Mark Hamill Reveals What Inspired Him To Be The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series
Mark Hamill says that the backlash when casting 1989s Batman inspired him to compete for the role of the Joker. When we hear about Mark Hamill, we all think of Star Wars, the Force, Darth Vader, and defeating the Empire. However, associating him with a character as distinct as The Joker is a bit unusual. In fact, one would think of actors like Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix and Jack Nicholson, who brought different versions of the character to life.
Image via Warner Bros. Discovery
Hamill also considered it when he competed in Batman: The Animated Series, which aired on Fox Kids from 1992 to 1995. The actor had the same impression as the one raised. In fact, he was about to give up the casting if it wasn’t for an event that inspired him to continue and be one of the best versions of the clown in the franchise’s history.
Michael Keaton Inspired Mark Hamill to Become The Joker
Hamill commented that, at the time of the casting for Batman, choosing Michael Keaton generated a lot of controversy. Since, at that time, the actor was dedicated to comedy films such as Beetlejuice and Mr Mom, he got a lot of backlash. However, the Luke Skywalker interpreter said it was one of the best editions of The Bat in history.
Mark Hamill remembered that when casting the voice of The Joker, he was nervous about the public and the auditioners’ reactions. Since an actor as serious as Luke Skywalker would portray a character as zany as The Joker, it didn’t make sense then.
Image via Warner Bros. Discovery
However, remembering the public’s reactions to Michael Keaton’s hiring for the role of Batman in 1989 and how great he played the role gave him the confidence he needed to audition. In the end, he was cast, and despite the nerves, he is one of the best voices and performances this Gotham villain has.
Part of Hamill’s statements were:
“When I went in , I thought, ‘You think they’re gonna hire Luke Skywalker to play the Joker? The fans will lose their minds!'” Hamill said. “I was so sure that I couldn’t be cast. I was completely relaxed. A lot of times there’s performance anxiety because you want the part, here I knew I couldn’t get the part, so, who cares? I drove out of the parking lot thinking, ‘That’s the best Joker they’ll ever hear, and it’s too bad they can’t cast me.’ And as soon as they did cast me, it reversed. I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t do this!'”.
Hamill continued, “I just read for it. I had a confidence that really helped me because there was this big outcry that Michael Keaton was gonna play Batman. ‘Oh, he’s Mr. Mom, he’s a comedy actor.’ I mean, they hadn’t even seen him and they didn’t realize how great he would become. But, there was great controversy.
Bringing His Favorite Character to Life
Mark Hammil said The Joker is his favorite character because of how crazy he is and how unpredictable he can be. Those characteristics make him fun, causing the actor and the audience to have fun when he appears.
He has played The Joker on several occasions, both in animated movies and video games. For example, he played the villain in Batman: The Final Joke, a film in which he returns, paralyzes Barbara, and kidnaps Commissioner Gordon. It has an iconic ending with Batman reaching out to his enemy, revealing the source of his madness, and a final scene of the two characters laughing.
Image via Disney
He also appeared in the Batman: Arkham videogame series, voicing the humorous villain and taking on Kevin Conroy’s Batman, though the latter died last year, an event that shocked Hamill. He stated after news of the actor’s passing:
“Kevin was perfection. He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated”.
Featured Image via Dick Thomas Johnson on Wikipedia Commons