Horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan wants to make a standalone movie about the Batman villain Clayface, a movie he would design as a “horror/thriller/tragedy.” Well known to horror fans for helming Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining, Flanagan has also directed genre titles like Oculus, Hush, Gerald’s Game, and Ouija: Origin of Evil. He also created the hit Netflix ghost series The Haunting of Hill House and its followup series The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Mike Flanagan is doing just fine in the horror genre, but if he gets the chance to pursue comic book adaptations, there are a couple of characters he already has in mind. On Twitter, a DC fan account asked Flanagan which character or team he would choose to make a movie about if he could pick any from the DC universe. Along with the Man of Steel, Flanagan also curiously chooses the shapeshifting villain popularized by Batman: The Animated Series. From the tweet:
“Well I’ve wanted to do a Superman movie since I was a kid, but I would also be really keen to do a standalone Clayface movie as a horror/thriller/tragedy.”
The idea of making standalone movies about comic book supervillains has grown in popularity since Joker was released in 2019. Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime, that movie shattered box office records when it premiered, this despite concerns that it wouldn’t perform well without having Batman as a main character. The success of Joker certainly opens the door for Warner Bros. to consider exploring other DC supervillains in standalone movies, and Clayface is certainly among the most interesting candidates to choose from.
Clayface’s origin story has come with various iterations across many different mediums, from the original comic books to modern video games. Typically, he is the alter ego of B-list movie actor Basil Karlo, though in the popular Batman: The Animated Series episode “Feat of Clay,” he’s an actor named Matt Hagen. Several others have also taken the moniker in different comic book timelines. What they seem to have in common is that they have clay-like bodies with shapeshifting abilities, a talent that allows them to disguise themselves as other people or even inanimate objects.
A live-action iteration of Clayface has yet to be featured in a Batman movie on the big screen. The Basil Karlo version appeared on the prequel series Gotham on Fox, played by Brian McManamon, introduced as a deceased actor brought back from the dead with newfound superpowers. Hellboy actor Ron Perlman also voiced Matt Hagen in Batman: The Animated Series. Meanwhile, Kate Micucci performed the voice work for the Lego version of Basil Karlo in The Lego Batman Movie. Dave Bautista has volunteered to play Clayface if a movie ever gets made, so he’s probably one of the first in line to be considered if the project ever happens.
As for what’s next for Flanagan, the filmmaker is working on another horror series at Netflix. Dubbed Midnight Mass, the show follows an isolated island community that experiences miraculous and frightening events after a mysterious priest comes to town. A release date hasn’t yet been set by the streamer. This news comes to us from Mike Flanagan on Twitter.