5 Actors We Want to See Play the Joker in 'Batman Vs. Superman'

From Peter Sarsgaard to Aaron Paul, we count down the guys who should go up against Superman and Batman in this anticipated sequel.
As the rumor mill for Man of Steel 2 continues to move along, Warner Bros. will no doubt be dropping casting hints and story points in their usual piecemeal fashion. Rather than wait for them to lead with the story, we're taking it upon ourselves to make them follow our lead!

Despite how mum the studio might be right now over what is happening regarding this project, there are no doubt things happening behind the scenes. Agents are calling studios, production people are examining costs, and there are definitely actors who have no idea they are being talked about for potential roles that could change their careers.

How often do we hear stories about two actors being up for the same role only to lose that role to another actor with more weight? Rumor has it that was exactly the case for Steve Martin and Robin Williams when Tim Burton cast the Joker in 1989's Batman. Here, they probably thought they had it locked...Then Jack Nicholson came in and it was a whole other ballgame.

And speaking of the iconic Joker character, who first appeared in the Batman #1 comic in 1940, we've decided that whether he is the villain in the next film or not, we've got some ideas about who should play this white faced, red lipped, green haired maniac.

1 Peter Sarsgaard


Peter Sarsgaard
As he displayed in films like Boys Don't Cry and An Education, this guy knows his way in front of a movie camera. Equally evident as the baddie Hector Hammond in Green Lantern, Sarsgaard could do a lot more with a role like this if he was given a lot more to do. And lets just say that the world that Batman inhabits is a bit different than that of Green Lantern.

Just imagine what Sarsgaard could do with this role? Imagine that face caked in white make-up and his mouth slammed with cheery red lipstick? Then add to that eyes that seem to linger but actually bely the machinations of pure evil. I am thinking that his take on this role would be quite different than that of even the late Heath Ledger.

Peter Sarsgaard would give us a more cerebral Joker. One that maybe doesn't talk as much, which would make his every utterance, his every action, one to watch.

And fear.


2 Aaron Paul


Aaron Paul
As the character of Jesse Pinkman in AMC's Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul showed the ability to straddle the worlds of moral bankruptcy and potential fatherhood. Given impossible tasks by his boss Walter White (Bryan Cranston), we saw Paul take this seemingly one dimensional burn out and make him the one character we could root for; most of the time.

Translate that ability to the Joker and Paul might be the best suited actor on this list. In his mid-thirties, this actor is neither too young nor is he too old to make this character work for him. Physically, he wouldn't need to do much because it isn't like The Joker needs to be on steroids. Rather, Paul's stature could work for him the way that Kurtwood Smith made the Clarence Boddicker character so robust in 1987's Robocop; words followed by actions would certainly rule the day here.

Paul could play this role as a man behind the scenes, pulling the strings, and somehow getting away with the impossible because his criminal mind is so far ahead of everyone else's. This isn't to say that we wouldn't see the Joker at work; hardly. Rather, we would see what Paul was willing to reveal. Peeling the character back layer by layer until we have to shield our eyes to what he's exposed us to.


3 Alexander Koch


Alexander Koch
We already touted this actor for the Joker role in our story on the "5 Things That Must Happen In Man of Steel 2". To read that: Click Here!

We talked about how in his role as Junior Rennie in Under the Dome he already has displayed an excellent pedigree to play this homicidal maniac. However, Alexander Koch also brings the intangibility of youth. He is a fresh faced actor who is obviously younger than a lot of the talent mentioned in this story, but there is also a mystique about him.

Who is he?

This question could very well be answered in a much more interesting way by placing him in this role. Let us not forget that it won't just be Superman going after this sociopath, it will be Batman as well. Batman will bring a familiarity to this pursuit because he's dealt with the Joker before. They have a history that could be exploited...Or not.

Considering Koch's age we could maybe go back a bit and also make Man of Steel 2 an origin story for this character? Lord knows, we don't need to see how Superman and Batman became how they are. Did the Joker really get his start as a failed comedian who fell into a life of crime? Is he the product of an abusive family life? Did he really fall into a vat of chemicals? Did he have it all and just decided that he'd rather kill than be killed?

Whatever the case...When the short list of actors is bandied about for this coveted part, it would be crime not to at least have Alexander Koch's name somewhere near the top 5.


