“Leo as Riddler, you got to tell Christopher Nolan”: Head of Warner Bros Requested Nolan to Cast Leonardo DiCaprio in Christian Bale’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

After Heath Ledger's Joker, WB wanted someone of star power to play the villain in the third Dark Knight film

"Leo as Riddler, you got to tell Christopher Nolan": Head of Warner Bros Requested Nolan to Cast Leonardo DiCaprio in Christian Bale's The Dark Knight Trilogy

SUMMARY

  • David S. Goyer revealed that Warner Bros. wanted Christopher Nolan to include The Riddler as the central villain in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • They wanted to bring in Leonardo DiCaprio for the role, however, Nolan didn't concede since he decided his villains only after finishing the story.
  • Eventually, Tom Hardy's Bane became a better-suited villain in the third film.
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Leonardo DiCaprio may keep his distance from the superhero genre today, but he was the studios’ favorite in playing some crucial CBM characters. At the start of his career, he was offered the role of Robin in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever. During the Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. wanted Christopher Nolan to make The Riddler as the central villain in the third film. They wanted Nolan to bring DiCaprio on board the film for the same.

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WB wanted Inception star Leonardo DiCaprio in a role in The Dark Knight Rises
WB wanted Inception star Leonardo DiCaprio in a role in The Dark Knight Rises

However, Nolan didn’t concede to the demands of the studio and insisted that he worked with a villain that suited the story. Nolan later worked with DiCaprio in Inception, which remains the actor’s highest-paying gig to date.

Warner Bros. Tried To Convince Christopher Nolan To Cast Leonardo DiCaprio as The Riddler

Leonardo DiCaprio's The Riddler was WB's pick for a villain instead of Tom Hardy's Bane in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises
Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Riddler was WB’s pick for a villain instead of Tom Hardy’s Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises from Christopher Nolan saw another Batman villain, Bane, terrorizing the city of Gotham. After Heath Ledger‘s Joker became a phenomenon in The Dark Knight, the studio understood the key role that villains played in the Batman films. Warner Bros. suggested Nolan cast Leonardo DiCaprio as The Riddler in this third film. This little scoop came from the writer of the movies, David S. Goyer.

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Speaking with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Goyer shared that the idea was first thrown at him by a WB exec at the premiere of The Dark Knight. However, Goyer was pretty sure that Nolan was staunchly against fixing characters before they had a proper story at hand. Goyer revealed that their style of creating a story was more naturalistic.

They figured out a story that they wanted to thematically explore with Bruce Wayne and then decided upon the villain who fitted that story. Goyer recalled the pitches from WB execs to Josh Horowitz:

“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.”

Nolan and Goyer found that Bane would be the perfect villain for the third film’s story and cast Tom Hardy in the role. The film gave a fitting end to Christian Bale‘s superhero trilogy and WB has no unresolved issues with the director for not including DiCaprio’s Riddler.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Was Offered The Role of Robin In Batman Forever

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Robin in Batman Forever
Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Robin in Batman Forever

When Tim Burton exited the Batman universe, Joel Schumacher had to recreate the films from scratch with a new cast. He cast Val Kilmer as the new Batman, replacing Michael Keaton. And the role of the sidekick Robin was offered to the up-and-coming actor Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio had earned an Academy Award nomination by then, and he really didn’t want to play the role.

He revealed to Shortlist that he never screen-tested for the role. He had a meeting with Schumacher but added that he wasn’t ready for the role in the film. The Killers of the Flower Moon actor shared with Shortlist:

“I never screen-tested. I had a meeting with Joel Schumacher. It was just one meeting and, no, I didn’t end up doing it. Er, I don’t think I did, no (laughs). As I recall I took the meeting, but didn’t want to play the role. Joel Schumacher is a very talented director but I don’t think I was ready for anything like that”

Elsewhere in the podcast interview, Goyer revealed that Jake Gyllenhaal was his favorite to play Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy. However, he admitted that Nolan’s choice of Christian Bale nailed the superhero role.

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The Dark Knight trilogy films are now available for streaming on Max.

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Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1372

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.