Great Character #10 — The Joker (Heath Ledger Version)

What I am going to talk about, is the Joker.  I’m going to throw it out there, Heath Ledger did an excellent job in the The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises), and it’s very sad that he died too soon to ever see it actually get cut together and hit the big screen.

Now, despite the Dark Knight getting on in years at this point, I wanted to talk about the Joker for two reasons:

1. Heath Ledger Did an Amazing Job…

I realize I can’t give Heath all the credit after all.  The Nolan Brothers were the ones to write an amazing script.  But, what I’m not sure a lot of people understand about movies and scripts, is exactly how much of the character creation is done by the actor.

You see, when you write a screenplay, it’s simply a skeleton of a movie.  It describes what they want the actors to do and the dialogue they say, but a lot of the nuance is left out.  In a way, it’s actually easier to write a novel.  We can simply spell out the thoughts, emotions and other things going on inside of our characters.

A screenplay has only two mediums to work with.  What the audience can see on the screen and what they can hear through the speakers.

Blinded by the sun here...

Blinded by the sun here…

Because of this, that’s how they want a script written.  Now, don’t get me wrong, once you get to the level of a shooting script, more details, director notes and everything else make its way into the script.  Still, most of this revolves around the production of a movie not a character.

And that’s where Heath shined.

Considering Batman is the second most ubiquitous superhero just behind Superman it’s understandable that everyone would know about his arch nemesis the Clown Prince of Crime.  He’s clearly insane, he’s clearly dangerous and he’s clearly brilliant.

What I loved about what Heath Ledger did, is he threw a darker twist on the already classic tropes and archetypes that the Joker fulfilled.  He did what I like to call, “putting a new twist on an old one.”

In this case the Joker was clearly recognizable to everyone due to the costume and general way about him, but he added a much darker, much more brutal edge to the man who was not only more mature for the adults, but something totally new for the die-hard fans of the comics.

It was brilliant and he should be given credit.

2. … and I Hope Jared Leto Isn’t Blocked form Doing the Same.

On August 15th of 2016 a new movie will be coming out called Suicide Squad.  In my opinion this is a great idea for the same reason Heath Ledger made a great joker.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is:

New twist on an old one! (Great use of Bohemian Rhapsody by the way…)

They took all your favorite DC Villains and jammed them together with the Joker as the lead.  Great idea right?

Well, I hope.

You see, unfortunately Heath is not here to take up the mantle as the Joker so they passed it over to Jared Leto.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Jared Leto is a great actor.  I loved his role as Vitaly in Lord of War.  The issue I’m having with it, is how they designed the Joker.

I think it’s far to say he’s a totally different breed than the excellent Joker created in the Dark Knight series.

Now, I understand.  They had to redesign him in such a drastic way.  If they simply stuck Jared Leto in Heath’s costume a good majority of people would have simply called foul and hated the movie on principle, because chances are Leto couldn’t recreate the character exactly to their liking.

To put it simply, he wouldn’t do it exactly like Heath Ledger, because it’s impossible.

The Joker (Jared Leto Version)

Oh the pressure!

To solve this, they totally redesigned the Joker, making him almost the exact opposite of the one we’ve all grown to love.  At least on the outside.

Now, I’m sure that Jared Leto will do an excellent job as his particular version, I simply hope that he’s not hamstringed into giving a sub-par performance just because they want to make his version totally different from Ledger’s.

All too often people want to distance themselves from the old in any aspect of life, and just end up being a strange charicature of who they were.  Since characters are created and written by people, it makes sense that this would translate into their craft.

I really hope that doesn’t happen.

I think this could be an excellent movie, with an excellent actor.  And I really want to see Leto shine in this role.

Should there be anyone from Hollywood involved in Suicide Squad reading this post I have on message.

Please, pretty please, don’t change the character too much.

Heath Ledger was onto something, don’t get so terrified that you totally hamstring the character.  Please, just put a new twist on the now old one that Heath Ledger created.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So as usual, what do you think?  Agree/disagree/think I’m nuts?  Please, leave your reactions in the comments below and let me know what you think.  I can’t wait to hear from you below.


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I own no rights to the pictures used in this post, or the featured image.  If you own the photos, and want them taken down, please contact me.

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