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More Crazy Rumors: Michael Caine Says Depp is Riddler, Hoffman is Penguin?!

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September 8, 2008
Source: MTV

More Crazy Rumors: Michael Caine Says Depp is Riddler, Hoffman is Penguin?!

Continuing on with even more crazy rumors today (the other being Will Smith as Captain America), the folks at MTV have seemingly scooped another few superhero casting updates. This time the casting surrounds the third Christopher Nolan Batman movie. We've heard these names mentioned together before, so it seems like this isn't anything besides rehashing rumors thrown around on the internet previously, but the source this time is Michael Caine. Apparently Caine was talking with an executive at Warner Brothers about how they could "top" Heath Ledger as the Joker from Dark Knight and the exec named both Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin. Does it look like we finally have early confirmations on the third Batman movie? Or is Caine just pulling our leg?

So Caine told MTV in an interview that the execs "already got them in mind" before naming Depp and Hoffman. "I read it in the paper," he said. But that's not all. Caine continues on with an anecdote, mentioning that he "was with [a Warner Bros.] executive and I said, 'Are we going to make another one?' They said yeah. I said, 'How the hell are we going to top Heath?' And he says 'I'll tell you how you top Heath — Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin.' I said, 'Sh-t, they've done it again!'" I'm not sure if this is a classic case of internet rumors being blown incredibly out of proportion, to the point that the execs know who the internet "wants" to see and were just mentioning it because they like it, too. If that is the case, then none of this is really confirmed, just early speculation yet again.

I'm not going to pull up every last mention of Johnny Depp as The Riddler or Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin in an attempt to uncover where this all originally began. However, I will refer to an interesting article on SlashFilm a week ago where Depp was questioned about the Riddler rumor. "It seems like it'd be a fun gig," he remarked. So as of about a week ago, Depp wasn't being talked to by the execs, as far as we know. These two actors are both incredible and could definitely fit in Christopher Nolan's dark Batman universe. I'm just curious whether there is really some truth to Caine's quotes or whether he's just stoking the fires of the rumor mill. Only time will tell, but for now it's an exciting rumor. Would Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin top Heath Ledger?

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  • Epic
    FIRST, i think these are great choices but these two are going to have to step up theyre preformances if they want to even come close to heath ledgers villian, johnny needs to put some willy wonka wierdness with sweeney todd creepyness into it, and hoffman needs to deffinetly take notes from the danny devito penguin, who i thought did it almost flawlessly, except for the campyness
  • Ray G!!!!
    Dude! i heard about hoffman being The Penguin last year! And Johnny Depp as the riddler? personally i dont like the guy. the only good role he played was when he was glen in nightmare on elm st. i loved when he died!
  • Keith
    I think there are two different questions here.. Can the duo of Depp-Hoffman best Ledger's performance? Yes, I think it is possible. I'm still not entirely sold on Depp playing a strong dramatic character (and a villain at that), but Hoffman could pull it off without a doubt. Could the creators (i.e. Chris Nolan, David Goyer, etc.) come up with a story and characters that rival or surpass The Dark Knight? This I think is the more intriguing and difficult question to answer. I really don't know...
  • Mr. Wizard
    Both Depp and Hoffman are really good actors (obviously) but I think its important to also ask if The Riddler and The Penguin top the Joker as villians. I personally like the character of the Joker much more, so I don't think it matters how good the performance is because no character tops the Joker as a villian. Alot of it is also gonna depend on how Christopher Nolan decides to write those characters. So I think Depp and Hoffman would be good choices but defineately not top Heath Ledger.
  • Peloquin
    What happened to people being against multiple villains in a film? I see why Two Face and the Joker worked because Two Face's character stayed in the more gray area of good vs evil during the film allowing a bridge between Batman (good) and the Joker (evil). I don't see how they'd do this again for two completely different villains. I see another Spiderman 3 if they continue to add fuel to fan filled rumors...lets hope Nolan and Goyer can stand up to the studio a little better than Raimi.
