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10 people who could play the Joker if Leonardo DiCaprio says no
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008) - photo by Travis Poppleton
GOTHAM What is it about the Joker?

The legendary Batman foe has been making comic books, video games, television and feature films more interesting since the 1940s, and almost 70 years later were still talking about him.

In fact, just recently Warner Brothers and DC announced writer Scott Silver (8 Mile) will be penning a Joker origin movie set to be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and produced by none other than Martin Scorsese (The Departed).

Who will play the clowned prince of crime you ask?

According to Variety, and a few other sources, Leonardo DiCaprio is the first name on a probably very short list of actors. This shouldnt surprise anyone considering Scorseses involvement, but its still too early to know if DiCaprio would want to portray a character already defined by heavyweights like Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger.

If he says no, well there is still good news for WB and DC. As it turns out, John Clyde and I have been casually texting back and forth about who we think could step in should DiCaprio reject the project.

Were fairly confident at least one of the following actors will be a great replacement. Here's our list of 10 actors who could play the Joker should DiCaprio say no.

John Clydes List

Evan Peters

John: This may seem like an odd choice, but I really like Peters. You will likely recognize him as Quicksilver in the last couple of X-Men movies, but the kid has a solid resume. His sense of humor and comic timing are solid and thats something that is vital to playing the Joker. Not only does his humor match, but you can just tell Peters has a maniac just waiting under the surface waiting to get out and cause some chaos.

Travis: I didnt originally like Johns first pick, but the more I think about it, the more I believe a script currently being written with DiCaprio in mind would translate well to Peters. Im not saying Peters is a younger DiCaprio or anything like that, only when I imagine DiCaprios interpretation of the Joker, its not all that different from how I imagine Peters approaching it. Ill give John this one.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson

John: Yes, I may have picked both of the recent on-screen Quicksilvers, but I dont care. Aaron Taylor-Johnson has made some bad movies, but who hasnt? Taylor-Johnson was nothing short of phenomenal in Nocturnal Animals, and there is just something about him that feels just a touch off-center and unnerving that would make him a fantastic choice for Joker.

Travis: You go too far, Mr. Clyde. I dont know if its the Kick-Ass connection or if you just want to see a Quicksilver from Marvel play one of DCs most famous villains, but I reject at least one of your Quicksilvers. Of the two of them, I like Peters better, so Taylor-Johnson is fired by process of elimination.

Charlie Heaton

John: So Charlie Heaton is not a household name and he has the least amount of experience of anyone on the list, but what does that matter? Heaton played Jonathan Byers on Stranger Things, and the odd loner he portrayed had a vulnerability and accessibility that drew you in and sympathize with him even though he still made you uncomfortable. Based on that alone I believe Phillips and a solid script could get a fantastic performance as the Joker out of Heaton.

Travis: I dont have a lot to go on concerning Heaton. I really liked him in Stranger Things and he has a look that could work for a younger, up-and-coming villain, but I dont feel like his take on Jonathan Byers was enough for me to comment on regarding such a demanding role. I imagine John has had the chance to see more of Heatons resume than I have, so Ill just go with it. If Clyde says hes a ringer, Ill put my faith in his faith.

Bill Skarsgrd

John: So I am going on faith here, but Skarsgard comes from an acting family and he landed the coveted role of Pennywise the clown, and if there is any truth to the reviews hes gaining now, there is no reason he couldnt be the clowned prince of crime. This is a blind pick for me, but Im confident in it none the less.

Travis: John and I both kind of cheated with our picks by making the obvious connection between Pennywise and Gothams agent of chaos. To be honest, were Tim Curry 30 years younger, hed be on my list as well. That said, Ill be playing the same card I did with Heaton. Im not familiar enough with Skarsgard to really comment one way or another, and John and I wont be seeing It until Wednesday night, at which point Ill know better if I agree with the Skarsgard-for-Joker campaign.

