So 2017 Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix is already set to play legendary Batman villain, Joker in a new film by Warner Bros. studio. Directing the movie is ‘The Hangover’ series director Todd Phillips, while renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese will be the Executive Producer. The studio reportedly has a $55 million budget for the movie.
With plenty of nominations and accolades under his name, we’re pretty sure Joaquin Phoenix can do a great job playing a role so many people have played – with one actor winning an Academy Award for it. We round up 5 other people who’ve taken on the role.
5. Cesar Romero (1966)
One of Hollywood’s popular bachelors back in the day, Cesar Montero was well-known for playing the Joker in the television series from 1966-1968 and for a movie they made in 1966. In the movie, the Joker teams up with the Riddler, the Penguin, and Catwoman to form a United Underworld. Romero refused to shave his mustache for the role so the makeup team had to smear white makeup on top of it. The actor, having escorted many of the highly-coveted actresses of that era such as Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, and Joan Crawford, eventually came out as gay a few years before his death.
4. Jack Nicholson (1989)
Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman put Jack Nicholson in American Film Institute’s list of 50 Greatest Film Villains. Nicholson was set to reprise his role in a sequel called Batman Unchained. However, the critical failure of the previous Batman film, Batman & Robin caused the cancellation of the film. His portrayal of the character was deemed iconic by fans and film critics. His take was a bit darker than Romero’s Joker. And though his sometimes kooky acting ventured towards camp, the funny take on the character made his version of the legendary villain one of the best among the rest.
3. Heath Ledger (2008)
Ah yes, undeniably one of the best, if not the best of all Jokers in the film genre is the Heath Ledger version. It took almost 20 years before another person put on the red lipstick and white makeup to play Batman’s psychotic nemesis. His acting earned him an Academy Award which was awarded after his death at a young age of 28. The graphic novels, Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth became the actor’s influences in shaping his Joker. With his methodical way of acting Ledger earned nods from critics and nearly every award-giving body – ironic since his casting sparked controversy initially.
2. Jared Leto (2013-Present)
Jared Leto’s methodical acting was more controversial than that of Heath Ledger’s. Costars including Will Smith have reportedly complained about the actor’s antics during the filming of 2013’s Suicide Squad. Critics complained that Leto was too over the top. On the other hand, fans praised his extremely creepy and psychotic take on the character. The Academy Award-winning actor has already signed for three more movies as the character. Suicide Squad 2,Gotham City Sirens, and a yet untitled film featuring the Joker and Harley Quinn are coming soon.
1. Zach Galifianakis (2017)
Okay, okay… So he’s not exactly the live-action Joker that we’ve been listing so far. Nicholson’s comedic portrayal inspired Zach Galifianakis for this film. In the movie, the Joker casually talks about real-life issues and complaints that generally makes for some lighthearted comedic content. Initially, Galifianakis thought he’d be playing a live-action role. Disappointment turned to joy when he had so much fun in the filming process. The movie was a hit, earning around $312 million worldwide.
So which of these actors is your favorite? Do you think Joaquin Phoenix will outshine these Jokers? Let us knowin the comments below.