Prolific comedian Eddie Murphy was once rumored to play Batman villain The Riddler in the then-untitled sequel to the Christopher Nolan-directed The Dark Knight. The threequel, eventually released to theaters in 2012 as The Dark Knight Rises, pit Christian Bale’s Batman against Marion Cotillard as a scheming Talia al Ghul and Tom Hardy as her brute co-conspirator Bane, with Anne Hathaway in the mix as femme fatale Catwoman. But in December 2008, months after Batman opposed both Heath Ledger's Joker and Aaron Eckhart's Two-Face in summer blockbuster The Dark Knight, a rumor originating in British tabloid The Sun claimed Murphy was being eyed to play the hint-dropping bad guy in Batman 3.
Beyond Murphy’s purported casting, the report claimed Transformers star Shia LaBeouf was attached as Robin, with The Mummy star Rachel Weisz playing Catwoman. A sidekick of sorts did make its way into The Dark Knight Rises: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Gotham police officer John "Robin" Blake, who ultimately inherits the Batcave and other Bat-toys from the believed-dead Batman.
Days before Christmas 2008, Murphy's representative told Access Hollywood the rumor was "not true." In June 2009, during Conan O'Brien's short-lived tenure as host of The Tonight Show, Murphy personally debunked the rumor:
“I heard that rumor as well. I don't know anything about it,” Murphy said before quipping, “Whoever is really playing the Riddler is sitting home calling his agent, going: ‘We gotta have this rumor stopped.’”
He continued, “I would love to be in one of these Batman movies. Jim Carrey did the Riddler once and he did a wonderful job. They did the Riddler and they did the Penguin and they've done Mr. Freeze and they did the Joker. I could be Egghead.”
Mimicking Egghead, played by Vincent Price in the 1960s Batman television show that starred Adam West and Burt Ward, Murphy cracked jokes: “Eggcelent. Eggsquisite. They’ll never crack this hard boiled case!”
Most recently, when promoting Netflix original movie Dolemite Is My Name earlier this month, Murphy expressed disinterest in superhero movies, telling IndieWire, “I’m going to be 60 in a year.”
“Man, f— that,” Murphy said. “I can’t be standing around in a movie with a stick and s—, pointing and telling people, ‘Oh, you should do this or that.’ I’m just not down with the whole superhero movie thing. But, if I had to, I guess I could play a villain or some s— like that.”1comments
Paul Dano next plays The Riddler in the Batman relaunch directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson as a younger caped crusader, who appears opposite Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz). Dano’s role marks the first time Riddler has appeared in a live-action Batman movie since Batman Forever in 1995.
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