casting THE JOKER

A lot of rumours are swirling around the casting of DC’s upcoming superhero film SUICIDE SQUAD. This team consists of ruthless mercenaries – not super-powered boy-scouts. There will be no milk & cookies… more like whisky & cigars.

For me, this seems like DC’s answer to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, ditching the outer space setting, but keeping the rag-tag group of “A-holes.” DC’s trying to catch-up to MARVEL STUDIOS multiple successful franchises. Whoever loses this battle, we still win. The next 5 years will be filled with big-budget blockbuster extravaganzas that nerdy enthusiasts will gobble up like some sort of magical geek-infused crack cocaine.

While THE DARK KNIGHT movies and the MAN OF STEEL were largely devoid of laughter, I feel like DC has a chance to make a fun movie with SQUAD. Don’t get me wrong, I still think DC will maintain the darker elements of their previous efforts, but this movie has the opportunity to tread into dark humour. THE JOKER is a prime example of how to provide those laughs. There has been no confirmation of this fanboy favourite villain appearing in SQUAD, but rumours of his inclusion are everywhere.

A few actors have already signed on board to join this band of “heroes”. Jai Courtney (SPARTACUS) was recently announced. I’m still hesitant about him, although by the time SQUAD hits he will have appeared in the new TERMINATOR. Apparently DC is also courting WILL SMITH for a role. Wow. That would be something else. But would he sign on for multiple pictures? If he does, this will be the biggest star playing in a superhero movie.

Margot Robbie will play the Joker’s sidekick, HARLEY QUINN

For me, the more promising announcement was about HARLEY QUINN being played by MARGOT ROBBIE. Now, that’s exciting. She held her own against DiCaprio in Scorsese’s WOLF OF WALL STREET. She has that rare combination of beauty and talent.

Oh and NERD ALERT 2000… if DC wants more women in their movies maybe this project would be ripe for an appearance by CATWOMAN herself: Anne HATHAWAY? I mean she’s kind of an anti-hero too, right? But the biggest news I want to explore here involves another member of Batman’s ROGUE GALLERY.

the harlequin

The rumoured favourite for playing the Joker is JARED LETO. First there was gossip about Leto as DR. STRANGE, now this. Marvel says no, but DC says yes? I’m not so sure. Leto’s abilities are extremely versatile (even in appearance alone). It’s a very compelling consideration for portraying the infamous madman. Leto transforms each time he’s shown on screen – from REQUIM FOR A DREAM (an emaciated heroin addict), to MR. NOBODY (an old man hopping through time & space), to CHAPTER 27 (the overweight assassin of John Lennon), to DALLAS BUYERS (an ultra-thin transsexual).  Needless to say, I believe in his acting. He could definitely pull this off and chew up all the scenery along the way. No doubt.

Jared Leto, rumoured favourite to play The Joker.

However, if DC is scouting Marvel, maybe they could somehow lure JOAQUIN PHOENIX (another Dr. Strange candidate) to the role? Or would his interpretation be too similar to HEATH LEDGER’s iconic performance? So who else could possibly play the man who tells The Killing Joke?

Heath Ledger in his iconic portrayal of our favourite smiling anarchist.

My boldest idea comes from an opinion I heard on MOVIE FIGHTS from the SCHMOES KNOW Network. One of the nerds on the “show” blew my mind with his recommendation. It’s just so spot on. His idea? MICHAEL frickin’ KEATON. Before you jump on the cash-in gimmick of this casting decision, consider his age in regard to BEN AFFLECK and his range of manic performances. By the by, even though Leto IS older than Affleck, he looks more like 30. Someone like Keaton would be more age appropriate, no?

KEATON in BIRDMAN… CLICK on the image to watch the MOVIE FIGHT episode about casting him as The Joker. Brilliant idea.

If the Joker later appeared in a stand-alone BATMAN movie (which I assume is a guarantee should the rumour be true) it would be ripe to explore their past relationship. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Affleck’s Batman had previous experience with Keaton’s Joker – and now the madman has escaped from ARKHAM ASYLUM or something? Sign me up for that.

BEN AFFLECK as (Frank Miller’s) Batman

With Keaton it’s also interesting to explore his revival with the recent movie BIRDMAN. He was the perfect choice for that role. That character is an actor who was famous for playing a superhero. The movie ruined his career, locking him into typecasting. The real life Keaton would now be exploring the opposite side of that equation by playing the villain from his hero movie, BATMAN. What a dynamic opportunity. And we already know Keaton can go over-the-top with a character hidden under make-up – BEETLEJUICE anyone?

Keaton can be manic crazy & frighten us. Just imagine that Joker card in his hand there…

If not Michael Keaton or Jared Leto then who? Hmmm. Casting a big bad villain? That fanboys love? How about Topher Grace? Jokes. I love the guy, but Venom was… No… There are so many intriguing fanboy possibilities. DC could aim for other Award nominees like JAMES FRANCO or WOODY HARRELSON.

Past-tense BATMAN versus future-tense JOKER?

Or how about some dark horse candidates like lesser-known character actors Jason Clarke (ZERO

 DARK THIRTY, DAWN OF THE… APES) and Scoot McNairy (KILLING THEM SOFTLY, MONSTERS). I’d say Joseph Gordon-Levitt but I think he’s involved with THE SANDMAN project based on Neil GAIMAN’s comic. Which –wow- that’s another post right there.

So who would I cast already? Well, for now, I’m saying SHARLTO COPLEY. Who? This guy…

Copley as the big bad baddie in ELYSIUM… CLICK on the image to WATCH him in action.

Copley’s shown some range in various roles from his work in Neill Blomkamp’s DISTRICT 9 (as a mild-mannered government worker turned super-alien-hero) and ELYSIUM (as the deranged & brutal villain, Kruger) to his King Bad-guy in MALEFICENT. For me, Copley just gets lost in a role. His strange cadence and ticking mannerisms would perfectly suit THE JOKER. I’d love to see what he comes up with.

Sharlto Copley in DISTRICT 9… CLICK on image to WATCH interview about ELYSIUM.

What do you think? Could Sharlto Copley pull it off? OR is Jared Leto perfect for the Joker?

Would Michael Keaton feel like stunt-casting? Who would you like to see play the Joker?

I like this gruesome version. Imagine the racial subtext should CHIWETEL EJIOFOR wear this (white) skinned face of The Joker. Compelling.


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