It has been reported on the Hollywood Life Web site that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in talks with Christopher Nolan to play the role of The Riddler in the next Batman movie. It seems the two of them hit it off on the set of Nolan’s latest film, Inception. Nolan is said to have “dug” JGL’s acting abilities.
The question arises, is Gordon-Levitt a good fit for this role from the audience’s perspective? After all, fans of the Batman franchise have an idea of what characteristics are part and parcel of The Riddler.
The Riddler in the Beginning
From the time that The Riddler appeared in the pages of a DC comic book, he has been portrayed as narrow-waisted, not overly muscular, villain.
Batman Television Series
When the Batman series hit the small screen, fans of the television series were introduced to the fleshy version of The Riddler as immortalized by Frank John Gorshin, Jr. He gave us a Riddler who loved being a villain. He was flitty and easily excitable. He was lanky and bendy and played the part from his head to his toes. When he was awash in delight, viewers knew it. When he was deflated, his body language told the tale.
Then came Jim Carrey in Joel Schumacher’s interpretation of Batman. In Batman Forever, Carrey, like Gorshin before him, played the role of The Riddler with all he was. In this film we got to see the other side of The Riddler. Carrey did a brilliant job of delivering a multifaceted character whose other side we had not yet seen portrayed on film. He brought depth to the character that was missing before.
The Riddler of Tomorrow?
Is it possible for anyone to slink into those Riddler tights and do the role justice, giving fans what they expect and more?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems like a perfect fit for the role of The Riddler. His physical characteristics lend to him filling the role as fans have come to expect. But what’s more is that he has proven that he can play multi-dimensional characters.
From the beginning of his film career, JGL proved that he had what it takes to make a statement. In his 1992 debut, A River Runs Through It, he managed to turn his brief appearance into an award winning performance. He was given the Young Artist Award in the category “Best Actor Under Ten in a Motion Picture.” That he was noticed in a movie that starred Brad Pitt says something about how dynamic his performance was.
He has shown that he is able to play a character with different sides with his role in the television series, 3rd Rock from the Sun. While the character didn’t have a dark side, so to speak, he went from being solemn to very excitable. His acting was so well received that he won two Hollywood Reporter Young Star Awards.
He proved that he was able to successfully play a role in an action film with his portrayal in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. According to reviews of the movie around the Internet, including those on Yahoo! Movies and YouTube, JGL’s portrayal of The Doc/Rex was the movie’s only saving grace.
Far removed from his beginnings, both in time and character portrayal, JGL starred in the 2006 film, Mysterious Skin. It was in this film that he proved there was no role out of his range and reach. His portrayal of the movie’s main character, Neil, who is on a journey to truth, is captivating. This complex character could not have been played by just anyone. There is a certain vulnerability, a letting-go-of-self, that was required for this role. In this film, perhaps more than any other, he proved that he is an actor of rare breed, masterfully portraying a multi-faceted character with precision rarely seen. His performance left audiences and critics alike stunned. So convincing was he in this role, he received the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. This role alone proves that there is no role too daunting or too far out of JGL’s reach.
There is no doubt, all things considered, that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has what it takes to take on the role of The Riddler in the next Batman movie. His body of work proves that.