Now this is something I did not see coming in a million years. The great Jack Nicholson, who we all remember played The Joker in Batman ‘89, has told MTV News that he is “furious” about Heath Ledger playing The Joker in The Dark Knight. Here is some of what he said:
MTV - What do you think of another actor, Heath Ledger, playing The Joker in next summer’s “The Dark Knight”?
Nicholson - Let me be the way I’m not in interviews. I’m furious. I’m furious. [He laughs.] They never asked me about a sequel with the Joker. I know how to do that! Nobody ever asked me.
MTV - I’m surprised to hear you sounding competitive about a role like that.
Nicholson - Well, the Joker comes from my childhood. That’s how I got involved with it in the first place. It’s a part I always thought I should play.
MTV - Will you see the new film?
Nicholson - I’m not inclined to watch it because of what I said. But if it’s a good movie, I’ll catch up with it somewhere. I don’t think they ever really captured Tim Burton’s spirit [since he stopped being involved]. They kind of drove the franchise into the ground. Tim Burton’s a genius. He had the right take on it. That’s why I did the movie. I did the movie based on a single conversation with him. We both come from the cartoon world originally. We had similar ideas. Tim said [the Joker] should have a humorous dark side to him. [Burton is] one of the great moviemakers. I think the world of him. He’s the most unassuming man. And he doesn’t feel pressure. That’s what I love about him. Once he’s in there, he’s smiling making the movie. That’s it!
You can read the rest of the interview over here at MTV.com
Personally I think Nicholson is being a big-headed baby about this. His portrayal in Batman ‘89 was fun and it will always remain great to watch but that’s not what The Joker is. For anyone familiar with the comic books The Joker is an evil, sadistic and downright despicable human being, the kind of guy who would shoot a child and laugh straight afterwards. And the way Nicholson portrayed him (and how Tim Burton wrote him to be) was still a little on the dark and ‘bad’ side but a far too campy (again not knocking it). And as for them driving the franchise into the ground; I agree they did with with the fourth one (yes I quite like Forever) but I have a question for Mr Nicholson - did you not see Batman Begins? They totally and completely captured Batman and the whole world around him perfectly.
In the end though this is just Nicholson expressing what he feels, and I can’t exactly discredit him for speaking his mind. What are your thoughts?