The Joker will be appearing in the upcoming film adaptation of Gotham, a comic book series by Jim Lee and David Beaty about a criminal mastermind who happens to be brilliant and insane. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the maniacally grinning anti-hero, and if that’s not enough of a draw for you, the movie also stars Robert De Niro, and if you’re really a fan of the dark side, you may even recognize a certain actor named Michael Cane. And now, all of this will be brought to life on the big screen with the upcoming movie The Batman.
While it’s not yet been officially announced who will be playing the Joker in the film, the internet has sprung into action speculating about possible casting choices. The fan community on Reddit has come up with a master list of who they think could play the iconic villain. Many of the names on this list have appeared in comic books or are recurring characters in the Batman franchise, so for some, this will be a no-brainer. But for others, this will be a major departure from what they are known for.
Joaquin Phoenix is an Oscar-nominated American actor and filmmaker who burst onto the scene with a string of strong performances in indies like The Master, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, and Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck. He’s previously played the roles of Mark David Chapman in I’m Not There, a drug-addled rocker who murders John Lennon, and Jimmy, an unstable musician who believes he’s John Lennon. In his most recent role, Joaquin portrayed Andy Dufresne in the HBO series, The Wizard of Oz, based on the novel by the same name. His versatility and charm will bring a fresh face to an already iconic role.
Robert De Niro
You may know Robert De Niro for his roles in Taxi Driver, Godfather: Part II, and The Irishman. He’s an Academy Award-winning actor who has been nominated 23 times for an Academy Award, winning twice for Best Supporting Actor. He has also been nominated for his acting skills three times, most recently for his work in The Irishman. De Niro has been featured in a number of films directed by Martin Scorsese, including The Score, Casino, and his most recent starring role in The Irishman. The legendary actor has previously played the Joker in a 1982 television special and in a 2004 film directed by Tim Burton. He’s got the crocheted-goggles and heart-breaking laugh down pat, so don’t be surprised if he lands the part.
If there’s one name that immediately comes to mind when you think of the Joker it’s Michael Caine. The British actor rose to fame in the 1950s and ’60s in several films, including How to Steal a Million, and The Dirty Dozen before landing the role of the Joker in the 1967 film, You Must Be Joking! An established stage actor, Caine also starred in the 1984 film, Labyrinth. Like many other legendary actors who’ve played the Joker in the past, Michael Caine has a knack for comedic timing and a dangerous personality that will make him a perfect fit for the role.
Another prominent name on this list is Mark Hamill, known for his role of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. Hamill is also the voice of the Joker in the animated series, Batman: The Animated Series. He’s been acting since he was 15, when he appeared in a production of Henry IV. He’s best known for portraying a variety of iconic characters, from an aged Batman to a wise-cracking Woody Allen to General Zod in the movie, Superman II. He’s even sung the National Anthem at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. While Mark Hamill is undoubtedly an accomplished actor, he’s never played the Joker in a feature film, and this could be a major break for the legendary character actor.
Another great choice that will undoubtedly make many fans happy is Gary Oldman. The legendary actor is best known for his Oscar-winning performance in the role of Winston Churchill in the movie, The Dark Knight, which was also named by Time as one of the greatest films of all time. On the big screen, Oldman has played a wide variety of characters, including Sherlock Holmes, an evil genius in The Fifth Element; Sid Vicious, an alienated musician in Velvet Goldmine; a sadistic torturer in Blackadder; a British gangster in The Firm; and a ruthless general in 2007’s Michael Mann-directed adaptation of Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms. With his strong accent and intimidating appearance, Oldman will bring the charm and charisma of a cold-blooded killer, and with his vast experience, he’ll bring the cunning of a mastermind.
Another great choice for playing the Joker is Danny DeVito. One of the most prolific and versatile actors working today, DeVito has appeared in films directed by Brian De Palma, Mike Figgis, and Oliver Stone. He’s won two Golden Globes, three Academy Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. His credits include roles in Scarface, Goonie, Dracula, and Batman & Robin. Most recently, he was seen in the critically acclaimed drama, The Farewell. Danny DeVito has been playing the Joker on stage for the last decade, so this will be a natural fit for him.
Like many other iconic villains, the Joker can be played by either a man or a woman. Thus, it should come as no great surprise that this iconic character can be played by either an actor or a singer. For those who love music, Barry Pepper is the perfect fit to play the Joker, as he’s previously recorded several jazz-fuelled albums, including The Joker, which was inspired by the character. Pepper is also a respected stage actor who has performed at the Royal Variety Show and in several West End productions, including The Wizard of Oz and Evita. He’s taken on several film and theater projects in recent years, including a starring role in the upcoming crime thriller, The Darkest Door. If you’re not familiar with the name, Pepper is most famous for playing Rojack in Disney’s animated film, Robin Hood, which came out in 1974. He also provided the singing voice of Shrek in the first movie in the series, which debuted in 2001.
While many have already made their pick for who they think should play the Joker in the film, it’s still relatively early in the game. With this much uncertainty, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be portraying the Clown Prince of Crime next year. What is certain is that the Joker will be appearing in a major motion picture in 2020, and that whoever lands the role will bring a unique and interesting perspective to the iconic character.