a costumed sidekick, also named Tony. In spite of his past as a boxer, it is rumored that the character is more reliant on clever quips than his fists. If true, the film would feature the first non-Robin sidekick relationship in a Batman film since 1993's pairing with Dustin Hoffman in Batman/Rainman, in which the duo team up to stop Clayface, who has kidnapped the autistic savant's brother. While critically acclaimed, the film failed to break even and allegedly led to Michael Keaton's departure as Batman.

"Christian brings a certain amount of anger, especially when he's in the suit. He can be a little terrifying. Tony can comment on these things, on behalf of the audience. He can say 'look, relax, this is just one of the henchmen. There's no need to be so angry all the time.' His influence on Bruce Wayne can help to stabilize the character."

While former Batman director Tim Burton was unavailable for comment, another former director of the franchise, Joel Schumacher, applauded the move.


Anonymous said...

Ha! Awesome post. Nice dig on Joel Schumacher too.

Now, if they would only work in Scott Baio I would camp out for opening night.

Unknown said...

Ha, ha, very good Maht! Now, picture this, how about you wrote casting Robin Williams as the sidekick... That could take Batman to places he's certainly never been before - er no, hang on, that's Star Trek...

Unknown said...

Excuse me, but I fear that the necessary and due respect is not being given to the dark knight... even if you are being relatively amusing.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What I glean from all this is that Danza cannot be trusted to remember his characters' names; hence, they are all called Tony.

Method acting at its finest, indubitably.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Tony Danza in Batman?!


I'd have to see it. Just doesn't sound right. Can't prejudge, really, but I have one eyebrow raised in serious doubt.

Guess time will tell.

Scarlett & V.

The Moon Topples said...

Struggles: I did have a joke planned about how Henry Winkler was the original choice to play Ra's Al Ghul in the last film, but felt I was maybe pushing my luck.

AbVan: Perhaps a Batman/Star Trek crossover starring Mr. Williams? Seems right up your alley.

Ver: Sadly, even the worst imaginings of my fevered brain cannot tarnish the Bat nearly so much as some of the things that have been done to him in film, television and even comics.

HinSF: You caught that, too, eh?

Scarlett: Um. It's not a real news story. Also, Batman never actually teamed up with Rainman.

Unknown said...

I found a whole bunch of first edition Batman's in a 2nd book shop this summer. I had them in my hands, they were there and then I thought... I can't buy them all, mustn't buy them all. There was also the serialised version of Maus in the Window! How I kept onto my life's savings I don't know.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You had me hook, line and sinker on that one, God bless it.
I never watch Batman movies... and very rarely watch TV, so I had zero chance of seeing that one coming.

Good one.

Blushing Scarlett

basest said...

well done, maht. laughed out loud. Bothered other people around me.

Liz Dwyer said...

Can you imagine the horror this would be if it were actually going down like this? Oh goodness, I was starting to sweat for a second there!

The Moon Topples said...

Ver: Tell me you at least picked up the Maus...

Scarlett: Don't feel too bad. I find it delightful when people think a joke is real. Made my day, sort of.

Basest: Thanks, and apologies to those you bothered. Not surprised that you in particular would like this...

Liz: Sorry I scared you. I suspect Batman is in good hands for a while, with Mr. Nolan not being anything at all like I made him out in this post.