This image was lost some time after publication.

The Golden Age of Villainy may be upon us. Between the accolades and eventual Oscar for Javier Bardem's singular evildoer in No Country For Old Men and the virtual repeat of the same cycle this year for Heath Ledger's Joker, no prospect stokes A-list egos these days quite like a chance to OD on wretchedness. Sony has enough confidence in the era to have undertaken development on the Spider-Man spinoff Venom, a full-length riff on Topher Grace's enemy from Spider-Man 3 that, naturally, will be recast with someone likelier to open a blockbuster. And now, after a few days of Angelina Jolie/Catwoman rumors tailing the Dark Knight follow-up, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Johnny Depp reportedly want a piece of the Bat-action:

Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker has set the bar high for Gotham City villains, but reports in the US say studio bosses have set their sights on Depp as The Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin. "Producers are convinced that the role of The Riddler is perfect for Depp. Johnny's a pro. He'll be able to take direction and still make the character his own. And what better Penguin is there than Philip Seymour Hoffman?" a source said.

Oh, come on. Like we really even have to ask.