  • CSpuppydog
    Wow I really hope this is true... I think Depp would do an amazing job as the Riddler. Hoffman is a weird choice but I can see it working.
  • Zach D.
    Uhh, am I wrong or is there still not even a script? Casting rumors are pretty premature at this point. I understand that it's fun to think about, though.
  • PimpSlapStick
    #7 you think Hoffman is a weird choice? The guy is an oscar caliber actor who is a short and pudgy man with a smug aeir about him and the Penguin is a short/pudgy supervillian with an smug aeir about him, Hoffman has can play extremely evil characters he's like a over weight Gary Oldman with Christopher Walken's creepy appeal. He's perfect
  • The Delightful Deviant
    so are we gonna get a Willy Wonka type of Riddler now?
  • I distinctly remember Hoffman denying rumors (or turning down the role) before even Heath Ledger was announced as the Joker last year. I really think it might have been sarcasm when mentioned to Caine, as it is too early to even know what would happen with the next movie. It's just what the studio wants, not what they've got.
  • Mattie
    I WANT CATWOMEN OR Harley Quinn A WOMEN NEEDS TO KICK ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • BrokenReal
    @ #5 and others: I think it's really going to come down the the story. It seems to me the trajectory of the Nolan-verse Batman is towards redemption. Whatever villains are chosen, they have to first and foremost serve the story. If the Riddler and Penguin are positioned in such a way that grants Batman the opportunity for redemption, then I feel the next film will be just as strong. With that being said, I do not feel a third film is capable of topping The Dark Knight for a few reasons: 1. The Joker is often considered to be the best villain of all time. 2. The Joker and Heath's portrayal of the Joker are incredibly charismatic. People are naturally drawn to this. In contrast, The Riddler is narcissistic and Penguin is smug, neither possesses the same natural magnetism. 3. The theme. For a similar reason many people consider Star Wars V the best, I feel The Dark Knight will remain at the top. Particularly in contemporary cinema, darker themes are more well-received. TDK focused on escalation and sacrifice. A third and most likely final Nolan-directed Batman will focus on the redemption or Batman. It can still be powerful, but it won't be as alluring as TDK.
  • TCox
    These are great casting rumors, and I could definitely get behind them. All this talk about "outdoing" Ledger's performance is just silly. His take on the Joker was completely flawless. It can't be beaten. The Dark Knight is something special. It had all the ingredients of a blockbuster, and Ledger's death put it over the top. There's no way a third film will do as well. It may even be a better movie, but it won't get the box office numbers that The Dark Knight has. Nolan has already said that he didn't want Penguin in his movies. Maybe he was presented with an ideal, or script that changed his mind. Maybe the studio has already leaned on him, like Sam Raimi. Who knows? I personally think the Penguin is a great character, that has yet to be properly portrayed on screen. Hoffman is perfect. If you don't know who he is, then reserve your judgement of him until you've seen Capote, Mission Impossible III, and Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. Depp, on the other hand would not be my first choice for the Riddler. He's a great actor, but I personally don't want to see a Willy Wonka version of the Riddler. I want to see a more Frank Gorshin style Riddler. The Riddler is more like the Joker than any of the other members of Batman's Rogues Gallery. He'd fit in to a third film, but he's got to be genuinely sinister. I'm not sure Depp is the right choice. I think he'd come off like he's channeling Ledger, which brings another point to mind. Why not bring in Depp to actually play the Joker in a smaller role?
  • pogi
    Depp FOR THE WIN for sure. Without him the next batman film will always be thought of as nothing compared to The Dark Knight.
  • The reason Heath Ledger worked was cause everyone fucking doubted him from the get go and he knocked it out of the park. So now their goal isn't to do what's best, it's to top it. Hoffman will work cause he's fucking great in everything. I thought Jim Carey was the best Riddler ever. In a better movie he could have had a better performance.
