Monday, July 31, 2006

Done Deal.....The Joker is Heath Ledger.

The great news:
The next Batman film will be called "The Dark Knight."

The "Ummm?" news:
Heath Ledger is most certainly playing the Joker.

Warner Bros. has made it official, unless he plans on getting drunk and publicly yelling anti-Semitic statements, while calling a policewoman "sugar tits," Heath Ledger will be playing the most recognized supervillian of all time... The Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, Mr. J himself.. The Joker.

To my eyes and ears, there is one definitive performance of this character. Mark Hamill's voice acting and Bruce Timm's visual design from the DC Animated Universe. However, this version borrows heavily from many sources, like 'The Killing Joke.' When Nicholson played him, I always thought he just played Jack. I liked it, but I always felt that Tim Curry would have been a better choice.

Here's my own definition of the Joker from my post
"Alright Already! Who is the Joker?" (Here!):

"To me, the essence of the Joker is a snobbish smile of sociopathic detachment matched with nervous laughter, bordering on ghoulish hysteria. He's an aristocratic, a foppish vaudevillian, who laughs at the violent nature of life.

The same tragedy that creates in The Batman, a creature of unbending will and a bleak determination to control chaos, creates a Joker that rejects control, rule and societal constructs, a Joker who has no sense of morality that embraces the chaotic nature of cruelty.

While, Ra's Al Ghul may be the only villain that is Batman's match, when done right the Joker is something scarier... Batman's opposite. This new film is supposed to re-introduce us to Batman's most famous foe...So whose gonna play the Joker?"

The problem I have: Ledger is such a sullen and subtle actor. In "Monster's Ball" and even films like "Brokeback Mountain" he pretty just grunts and mumbles in every scene. (add your gay cowboy joke here) I think he is an impressive actor, but can he play silly, chaotic and crazy? Looks like we're gonna find out.

I understand that Nolan is going his own way. I give him my best and award him the "Sam Raimi -Do what you please- Award." But as good as Batman Begins was, it allowed the public to again think about Batman as a fresh and exciting movie series, but it didn't knock the door down for the general audience. It opened that door, the next film will really draw the crowd. And that is the reason this movie has to be the Spider-man 2 and not the X3. The door will easily close again, for years and years.

If Heath can emote and really jump outside anything he's ever done, good God, then let him at em! If not, if we get a "It puts the Batarang in the basket or it gets the Hose!" then please Mr. Nolan, think now.... Heath could make a great Aquaman hmmm?

Below is the press release from The Warner Brothers themselves.
(What happened to Dot?)

BURBANK, CA, 31 July 2006 –
As a follow up to last year’s blockbuster Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan is set to direct Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight, written by Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The film will be produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan. Additionally, Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker. The announcements were made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Christopher Nolan revamped the Batman franchise in 2005 with the immensely successful Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale in the title role, which chronicled the early years of the superhero. Nolan first garnered attention from critics and fans in 2000 with the groundbreaking drama Memento, which he wrote and directed. He went on to direct the thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams, and recently wrapped production on The Prestige, with Hugh Jackman and Bale.

Bale was most recently seen in the ensemble cast of Terrence Malick’s The New World. His other credits include Little Women, Portrait of a Lady, Metroland, American Psycho, Laurel Canyon and Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, which was his first starring role.

Ledger most recently earned Oscar Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award nominations and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in the award-winning drama Brokeback Mountain. His other credits include Casanova, Monster’s Ball, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm and The Patriot.

“Chris’ unique vision is what made Batman Begins such an outstanding film and we could not imagine anyone else at the helm of The Dark Knight,” said Robinov. “We also can’t wait to see two such formidable actors as Christian and Heath face off with each other as Batman and The Joker.”

“I'm excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins,” added Nolan. “Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale’s Batman is going to be incredible.”

Production is set to begin on The Dark Knight in early 2007.

Nolan and Ledger are represented by CAA.


hungrytim said...

I was in disbelief when my dad told me it was going to be Heath Ledger. I still can't believe it. He must have had one HELL of an audition, because when you think of the joker, Heath Ledger is not a name that comes to mind.

Stuff Daddy said...

It is a weird balance between, a great Director I want to leave alone and let him work and "ewww, that doesn't seem to be the right guy Mr. Nolan...." Perhaps we will all be surprised.

Anonymous said... its 2008 ! heath was awesome !!! its a shame he died =( *cries* rest in peace ♥

heath was the best joker !!! he so sexy .