Much like his arch-nemesis, the Joker can be constantly reinvented and updated onscreen because there are so many ways to interpret the iconic comic book villain. While the Clown Prince of Crime is usually intrinsically linked to Batman as opposite sides of the same coin, the recent billion-dollar success and subsequent awards season glory that greeted Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Arthur Fleck in Joker has shown that the face-painted bad guy can thrive on his own.
There have been plenty of different actors that have put their own mark on the Joker with varying degrees of success spanning decades of movies, TV shows and animated features, although the debate about who did it best has arguably been narrowed down to Heath Ledger’s tour-de-force in The Dark Knight, Mark Hamill’s fan-favorite voice role in the animated series and now Joaquin Phoenix’s Academy Award-winning performance in Todd Phillips’ origin story.
In fact, with the 45 year-old’s Best Actor win following Ledger’s posthumous victory in the Supporting Actor category, it marked only the second time in history that two different actors have won Oscars for playing the same character, following in the illustrious footsteps of Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, who both picked up gongs for playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather and its sequel.
Now, an incredible new fan poster created by Twitter user @_aquemini has gone viral for paying tribute to every actor to have played the Joker in live-action, from Cesar Romero in the camp classic 1960s TV series all the way to Cameron Monaghan’s Valeska twins from Gotham and Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, which you can see below:
Not only does it highlight the six men to have played the Clown Prince of Crime onscreen, but it also manages to distinguish how they all took different approaches to the character. Not all of these actors managed to knock it out of the park, but at least they all managed to put their own unique spin on such a well-known and established character as a maniac, comedian, psychopath, anarchist, gangster and clown respectively, which just goes to show how open to interpretation someone like the Joker is, entirely dependent on who is cast in the role.