Warner Bros. Executive Wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to Play the Riddler in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

tdk rises dicaprio

Batman is one of the most adapted characters in the history of the superhero genre. If we look only at standalone movies, Batman was featured in eight live-action movies since 1989 and who knows how many animated ones. Although Adam West played his campy Batman in 1966’s ‘Batman,’ many fans still claim that Batman’s history on the big screen started in 1989 when Michel Keaton portrayed the character in a Tim Burton-directed movie ‘Batman.’

That first film series spawned three sequels, but Keaton reprised his role in only one of them. The other two movies, directed by Joel Schumacher, didn’t live up to the name of Batman that Keaton and Burton previously set. 1997’s ‘Batman & Robin’ was an absolute commercial and critical failure, and it took seven long years for Batman to return to the big screen in a movie directed by Christopher Nolan, who is responsible for making one of the best superhero trilogies of all time.

‘Batman Begins’ co-writer reveals WB wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to play the Riddler in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The screenplay for Batman Begins was written by Nolan and David S. Goyer. The movie received critical acclaim for its grounded premise, mature tone, character-driven storylines, and Nolan’s direction. The sequel, ‘The Dark Knight,’ achieved even greater success, and many still consider it one of the best comic book movies ever. Goyer didn’t write the script for ‘The Dark Knight,’ but he was credited for the story.

While speaking with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Goyer revealed that Warner Bros. initially wanted the Riddler to be the next villain to Christian Bale’s Batman and that Leonardo DiCaprio should play him.

“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 for Happy Sad Confused (via Variety)


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DiCaprio worked with Nolan on 2010’s ‘Inception,’ but Warner Bros.’s wishes weren’t granted in the end since the main villain in ‘Rises’ was Bane, played by Tom Hardy, whose performance was praised, although he was deemed inferior to Heath Ledger’s Joker from ‘The Dark Knight.’ Interestingly, Hardy also starred in ‘Inception’ before he worked with Nolan again on ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation, and since superhero movies are now largely commercial movies, for which they drew criticism from acclaimed filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, it’s next to impossible that an actor of DiCaprio’s caliber would ever appear in a superhero movie, particularly because DiCaprio works only with the most acclaimed filmmakers, who make artistic movies instead of commercial ones.

However, in case you didn’t know, DiCaprio was considered for the role of Robin in 1995’s ‘Batman Forever’ before Chris O’Donnell was cast. Who knows how would DiCaprio’s career look today if he got to play Robin in one of the poorly received Batman movies?

The character of Riddler appeared twice on the big screen so far. In 1995’s Batman Forever, the character was portrayed by Jim Carrey, whose performance was deemed one of the movie’s good sides. In 2022, Paul Dano played the character in Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman.’ Although Carrey’s quirky incarnation was more comic-accurate, Dano’s performance also received acclaim.

Could you ever imagine Leonardo DiCaprio as the Riddler? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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