Congratulations to all of us for living to see a bold new renaissance of news about original Real World cast member Eric Nies, because, well: We’re now living in a bold new renaissance of news about original Real World cast member Eric Nies. Hot off yesterday’s report—backed up by today’s premiere, in which it was revealed that the actor, model, and modern shaman had tested positive for COVID-19—that Nies was forced to tele-commute to Paramount Plus’s Real World reunion series, Homecoming New York, Nies has now also revealed another somewhat improbable wrinkle in his generally improbable career. I.e., that he was almost cast as Robin in 1995's Batman Forever (at least, according to original Real World cast member Eric Nies).
This is per Everything Iconic host Danny Pellegrino, who interviewed Nies and several of his (virtual) loftmates this week about their return to the Real World world 29 long, strange years after the series first debuted on MTV. Said intervening period involved a lot of changes for everyone involved, not least of which because they’d suddenly transformed from “7 twentysomethings with the free time to let themselves be filmed bickering in a house for several weeks” into some of American TV’s first reality stars. For Nies, that apparently involved becoming friends with director and producer Joel Schumacher, who took over the Batman film franchise after Warner Bros. asked Tim Burton to take his creepy clown obsession elsewhere in the aftermath of Batman Returns. Schumacher was apparently so impressed by the then-24-year-old Nies that he reported tried to make some moves to get him cast in the Robin role that eventually went to Chris O’Donnell, but the decision was (again, according to original Real World star, and “Beauty Way” lifestyle guru, Eric Nies) blocked by star Val Kilmer, whose representatives were “afraid I was going to upstage Val Kilmer.” (That’s according to original Real World star Eric Nies, in case you were having trouble keeping track.)
This is not, as it happens, the first time Nies has floated this particular idea, although, as far as we can tell, neither Kilmer nor Schumacher have ever been asked about it. Although the original article appears to have fallen off the internet, he said something similar (including the “upstage” line) back in 2009, while promoting his appearance on VH1's Confessions Of A Teen Idol. But while Nies was certainly a fit dude back in the mid-1990s, it’s not clear from his acting resumé whether he could have matched the superheroic gravitas O’Donnell eventually brought to the role.
Real World: Homecoming, New York is currently airing on Paramount Plus.