  • xcv
    Ledger's Joker is in another league, let him rest in peace. Or, get Joseph Gordon Levitt as cameo for Joker. Depp will not be a 'Willy Wonka's Riddler', that is ridiculous. I mean, have u seen Depp as 'Edward Scisorshand's Jack Sparrow'? Never, that is how good he is. He can pulled it of course. No comment on Hoffman. He is annoyingly brilliant in Capote, so he will be annoyingly brilliant for Penguin. Or.... Aside from both, i think the movie is big enough for a Harley Quinn in it. 3 villain, why not?
  • Cody
    You cant compare to different characters performances especially when one hasnt been done yet, Heath ledgers take on Joker was the shit...but that doesnt mean that Depps take on the riddler could do the exact same thing and blow our minds. Nolan has abig job of trying to top TDK if he does It will most likely be the best movie ever made.
  • Brian
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Get Johnny Depp out of your heads. He should never even be considered for anything in the Batman world. I don't think I would go see it. I don't think you could have the Penguin in these types of films. If your going for some sort of realism, the Penguin AIN'T the way to go. Also, like someone above mentioned, Depp would have to really go to some different kind of depth to pull off a villain as good as Ledger created. Keep both of them out of it! Here are some of my choices for The Riddler: Guy Pierce (Memento, The Time Machine) Hugh Laurie (House) Stanley Tucci (It could happen to you, Road to Perdition The Devil wears Prada) Just to name a few.
  • This is PERFECT casting, if true. WIN WIN WIN. I cannot imagine this casting being ANY BETTER AT ALL than Depp and Hoffman. These two gentlemen are brilliant in their own right, and unless Nolan seriously jumps the shark (I doubt that will happen, he's no Raimi) the next Batman installment will be out-of-this-world awesome.
  • Mario Tenorio
    Nobody will top Heath beacause no villain can top the joker.
  • Seriously, didn't they say Nolan wasn't even signed on completely yet? Dark Knight isn't even out of theatres yet.
  • I'm just imagining Hoffman sitting there making the fucking "Wark wark" Penguin noises while devising a scheme to launder all the money in Gotham.
  • harrison
    topping number 2 would be a stretch, but theyd both be great for the characters, i dont like hoffman in many of his roles but the penguins perfect for him. but i think if you have the penguin he should be paired with catwoman
  • Gershwin
    Ben Foster should play the Riddler! Has anyone seen him in 3:10 to Yuma? My god-- what a fanatical performance.
  • MacGruber
    He is just yanking our collective chain. and @25 THEY ALREADY DID THAT.
  • Kulasstar
  • xcv
    #26 that is cool....ups,i mean 'freeze"....
  • Bad taste?
    It strikes me as being a little bit tasteless to 'top' Heath Ledger. Poor choice of word.
  • j money
    this would be epic, if they can mold these characters into nolan's story telling
  • dom
    Am I missing something here? Why are these new films just rehashing the exact same baddies as in the old films? Doesnt the Batman franchise have more criminals?
  • werdnafaz
    Hoffman penguin yes Depp Riddler no Love him but i just don't feel it. Gary Oldman would be perfect but omg he is too sexy for the role lol. I beleive it should be someone older perhaps like a kevin spacey age type even Hugo weaving.
  • Merc
    The Nolan Batman films are popular because they have introduced "realism". The Joker character portrayed in TDK is simply flesh and blood, psychotic bordering on brilliance. The Riddler and Penguin would actually ruin this despite the fact that they are flesh and blood, but they're just too bizzare to be plausible. Though in a sense of excellent acting, Philip Seymour Hoffman would be great in any role, and should somehow be included. Although, I think the best thing for a third film would be to use what the second left us with, Batman, fighting to live.
  • I am glad that I am not the only person on this planet who hates Johnny Depp. Don't get me wrong, he has done some good flicks, but I would be upset if he was cast as the Riddler. I would be.
  • Spideyfan84
    Top Heath?? I think that's really, reaaally hard, but maybe match him. I mean, Johnny Depp is noe of my favorite, but Heath give everything to his last performance, EVEN HIS LIFE, so how you top that?
