June 28, 2006

Joker: Paul Bettany Vs. Robin Williams
— Ace

Paul Bettany has been approached to play the Crown Prince of Crime for the Batman sequel.

Meanwhile, Robin Williams is all but wearing a Catwoman-suit to lobby for the part, and raves about graphic novels to demonstrate his comics-cred.

And he worked with director Chris Nolan before, of course.

It's nice that Robin Williams can discuss the comic Arkham Asylum, but really, look at the two pictures. Is it even close?

Sorry, hate to be a dick, but the Joker's thin. Bettany even looks like the Joker, without makeup.

And Joker doesn't say "Nan-noo nan-noo" when he kills people.

Posted by: Ace at 01:48 PM | Comments (47)
Post contains 111 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Too old, too fat, too hairy. And the joker's humor, even when he's not killing someone, has a menacing quality to it that Williams' humor lacks

Posted by: Evil Otto at June 28, 2006 01:51 PM (fcCt3)

2 won't top jack nicholson, IMHO

Posted by: j at June 28, 2006 01:52 PM (yHvEo)

3 Wasn't Williams in contention to be cast as the Riddler in Batman Forever? That is, if Burton had directed?

Posted by: Master Tang at June 28, 2006 01:59 PM (+DMjG)

4 Hey, Robin Williams can play it straight, as long as he's got a director who won't put up with his shit (witness his previous work with Nolan in Insomnia). That said, the previous posters are right; he is too old, and he is too fat, and nobody will ever top the way Nicholson did it, so why try?

Posted by: Doug F at June 28, 2006 02:01 PM (Dv0tm)

5 I don't know. Williams has played some pretty good psychos. But as a foil to the younger better more stylistic Batman - I have to agree with you.

Posted by: Marty at June 28, 2006 02:02 PM (bRX19)

6 and don't even get me started on that mangina Paul Bettany.

Posted by: Doug F at June 28, 2006 02:03 PM (Dv0tm)

7 I have to agree with Doug Flutie, I'm not big on Williams, but Paul f'ing Bettany? Why not Chris Klein while we're at it? Seems kind of random to me. I think Adrien Brody - who has been linked to the part - would be better than either of them. He has a serious brooding quality to him, but has also played psychos extremely well in the past.

Posted by: thelinyguy at June 28, 2006 02:07 PM (7xc/4)

8 Two Words: Christopher Walken.

Posted by: Big E at June 28, 2006 02:15 PM (0YKcF)

9 Ace, don't say your sorry when you're right. Robin Williams is WAY TOO FAT to be playing the Joker. That's why Nicholson sucked at it. I hate to say it but Jim Carrey is the only actor who can physically play him. Too bad he was wasted as the Riddler.
Unless Cesar Romero is available.

Posted by: Don Carne at June 28, 2006 02:21 PM (RJDcF)

10 C'mon man, I was bangin' Eartha, Julie, andLee between extras.
These guys would've been fluff boys back in my day.

Posted by: Ceasar Romero at June 28, 2006 02:36 PM (BOUnj)

11 Oooooooohoohoohoohoo deeeelicious!

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 02:37 PM (BOUnj)

12 Oooooh - Walkin. Now *that's* a great idea....

Posted by: middleroad at June 28, 2006 02:41 PM (ftdXf)

13 A whole lotta ooohing going on around here.

Posted by: middleroad at June 28, 2006 02:42 PM (ftdXf)

14 Colin Farrell. Daredevil pretty much sucked but he's got the right amount of skeevie, camp and funny to do it. He's also not fat.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 28, 2006 02:42 PM (rnOZq)

15 Only one guy can play the Joker - Guy Pearce.

Posted by: Slublog at June 28, 2006 02:46 PM (7b+a2)

16 I think Robin Williams could pull it off, but not physically. He could be the kind of wicked, insane scary if he wanted, but he just is too old and big to do it, and too hairy. The Joker is skinny as a rail, and Williams couldn't do that even if he went on heroin.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 28, 2006 02:47 PM (Pwzb0)

17 Robin Williams sucks so bad it makes my pubes hurt. Least funny human being alive or dead.

Posted by: Pepper at June 28, 2006 03:35 PM (knOfd)

18 Too hairy? Ever hear of a razor?

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 03:46 PM (lxb4k)

19 I think Slublog nailed it. Pierce is a great actor, and he and Nolan made "Memento", which I think got robbed for an Oscar.

Posted by: UGAdawg at June 28, 2006 03:49 PM (alGm/)

20 Of course you rePukes would miss the obvious:

Steven Colbert!
Speak Truth to Batman!
And he is FUNNY Goddammit!

