Monday, October 13, 2008
Returning to villains after two weeks covering allies, let's start with Rupert Thorne. Thorne was a corrupt politician, a City Councilman who spearheaded anti-Batman policies in City government. He was determined to become Mayor of Gotham so that he could expand his influence, but, having staked his career on the pursuit of Batman, felt that capturing the Bat was the only way to win the mayoral race.
When Dr. Hugo Strange learned Batman's secret identity, I think in Strange Apparitions, it was Thorne who decided to skip the auction of Batman's real name and instead try to torture Batman's identity out of Hugo Strange.
Eventually Thorne is defeated in his quest to be Mayor, but the next election cycle he comes up with a better solution: a puppet candidate. Mayor Hamilton Hill ran Gotham for many years in the comics, and Rupert Thorne ran Hamilton Hill.
Thorne has been largely absent from comics for the past 20 years or so, but he did become the main recurring gangster on Batman: The Animated Series in the 90s.
Pros: A corrupt politician who tries to make the hunt for Batman a major issue is a perfect fit for how The Dark Knight left off.
Cons: I kind of wonder if it might be easier to just make the corrupt politician a Falcone or a Maroni, since those families have already been introduced, but that's all I can think of.
How I'd do it: The city has declared Batman to be public enemy number one, and in every crisis like this there's at least one politician who decides to be the face of the issue, hogging any camera in sight to talk about it. Thorne would obviously be that guy. Whether he's just corrupt, blackmailed by the mob, or running his own criminal enterprise depends on how the rest of the story is set up, but it's easy to see how he fits in.
Casting Guesses: I keep picturing Marlon Brando in the role, and obviously he can't do it. Fred Thompson would be great, but I'm not sure he would want to play a crooked politician so close to his attempt to resurrect his own political career. Maybe Billy Bob Thornton? I at least feel like he can give that smile that politicians give that is supposed to seem reassuring but mostly just makes it look like they're up to no good.
Verdict: One of the best fits I've covered in a while. Thanks to commenter Ray for pointing out that I'd forgotten him.