It’s one of the biggest — and most hotly debated — questions in fandom…which actors (and characters) will director Christopher Nolan enlist as a villain for his third “Batman” film? Rumors have abounded since the release of “The Dark Knight,” and Nolan has remained fiercely tight-lipped. But now, has one of his main players revealed some of the biggest casting news of the decade?
In an interview with MTV News conducted just hours ago at the Toronto Film Festival, Michael Caine — there to promote “Is There Anybody There?” — seemed to confirm rumors that the next installment of the “Batman” film franchise will feature two very well-known names playing the roles of The Riddler and the Bumbershoot Bandit, The Penguin. “They’ve already got them in mind,” said Caine, when asked who he’d like to see take up arms against the Caped Crusader. “It’s Johnny Depp as The Riddler. And The Penguin is Philip Seymour Hoffman. I read it in the paper.”
So Caine is like the rest of us, reading gossip in the tabloids, right? Except for one thing…according to the actor, he confirmed the news through the studio itself.
“When Christopher [Nolan] said we were going to do ‘The Dark Knight’ next, I didn’t what that meant in Batman terms,” related Caine, who plays Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth. “I said, ‘What’s the story?’ and he said The Joker. I said, ‘Oh, s–t! How are you going to top Jack [Nicholson]?’ He said, ‘Well, I’ve cast Heath Ledger. And I went ‘Ha! I couldn’t top Jack, but if anyone could, maybe Heath could.’ And he did.
“I 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, ‘S–t, they’ve done it again!’” [Laughs]
While rumors of Depp and Hoffman have been hot topics around the upcoming film for quite some time, this is the first instance of one of the film’s stars speaking about the news, as well as Caine citing an albeit unnamed WB executive.
Meanwhile, when asked if he’s spoken to Nolan about the news or the next installment’s script, Caine made mention of Nolan’s vacation, and hinted that, “No. He’s gone. He’ll come back with a script sometime.”