4 Glenn Howertown


Glenn Howertown
All really good comedians seem to function from a place of darkness. There is something about that darkness that informs their comedy and it makes what they do have an immediacy to it. It is almost as if the comic has to be funny or else he'll be something unimaginable.

If that doesn't sound like the perfect mix to bring to the portrayal of The Joker then we don't know what does. In the role of Dennis Reynolds in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Glenn Howerton has shown an ability to separate himself amidst the frenetic comic firestorm that dominates the show. This is no small feat considering that some of his cast mates could also be up for the green haired man of mischief. (Let us not forget that Danny DeVito also played The Penguin in Batman Returns so there is a bit a synergy with this project already.)

In watching Howerton on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it isn't hard at all to imagine him in the joker costume. However, one imagines he might go more understated with the role. There would be no need to be zany even though he could be internally imploding in every scene he's in. In fact, maybe Man of Steel 2 could open in Arkham Asylum? Batman needs to question the Joker about capturing another lunatic and it is here that we come to learn more about this character.

There's a lot that many actors could do with a part like this, however, it is actors like Howerton that can add dimensions that make comparisons to previous portrayals not even necessary.


5 Leonardo DiCaprio


Leonardo DiCaprio
Okay, we get it, Leonardo DiCaprio loves the films of the 1970s. However, in trying to save the world with such movies as Revolutionary Road, Body of Lies and the Blood Diamond, the actor has gotten, how should we say...Too serious?

Make no mistake about about it, the above listed titles were all good, solid films, but one just needs to watch Inception or J. Edgar and it's apparent that Leo isn't enjoying himself on screen as much as he used to. And yes, Inception is a great movie!

However, there was a huge ray of hope in his performance as Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino's audacious Django Unchained. In this role, he showed that he could be just as bad as any character that exists in the world of superheroes. However, this was a Tarantino film so by proxy, in a lot of ways, it already has the trappings of a superhero flick.

Imagine DiCaprio being allowed to chew scenery as one of the most iconic villains to ever grace the silver screen? Calvin Candie was a nobody compared to the Joker, and DiCaprio made him unforgettable. With Leo as the man with the green follicles one imagines that he might break new ground and bring this character to even more unchartered territory.

And as for the actor who shouldn't play the Joker...


6 John Leguizamo


John Leguizamo
Apparently, on some TV show or some place, John Leguizamo expressed an interest in playing this character. This makes sense, what actor wouldn't want to try and tackle a role like the Joker? However, Leguizamo isn't the guy.

Make no mistake, this guy can act. From Casualties of War to Hangin' With The Homeboys to Carlito's Way to Land of the Dead, this actor has proven nothing if not versatile. The problem is that it feels like Leguizamo has been in everything. No matter what movie you watch, Leguizamo always seems to show up!

This is precisely what Man of Steel 2 doesn't need.

The Joker works best when there is a sense of mysteriousness about him. When he isn't over the top... but real. Therein lies the genius of the lucky actor who lands this role'. How do you play an over the top character in a way that isn't overt?

Leguizamo is a fine actor... he just reveals too much. He doesn't become the roles he plays so much as he's impressing people by his ability to play the role. In a DC universe of unknowns, the actor playing the Joker needs to be specific.

John Leguizamo is many things... just not that.


What do you think? Is this list off base or right on the money? Should we quit our day jobs and cast films for the studios? Or quit show business all together?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25th, 2016 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.


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Comments (79)

  1. Kyle Delcambre

    I love the idea of Glenn Howerton tho

    4 months agoby @Kyle-DelcambreFlag

  2. Kyle Delcambre

    Rainn Wilson or James Franco

    4 months agoby @Kyle-DelcambreFlag

  3. Tresix

    Ian Somerhalder from "The Vampire Diaries" would make an excellent Joker as well.

    4 months agoby @TresixFlag

  4. CelluloidDreams

    I can see Crispin Glover in the role!.

    6 months agoby @2movieguysFlag

  5. Rameshwer Karingala

    Frankly, a weak list but I'd go for Leo as the Joker.
    John Leguizamo is a better fit for Victor Zsasz though.

    6 months agoby @Rameshwer-KaringalaFlag

  6. Chaz Coats-Butcher

    Willem Dafoe! The end.

