Two decades ago American cinema was in a very different place than it is now. The superhero film was a relatively new phenomenon, thanks to the success of Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, along with Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever. The future looked bright for Batman on the big screen, but things were about to change.
The next Batman film by Joel Schumacher, Batman & Robin, was met with a very negative response, so the studio would end up scrapping any further Batman films for a very long time. A new interview with rapper Coolio is now revealing that he was in line as a possible candidate to portray the Scarecrow in that film.
In an interview with Burleson Star, rapper Coolio reveals the reason he took the part of the motorcycle street race organizer "Banker" in Batman & Robin is that he was subsequently promised the role of the villain in the next Schumacher Batman film, which was to be the Scarecrow. This is quite the revelation, because while fans knew of plans for Batman Unchained (also dubbed Batman Triumphant), it was actor Nicolas Cage that has been historically connected to the role of Scarecrow. In Hollywood it's not uncommon for informal "promises" to be made, only to be broken later, and this very well could have been one of those situations, or it could simply be an interesting look into what could have been.
It was clear from Batman Forever that the tone under director Schumacher was beginning to change, but the film was still a commercial and critical success. It wasn't until Schumacher's Batman & Robin hit theaters in 1997 that Warner Bros. would decide they had run the well dry when it came to superhero films. The movie, which was more of a campy tribute to the 1966 Batman, was not well received by audiences and did not have impressive merchandise sales. The public had supported Batman movies to that point, quite simply because they had shed the old "Bif", "Bang", "Pow" era of happy Batman. Schumacher's love letter to nostalgia was a little ahead of its time. The inclusion of fan favorite villains like Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane couldn't even save the film.
The original plan, prior to the negative reception, was to move forward with Batman Unchained. The film had been penned by Mark Protosevich, with Schumacher returning to the directing chair. The cast of Batman & Robin was also expected to return, including George Clooney as Batman, Chris O'Donnell as Robin and Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth. The film was exciting because the Scarecrow's fear toxin was going to induce hallucinations that would allow Schumacher to bring back old fan favorite movie villains, like Jack Nicholson's famous Joker, Danny DeVito as Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and so on.
Fans know now that the mistakes made in Batman & Robin would cause audiences to lose Batman on the big screen for eight years, before Christopher Nolan was allowed to bring his take on the Dark Knight to the big screen. Incidentally, he would include the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) as a villain in his first foray into Batman, Batman Begins.
Source: Burleson Star