Jonah Hill is in talks to play a villain in The Batman opposite Robert Pattinson, and a source tells Collider that the two-time Oscar nominee will be playing none other than the Riddler — not the Penguin as has been roundly speculated.
Matt Reeves is directing the comic book movie, which just added Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon.
While Hill has been pegged for the role of Penguin ever since it was first announced that Reeves would be making a Batman movie, that casting always seemed a little too on-the-nose for the director. Now, you don’t put your own stamp on Batman by copying the casting of previous Batfilms, and I think that’s one of the exciting things about Reeves’ reboot. I don’t think Reeves would’ve taken the gig if he couldn’t do his own thing with it, anyway.
While Hill doesn’t have a deal in place yet and the trades say it hasn’t been decided which villain he’ll play, we’d always heard that Riddler would be the first villain cast, given the character’s prominence in the script. And just anecdotally, I’ve heard that Hill has long looked up to Jim Carrey, who made a name for himself in comedies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb & Dumber before tackling more dramatic material, much like Hill has done with his own career. One could also argue that Carrey’s turn as the Riddler in Batman Forever is less iconic than Danny DeVito‘s turn as the Penguin in Batman Returns, and as such, it would be easier to reinvent the character and make it his own, so to speak.
The tone of The Batman is said to be a fairly dark mystery, much like WB’s own crime noirs of the ’30s and ’40s, with a rogues gallery of villains. Reeves wrote the screenplay himself, and he’ll produce with his War for the Planet of the Apes collaborator Dylan Clark. Warner Bros. will release The Batman on June 25, 2021.
Hill recently made his directorial debut with the acclaimed coming-of-age movie Mid90s, and he also starred opposite Emma Stone in Netflix’s sci-fi series Maniac, and played a fun supporting role alongside Matthew McConaughey in Harmony Korine‘s The Beach Bum. He’s represented by WME and LBI Entertainment and his casting was first reported by Deadline, though his role was left a mystery.