The Suicide Squad director James Gunn has revealed his favorite performance of the Joker, and it looks like it’s a tie between two fan favorites. Though Jared Leto portrayed a controversial take on the Clown Prince of Crime in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad in 2016, Gunn seems to prefer the men who played Joker on the big screen before and after Leto. While answering questions from fans with his Instagram stories this week, Gunn was directly asked who his favorite Joker actor is, and the filmmaker had this to say in response.
It’s no surprise to see Gunn name Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix as his personal favorite Jokers. Ledger very well may be the most popular Joker of all, with his iconic performance in the Christopher Nolan movie The Dark Knight highly revered by fans and critics alike. His unique look and creepy way he portrayed the character made Ledger’s joker forever unforgettable. Though Ledger tragically passed away before the movie was released, he was later honored at the Academy Awards when he posthumously received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker.
Meanwhile, it should go without saying that the recent portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in last year’s Joker by Phoenix is tremendously popular as well. In part due to the unique portrayal of the Joker by Phoenix, the movie was a tremendous hit with critics and filmgoers, pulling in over a billion dollars at the box office in worldwide ticket sales. Like Ledger, Phoenix also won an Oscar for the role despite facing steep competition from other great performances. Also winning at the SAG Awards, Phoenix took some time to remember Ledger in his acceptance speech at the event, referring to the Dark Knight star as his “favorite actor” in a truly touching moment.
Of course, Gunn’s answer also leaves out Jack Nicholson, who famously played the role in Tim Burton’s Batman movie in 1989. As great as the other Joker performances might have been, Nicholson remains the king for many Batman fans as the best Joker of all time. Going back a bit further, the same can also be said for Cesar Romero, who played the Joker in the ’60s Batman cartoon series and feature film adaptation opposite Adam West as Bruce Wayne. The point is, everyone has their favorites, and each of the Joker actors have their fans who see their performances as their favorite portrayals.
Margot Robbie will return as Harley Quinn in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, but Leto won’t be in the movie as the Joker. Barring the rumored Joker sequel, there’s also no indication of the character showing up in The Batman or any other upcoming movies at this point in time either. It will be interesting to see who winds up playing the role next, but given the popularity of the Joker, it’s inevitable that it will happen. This news comes to us from James Gunn on Instagram.