Friday, August 22, 2008


Probably the last big name, Clayface is usually a shape shifting man who looks like a pile of mud in his unaltered state. In addition to being able to look like other people, he can change his shape almost Reed Richards-style, enabling him to be a physical threat to Batman.

But there have been, by wikipedia's count seven Clayfaces, with a few differences. The two most notably different are the original Clayface, Basil Karlo (far left, above), and the third, Preston Payne (far right). Karlo was the star of a classic horror film where he played a villain called Clayface, but when he found out they were remaking it, went nuts, put on the costume from the movie, and started killing people. Payne was a scientist with a disfiguring medical condition and tried to adapt one of the shapeshifting Clayface's powers to cure his own condition, but the experiment resulted in his skin melting when exposed to air and will melt anyone else he touches. Payne builds a suit with what looks like a hood made of plastic wrap to keep himself from melting or touching anyone else, and goes somewhat understandably nuts from the isolation.

Pros: Clayface is a classic villain, visually interesting, and (even though between Founders, Skrulls, and Cylons its becoming a little cliche) not being able to tell your enemies from your friends is both fun and socially relevant.

Cons: The shapeshifting. I love Clayface, but the movies have skipped almost every science fiction element of Batman stories. Suddenly introducing a shapeshifter (or a melting skin dude) doesn't work very well.

How I'd do it: Use Basil Karlo. A guy in a movie costume calling himself Clayface works just fine.

Casting Guesses: Between Ed Wood and Entourage, Martin Landau has shown a tremendous ability to play a has-been, which would be perfect for Basil Karlo.

Verdict: Having a Clayface who isn't at all clay-like would be weird for casual fans of the comics, so it's not very likely, but it could happen.


Anonymous said...

After the threat posed by Ra's Al Ghul and The Joker I hardly think an old actor in a mask is going to cut it as a villain. I would Nolan-ise (as I call it) either Matt Hagen or Preston Payne. Hagen could be a criminal posing as Batman and committing crimes in his name, while Payne could be a psychopathic killer injecting his victims with diseases.

Either way I'd have Clayface as a secondary villain in the employ of the main bad guy, like Scarecrow in Batman Begins.

Anonymous said...

Everyone's going to end up comparing him to Sandman from Spider-Man 3. I love Clayface, but he doesn't fit into Nolan's Batman movies.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the original Clayface a common thief? No shapeshifting or superpowers. I wouldn't mind if they used that version of Clayface in the movies.

Roman said...

Clayface is the best Batman Villain ever in my opinion

if Nolan insists the film is “reality based” than he can drop Clayface’s “shape shifting” powers altogether and instead just have a former actor who was scarred so bad that his face is practically missing and he just uses advanced masks to pretend to be other people (with great effectiveness)

although in my opinion a shape shifting clayface would be Epic to see on the big screen