  • Omega728
    For those of you who keeps talking about how they're going to top Heath's Joker, are idiots. Stop trying to assume and compare. The Joker is the Joker... whatever villain(s) that's in the next film are totally different characters. Maybe if they're bringing back the Joker then you could start with the comparison's... but at this point they're not... so get over it and stop talking about how the Penguin or Riddler is going to top the Joker.
  • Faust
    I dont think you can top The Dark Knight's Joker... I dont care how good Depp and Hoffman might or will be... Ledger's performance is amazing and I dont think you can beat it. And i have a feeling that the next film will have a shadow cast over it because of the people looking for someone else to top Ledger. Nolan will no doubt make another kick ass film and thats all that matters.
  • RStewie
    I like Depp for a Batman villian, and the Riddler seems to fit him, but Penguin is my all-time most hated villian of the series. I'd rather see Riddler and Catwoman (NOT Angelina Jolie, though) or Poison Ivy.
  • Colca
    Did everyone forget that Nolan himself said they wouldn't be reusing any of the other villains from the other movies? He wants to use new villains only in the next movie.
  • Dirty Dutchman
    It is fun to speculate who and what will happen for the next film, but Nolan has always surprised us. I am willing to bet that none of us will correctly predict who will be cast or what will happen. The only thing that I hope for is that Nolan will not change his approach towards Batman, but we should all expect to be a little disappointed for the 3rd and final film because all trilogies end with some disappointment (In my opinion, the only trilogy that ended well was “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”). The only hope for us is that Nolan and Bale reunite in 15 years to make a film version of the” Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”.
  • Tomas
    Bane Mr. freeze Scarecrow Poison Ivy Two Face Red Hood Black Mask The Riddler Catwoman Clayface Deadshot Harley Quinn Killer Croc Calendar man Solomon Grundy they are so many enemies and why the penguin is the most lamest of the "super villians" of batman THE RIDDLER = ADRIAN BRODY harvey dent is dead, but two face is alive
  • Carlos
    Simple solution for the Riddler. ready? ready? ready!? Tobin Bell as Jigsaw. boom. 😛
  • Chris C.
    It all depends on what Christopher Nolan wants. Warner Bros. is definitely gonna go to him with every casting choice. After all, he helped rope in over $500 million for that studio domestically. Personally, I think David Tennant would make a much better Riddler, and didn't Nolan say that The Penguin was out for being too over-the-top?
  • SlashBeast
    It's way too early to say anyone is playing any part, especially considering Nolan has not even officially signed on to any project. Besides, chosing people on the spot like that isn't like him, he choses the most qualified actor for the role and not just big names. Heath wasn't cast because they thought he would bring popularity, he was cast because he performed the best Joker role.
  • SlashBeast
    Besides, I think that it kind of seems a little cheap to simply cast big name actors to increase profits. I would take much more comfort in knowing that the best actor was chosen and not just the most popular.
  • Can people stop it already? TDK came out just barely 3 months ago and the media keep making these silly rumors. Chris Nolan isn't even signed on for a third film (as of my knowledge, only Cain and Bale are) and these "articles" still include his name on it and his casting choices. It's quite the unintentional humor that I like about it though. The Cher as Catwoman thing gave me a good laugh.
  • cornholio_by_the_sea
    Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, etc...Ledger's Joker has set a standard for Batman's villians that will be out of reach for the likes of these characters. I hate to see it happen but I think if Nolan goes with anymore of the cartoon villians the franchise is going to fail. It will be too reminiscient of the Tim Burton movies, which were fun, but not at all thrilling. Time to create a new bad guy who can pick up where the Joker left off.
  • Kelly B.
    Its not about topping Ledger (which would be a tall order), its about creating the best characters for the story Nolan wants to create. Period.
