How many click-bait lists of ‘This actor can play the Joker’ can one fit into an infinite loop?
Hang on, that sounds like a riddle. Wrong baddie. My point is..EVERY list has the SAME names.Except Mine!
Mine is a very different kinda Joker list. It accepts that this is as role which KEEPS getting recast and reinvented, as Cinema devolves to a form of Rep company Theatre, with comic book movies the new Panto/Shakespeare/street mime. Makes perfect sense. The Court Jester and fool AS villain.
In short? It’s not event casting anymore to have a new Joker. Because there will just be another one shortly after, with a whole new take on the wildest card in the pack. He is an avatar of evil and anarchy and can personify all or any of its facets, across any scope of severity or trivial fun.
So no more ‘Willem Dafoe should be Joker‘ posts. ‘Is Johnny Depp playing Joker?’ Please. Sure, he’d ace it. But where is the surprise? Where is the very kind of inverted thrill to suit the character? Remember, NOBODY saw Heath Ledger coming. Nobody. If you say you did, you are a liar and a cad and a bounder and I challenge you to pistols at dawn (water ones, obviously).
So here, little people, comes the part, where I give you a list of less obvious JOKERS to face Keaton/Affleck/Pattinson/whichever twit with an equity card they cast as Batman next week..
ROBERT DOWNEY JUNIOR
Jack Nicholson is NEVER COMING BACK to this role. Sad. But get over it. He retired. Brutally so. Was fairly blunt about it. He’s too busy reading Nietzsche with some fit bird by a pool. And he gets residuals, anyway. So he just does not need the work and neither does Downey (arguably Jack’s successor on the acting credibility /commercial clout stage).
But our favourite Iron Man Avenger DOES need transitional roles to somehow keep himself busy occasionally (when not saving the world with AI as a real life Tony Stark) and prep for the next phase of his career and its probable return to meatier, scarier, grown up projects..before he takes a record breaking payday again to save Marvel and return as Iron man, pre final bow retirement aged 90.
It’s a way of using the comic-book mythos to stay relevant, whilst keeping it as a one and done. So playing JOKER is a PERFECT step. Imagine Downey vs Keaton: the opportunity that Marvel somehow missed (they both appeared with Spiderman; yet no face-off scene; crazy!). It fits DC cannon, too: Robert would have been a Robin-ish age at the time they filmed the first Tim Burton /Joel Schumacher films (well, cinematic Robin, who was about 25-30; not kiddie Robin).
And in the comic books, one of the Robins goes crazy and becomes a kind of deutero-Joker. And Robert was mentored by Mel Gibson (himself once asked to play Harvey Dent / Two Face in a Batman film). Mel has plenty of practical jokes that verge on the sinister to lend his old protégé.
Go on. It makes sense.
If you read The Killing Joke? Joker is a nice guy who has one bad day. A failed comedian gone psychotic. Imagine Michael Scott from The Office in that dynamic and cross it with Carell’s Foxcathcher turn. THAT is your Joker. Right THERE.
Look at Elf and Ron Burgundy. There is a sinister quality amidst the innocence. You could flip any of Will’s characters and performances into a marginally different key, amp it up, throw on make up and bingo..Joker. Plus, he’s a big guy so would indeed pose a physical threat beneath the psychological stuff on which Joker usually trends.
I am NOT kidding. I CANNOT BE COOL ABOUT THIS! He can be funny in line delivery /timing. The boy can play nasty and sinister: vampires, hitmen etc, every bit as well as superspy romantic heroes. Tom can balance pathos and sympathy with real raw evil and fear. And once again, bit like Downey: his way of touching base with new franchises and comic book lore, but as a one off that need not consume his life.
We know he can ‘do’ funny. But now, the world knows that Hugh can be scary, taking his vaguely caddish Daniel Cleaver into new heights (lows?) with his Jeremy Thorpe. Somewhere amidst that fusion of comedy and tragedy, of naughty anarchy and outright menace..is a great villain. And get that hair floppy again, dye it green..paint the face perma white and elongate his grin..you have a JOKER.
Why not? Her Pennywise is great. She can be anything you want. Could credibly have been a Robin, too? And gender flipping is all the rage. Plus I love her and want her cast in EVERYTHING.