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In recent weeks, rumors that Philip Seymour Hoffman would play the Penguin in the next Batman installment have become so widespread that even Michael Caine began to repeat them as fact (claiming that he first read of them in a newspaper, then confirmed the rumors with a WB executive). However, if Hoffman is soon to don a monocle and top hat, this is the first he's heard of it (and he's totally going to miss his call time). Speaking to MTV News at the Toronto Film Festival, Hoffman said that much like a persistent archvillain, the Penguin rumor is one that reappears to torment him every few years:

“No one has talked to me about it ever — never,” replied Hoffman. “It happened, like, five years ago, too. It was a rumor back then and it’s still a rumor. [laughs] It’s just in the press. It’s funny.” ...“I’m such a fan of those movies,” related Hoffman. “Comic book movies in general I look forward to — I am a real cheerleader for them. I want them to do well because those are terrific stories. As a kid I was a big comic book collector. What [Nolan]’s doing is taking it in a whole other exciting great place. I’m more a fan, so the interest of being in it isn’t that great. It’s more the interest in wanting to see the next one. It’s probably better that way.” When further pressed for his level of interest in the role if Warner Bros. approached him about the role, Hoffman said, “I don’t know. I think I’m more interested in seeing someone else do it. I don’t know if I’d be a good Penguin to be quite honest. [laughs]”

Truth be told, we could never quite believe the rumors that placed both the Penguin and Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's next film — does he really want to remake Batman Returns? Similarly, we don't expect Johnny Depp as the Riddler, since that villain already toplined the third installment of the prior series. If, as he's said, Nolan intends to dip much deeper into Batman's rogues gallery, let's start the rumors right here, right now. Can we get an "amen" for Shia as Killer Croc? [Photo Credit: AP]