  • SlashBeast
    You don't want to top Ledger, you want to be just as good as him but at the same time a completely separate identity. The Riddler should not be played eccentrically (as Depp would play him) because he would be just a watered down version of the Joker. The reason Heath's performance was so acclaimed is because he'd never acted in a role with such intensity. Depp's done this many times so it would be expected and diminish the surprise.
  • Frame
    The Joker's words in TDK suggests that he was (of course) intended to return in the sequel in a possibly much bigger role. My question is will this villain be swept under the rug with no other actor to take his place? Because with all the character's talk in the movie it would seem EXTREMELY anti-climactic. Everyone's so stuck on playing a guessing game about the next villains when I'm wondering who could possibly fill Ledger's shoes, God rest his soul. Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors of all time. He could play Catwoman and it'd be great.
  • I like Hoffman, but I really don't dig Depp for the role of the Riddler.
  • Ghiadon
    I don't like any of these ideas for the sequal. Here's a complete left turn for you....... The Dark Knight was all about Joker's psychosis. Go the other direction for the new film and dovetail the end of Dark Knight. This sequal has to be physical. Batman is being hunted for the death of Harvey Dent. Gordon is dragging his feet with the hunt because he really doesn't want to catch him. The new mayor of Gotham is tired of hearing "we are doing the best we can" from Gordon so he takes matters into his own hands. Either on the sly, or mayby publicly by putting a price on Batman, he hires the first man to show for the job. Bain! No not the masked version looking like a WWE wrestler but a large, normal, man with a secret. Now the hunter has become the hunted. This way Batman can not rely on his physicallity alone. He will have to outsmart Bain somehow. Maybe you could get Michael Clarke Duncan to play him! Just an idea. But really I just ask one question.......WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN!!!!!!!!!!! Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman? Too many villans spoil the movie. Look at Spiderman 3! Look at the previous Batman movies!!! PLEASE just one villan and maybe a lackey. Develope the characters and make a story. Let's not just throw the kitchen sink at Batman! PLEASE!!!!
  • xcv
    so, no comic villain then?hehehe
  • Ivan A. Arcaya,Sr.
    My choice is Guy Pierce. Christopher Nolan and Guy Pierce did a great job on Memento. They have worked together and Nolan knows that he can depend on Pierce to do a good job. On a different thread on Dark Knight Returns; I also chose Guy Pierce. #19 Brian; I'm voting for Guy Pierce. Are there any other Commentators that agree with Brian and me? I also recommended that the next Dark Knight Movie be named ; Dark Knight-Redemption. " I would like to see the police chasing The Dark Knight every time he comes out to save someone. There was a Comic book Story Arc that had the police chase Batman and wound him. He was cared by /Selina Kyle /The Future Catwoman. This would only be a cameo to set up a possible Catwoman or Batman/Catwoman Film. However; I agree with #46 cornholio_by _the _sea. Christopher Nolan needs a new villain that's the head of a powerful crime syndicate. Black Mask or Red Hood. The crime family takes over The vacuum left by The Dark Knight's absence. The Police can't stop the criminal syndicate and Gotham turns back to the chaos before Batman Returns. While Batman is recuperating from his wounds; Selina convinces him that he must intervene. She contacts Alfred who picks him up and takes him back to the Bat Cave. Batman intervenes with the help of Lucius Fox and Alfred. Batman defeats The Black Mask or The Red Hood played by Guy Pierce with the help of Commissioner Gordon and redeems himself in the eyes of the citizens, the mayor and the police. The Dark Knight comes full circle hero, villain and hero again.
  • JONNY
    I think The Riddler would be really great, especially since he helps the cops solve crimes, almost like another hero. Since TDK ends with people hunting down Batman and his identity, it would be so interesting for the Riddler to try to solve that remaining mystery for the city of Gotham. However, as much as I like Johnny Depp as an actor, I think casting Guy Pearce as The Riddler would be wiser. He's worked with Nolan in Memento and he could definitely come up with a character that would confuse Gotham (and the audience): to love him, or not to love him? Plus, Depp's already too busy shooting Michael Mann's Public Enemies. Also, since I believe the Joker is not only Batman's ultimate nemesis, but also the most sophisticated one-on-one antagonist, it shouldn't be that easy to top Heath's performance. Instead, along with Edward Nygma's Riddler, why not add Talia al'ghul? She can not only fill in the empty female pocket since Rachel is now gone, but also bring back another version of her father's League of Shadows. Oh, ans she comes off as Bruce Wayne's love interest in the comic novels, so she can also mess with Batman's heart while scheming behind his back. Dayam... Batman's gonna have no life fighting whoever the villains are in the 3rd installment.
  • JONNY
    oh yea and please no Penguin or catwoman. maybe something with poison ivy working together with scarecrow to create some new chemical toxin. Riddler can join them ha
  • SlashBeast
    As for the actors themselves, these are A-listers who use their name to sell movies. In case you haven't noticed, Nolan doesn't use big blockbuster actors in his movies, especially the Batman films. If he really wanted to sell "Begins," he would have cast Brad Pitt as Batman. The actors he chooses are committed to their roles, i.e. HEATH LEDGER. If he really wanted to sell TDK, he would have put Jack Nicholson in the clown make-up because everyone would be falling over themselves for nostalgia. Can you imagine how much the next film would make if it had Angelina Jolie in a tight leather costume? Nolan would not sell out like that. Bale is a method actor, and truly committs to his roles; Ledger threw himself at the Joker.
  • SlashBeast
    I just learned this, Hoffman has confirmed that the rumours are not true - “No one has talked to me about it ever — never,” replied Hoffman. “It happened, like, five years ago, too. It was a rumor back then and it’s still a rumor. [laughs] It’s just in the press. It’s funny." Let's put it to rest please.
  • people nolan has already said there wont be penguin or cat woman in his films, so forget those hoffman/jolie rumors. i agree with nola on his decision because penguin dosen't fit in his take of the batman films and we have already seen catwoman in other films and-i don't know why people want her on this franchise even if played by jolie they shouls bring some one new like harly qeen.
  • F*** all you people who are dissing johnny depp he is one of the greatest actors owt there to day he is always original and gives unique charasyeristics to all his characters. that being said i don't think he should take the part as a riddler because he too big of a star and all the actors that nolan chose were not until they did bat man. i think devid tennant whold be great and he has already said he's interested in the role, he also has a good chance because nolan seems like to cast fellow british actors for his bat man films. is there any ACTOR better that johnny depp today i don't thinks so.
  • SlashBeast
    All these rumours need to be put to rest, the writers have already stated that they're going to adapt villains that have never been in the films before (like Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul). There's tons of other possibilities like Black Mask, Rupert Thorne and Hush
  • william
    Johnny Depp as the Riddler would be awesome, but I can think of some one better then Philip Seymour Hoffman to be the Penquin. James Gandolfini from the Soprano's. And instead of making the Penquin a mutant freak like they did with Danny Devito have Mr. Soprano himself do what he does best and turn the Penquin into a "God Father" of sorts. I personally think Gandolfini would blow Philip Seymour Hoffman out of the water as the Penquin. Hopefully its not to late!!!!!!
  • sno
    i kind of thought maybe dee-bo was in tdk hinting at killer croc
  • Ricardo
    I actually thought of Depp as the guy who would fill-in for Ledger, as the JOker isn't dead. I mean, the character is too important to be forgotten, since they were smart enough not to kill him, as they did with the Nicholson-Joker. However, Ledger - great actor, his best performance, i'ts really a shame and a pity - won't be available. Who, then? Depp came to my mind. And The Riddler doesn't have to be colorful and crazy, as in the old movies. We're talking about a kind of a genius, who is crazy enough to commit crimes and give clues. I can easily picture a creepy character, killing people in extremely meticulous ways, just to try his mind against the Dark Knight's mind. Forget the green tights.
  • jackorama
    ray g.... that was funny...?????????????

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