This might sound like a bit of an odd suggestion, but I personally think David Tennant would be the best possible choice to play Batman’s archenemy.
This is not a comment on Jared Leto who has been cast in Suicide Squad. I’ll reserve my judgement for his performance once I have seen it. Its possible for more than one person to play the Joker at the same time. The character is appearing (possibly) on Gotham as we speak, so I see no reason why Tennant can’t be the Joker in another production. A tv series perhaps or even an animated series or film, as he is a prolific and highly talented voice actor.
He Looks the Part
Okay shallow reason, but still Tennant in my opinion looks every inch the perfect Joker, which is why I’d prefer to see him as the character in a live action series.
Tennant is tall, stick thin, yet has quite broad shoulders. He also has a very long face, a large distinctive grin, a long nose and a big wall of hair just like the Joker from the comics.
The incarnation of the Joker from the animated series Young Justice to me and many others practically looks like he was based on David Tennant.
Is that David Tennant or is that David Tennant? With the right make up I think he would at least look the part more than any other actor who has played him in live action so far.
He is excellent at playing crazy bastards
Though he is best known for playing a hero to millions of people around the globe. Tennant is great at playing villains, particularly psychotic villains brilliantly.
One of his most famous villainous roles was as the sadistic Barty Crouch Junior in the Harry Potter film series. Though it was only a more minor role Tennant I think was able to make the character very memorable.
The tongue flicking was a little edge he added to the character that just helped him seem more depraved and unnerving.
This was something that Heath Ledger later added to the Joker though I’m not saying that Heath stole it from Tennant, but you can see how there is some similarity in their performances.
Tennant has also won acclaim recently for his performance as the twisted villain The Purple Man in Jessica Jones.
Killgrave is about as different from the Doctor as Paul Pott is from Jesus Christ. He is a psychotic, sadistic, murdering rapist!
Another great villainous performance from Tennant was in the remake of Randall and Hopkirk Deceased where he played Sallis who is a pathetic, weasly, insecure awful artist who murders his girlfriend and then dresses up as her and argues with himself as her. He also has robots with chainsaws one of which slices him in half down the middle! Per his last wishes, his severed remains are later displayed as an art exhibit.
Tennant is perfect in not only showing us how unstable Stallis is, but also how petty and utterly pathetic he is too. He’s whines, he whimpers, he licks his own reflection at one point to convince himself people love him. He even feels sorry for himself after he brutally murders his own girlfriend because he misses her!
Its great watching a character who is so insane and twisted and vicious yet just such a sad, pitiful, whimpering insecure loser.
This was actually the first place I ever saw Tennant. The great irony is that Tom Baker appeared in this series and in this episode itself. I’d have never imagined, as I’m sure neither would Tom that the crazy bastard in the dress trying to hack people up with a chainsaw would later prove to be the most popular Doctor after Tom himself!
I can see Tennant bringing a similar pathetic insecurity to the Joker. The Joker has always been desperate for everyone to see him as Batman’s greatest enemy and indeed the greatest criminal in Gotham. Though he is a dangerous lunatic he is actually deep down a pathetic little man who defines his whole existence by being an enemy of the Batman.
Whole stories have revolved around his pride being hurt. In Infinite Crisis the Joker is left out of the Secret Society of Supervillains by Alexander Luthor JR. The Joker is hurt by this seeing it as an insult to his pride and along with Lex Luthor tracks him down and tortures him by burning his face with his joybuzzer before killing him. Its actually the Joker that does all the torturing and killing, Lex just stands at the side and taunts Alex, but they are good taunts.
Similarly in the first ever issue of his own spin off series simply called “The Joker” a criminal mastermind springs Two Face from prison instead of the Joker because he feels that he is a better criminal.
The Joker is furious at this and spends the rest of the comic trying to murder both said criminal and Two Face to prove he is the best.
Who would have thought watching a man be burned in the face by an acid pie could be so funny.
Of course the great irony here is that the criminal only sprung Two-face because he wanted to make him the fall guy for his crime. Ironically he did think that the Joker was the better criminal after all, and didn’t use him as he knew the Joker would figure out that he was being set up.
In mad love when Harley Quinn, the Joker’s lover, foolishly believing that Batman is getting in the way of their courtship tries to kill Batman. Batman is only able to escape by tricking her into telling the Joker that she is going to kill him, and the Joker actually ends up saving Batman in fear of being upstaged by Harley.
The ultimate (and most hilarious) example of the Jokers fragile pride being hurt is when he actually murders his own henchman, Sidney for not laughing at his joke.
I can definitely see Tennant bringing this same kind of neurotic, pathetic, insecure lunacy to the Joker perhaps to a greater degree than any other actor before him.
It would be completely unexpected
I always really like it when they cast someone against type and it works.
