Outside of playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, The Joker is perhaps the character that Mark Hamill is best known for. After voicing the villain to much critical acclaim in Batman: The Animated Series, he’s reprised the role on almost countless occasions, including in the popular Arkham video games and many, many animated efforts from DC.
In fact, some even consider his version of the Clown Prince of Crime to be the definitive one, and while we still think Heath Ledger holds that title, we fully admit that Hamill’s portrayal of the iconic character is downright fantastic and it’s always a treat to hear him bring Mr. J to life. In fact, it’s become quite difficult to imagine anyone else doing the voice of the Joker right now, but as you surely know, the actor wasn’t always the first choice for the role.
It was Tim Curry who DC originally wanted for the part, and the It star even recorded several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series as the villain before the company decided that his Joker was too scary, thus the decision was made to cast Hamill instead. Or at least, that’s what the official story is. According to Curry though, there’s another reason that he was replaced.
Screen Geek caught up with the actor during Fan Expo this weekend and asked him about his stint as the Clown Prince of Crime. According to him, he was fired for a very simple reason – illness.
“I did play Joker for a while, but I had bronchitis and they fired me … and hired Mark Hamill. That’s life,” said Curry.
This is certainly surprising to hear, as like we mentioned above, we’d previously been told that the reason for his firing was because the actor was too scary as Mr. J. In all likelihood, there were probably a number of things that led to Curry being replaced, his bronchitis being one of them. And though he surely would have done a fantastic job in the role, it’s not like fans lost out, as we ended up getting Hamill instead.
Still, we’ll always wonder how things would have turned out had Tim Curry remained on board Batman: The Animated Series.
Source: Screen Geek