It’s been nearly 30 years since Batman Forever hit theaters but the film remains a favorite among fans and a topic of conversation as well. The film was a major departure from the films that preceded it — the Tim Burton-directed Batman and Batman Returns — and delivered to fans a number of iconic elements, including Jim Carrey‘s performance as Edward Nygma/The Riddler. But according to screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, Batman Forever was almost a very different film that almost had a very different Riddler. Akiva told The Playlist that Robin Williams was going to play the villain, but it just didn’t work out.
According to Goldsman, Williams was going to play the role before Carrey took on the role and that all of the discussions around this was when Michael Keaton was still expected to play Batman in the film. Val Kilmer would ultimately end up playing Batman in the installment.
“I think I was arm’s length from it,” Goldsman said. “I wasn’t a producer yet… I didn’t understand quite how it worked. I didn’t have the same access I do now that I’m old. I think that Val wasn’t cast or just was, and Robin Williams was still attached.”
Goldsman explained that director Joel Schumacher wanted Goldsman wanted him to meet with Williams to brainstorm about The Riddler, discussions that were productive, but in the end, Williams and the director didn’t “see eye to eye” and Carrey came on for the role.
“I remember sort of this extraordinary day where Joel sent me to San Francisco, and I spent the day in Robin’s kitchen and him just talking about the Riddler,” he said. “And he was like, genius is not the right word. It was as if he had opened up his head and the universe would just talk into it. It was so beautiful and so kind and I remember when I got home, he had left message on my answering machine…my then girlfriend, kept playing it over and over again.”
“Ultimately, he and Joel didn’t see eye to eye,” Goldsman added. “Jim came on. Jim was amazing. Tommy Lee [Jones] had worked with Joel and I in The Client and off we went. And it was fun and funny and extraordinary.
A 170-Minute Cut of Schumacher’s Batman Forever Reportedly Exists
Coming after Burton’s darker toned Batman and Batman Returns, Schumacher’s Batman Forever hit the theaters as a campy, neon-soaked film that stood in stark contrast to its predecessors. But there has long been talk that Schumacher’s film, for all its color, had a darker and more serious cut that the studio passed on because it wasn’t as lucrative, something writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin explained on Fatman Beyond previously.
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever,” Bernardin told his co-host Kevin Smith. “I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some sh-t.”
Warner Bros. Has Previously Said There Have Been No Discussions About Releasing the “Schumacher Cut”
While the 170-minute cut of Batman Forever is said to exist — and Warner Bros. has confirmed that the director did shoot much more material than what made it into the film’s final cut, there have been no discussions about releasing an extended version of the film. Per a previous report, it’s unclear if the original footage had been preserved in good enough quality to ever be edited back into the theatrical cut of the picture.
What do you think about the idea of Robin Williams as The Riddler? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!