The thing about superhero visual media is that there have been so many retellings of certain stories in the original comics that the TV and movie studios can create multiple versions of one character. In the example of Warner Bros. and DC Comics, there are different takes on Batman villain Raz al-Ghul in The CW’s “Arrow” and Fox TV’s “Gotham”. Next on the duplicate list is the Dark knight’s nemesis Joker. Aside from the DCEU version played by Jared Leto, a new “Joker” movie has Joaquin Phoenix in the role. And he will be joined by another duplicate character soon.
As Variety tells it, actor Alec Baldwin has been tapped by Warner Bros. for their non-Extended Universe DC film “Joker”, about the Clown Prince of Crime. He will be taking the role of Thomas Wayne, Gotham City doctor, philanthropist and (of course) father of Bruce Wayne, whose murder alongside his wife inspired their son to become Batman. Word of the casting was revealed by an undisclosed source that has not been cleared to publicly speak about it until Warner-DC does. Still, alleged plot details from a preliminary “Joker” script apparently hints that Baldwin’s casting is connected to a recent role.
Since the start of the Presidency of Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin has been closely identified with his satirical lampooning of the bombastic business mogul turned statesman on “Saturday Night Live”. The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie script, co-written by Todd Phillips of “The Hangover”, gives an altered portrayal of the dignified and compassionate Dr. Wayne, making him come across as a younger eighties-era Donald Trump, tanned in complexion and cheesy in dialogue. One has to wonder if the casting was due to Baldwin’s comedic portrayal of President Trump, for which he has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
Thomas Wayne has been a prominent flashback character in Batman-related media. His short film appearances were played by David Baxt (“Batman” 1989), Linus Roache (“Batman Begins” 2005) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” 2016). On TV, he appears in the “Gotham” pilot played by Grayson McCouch.
Co-writing with Todd Phillips is Scott Silver, while Joaquin Phoenix and Alec Baldwin are joined in the announced cast by Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron and Robert De Niro, who portrays a TV talk-show host who apparently is a trigger for the insanity of the man that would become the Joker. Warner Bros. has given a green light to start full production of “Joker” by September, with its initial shooting budget pegged at around $55 billion.
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