If you’re a fan of the Batman franchise, you’ll know that Robert Pattinson plays the Joker. But, does he really want to be known as the Joker?

The English actor began his career playing the manic villain in the 2011 film, The Dark Knight Rises, but since then, he’s mostly played comedic roles. But, the Joker never really left our thoughts; the character has popped up in many different media, including video games, where he’s had several different designs. Will we ever see the real Robert Pattinson play the iconic role of the Joker? Let’s take a look.

Is He Playing the Character For Fun Or Is It For Hire?

If you’ve followed the actor’s career, you’ll know that he’s mostly played comedic characters. Since his breakout role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, he’s played many memorable characters, including the manicure-loving villain in The Midnight Express. He’s also appeared in the films The Alien, Sex and the City, and Zodiac. But, it’s not all been mindless comedies. He’s also played a part in the big-budget superhero franchise, The Dark Knight; the sequels The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight Trilogy; and the animated film, Justice League. So, it’s fair to say that the actor has established himself as a versatile performer.

The Joker Redefines Vain. 

While most people know him for portraying the Joker, Robert Pattinson actually began his acting career playing an entirely different character. He was born on October 19, 1986 in London, England. Aside from acting, his hobbies include drawing, collecting comic books, and spending time with his dogs. He studied English literature at Bristol University and attended RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). His first role was as Gordon Freeman in Dredd (2012), the reboot of the popular British comic book series. For his portrayal of the Joker, Robert Pattinson won the accolades including an Academy Award and a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).

Since the success of The Dark Knight, the Joker’s popularity has skyrocketed and he’s now one of the most recognizable fictional characters in history. It’s hard to believe that the character has been around since 1946. In fact, in the early days, the Joker was a very minor character in comparison to the major players in the story. But, over the years, due to his popularity, the character has evolved and become an integral part of pop culture. In 2018, the Joker finally received the recognition that he deserved with numerous awards and accolades. In 2020 alone, he was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTA Awards, and two Academy Awards. For the first time in history, the Joker was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Naturally, this caused quite the stir and attracted a lot of attention.

Is The Joker Brand Ambassador For Mental Illness?

While it’s great that the Joker has officially reclaimed his throne as the king of crime, it’s not so great that he’s become the face of mental illness. After The Dark Knight, many people, especially those living with mental illness, saw the Joker as a symbol of mental illness itself. Does he really want to be known as that? While some people, including filmmaker Jack Whitehall, have said that he takes the role a little bit too seriously, the actor has been known to joke about his character’s supposed association with mental illness. In an interview with Vogue, he was asked, “Does the Joker represent mental illness?” To which he replied, “I think that’s really interesting because I’ve always thought of myself as a bit crazy. I think it’s a great way to show the complexity of the mind.”

Since then, he’s spoken about his role in The Batman in interviews and on social media. He’s said that playing the Joker “was such an honor” and that he “loved” the character so much; often comparing him to his favorite movie, director Jack Nicholson’s character from A Few Good Men. “I think it’s important to play with characteristics that you don’t normally see in yourself,” he told the Vogue interviewers, “like the fact that I have a bit of a limp. It’s not something that I normally do, so it was really interesting for me to play a character that was disabled.”

In one of the most recent interviews, the actor opened up about his experiences playing the Joker and what he wants to see from future portrayals of the character. “I think that’s the great thing about playing the Joker,” he said. “It’s difficult to say no to [the character] because he’s offered you [the role of] a lifetime. It’s like the ultimate golden ticket. You can’t help but say yes.” What does the actor see as the future of the Joker? “I would love to see the character evolve,” he said. “I think it was really challenging to play a character that isn’t … well, entirely conventional. For me to play [someone with] mental illness, it was a real eye-opener. When you’re playing a character that isn’t a blank slate, there’s always room for growth.”

It’s clear that playing the Joker has changed Robert Pattinson’s life. He’s gone from zero to hero in just a few short years. For the first time in his career, he’s received critical acclaim, not just for his acting but also for his fashion choices. In fact, during his acceptance speech for his Best Actor award at the 2020 Academy Awards, he wore a suit that was inspired by Joker. And, let’s face it, the character is unforgettable. It’s hard to forget the Joker. But, does he really want to be known as the Joker? Does he want to be defined by one role? Or does he see himself as something more? Something other than the Joker? Maybe, as he has evolved as an actor, the character has changed along with him. Maybe, Robert Pattinson isn’t so much the Joker as he is a human being who happens to play an amazing character; sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic; a symbol of madness and a symbol of change; a symbol of inspiration and a symbol of art.

Is the Joker Just a Role or Something More?

While playing the Joker has certainly changed the English actor’s life, it’s not just a role. Perhaps, after The Dark Knight, the character has become more than just an action hero counterpart. Perhaps, he’s inspired the actor to seek new ways to express himself. Or, maybe the role has just been a convenient way to make money. After all, the Joker is incredibly wealthy, thanks to all of those movie ticket sales; he doesn’t need to act to make a living. So, does he really want to be the Joker? Or, is he just playing the part for fun? Let’s take a look back at his acting career to try and answer this question.

Robert Pattinson’s Early Career

Before he was the Joker, Robert Pattinson was an English teacher. After earning a master’s degree in English literature at Bristol University, he decided to further his education at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While he was studying, he appeared in tiny roles in several short films, including Love and Other DrugsA Cocktail Mixup, and The Ledge. He also did some voice-over work for an animation studio. These are the early stages of his acting career.