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Batman Forever Screenwriter Says Robin Williams Almost Played The Riddler

1995’s Batman Forever screenwriter Akiva Goldsman revealed early talks with the late Robin Williams to play The Riddler.

What was Robin Williams’ history with Batman Forever?

In an interview with The Playlist, Goldsman recalled the initial meeting he and director Joel Schumacher had with the iconic comedian and Oscar-winning actor. Previously in the running to play The Joker in 1989’s Batman before Jack Nicholson accepted the role, Williams was the next big star in line to face off against the Dark Knight. “He was like, genius is not the right word, It was as if he like he had opened up his head and the universe would just talk into it,” Goldsman recalled. “It was so beautiful and so kind.”

At the time of its pre-production, Schumacher replaced previous franchise director Tim Burton following the critical backlash to 1992’s Batman Returns. When Schumacher sought to shift the cinematic franchise from its darker roots to being more kid-friendly to sell toys, Batman star Michael Keaton famously dropped out of the role after an hour-long meeting with the director. As it turns out, Williams did not share in Schumacher’s vision either.

“Ultimately, he and Joel didn’t see eye to eye,” Goldsman continued. “Jim [Carrey] came on. Jim was amazing.”

Batman Forever eventually moved forward with Val Kilmer replacing Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and ’90s comedy legend Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler. Despite mixed reviews, Batman Forever eclipsed the box office take of Batman Returns, earning $336 million worldwide. Schumacher’s follow-up with 1997’s Batman & Robin also written by Goldsman, however, was a notorious flop upon release. Williams would later find critical praise for his dramatic sinister turns in 2001’s One Hour Photo and 2002’s Insomnia, directed by The Dark Knight Trilogy filmmaker Christopher Nolan.