Posted by: Blind Howlin' Moonbat at June 28, 2006 03:52 PM (fpJc1)

21 When will they ever have CLAYFACE? and can you remember when CEASAR ROMERO played THE JOKER in the old 60s TV series? HOLY CAMP BATMAN

Posted by: spurwing plover at June 28, 2006 04:04 PM (n7v4a)

22 I mean, just look at the crazy bastard. He's perfect.

Posted by: Slublog at June 28, 2006 04:07 PM (7b+a2)

23 Walken was already a Batman villain.

Pearce is a good choice, but I think maybe someone like Eddie Izzard. The Joker has to have pizazz.

Posted by: dorkafork at June 28, 2006 05:15 PM (ksDNy)

24 Eh, I probably wouldn't mind Bettany. I also wouldn't mind Christopher Eccleston, the guy who just recently played Dr. Who. He sort of looks like the Joker.

Posted by: Vyce at June 28, 2006 05:19 PM (mkMAC)

25 Good call, dorkafork.

And your tail is cool. Just don't tell Eddie.

Posted by: middleroad at June 28, 2006 05:22 PM (ftdXf)

26 The frenchman Vincent Cassel would be perfect. Isn't the Joker's real name, Jacques Napier?


I know that that's a photoshpped picture, but just look at it!

Posted by: jmchez at June 28, 2006 05:24 PM (JY98e)

27 Bettany has the "pizzazz." He did a great job hamming it up as Geoffrey Chaucer in a Knight's Tale.

This idea that the Joker needs to be played by a comic is stupid. The Joker is not funny and never has been. He spits out a thousand jokes and 999 of them are just groaningly lame puns.

He just needs to look scary. I think Bettany's eyes are scary and Joker like in that one pic.

Posted by: ace at June 28, 2006 05:26 PM (h7Mal)

28 hmmm I thought Brody was going to be the joker, he would be a good choice if true

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 05:34 PM (YT1oP)

29 Apart from three or four lines in the Animated Series, has the Joker ever really been funny?

He was occasionally funny in the cartoon. But that was just an inspired series with a great performance by Mark Hammill.

Even there, most of his lines aren't really funny. Certainly he's not funny when he's TRYING to be funny. He's funny when he loses it in frustration or the like.

When he's trying to be funny, it's just a steady stream of vaudville era idiocy.

Even his implements of death are stupid. A squirting flower? A joy buzzer? They're cool because they're weapons, but they sure aren't funny.

Posted by: ace at June 28, 2006 05:40 PM (h7Mal)

30 Only one guy can play the Joker - Guy Pearce.

Oh, yeah, I can just see it now:

"Do you think I'm going to let you walk away with all the attention? No chance, come on girls. Let's go shopping."

Or to the Riddler:
"Oh, for goodness sakes, look at yourself, Riddler. How many times do I have to tell you? Green is not your color! "

Posted by: cheshirecat at June 28, 2006 05:43 PM (2unJ/)

31 The Joker is a failed comedian, remember.


As in-- wasn't even funny enough to make a meager living working the drunken 2AM crowds in the shithole comedy clubs.

Look at Al Franken. Al Franken is not funny.

But Al Franken was funny enough to make a living at it.

Now, if Al Franken can be in movies and on TV, think about how friggin' lame the Joker's act had to be.

Rupert Pupkin, people. Rupert Pupkin.

Posted by: ace at June 28, 2006 05:47 PM (h7Mal)

32 Wow, Vincent Cassel. I think that's an excellent choice. (Here's the original version of that one you linked to jmchez.)

Posted by: at June 28, 2006 05:47 PM (ksDNy)

33 I still think Izzard would work, I think he could be scary enough. I think someone with Williams' profile would not, unless you're going for camp. (Like Jim Carrey as the Riddler.)

Posted by: dorkafork at June 28, 2006 05:57 PM (ksDNy)

34 BTW, I just realized I spent four posts arguing a point that no one was arguing in favor of.

Though I don't know how you guys get Cassel or Guy Pearce as the Joker.

Over on the thread linked above, someone suggested Tim Roth, who could do it. (Though he's short, but Hollywood has 100 years experience cheating height.)

Would make for a nice Oldman-Roth reunion.

Posted by: ace at June 28, 2006 05:58 PM (h7Mal)

35 Holy Cr@P! The original
of Vincent Cassel is even more frightening than the photoshopped-Joker one!

Posted by: jmchez at June 28, 2006 06:01 PM (JY98e)

36 I'd vote for Eccleston as well - Roth is a possibility too, and if we could magically take away the last twenty years, Tim Curry would be a good choice.

