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(Credit: HBO)

Film

The supervillain role Robin Williams was supposed to play

Robin Williams had many iconic roles of his own throughout his career, ranging from a literature teacher with infectious idealism in Dead Poets Society to a delightfully subversive radio operator in Good Morning, Vietnam. However, it seems as though Williams missed out on the opportunity of strengthening his career with yet another stellar role which would have seen him enter a different domain of cinema.

That opportunity became a potential prospect when Tim Burton set out to make the first modern superhero film in 1989 – Batman. When the project was being planned out, Williams had been in the running to play the Joker which never really saw the light of the day. As everyone knows, the part ended up going to Jack Nicholson who delivered a fantastic, frenzied performance as the antagonist.

However, that wasn’t Williams’ only connection with the Batman franchise. In fact, he was pretty disappointed about losing out on the chance to play the Joker and claimed that they had used him as “bait” to get another actor involved but he had retained the hope that there would be another opportunity to star in the Batman cinematic universe.

That chance did come around in 1995 with Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever when he was offered the role of The Riddler, a part that he had expressed interest in for a long time. According to screenwriter Lee Batchler, the role was designed specifically with Williams in mind but it wasn’t to be once more as Jim Carrey snatched the chance.

“Later on when we wanted to do the Riddler, it was going to be Robin Williams,” Batchler said. “With the Riddler, we wrote it with Robin’s voice. He read our script and loved it, they just didn’t make the deal. So when it came to Jim Carrey, he very much did our script. It was just a little less Robin Williams.” One can only imagine what Williams would have brought to the table.

At the time, many journalists had reported that Williams was angry with Carrey for getting the part but the latter denied such claims by saying there was mutual respect between the two. Despite that, Williams must have been disappointed about not starring in the Batman universe because he even admitted that he would have liked to play the part of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

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