    6 months agoby @Chaz-Coats-ButcherFlag

  7. One-Man Arsenal

    Brad Dourif who is best known for playing the voice of chucky and Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as well as other creepy roles in films. He was even in an episode of The X-Files. In my opinion he would be the greatest joker ever. And even though he's old he still looks like he can still pull it off.

    8 months agoby @One-Man-ArsenalFlag

  8. Tresix

    Actually, the only person on this list that I would pick is Leguizamo. Aaron Paul and DiCaprio should NOT be here at all.

    9 months agoby @TresixFlag

  9. sylvia

    Sorry, u are all soooo wrong! The only man that can pull off joker is the one and only Charlie Hunnam , because he resembles a lot like Heath and the guy is an up and coming actor. Movieweb, u have it all wrong . Charlie should be the next joker and bring in Harle quinn with him in the movie. Enough said , Hollywood and Dc batman producers, wake up and hire this man

    11 months agoby @sylvia-88511304Flag

  10. Eddie BoBetty

    "He doesn't become the roles he plays so much as he's impressing people by his ability to play the role."

    Actually, now that I think of it, that's a very Joker-esque attitude. Joker is an attention craving lunatic who always wants to steal the show and impress people in all the wrong ways. I'm not saying I like the idea of Leguizamo playing Joker, (in fact I hate it), but as far as approach to the character should go, I want to see a narcissistic Joker like that. Not that Heath wasn't narcissistic or did a bad job, I loved him, but I'm tired of people wanting every Joker to be like his. I want to see a Joker like Mark Hamill's on the big screen (other than Nicholson), a Joker who's so immature and insanely unpredictable that he is more dangerous than anyone in the room.

    Or maybe I'm just an idiot with an opinion.

    11 months agoby @Eddie-BoBettyFlag

  11. Frankie Addiego

    I don't want the Joker to be in the Superman/Batman movie. While Lex Luthor works because he's essentially an evil Bruce Wayne, the Joker can only do so much to hurt Superman. Same with most of Batman's rogues galleries.

    Since Superman movies are fewer and further between, I want to see more of his rogues gallery. Forget Luthor and definitely forget Joker. I'd like to see Metallo: y'know, Kryptonite-powered cyborg. They could easily have General Swanwick be responsible for his creation (as Luthor was in the mid-'80s comic reboot) or maybe Parasite.

    Part of Superman's appeal is that his adventures can be on a galactic scale one month and have some urban crime drama the next. But that doesn't mean that a Superman movie doesn't demand a larger-than-life villain.

    11 months agoby @Frankie-AddiegoFlag

  12. the-wolverine

    Why do people give the old Batman movies so much cred? The first two were decent but still nothing compared to Nolan's Trilogy.
    Honestly, I'd rather see a Batman stand-alone movie with Hush or a 'Nolan'ised Mr. Freeze.
    Otherwise Batman vs. Superman would have to be an absolute masterpiece to pull off a villain that could rival the World's Finest and have a story that is more than just a bit of action. Make the action awesome but limit it and talk volumes about morals, identity and order.

    11 months agoby @the-wolverineFlag

  13. the-wolverine

    no one is gonna be able to even match Ledger but if they do go with the Joker I think Simon Baker could do the character "justice" ...
    or would he be better as another Batman villain

    11 months agoby @the-wolverineFlag

  14. Selina Marie Hope

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be perfect not only does he look like Ledger he is an amzing actor. If he was supposed to be Robin at the end of Batman he could be the Robin that went crazy and became the Joker and Harleen Quinzels true love! Also Juno Temple as Harley would be amazing as she appeared as the "best friend" of Catwoman big hint there to. But it is my opinion and I really cannot see any of the above names except maybe Leo as the Joker. Ledger left behind a legacy that maybe noone will ever be able to fill!

    11 months agoby @Selina-Marie-HopeFlag

  15. Carl Billadeau

    Michael Keaton. The irony would be he played batman, and just look at how well he did Beetlejuice. It's a win win.

    12 months agoby @Carl-BilladeauFlag

  16. A-Clockwork-Orange

    Hugo Weaving?

