New Reinventions of ‘The Joker’ for the Big and Small Screen
Batman’s greatest rival and one of the most iconic villains in pop-culture, The Joker, is soon to be reborn in both Film and Television.
It has been two years since we last saw the Clown Prince of Crime portrayed in film by Jared Leto, in the critical disappointment ‘Suicide Squad‘. Since its premiere on screen, there has been much ambivalence toward’s Leto’s portrayal, as the film’s use of the Joker was considered by critics to be futile.
However, comic book fans who were disheartened by the ultra-contemporary take on the character are in luck.
The Joker is set to reincarnate on screen in the very near future, due to a stand-alone Joker film produced by Academy award-winning director Martin Scorsese, and the canon introduction of The Joker in FOX’s hit-show ‘Gotham‘.
Both reinventions have claimed to be adapted from Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel, ‘The Killing Joke‘, which means comic fans will finally view faithful adaptions of the character’s origin imagined by Moore, on screen.
Joker on Film:
So, is a stand-alone Joker film what DC needs to regain a sense of sincerity and recognition (that has since been lost after Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises) in the film industry?
Officially announced by NME in September 2017, this film is to be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), with legendary Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) as executive producer and co-writing the script with Phillips is Scott Silver (The Fighter, 8 Mile).
To me, these Hollywood established and highly respected filmmakers sound incredibly promising towards reinventing Batman’s greatest adversary.
The film is reportedly set in a 1980’s Gotham City, and will adapt ‘The Killing Joke’s’ origin story of the titular character struggling as a failed comedian who will then transform into the menacing Joker.
Emulating the style of Scorsese’s 1980 films such as ‘Taxi Driver‘ and ‘Ragging Bull’, the yet-to-be-titled film will play as a dark and gritty crime drama, and is said by a friend of director Phillips’ agent, Brendan Schraub to be “super dark and real”.
There have also been rumours that Joaquin Pheonix is set to play the title role. Though just like the film’s release date, this has not been confirmed. However, Variety have reported that the 42-year old actor has been approached with the role and has expressed interest in the playing the deranged character.
This is the perfect direction that DC needs to take in order to portray The Joker’s story on film, staying credible to the gritty art style of the comic and dark origin of a man going completely insane after “one bad day”.
Joker on Television:
FOX’s ‘Gotham‘ has hosted the fan favourite Jerome Valeska, (played by Cameron Monaghan) as the series’ very own ‘Prince of Crime’ since his first appearance in Season 1 in 2014.
Despite the intricate emulations of The Joker that Valeska shares, such as a fondness towards playing cards and theatricality, that maniacal laugh and sinister wide smile, Valeska has been confirmed by David Mazouz (playing Bruce Wayne on the show) to “not be the Joker”, during a podcast with Discussing Film.
However, The Joker is coming to Gotham nearing the end of season 4, as Mazouz also confirmed that “the way that the Joker comes into the show is, in (his) opinion, one of the most brilliant things that Gotham has ever done”.
— BobaTalks (@BobaTalks) March 21, 2018
Just recently, paparazzi pictures of Monaghan on the set of Gotham have surfaced, with the actor rejecting the graphic scars of Jerome and instead sporting pale white skin, red lips and purple attire.
The 1980’s street-style costume of the clown clad Monaghan, appears very distinctive to Brian Bolland’s illustrations of The Joker in ‘The Killing Joke‘.
Furthermore, the title of episode 21’s ‘One Bad Day’ references a pivotal quote in the 1988 graphic novel.
Presumably Monaghan is playing none other than the series’ canon Joker, and whether or not this is a family member of Jerome’s or a clone, Mazouz has stated that season 4’s twist will be “one of the biggest shocks” to the Gotham audience, and we cannot wait.
Gotham’s ‘Joker’ is set to appear on screens by episode 16 of season 4.