Head of Warner Bros Requested Nolan to Cast Leonardo DiCaprio in Christian Bale’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

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.

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 RisesThe 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.

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.

Leonardo DiCaprio Was Offered The Role of Robin In Batman Forever

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Robin in Batman ForeverWhen 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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