Yes, that Justin Timberlake. The former boy band member. That guy. He wants to be the Riddler.
We’re not making this up. Here’s what Timberlake actually said, live, on-air, over the radio:
“Now villain. I’ll tell you the villain I want to play more than anything because I grew up loving Batman, funny enough, is the Riddler. The Riddler is my favorite villain… The Riddler was like a sociopath. He was proper crazy. So if I’m gonna play crazy, I’m wanna play proper crazy… I’m ready. The Riddler. Gimme a call.”
Could Timberlake pull it off? The guy actually is not a bad actor, when he’s tasked with doing something other than looking pretty: He managed to carry In Time fairly well, for example. No, the problem is really with the character.
The Riddler, as a character, is built on a compulsion towards self-sabotage. He knows Batman is going to work out his clues. He knows Batman is going to find him and kick his ass into next week. But he just can’t help it. The Riddler is a weak villain, but a great character, because of that: He’s everybody who passed up a solid-gold chance because they were afraid. He’s the compulsive gambler who you half-think wants to lose. It’s a killer character to hand to any writer, and they’ve gotten some good stories out of him over the years. But that’s not the stuff of a big action movie, that’s an indie drama.
Fans have been trying to reinvent him, especially when it was rumored he’d be in the Nolan trilogy, and it pretty much boils down to “Make him like the Zodiac Killer!”, which, eeeehhhhh… Part of the appeal of the Riddler as a villain is that he’s about the weak side of us all. Timberlake could probably play that fairly effectively… but making a movie out of it might be tricky.