A Batman movie in which John Lithgow plays the Joker is one of movies’ great “what ifs.” Some time ago, Joe Dante revealed that if he had made a Batman movie the 3rd Rock From The Sun actor—now probably more closely associated with The Crown—would have been his choice for the villain. Now, Lithgow himself explains in an interview with Vulture that he also auditioned for Tim Burton—but only to convince the director that he shouldn’t get the part. “My worst audition was for Tim Burton for Batman,” he said. “I have never told anyone this story, but I tried to persuade him I was not right for the part, and I succeeded. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. About a week later I heard they were going after Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson.” Obviously, the latter got the role.
Now aren’t you just a little curious to see what Lithgow would have done if he had actually put some effort into getting the gig? Not one, but two directors thought it would be a good idea to cast him. And, hey, maybe we’ll one day get the chance to see him as an aging Joker, still hellbent on terrorizing Bruce Wayne. At the rate studios are churning out superhero movies these days, really anything seems possible.