Ben Foster

John: So Ben Foster is an incredibly talented actor that doesnt really get the credit he deserves. If you dont recognize his name, just know hes that crazy guy you saw in that one movie. Thats what Foster does. The man plays crazy better than just about anyone, ever. Some examples include, Hell or High Water, Hostage, 3:10 to Yuma and Alpha Dog to name a few. I honestly believe Foster is one of the most talented actors working today and I believe he could stand there with the likes of Nicholson and Ledger when it comes to The Joker.

Travis: Unlike lists past, I have to say I dont hate any of Johns picks. Yes, we have to drop at least one Quicksilver, but at the end of the day, I see why Mr. Clyde would consider Taylor-Johnson and I even get why hed go with someone like Foster. Hes probably the least obvious pick physically, and would probably get the Ben Affleck-Batman fan reaction were he to be announced, but on a whole, Im going to give John a tip-of-the-hat on a list well considered.

Travis Poppletons list

Ansel Elgort

Travis: I am not the biggest Ansel Elgort fan. In fact, even though I really liked The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver, I think Elgort has a tendency to pose when he should be acting.

So, in some ways, I think the Joker can help Elgort out more than Elgort is the perfect fit to play the Joker. Theres a role in Elgorts future thats going to push him passed pretty-face status and this could be exactly the project to make that happen. If it is, then the Joker origin movie would be one of those examples where both the movie and the lead actor are better off for each other.

John: So, I really liked Baby Driver. Like, really liked. More than a friend even, but it wasnt because of Elgort. He didnt make the movie worse, but I also dont think he did anything special. I dont dislike the guy, probably a cool dude and hes making a fine career for himself, but Im not sold on this pick. Sorry, not sorry.

Nicholas Hoult

Travis: I agree with most movie fans who say Hoults take on Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road was a bit much. But, in all fairness, was there anything about Fury Road that wasnt a bit much? Could his performance there be just as much George Miller as it was Hoult?

If Hoult can find that balance between vaudevillian crazy and the soft-spoken nerd hes usually playing, I think theres a Joker in there somewhere.

John: Apparently Travis and I both like picking superheroes from the X-Men universe. Personally, Im a fan of this pick. I really like Hoult and I think hes an incredibly versatile actor who would bring a unique perspective to such an iconic character.

Alfie Allen

Travis: I know, if Im doing a Game of Thrones cast member its supposed to be Iwan Rheon. Its been said before and it will be said again.

However, Rheons take on Ramsay Bolton already felt like a 14-episode audition for the Joker, and I dont need to see any more of it. Alfie Allen, on the other hand, didn't play his crazy card and was still able to pull off the most extreme character arc of the GoT series. Hes got the physical features and the potential range for the DC character.

John: I know this will ruin some of my street cred, but here it goes. Ive never seen one episode of Game of Thrones. With that said I cant say too much about Allen. I did see John Wick, which I really liked, but Allen was not the standout to me. I think he has the look and reminds me of my Charlie Heaton pick. I can get on board with this one.

Will Poulter

Travis: Had Will Poulter not been attached to It, he probably wouldve flown under my radar. But the leap from one crazy clown to another seems pretty obvious, and now that hes choosing projects like Detroit, hes beginning to become a more credible candidate much more so than when Narnia and We're the Millers were the best things on his resume.

John: Whenever Travis and I do these lists together one of usually texts immediately to call dibs on one specific actor and the other person is left cursing his phone for not texting first. That pick this time was Will Poulter. I have been a huge Poulter fan ever since I saw him in Son of Rambow as a 14-year-old kid and Ive been watching him ever since. Poulter was originally cast as Pennywise in It before Skarsgard, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. This would be a solid makeup. This may be my favorite pick on the list.

Ferdia Walsh-peelo

Travis: Yes, yes I did just choose Walsh-peelo because I like Sing Street. And, maybe because he wore makeup and played an outcast. But mostly because I like "Sing Street."

John: I also like Sing Street, but I'm not sure that means he should be Joker, but then I also thought Ledger was a terrible choice to begin with, so Ive obviously been wrong before.
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