THE ANIMATED SERIES — GeekTyrant

Mark Hamilton taking on the role of The Joker Batman: The Animated Series was inspired casting. He was so great in that role and he gave us a very different and unique version of the villain that the fans loved. In a recent report from Vulture, we learn the story of how Hamill got that role.

When they auditioned actors for the part, Bruce Tim explained that everyone who came in to read was basically doing the Cesar Romero version of the character from the original 1960s Batman series. He explained that no one was taking the character seriously. Even Tim Curry came in to audition and even originally got the part!

Timm said: “All the actors we tested all did these crazy and bizarre voices. None of them posed a serious threat. Tim Curry actually came in and gave us something very close to what we wanted. It was funny and weird, but also definitely had a threat to it. So we hired Tim. He did about three episodes for us. And then Alan Burnett came to me after we did the third, and we listened to the collected songs, and he said, ‘I think we should replace Tim.’”

Voice director Andrew Romano said Timm “just couldn’t wrap his head around Tim’s performance.” And the truth is I would never have recast Tim. She didn’t want to replace Tim because he had already taped several episodes and she didn’t feel like re-recording them. She explains, “It’s not that Tim did anything bad, it just wasn’t quite what we wanted.”

Romano eventually got a call from Hamill’s agent telling her that he was a huge fan of comic books and Batman and wanted to be involved in the series in some way.

Hamill shared his thoughts on that, saying, “I wanted to be active on this show because I read about the people who put them together in key positions. I followed the comic book fan press. I read in, I think, Comics Buyer’s Guide that it their goal was to make the Batman episodes analogous to the ’40s Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. That was their measure of quality. I thought oh my god they’re going to do this really well. It’s not going to be targeted on grade school kids, like some earlier iterations of the Batman cartoons.

So Romano brought in Hamill for a guest spot. He provided the voice of a business magnate responsible for the death of Mr. Freeze’s wife. He had not yet been cast as Joker. Hamill said of the experience: “I went in and just waved my nerd flag. I asked them all these questions, ‘Are you going to do Ra’s al Ghul? Do you go Dr. Hugo Strange?’”

Romano said: “He was very grateful, and at the end of the session he took me aside and said, ‘I had so much fun doing this, and thank you so much for bringing me in. But I really want to to be part of the series. I don’t want to just come in and guest star and disappear.” And then, coincidentally, here comes the need to recast the Joker.

Not long after, Hamill got the call to audition for The Joker, but it’s a role he initially didn’t want due to the big shoes he would have to fill. He looked back on that and said, “I got a call saying, ‘They want you to come in and audition for the Joker.’ And I said, “Oh, God, that’s a little too flashy for my taste. Not only has it been done with Cesar Romero, but it’s been done with Jack Nicholson. What can I bring to the table that hasn’t been done before?” ‘ I said, “I’d rather play Two-Face or Clayface or someone who isn’t ready yet.” The reason I went in was because I was absolutely sure they couldn’t cast me as the Joker simply because, public relations, the idea of ​​the man who played Luke Skywalker – this icon of heroism, this virtuous character – playing this icon of villains? Comic book fans are notoriously demanding. They are very stubborn and not shy about letting you know how they feel. I thought it was going to be a PR disaster that they wouldn’t be able to resist. gave me a lot of confidence, because I thought there was no chance of me getting the part, so I removed that fear of failure.

He has clearly won over everyone! Paul Dini said, “I remember listening to his audition, and when he laughed, I said, ‘That’s it. That’s just it.’ The laughter was cruel, it was funny, there was an undercurrent of terrible sadness. It was a laugh from a destroyed soul.”

I love that description of the Joker’s laugh. Discussing how that nightmarish laugh came about, Hamill explained, “I had played Mozart in Amadeus on the first national tour, and then they transferred me to Broadway, and one of the things relevant to my audition [for the Joker] is that Mozart had such a horrible laugh that upset everyone. I played with that smile a lot. I’d do a little Dwight Frye, I’d do a little Sydney Greenstreet. I love all those old Warner Bros. movies, so I was just reeling people in. Sometimes I got notes like, “It was a little too ‘Jerry Lewis at the matinee.’ Roll it back.’ I’m telling you this because afterwards, after I got the part, I asked Andrea Romano, ‘How did I get it? What was the process? How did you know you wanted me?’ And she said, “The smile.” I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into a specific laugh. With the Joker, I said, this is like an artist with a really big palette. I want a range of laughter. One thing that stuck with me was when Frank Gorshin talked about the Riddler [whom Gorshin played in the 1960s series], I read about him and he said, ‘Often it’s not that the Riddler laughs, it’s what he laughs at.’ I said, Oh, that’s interesting. If I can find places to open a little window into this psychopath’s psyche, I’m going to use that.”

Kevin Konroy went on to talk about Hamill’s Joker saying “Luke Skywalker is the nice young lead, and usually in movies that’s probably the least interesting character in a movie. Well, Mark Hamill couldn’t be further from that. This nut came in the recording studio and he was totally eccentric and he goes a million miles an hour he talks a million miles an hour his imagination never jumps from subject to subject he is a very intellectually alive person and if you ask Mark about a subject you can’t shut him up for an hour.

Bruce Timm added: “It was like Hallelujah! Who would have thought that Luke Skywalker would be our perfect Joker?”

To read how Batman: The Animated Series came together, click here. Click here to read how Kevin Conroy was cast as Batman.

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