There was a report circulating for the last month that Jonah Hill was in talks for a villainous role in The Batman, with everyone guessing who he could be playing and how much he would get paid (the Penguin and $10 million were betting favorites). But yesterday, Hill passed on The Batman—didn’t get that ten mil, I guess—and now, just one day later, Paul Dano is in line to play the Riddler opposite RBattz. Was Hill up for the Riddler all along? Or do they have multiple takes on the story, depending on who they cast and which role they fit? Jonah Hill isn’t right for the Riddler OR the Penguin, so this is a good call whichever way you slice it. Paul Dano is an upgrade, especially if the character he’ll play is the Riddler. The last Riddler on screen was Jim Carrey’s over-the-top version in Batman Forever. If we are in for a new Riddler, especially a Paul Dano Riddler, then this will undoubtedly be a darker take grounded in recognizable serial killer lore—prepare for Zodiac references. Also, if they’re going to do the Penguin, either bring back Danny DeVito, or just get Robin Lord Taylor to adapt his performance from Gotham for a movie. He was OUTSTANDING as the Penguin on Gotham.
Of course, no one REALLY knows who Paul Dano will play. It probably is the Riddler, just because I can’t picture him as any other bat-villain. Scarecrow, maybe? But we saw Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow back in the Nolan trilogy, and I really don’t think they’re looking to invoke Nolan with the bat-relaunch. Trying to maintain Nolan’s gritty take on superheroes is how DC ended up flailing for most of the 2010s. I don’t expect The Batman to have cotton candy colors or anything, but I am very skeptical they will want to directly court Nolan comparisons. This is supposed to be a whole new Batman to go with the rebranded DC cinematic universe. Also, the Riddler makes sense as a villain to pair with Catwoman. They’re both tricksy foes, and if this is the tack Matt Reeves is taking, then The Batman might actually resemble a real detective story like, say, The Long Halloween, in which Batman has to find a serial killer amongst his rogue’s gallery. Really hoping The Batman turns out to be a Long Halloween adaptation. That comic is dope.
Speaking of dope, I’m already stoked for this press tour. Robert Pattinson recently called Batman “a dope character” and thinks he’ll make a good Batman because one of his eyes is “smaller than the other one”. I’m imagining RBattz, who fills his interviews with delightful nonsense, on a press tour with Paul Dano and Zoe Kravitz and it’s already funny. This is shaping up to be a can’t-lose scenario for the audience. Either everything works out and hooray, we have a new and exciting Bat-universe to enjoy, or it’s an entertaining catastrophe. Just picture Paul Dano trying to follow one of Pattinson’s tangents in an interview and tell me it’s not funny.