ByKatie Granger, writer at Creators.co
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

When hearing the name Mark Hamill most people's knee jerk reaction would be to immediately call to mind his enduring protagonist from the Star Wars franchise, Luke Skywalker. But behind Skywalker lies a man with a wealth of voice acting experience, from Studio Ghibli to Scooby Doo; and he's best known for his iconic and long running stint as the voice of Batman's most engaging nemesis - the Joker.

First taking up the Joker's mantle in Batman: The Animated Series Hamill has carried the character through many different films, series and video games since, most recently the Arkham series of video games and the upcoming Justice League Action and Batman: The Killing Joke.

The Joker of Batman: The Animated Series
The Joker of Batman: The Animated Series

I think by this point we're all well aware that there's a new Joker coming to town on the heels of the late Heath Ledger. I speak of course of Jared Leto's controversial take on the Clown Prince of Crime, heading our way in this year's Suicide Squad (and possibly Batman v Superman if the rumors are to be believed).

Leto's polarising performance thus far has already been largely compared to Ledger and other actors to take on the infamous role, such as Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson. But when you hear the voice of the Joker in your head odds are it's Hamill's performance you're thinking of.

You can just hear the laugh in your head, can't you?
You can just hear the laugh in your head, can't you?

Another interesting thing about Leto's Joker is the huge attention which has been focused upon his method acting for getting into character. Long have tales been swapped of him scaring his co-stars with horrific gifts, feeding off the hype around Ledger's untimely death following his stint as the Joker.

It all got a bit much recently when Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Batman v Superman director Zack Synder starting heaping on the praise with a shovel. Whilst Ayer admitted to being freaked out by the actor constantly staying in character, he also described Leto as "something transcendent. He's scary."

But it was Synder who really heaped it on, saying:

"The commitment to the role, you’re going to see that really shine through in a way that you’re not used to seeing actors in movies really go all the way with every little moment and every little breath… You’re going to get taken on a journey with Jared that I don’t know that everyone’s ready for but I think it will be amazing."

Jeeze, get a room already.

But Leto isn't the first person to be afforded this type of praise, as behind the scenes footage from Arkham City - the second instalment in the excellent Arkham series of video games - shows Hamill in action as the Joker, alongside iconic Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy.

Sefton Hill - the Arkham City Game Director - describes working with Hamill as a pretty incredible experience, and like Leto praises his ability to actually "become" the Joker:

"When you see Mark become the Joker - when he's actually in the recording booth and doing these voices - he actually physically kind of twists himself and manifests himself into Joker."

Lead Narrative Designer for Arkham City Paul Crocker had something similar to say, explaining that Hamill got inside of the mindset of Joker so well that they actually ended up rewriting the entire dialogue based on where he was taking the character at one time or another.

And - as with Leto - Crocker likens Hamill's performance to stepping into the shoes of the Joker himself:

"With Mark sometimes I think he actually is Joker, so he just turns up and he just nails it."

One thing can certainly be said for Hamill though; whilst other actors have taken the role very seriously and gone deep and dark both with the character and themselves, he always manages to keep things fun and lighthearted even after playing the character for two decades.

Check out the video below of his version of a conversation between Luke Skywalker and the Joker.

Who is your favourite Joker? Tell us in the comments below!

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