On the persona of the Joker, I kinda like Grant Morrison's take on him in Arkham Asylum: that there is no single personality that can be identified as the Joker. He is a collection of infinitely varying personas, and has no idea from day to day or even moment to moment which one will rise to take control. That's the key to what makes him such a terrifying character - sheer unpredictability, complete irrationality as a foil to the hyper-rationality of Gotham's Finest. You can't predict him, you can't profile him, because not even he knows what he's going to do, or why.

As far as the look, I'd vote for heavy reliance on The Killing Joke - that one showed a Joker who was by turns malignant, tragic, hateful, confused, you name it, and all of it conveyed within the context of that same clownish demeanor. Particularly telling is a scene toward the end, when Batman roars to the rescue to save Commissioner Gordon and catches the Joker in the Batmobile's headlights: the Joker looks at him with a spiteful, childish smile that's sad, infuriating, and frightening all at once. If you can find an actor/director combination that can nail that, you've done justice to the Joker.

Posted by: Master Tang at June 28, 2006 06:14 PM (+DMjG)

37 The Joker is a killer, a stone killer. Nothing funny about him. Get some unknown actor, not a comedian.

Posted by: drolmorg at June 28, 2006 07:00 PM (+kxdT)

38 Tim Roth could do it, he can be very scary insane sometimes, very effective and funny if he needs to be.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at June 28, 2006 07:33 PM (Pwzb0)

39 Hyper-manic stage comics make really bad hyper-manic movie villains. Why? Because we can never forget we're watching that guy we've known for years rather than the character. Jim Carrey's Riddler was awful. It was like an ill-conceive 'In Living Color' sketch that refused to end.

(Of course, they screwed up even worse by having Tommy Lee Jones, who could have been an excellent traditional Two-Face, since he can play both authority figure and menace, by having him be just another hyper-manic asshole. As if Carrey wasn't enough.)

Carrey's best work is when he palys regular guys who have inspired outbursts rather than constant mania like Ace Ventura. You can root for Stanley when he puts on the Mask. Ace, you just want to see killed after five minutes.

Far better results come from having actors really act rather than do schtick with branding.

How many people saw that old Borg episode on Star Trek:TNG and though Patrick Stewart should be Mr. Freeze? Instead we got some wretched stunt casting of Arnold, who could have been perfectly good with a character suited to his physical type. Although the only Batman villain that comes to mind he would never do, since Bane is perpetually masked.

The Riddler has a certain manic quality but nowhere near that of the Joker. Frank Gorshin was great in that awful show because he understood the Riddler is a frustrated pseudo-intellectual. He wants to be regarded as a deep thinker but his strength is for stringing together bits of trivia. The guy I wanted to see do the Riddler when he was young enough was Jeff Goldblum. He has shown in some roles he can be wonderfully evil while ranting in a strangely calm way. His voice saying, "Riddle me this, Batman..." really works.

(Denny O'Neill did a great Question story where he got to the heart of the Riddler's personality after he'd come to terms with his mediocrity and wanted to go straight in a new town.)

I agree with Mister Tang. The one moment where the Nicholson Joker was great was the childlike way in which he addressed the loss of his poison gas filled ballons. "Those are my balloons. He took my ballons." A friend who with me for that first theatrical viewing said that bit made her feel terrible because for a moment she felt sympathetic with the Joker's loss of his deadly toys.

Posted by: epobirs at June 29, 2006 01:57 AM (UlX4W)

40 Willem Dafoe could also pull this off. He seems a half bubble off center when he isn't acting.

Posted by: JackStraw at June 29, 2006 02:19 AM (J8+2b)

41 Guy Rolfe would be great but he's been dead a while.

Posted by: epobirs at June 29, 2006 02:41 AM (UlX4W)

42 I disagree Ace. Williams, like Nicholson would make a great joker... combination jokester and insane, calculating killer...
Bettany has more of the Mr. Freeze Look.

Posted by: oceanguy at June 29, 2006 03:45 AM (fA7Rx)

43 I don't care who plays him, but he has to look like this.

Posted by: carl at June 29, 2006 06:52 AM (lSOjk)

44 Actually, Blind Howlin' Moonbat, Stephen Colbert is a Robin-esque character.

As you probably already know, he was the voice of one of the two "Ambiguously Gay Duo" characters, Gary I think.

Posted by: Nick Byram at June 30, 2006 07:40 AM (G556X)

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