Soon after the release of The Dark Knight rumors began spreading that execs were looking at Johnny Depp for The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Penguin. Possibly because people watched Depp play Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and thought, “Hey, Willy Wonka is kind of like The Riddler. So, if Depp can dial down the pedophilic undertones, he’d be perfect. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman is portly and inadvertently comical, just like The Penguin!”
“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]
There you have it. According to Michael Caine through an unmaed Warner Bros. exec, Johnny Depp might be The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman might be The Penguin despite no confirmation from Christopher Nolan who will actually be the one writing and directing the next installment. So… we’re pretty much back to where we started. Fabulous!