    12 months agoby @A-Clockwork-OrangeFlag

  17. Jordan Herkowski

    Hush, Here's a better idea, use a villain that hasn't had the live action treatment already.

    12 months agoby @Jordan-HerkowskiFlag

  18. Blake Salsgiver

    Peter or Aron I could see. But Leo. If he gets in this movie I wont go see it. When are people going to learn. HE CANT ACT!!!!!!! Period! Now we all know the best man for the Joker is Tom Brady. Even though he played Bane. You never saw his face. Tom would be perfect for this role!!

    12 months agoby @Blake-SalsgiverFlag

  19. Me

    How about GARY BUSEY!!! HE'S PERFECT FOR THAT!

    12 months agoby @Me-33373491Flag

  20. REALTRUTH

    HOW ABOUT CRISPIN GLOVER AS A YOUNGER TYPE JOKER OR DANIEL DAY LEWIS AS A OLDER MORE RUTHLESS LOOKING JOKER, NONE OF THE FIVE LISTED COULD PULL IT OFF WITH AN ACCEPTION OF JOHN LEGUIZAMO BUT EVEN HE IS A FARE CRY FROM HEATH LEDGER WHO GAVE PROBABLY THE BEST PERFORMANCE AS THE JOKER THAT HAS BEEN IN MOVIES IN A LONG TIME, THATS NOT SAYING THAT OL JACKIE BOY COULDN'T PULL IT OFF AGAIN, BUT DIFFERENT STYLE OF MOVIE... AS FOR BRUCE WAYNE IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE MR. BALE RETURN ONE MORE TIME, JUST AS LONG AS THEY DON'T GET VAL KILMER...LOL.

    1 year agoby @REALTRUTHFlag

  21. Richard Lake

    I like the idea of Adrien Brody as The Joker.

    1 year agoby @Richard-LakeFlag

  22. SuperTEC

    Tomasz Gawronski wants to be in this movie.

    1 year agoby @SuperTECFlag

  23. Edward Walk

    Yes grant it John Leguizamo is one of those actors that pops up every so often in movies but his role in spawn as the violator i could see him pulling off the joker.

    1 year agoby @Edward-WalkFlag

  24. Anthony Lewis

    The only person who can truly play the Joker both in body and mind is...Crispin Glover

    1 year agoby @Anthony-Lewis-46046589Flag

  25. Josh

    Hey everybody, the guy who loved Pirates 4 and The Lone Ranger was "unimpressed" with Nolan's Batman movies.

    Give me a break.

    1 year agoby @shuabertFlag

  26. Josh

    Never heard of Alexander Koch, but the rest of this list is pretty interesting. I'm skeptical about DiCaprio -- because he's a distractingly big name -- and Howerton -- because he's too distractingly Dennis Reynolds --, but they're pretty good choices all around. Another I would add would be Adam Scott. He's proven he can do comedy and serious roles, and I think he has the perfect sense of sinister mania that simmers just below the surface. I could definitely see him in that kind of sociopathic role.

    1 year agoby @shuabertFlag

  27. Sean

    @CoreyB My only favorite villain from the Nolan/Batman movies was scarecrow.

    1 year agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  28. CoreyB

    @themoviefanatic Its good to have ur own opinions...hell I even enjoy Schumakers Batman films lol even tho every1 thinks theyre trash, but theres no denying what Nolan accomplished was something special. Critics and fans across the world praised it (trilogy.) IMO i'd say its one of the top trilogies ever in movie history w/the original Star Wars and The Godfathers. TLOTRings were great too. It will be tough to make a better Batman than what Nolan and Bale gave us...imo of course. Ya never know someone could one day...I just see it as a tough hill to climb! I have to disagree w/u...THe villains in those films were prob the best part to me. Hardy was great just recently...we all know Heath Ledger and what he pulled off and even Cillian Murphy gave a good performance. Liam Neeson was solid as well. I do love the Batman talk tho! Love to see it.

    1 year agoby @CoreyBFlag

  29. Raghu Seetharaman

    I would love to see Sharlto Copley as The Joker. His performance in Elysium was so intense, psychotic, ruthless, unpredictable etc.

    1 year agoby @Raghu-SeetharamanFlag

  30. CelluloidDreams

    I can see Alexander Koch from "The Dome" do it!!

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag