Will Joaquin Phoenix Outdo Heath Ledger? 5 Other Actors Who’d Make Great Jokers
No jokes.
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Top left @BossLogic’s interpretation of Phoenix as The Joker //

With Joaquin Phoenix signing on to play The Joker in Todd Phillips’ (The Hangover) upcoming standalone film, we take a look at five other prospects that we think would do the character justice.

What makes a good Joker these days? There’s gotta be a certain psychological darkness to the character that spurs his interest or perhaps, understanding of ultraviolence in all its forms, then there needs to be a level of cunning and tenacity that aides the him as he plots his wicked schemes, and finally (and importantly) the character has to be funny enough that the audience can somehow laugh at him whilst he goes about his murderous deeds.

Joaquin Phoenix is an excellent choice for The Joker due to his ability to giving dark performances that are creepy enough to leave you weirdly feeling icky inside like his portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator, but he is also able to be the funny guy as seen in Inherent Vice or his mockumentary I’m Still Here where he took aim at himself and hollywood often with cringeworthy and squeamish results.

The Joker character has been around since the 1940’s and whilst there has been many successful interpretations of him in both film and cartoon like Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning depiction, Jack Nicholson’s vibrant 1989 performance or Mark Hamill’s DCAU Joker from the Batman: Animated series, there have also been many failings of effectively capturing the diabolic character.

Here’s a list of five actors we think could do The Joker justice (irony not intended):

Casey Affleck

No shortage of creep factor here. Think about his portrayal of Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the way that he clearly had a range of psychological issues wrapped up behind his soulless eyes. Also, his weak and husky voice might be a interesting in delivering some Jokery sass.


Ryan Gosling

Hear me out. Maybe he’s not able to provide the comedy element needed for the role, but what he lacks in humour he makes up for in brood(yness). Although his performances in movies like Drive and Only God Forgives have limited dialogue, he conveys a gloominess that is truly off-putting.


Jake Gyllenhaal

We’ve seen Jake Gyllenhaal play an obsessive oddball a lot throughout his career. Whether it be the dissociative Donnie in Donnie Darko or the consumed artist/serial-killer hunter in Zodiac we know he can do the dark stuff. This was pushed even further when we saw him in the intensely eerie Nightcrawler.


Sam Rockwell

Undoubtedly capable of being the funny man in films like Three Bilboards and Seven Psychopaths, we also know Rockwell is capable of carrying a feature from his performance in Duncan Jones’ 2009 film Moon. Playing the weirdo is also something we’ve seen with him do with roles in films like Choke and The Green Mile.


Michael Fassbender

Capable of taking a leap into the darker sides of the human psyche in films like Shame and 12 Years A Slave, Fassbender could make for a pretty twisted Joker. Possibly his biggest hurdle would be nailing the twangy New York accent that has become such trademark characteristic of the supervillain, though rules are made to be broken.


Words by Harry Webber July 12, 2018
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