When Joe Manganiello was first cast to play Slade Wilson also known as Deathstroke in the film, The Batman, Ben Affleck, was in the director’s chair. Affleck, who was going to play Bruce Wayne also known as Batman in the solo film, has since then left the position and his future as Batman is up in the air. Just before Affleck pulled his name out of the director’s hat, Manganiello had written up to 16 pages of the assassin’s backstory for the film. While talking to Chris Hardwick on his ID10T podcast, Manganiello shared his excitement and passion for the DC villain.
“This is a real opportunity to figure out who this guy is on the inside. Like what he’s battling with…There are villains who are the people who are opposing them but from the inside, this is a person who is struggling with all types of things. I think it’s really interesting to tell that kind of a story and tell the truth emotionally of a story like that when you’re talking about a man who lost an eye, was betrayed, lost a son. These different types of aspects.”
Deathstroke made his DCU debut on the big screen in a post credit scene in Justice League. So we know there is life to Manganiello as Deathstroke. While Affleck pondered what would be his next step for Batman, Manganiello started doing a deep dive into the life that Slade Wilson is going through on the action end in the DC world.
“Then you couple [the emotional story] with real-world military training. Then, I started training at like a Ninjutsu dojo and started learning sword fighting. Started learning and understanding where those techniques come from. All the sudden this thing starts writing itself.”
Manganiello is certainly inspired by the role and really wants to put out the best possible version of Deathstroke on the big screen that he is coming up with ideas for Warner Bros. to use in the film to make a strong impact of the character for the audience.
“What I love doing is, in an instance like that I’m able to, at the ground level, I’m able to go back and pitch all of my work. So I’m pitching them, ‘This is where I think he comes from. This is where I think he’s going. This is the military background. These are some articles that I pulled for you. I also interviewed these people over here.’”
While he was doing the research on the background of who Slade is as a person and an assassin, the studio is considering doing an origin film, starring Deathstroke. Godzilla director Gareth Evans was in talks to possible lead the production. Doing research on the titular assassin has helped guide the path to Manganiello possibly working with Evans on the film.
“Somewhere along that way I know that it was announced where the studio… there was talks with Gareth Evans and talks about an origin movie. I’m not giving news. I spent six months prior to all of those phone calls writing a backstory that was turned into sixteen pages which got turned into a treatment which then led to my Skype call with Gareth.”
Movies are generally exciting when actors, like Manganiello, commit 100% to the role and combining the actor’s and the character’s personalities into one identity.
“I’m rooting it in the world. I’m rooting it in something honest so it feels real. Then we’re talking about the emotional content. I get to play in that sandbox now. As an adult, I get to go back to what I did as a kid with tabletop role-playing games before I knew that was a job. There was something in me that was attracted to that type of gaming. That type of world building. That type of storytelling. That type of character development before I knew I could do this for a living. Now that I’m an adult and I’m in the position that I’m in It’s like all I want to do is, go find that next sandbox to play in and dig something out.”
Lastly, Manganiello debunked reports that he didn’t know the plans that Warner Bros. are doing with the DCU.
“Every time I’ve always said ‘Hey, man I don’t know what’s happening next.’ What they [media] print is: “Poor Joe left out in the cold, clueless.” I know everything. I’ve known everything. I know what’s going on. I just can’t say anything.”
While it is not confirmed yet, but it is intriguing to see an origin story on one of the most popular villains in the DC Universe. Slade Wilson has a lot of history going up against Batman, the Teen Titans, and Green Arrow. Considering we only have seen Deathstroke in action on Arrow and longtime favorite animated cartoon, Teen Titans, fighting Batman is ideally the next step in seeing Slade Wilson share his story in the cinematic universe of DC.
Are you excited to see Deathstroke make his return to the big screen in the DCU down the road? Be sure to tweet your thoughts @SuperBroMovies on Twitter!