Sacha Baron Cohen Would Make The Perfect Joker

We recently got to see a deleted scene from The Batman where Barry Keoghan’s excellent Joker performance is revealed. He’s menacing, unhinged, and gets under Batman’s skin perfectly. I’m not a fan of the continued trope that disfigured people are villainous, but trying to get superhero movies to understand that seems about as futile as trying to convince Batman to stop beating up drug dealers and focus on higher-up crime instead. Honestly, The Riddler was doing a good job of cleaning up the city right up until his bizarre decision to simply flood Gotham. Anyway, as good as Keoghan’s performance is, I want to see Sacha Baron Cohen given a crack at the role.

The Clown Prince of Darkness is a tough part to play, especially after Heath Ledger’s iconic performance. To avoid comparisons to it, DC has gone in a few different directions since. Jared Leto’s iteration was utterly bizarre, with face tattoos, chrome Lambo, and over-the-top performance that verged on campy rather than creepy.

With Joaquin Phoenix, we saw the fall and rise of a man driven to desperation by a society that was itself on the brink of a social revolution. The origins of the Joker are often referenced in the films, but never before has one been dedicated solely to it.

With Keoghan, it feels like we’re back to Ledger’s version of the Joker. He’s once again the ultimate foil to the masked vigilante, pushing all the right buttons and causing Batman to lose his cool by making him confront the sort of monster he is deep down. Keoghan, if he returns for the sequel, will undoubtedly do this story justice, but it has the trappings of one we’ve already seen in The Dark Knight. I want something new, and Baron Cohen is the man for the job.

We all got our introduction to Baron Cohen through his comedy characters Ali G and Borat. If you didn’t, you’re too young, so go away and stop making me feel old. It’s tough for comedic actors to branch out into dramatic roles, but time and time again we’ve been shown it’s possible. Jim Carrey and Robin Williams are the most obvious examples, but Jamie Foxx, Jerry Lewis, and Melissa McCarthy have all had made the transition too.

Baron Cohen has done a few dramatic roles, and he was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Chicago 7. Hopefully, this offers a jumping off point for more serious characters. He was pegged to play Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic but was removed from the project when his vision for it was considered too dire. He wanted to focus on the darker side of Mercury that the final film mostly glossed over, and we were all robbed of what could have been a daring story.

His lanky stature, naturally curly hair, and deep North London accent already make him a natural fit for the role – his natural voice gives him a real presence, and it would be novel at least to see a British Joker. Of course, casting is about way more than just looks, but I want a Joker more akin to the one we see in Hamil’s animated performances. One who can be silly as well as cruel, scary without deformities, bizarre without face tattoos. You wouldn’t even need hair dye or face paint. With a grin, Baron Cohen would become that Joker.

Looks aside, Baron Cohen’s performance in Sweeny Todd proved his ability to tread the line between jolly and creepy, something that we should see more of in a future version of the Joker. He’s a great actor trying to get more serious roles, but his comedic type-casting means a lot of people only see Borat. The fact that his characters are so iconic is actually a strength, though. He’s instantly recognisable in costume, but when he’s doing a rare straight interview or appearing on a red carpet beside his wife Isla Fisher, he’s just a fairly handsome, pretty ordinary guy.

I want an ordinary Joker. A charismatic, well-spoken, intelligent man who likes to goof around and play silly pranks. Someone who, on the surface, is just some guy, but can change at the drop of a hat. Because seeing someone go from charming to cruel simply because they can would be far more compelling than yet another mentally ill or physically deformed villain.

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