David S. Goyer recently went on the Happy Sad Confused podcast and dropped a couple of Bat-Bombs. According to Variety, the writer—known for coming up with the initial stories behind Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy—pushed for Jake Gyllenhaal to play the role of Batman over Christian Bale. While that’s newsworthy enough, the bigger revelation was that Warner Bros. wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to portray the Riddler in Nolan’s third Batman film.
“After The Dark Knight, the head of Warner Bros. at the premiere said, ‘You got to do the Riddler. Leo as the Riddler. You got to tell Chris, Leo as the Riddler.’ And that’s not the way we work.”-David S. Goyer, Dark Knight trilogy screenwriter, on how the idea of Leo DiCaprio playing The Riddler came about
Gyllenhaal as the Caped Crusader isn’t that weird of a concept when you consider the actor was also a candidate to play Spider-Man a few years earlier in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The actor has both the right build and the acting chops to play a superhero successfully. What is out of left field, however, is the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio donning a green leotard covered in question marks.
Okay, so we’ll admit, if Leonardo DiCaprio were brought into Nolan’s grounded, realistic take on Gotham, he most certainly wouldn’t be dancing around in emerald tights. Still, even whatever gritty version of the Riddler that Nolan and Goyer would have come up with would have been an odd fit for the Titanic star, something Goyer obviously thought as well.
Robin Williams was once rumored to be playing the Riddler for the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher ’90s Batman movie series but was ultimately passed over in favor of Jim Carrey.
“After ‘The Dark Knight,’ the head of Warner Bros. at the premiere said, ‘You got to do the Riddler. Leo as the Riddler. You got to tell Chris, Leo as the Riddler.’ And that’s not the way we work.” Goyer admitted on the podcast.
The writer went on to explain that the process behind crafting each of Christopher Nolan’s Batman epics was never to pick a villain first but rather to “crack the story” of Batman for each movie and then choose the villain best suited to compliment the Dark Knight’s journey.
For instance, Bane, Tom Hardy’s mush-mouthed antagonist from The Dark Knight Rises, was chosen as a way to challenge Batman physically after the battle of wits that took place between him and the Joker in the previous film. We have a suspicion that Hardy was also keen to try out his Sean Connery impression, but that’s never been confirmed by either Warner Brothers or Tom himself.
Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t the only A-List actor to be briefly tied to the role of Edward Nygma. Robin Williams was once rumored to be playing the Riddler for the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher ’90s Batman movie series but was ultimately passed over in favor of Jim Carrey.
Sadly, now that Williams has passed on, fans can only imagine what his version of the iconic Batman trickster would have looked like. DiCaprio, however, is still a possibility, albeit a very unlikely one.
David S. Goyer, screenwriter for the Dark Knight trilogy, says Warner Bros. wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to play Riddler in The Dark Knight Rises, and that he campaigned for Jake Gyllenhaal to play Batman.
Despite a darker take on the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, appearing in last year’s The Batman, Leonardo DiCaprio could always be asked to portray the rogue in James Gunn’s mainstream DCU. Whether or not Leo would want to throw his hat into the superhero ring is a whole other story.
One other less than revelatory admission by Goyer during his podcast appearance was the writer’s answer as to whether Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s police officer, John Blake, takes up the mantle of Batman after the events of The Dark Knight Rises.
“Yeah, for sure,” admitted Goyer, although, seeing as how Blake is literally shown entering the Batcave at the end of the film, it’s debatable how much of a mystery his future is.