Some hot news in the world of film this week is the controversial Joker Origins spin-off film that was recently revealed to be coming from Warner Bros. The announcement made some big waves and has since sparked a lot of discussion as to who, what and why. Today, here are my picks for the who.

This film will be separate from Warner Bros' tentpole DCEU and will stand alone as a solo film, with an all-new actor in the titular role replacing Jared Leto - who was cast as the DCEU's Clown Prince of Crime for last Summer's Suicide Squad. So, with that news, I took it upon myself to - hypothetically - cast the role and here are my top choices of actors to replace Leto as The Joker. It's worth noting that the Joker Origins announcement did hint at a younger Joker taking to the screen, for an 80s-set origin story, but - for this article - I've chosen actors that range in age but that, to me, each could bring something different and interesting to the role.
Of course, to kick things off, I've whittled down a few honourable mentions. These are actors I think would be good in the role that were worth mentioning but perhaps not quite as much so as my main and top choices.


The way I've broken down these choices is in 3 different categories, to separate the choices a little more. Let's dive into my picks, shall we:



Perhaps best known for his role as Ahkmemrah in the Night at the Museum films or, more recently, as Elliot in the TV series Mr. robot, Rami Malek is perhaps the most unconventional choice for the role. However, to those video games fan out there that have seen Malek's performance in Until Dawn, he seems perfect to fill the clown shoes. His turn as Joshua in the 2015 game was haunting and unhinged; we got to see a very different, very anarchic side to him and it was menacing - the perfect balance of sinister and charm to really bring to fruition a unique, terrifying spin on The Joker.


Another unusual pick for the role: Michael Cera. Best known for his impressive - and huge - backlog of comedic work, we're yet to see a full-on dramatic turn from the young actor. However, we've certainly seen shades of it and Cera is remarkably talented. He certainly has the facial features and that odd facial aesthetic to look the part and, I think, given the right material, he could really bring a dramatic, intimidating and - again - different performance to the table from the ones we've seen.


The first time Ehrenreich stuck out was last year's Hail, Caesar! from the Coen Brothers. Of course, we'll next see the actor as a younger Han Solo in the Han Solo spin-off next May. Similarly to Cera, this is an actor that is yet to REALLY prove himself; sure, he has been good in what he has done thus far but we're yet to be bowled over by him. There are shades of a young Heath Ledger in him and through his small, but impressive, filmography it's evident that he is talented and can take on a whole range of different roles of varying genre and tone. He has the suave to pull of a hard-boiled 80s crime drama and the acting chops to pull off a memorable Joker.



Everyone knows that Gyllenhaal is my favourite actor working today and for a reason too: the dude is talented. He was in talks for Suicide Squad a few years back to play Rick Flagg or, you guessed it, The Joker. So why not seal the deal this time? Anyone that has seen Southpaw knows that he can bring the physique and hard-edged nature and those that have seen Nightcrawler - and even Okja - know that he can become chillingly creepy and disgusting when he wants - in a good way. In fact, for this role, that's what you want. And Gyllenhaal can bring it.


Dano is one of the most underrated talents working today. There, I said it. And most people that know of the actor will agree. We've seen the actor play nice, charismatic characters before - again: Okja - but it's performances like his in Love and Mercy and Prisoners that really make his case to bring the crazy. He can go from 0 to 100 in an instance and has the talent to pull off any role or any character. Prisoners, especially, was a nasty character - so creepy and despicable, yet we oddly empathise with him and feel for him. The fact that Dano can bring this nuance and multi-dimension to such a vile character makes him all the more perfect to take on this role.


There are some actors that can just pull off antagonistic roles. Iwan Rheo is one of them. He excels as the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton in HBO's Game of Thrones and this is something he could carry over to the role of The Joker. At age 32, he's the end of the age spectrum that Warner Bros. are perhaps considering for the role too. Bolton and The Joker have a lot in common and Rheo delivers that menace and villainous edge with aplomb and it could make for a great Joker performance.



Again, we dismiss the age rule here. But if any actor on Planet Earth was born for the role... it's, undoubtedly, Crispin Glover. You won't find anyone that looks the part more than him. His years of experience in the industry also mean that he has the talent to do the character justice. It has to be done. Someone please, PLEASE make this happen. Scrap an origin. Just cast Crispin.


The concept art is all over the internet. Willem Dafoe as The Joker looks like something pulled straight from the beloved Arkham video games. Sure, the actor is perhaps a little more than the studio are considering but just imagine how superb that casting would be. Of course, Dafoe crushed it as the Green Goblin and brought a very twisted, unnerving performance to the table for that. It could very well carry over. At least the actor is no stranger to comic-book villains.


Aesthetically, Murphy has the looks for the role. But he also has the talent. Not only that but he has prior experience within a DC film, having starred in all three of Nolan's Dark Knight films. The actor has a presence and effortless effervescence when on-screen and brings his A-game to every role he takes. And as Peaky Blinders and his role in Batman Begins, as Scarecrow, prove, he can bring a real edge and grit and menace to The Joker. However, he also has the devilish charisma to make him a likable yet menacing villain. With Murphy, we're guaranteed a great performance.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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