Apart from Jack Nicholson all of the most acclaimed Joker’s have been an example of someone cast against type.
Cesar Romero was known as a leading man before playing the Joker. He even said years later that he didn’t understand why they cast him as he had never done anything like the Joker before.
Mark Hamill was another example of that. Would anyone have thought Luke Skywalker would have been a great choice for the Joker? Nevertheless he ended up for many being the best choice for the part.
Similarly Heath Ledger I think may now be the most famous example of being cast against type. Prior to the Joker he was known for playing romantic leads and indeed when he was cast as the Joker there was fan outrage. I remember thinking to myself “Heath Ledger as the Joker? that’s a turkey”, but of course once again we were all proven spectacularly wrong.
I think Tennant would be the same. He much like Hamill is best known for playing a sci fi hero to millions of people, he is also known for playing romantic characters like Ledger was, such as Casanova and he is conventional leading man like Romero.
People have this image of him as this romantic dashing hero due to roles like the Doctor and Casanova so it would brilliant to flip that on its head. At first I think a lot of people, particularly children who look up to him as the Doctor would actually be quite horrified to see the 10th Doctor doing things like this
To me this would be like when Henry Fonda showed up as the child murdering sociopath Frank in Once Upon A Time in the West.
It would be sensational and completely unexpected in my opinion. Okay Tennant has already played the Purple Man, but still its fair to say he is best remembered in most people’s minds as the Doctor.
Hopefully as you can see from my arguments Tennant would be a brilliant choice for the villain.
He looks the part, he can play villains, particularly cackling, insecure psycho’s fabulously, and he as the Joker would be completely unexpected like Ledger and Hamill to people.
I really want to see Tennant as the Joker in a live action adaptation of The Killing Joke.
Obviously Mark Hamill is still my top choice for an animated version. Remember I was the one who started up the petition in 2012 see here
Petition to Get Mark Hamill To Play The Joker In Animated Killing Joke
It was such fun setting up that petition (which Hamill himself endorsed. That was the best bit!) Of course this petition is now redundant as Hamill it has been announced will be reprising his role in an animated killing joke after all.
Still I would like to see Tennant play the role in a live action series and the episode that explores the Joker’s origin would be a live action adaptation of The Killing Joke.
I can see Tennant being great at playing both the tormented, angst ridden pre accident Joker and actually being able to inject a lot of sympathy into the character and then being able to capture the demented, chaotic evil of the Joker perfectly. I think it could very well be his best performance and it would be a shame not take advantage of it.
A lot of fans online have said that they want him as the Riddler. Personally I don’t like this idea at all. I think Tennant would be miscast as the Riddler because the Riddler to me needs to be more pompous and intellectual.
I don’t like it when the Riddler is a cackling psychopath. Frank Gorshin whose performance was played for laughs aside. I wasn’t for example fond of Jim Carrrey’s Riddler in Batman Forever. I think that the Riddler is just a third rate Joker when you do that.
To me the Riddler works better when he is portrayed more like Jon Glover’s portrayal in Batman the Animated Series. A petty, pompous, egotistical little man who is desperate to prove his intellectual superiority to everyone around him. Its not like the Joker’s desire to prove he is the best criminal, as I don’t view the Riddler as being an utter psychopath. More someone whose neurosis drive him down a dark path. I’d rather someone like say Julian Barrett best known as Howard Moon in The Mighty Boosh play the Riddler. I can imagine him being pompous and then getting angry in more of a petty way at being defeated by Batman as opposed to a crazy burning people with acid way like the Joker.
If Tennant were cast as the character I have a feeling that he would be zany and over the top. I am not saying that is all he can do, but I think that’s probably how they would make him play it, as that sadly is what the Riddler is known as due to Frank Gorshin and Jim Carrey’s performances. Also I think that’s why a lot of fans want him too and again personally I don’t like that take on the Riddler. I’d rather Tennant played the Joker than the third rate Joker which is what this Riddler would be.
That just doesn’t look as good as him as the Joker.
Also I don’t think Tennant as the Riddler would be shocking like him as the Joker. The Riddler isn’t that evil compared to other supervillains. He doesn’t even kill people in the comics. Really he is just someone who likes playing games with Batman. It wouldn’t be like “oh my god the Tenth Doctor is a villain” in quite the same way as it would if we saw Tennant smashing a young boys skull in with a crowbar!
I’d much rather Tennant play the Joker and hopefully after reading this you may agree with me.
Thanks for reading.
You have my vote, the idea is brilliant.
Burrunjor–You make a good case here. I’d throw in Tennant’s Hamlet as another piece of evidence that he can bring depth and surprises to a well-worn role. And you’re right about the Joker being a much stronger choice for casting than the Riddler. Thanks for an interesting article–as usual!