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Is it really news that the king of conundrums, the “riddle me this, riddle me that,” Riddler was Warner Brothers’ original choice for a villain in The Dark Knight Rises before he chose Bane? No – but maybe the actor who was supposed to play him is (and I’m not talking about Johnny Depp).
Instead of Johnny Depp, Warner Brothers wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to be the Riddler. DiCaprio would have been the second to wear the question mark after Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the Riddler in Batman Forever.
It’s questioned as to whether or not the decision to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as the Riddler spawned other casting choices. Most of the cast making up The Dark Knight Rises previously appeared in Nolan’s Inception, including Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (originally believed to be cast as the Riddler). I wouldn’t be too surprised, especially considering Nolan has done the reverse before by putting Cillian Murphy, who played the Scarecrow in The Dark Knight, into Inception.
I’m glad DiCaprio wasn’t chosen. He’s too much of a pretty boy and has a natural kind quality about him. I could not picture him as a manipulator like the Riddler. But even if the rumors were true and Johnny Depp was going to be the Riddler, that wouldn’t have worked for me either. He is too good at being weird, and the Riddler is more grounded (and I definitely did not want another Jim Carrey making the Riddler into more of a joker). If the Riddler could have been anyone, I would have preferred Hugh Laurie, the man who played House on House M.D. He could literally play the same character and it would work. But it’s too late for that now. Bane and Catwoman are the official villains of The Dark Knight Rises. Maybe in the next Batman Trilogy.