One of the most iconic and intriguing villains in the cinematic universe (for all comic books, really) has been the merciless trickster, the Joker.
Arriving from the DC Universe, the Joker is known as one of the most complex comic book characters to be portrayed through the silver screen. Played by multiple actors, the Joker's legacy is one so strong and wonderful, it will take a true actor to bring his character to life. Let's see who he's been played by...
We shall begin with one of the oldest, and perhaps the first, Joker portrayals on the silver screen. Actor Cesar Julio Romero Jr. was the whole package: an actor, singer, voice artist, and comedian. You can't really get more elaborate than that. Also he's been in film for around 60 years. That's a hella lotta experience. Born in the Big Apple on February 15, 1907, and died in the Sunny State on January 1, 1994, Romero (debatable) is the first Clown Prince of Crime. Starring in Leslie H. Martinson's 1966 Batman, Romero starred alongside the first Caped Crusader, Adam West. Romero's got the look nailed down, green hair, menacing grin, and come on, look at those eyes! That's scary man!
Next up we have *shudders* the one and only: Jack Nicholson. Also having to perform for 60 years in the film industry, John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson has portrayed the Jester of Genocide with the (much appreciated) jazzy hat. Now at the age of 78, Nicholson's most iconic films are: The Shinning, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and of course 1989's Batman. It is undeniably true that Nicholson has astounding acting skills, from horror (seriously, the Shinning will forever scar me) to portraying a character from a book (which is hard to nail on TV) and to bringing a most beloved comic character to life. Starring in Tim Burton's Batman film in 1989, one must say that the Jester certainly has a sense of class.
Okay, excuse me for a minute while I capture my breath *attempts to stop hyperventilating* , alright let us continue. The most recent actor to portray the Ace of Knaves is none other than Heathcliff Andrew Ledger a.k.a. Heath Ledger. Born as a true Aussie down in Perth on April 4, 1979, and sadly died due to combined drug intoxication on January 22, 2008 in the Big Apple, Ledger has portrayed the joker in Christopher Nolan's iconic Batman Trilogy: The Dark Knight.
His performance as the Joker is so iconic that there are plenty of facts online about how he portrayed him in the movie and what he did in order to prepare for such a huge role (in fact, here's another good article about those particular facts) . He's played plenty of roles in films, the most renown roles in: The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You and plenty of others. Ledger has set a pretty high bar for the Joker's character in DC's cinematic universe, it'll be hard to top it. I mean, really hard.
And now for the big question:
Can Jared Leto retain the Joker's cinematic legacy?
Now, we all know that looks are something important (to some people) when it comes to developing a character on the big screen. A more important aspect would be their acting skills, whether or not they can really bring the character to life. All of these men were capable of displaying the character to be a madman, a broken soul, a lunatic, and yet a genius. Can Leto do that?
Jared Joseph Leto was born on December 24, 1971, and is an actor, a singer-songwriter and also a director. People will probably properly know him from his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, and also David Fincher's Fight Club. I can't really say anything about Fight Club since... well, you know... it's a rule. But besides that, he has also played in a very well nominated film: Dallas Buyers Club. Now, these are all very well played roles, but has anyone ever seen him act that crazy?
Like Ledger said, perhaps all he really needs is a push. Whether or not Leto is worthy to portray his role will have to be commented on after the film. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't: then again, it's all opinion.
So I guess the answer will be revealed after Suicide Squad premieres, which is on August 5th, if you're all wondering.
" I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger " - The Joker, The Dark Knight
Till then, remain freaks, and stop being so serious!