Sean Maher's Quality Control

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Heath Ledger cast as Joker?

Huh. You know, I think this would work.



Still a rumor, it looks like, but casting Heath Ledger as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's next Batman movie sounds like an inspired idea to me. Why? Because it's not obvious. You hear the guy's name and imagine what you've seen him in and how that could be Jokerized and it doesn't really fit exactly.

Which is exactly what these guys are gonna need. Joker's been done perfectly twice now. Jack Nicholson hit the vicious-mobster-gone-insane note brilliantly, all sing-songy and morbid and seething, and Mark Hamill took the cartoony, failed-standup-comedian, hysterical-laughing angle and ran with it with amazing creativity and commitment.

So, both of those approaches to the Joker are taken. Any attempt to use those takes on the character will immediately signal a weak impression of a previous performance.

Ledger (and Nolan) will have to do something new. And call me crazy, but I think Ledger's got the imagination and enthusiasm to do it. I wouldn't have said that before - had him more or less dismissed as a stock-character pretty boy somewhere inbetween Freddy Prinze, Jr. and Colin Farrell - but Brokeback Mountain, it turned out, was a really great flick, and rode almost entirely on the understated strength and innovation of his performance.

I'm calling it early: it will (/would) be good.

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