The latest in DC Comics news: The Joker is getting an origin movie. It was announced last week that Todd Phillips, creator of The Hangover films, will write and direct the film, and Martin Scorsese will produce. And now, speculation is running wild as to who will star.
The infamous role has been played by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and is currently being played by Jared Leto. But who has the simultaneous dramatic and comedic skills to take on the costume as a young, burgeoning version of villain? Here are our choices — some feasible and some completely out there.
Not to once again cast a Brit in an American comic book role, but Will Poulter is a solid choice to play a young version of the Joker. He has a few solid comedy performances under his belt, like that of Kenny in We’re the Millers, but we also know he can tackle serious parts, such as this summer’s Detroit.
Poulter in clown makeup isn’t a new idea — he was cast in the upcoming IT film as Pennywise, but later dropped out. With eyebrows like those and his charming demeanor, Poulter’s name should definitely be included in the conversation.
While many on this list have played both dramatic roles and lighter fare, few have tackled the specific creepy comedy that the Joker requires. But Evan Peters certainly has.
As the versatile star responsible for several of your favorite (and least favorite) American Horror Story characters, Peters clearly knows the intersection of crazy and camp required for this part. We’ve also laughed alongside him in two X-Men movies, so we know he can handle the world of big budget superhero flicks.
Currently starring on Fox’s Gotham as the TV answer to the Joker, Cameron Monaghan seems like an obvious choice for the film adaptation. The actor has been in the business since he was just a child and has been a standout on Showtime’s Shameless, where he plays a teenager-turned-young adult who struggles with his mental health.
Though he doesn’t specifically play the same character on Gotham, we’re already seeing a potential origin story play out on the show. So it might make sense to see the person who has so adeptly captured the lunacy on screen take it to another platform. But it’s not likely that Warner Bros. will go that way.
Let’s consider a gender-bend, shall we? Though this seems like an unlikely route for the studio to take, it’s always worth seeing what could be if they chose to think outside the box — and besides, the DC universe’s most acclaimed solo flick so far is female-led.
Karen Gillan is currently busy playing Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she was recently asked about any other characters she might like to play. She responded, “I’m going to say something DC, and I’m going to play the Joker. Maybe a female Joker.”
She added, “Somebody make a call for me and let them know I’m available.” We’re on board.
Stanfield could be an excellent choice for the part. After getting his start as Marcus in Short Term 12, he’s quickly put on several phenomenal performances, including his understated role in Get Out. As one of the most-watched up-and-comers in the industry, Stanfield is busy, but it looks like he’s more than willing to make it work if he was cast by DC.
His comedic chops are relatively unseen, but if you’re familiar with his work on Misfits, you know that Iwan Rheon has a lot of range. He’s a little busy in the Marvel TV realm right now but let’s be real: While Inhumans hasn’t yet premiered, it already doesn’t sound like it will get a Season 2.
Of course, his most high-profile role, and the one that really sells this choice, is his villainous turn on Game of Thrones as Ramsay Bolton. What’s more, the faces he makes are pretty darn chilling. Talk about Joker vibes.
Ledger was a young actor with mostly comedic credits to his name before playing the Joker, so maybe that’s the route casting should take this time around. This comedian is almost exclusively known for his time on Saturday Night Live, and his list of credits isn’t particularly long. But there’s something about Pete Davidson’s look that just screams “Joker.”
Davidson doesn’t appear to be super busy right now, and he’d probably be a relatively cheap hire, so to speak. We know he can play crazy characters, and with a mouth that big (figuratively and literally, as he himself has joked about), he might just be the perfect person to step into Leto’s shoes.
Bonus: Taylor Swift
Hear us out. If you’ve seen the “Look What You Made Me Do” video, you know what Swift’s capable of when it comes to playing crazy. Even if you haven’t, the media has certainly made her out to be a villain.
Swift checks almost every box: She’s young, she has acted comedically, and she would certainly be a unique choice for the role. And do you remember this look in the “Blank Space” music video? It’s a bit reminiscent of Ledger’s Joker. But the chances of this pop star jumping back into acting, even for a role as big as this, are essentially nonexistent.