Actors Who Were Inches Away from Playing The Joker But Couldn’t Bag The Role

DC Comics has given us some iconic villains over the years. One might right away think of the Riddler, Bane, Darkseid, etc. But none of them can compare to the popularity of the Joker. The said character has been responsible for some serious box office collections and it’s a reality that many actors want to play the role. Over the years, actors like Joaquin Phoenix and the late Heath Ledger have graced this character. But today, let’s talk about some of the actors who were legit inches away from bagging the role, but it didn’t happen. Did you know that Steve Carell was in the race to play the role? Imagine Michael Scott from The Office as Joker. Things are getting pretty out of hand!!

1. Ray Liotta

Actors who almost played the Joker
Actors who almost played the Joker

When Ray Liotta bagged the lead role in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, things were about to ramp up for him. However, he didn’t manage to put his name in the A-list actors of Hollywood, a fact he’s well aware of. Back in the days, Tim Burton was eyeing the actor for Batman but he wasn’t interested in the role. His comments later revealed that he was interested in playing the Joker. Can you imagine Liotta as the Joker?

2. Steve Carell

Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office
Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office

Here comes an unusual choice. The best boss, aka Michael Scott from the hit television show The Office, wanted to play the Joker. When castings went up for The Dark Knight, Carell was pretty much interested while Sean Penn was in line too (a rumour he always denies). Jokingly, Carell once said that he would even fight Penn just to get the role. We are glad it didn’t happen because no matter how good he is, you just cannot imagine this comic legend in such a badass role.

3. Ryan Gosling

Actors who almost played the Joker
Actors who almost played the Joker

Ryan Gosling is one of the actors who was almost the Joker. Before Jared Leto bagged the role of the Joker in Suicide Squad, it was offered to the two-time Oscar nominee, Ryan Gosling. The only reason why Gosling turned away from the role was that the DCEU was in bits and pieces and he had to sign a multi-film contract. Considering it to be career suicide, the actor decided not to play the role. It’s great that it didn’t happen because the actor looks more like a hero than a villain.

4. Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe imagined as the Joker - fan art
Willem Dafoe imagined as the Joker – fan art

Ask anyone, they will right away put Dafoe as their top choice for the Joker. But did you know that it almost happened back when Jack Nicholson played it? While Nicholson was WB’s first choice, they had Dafoe in the backup but it didn’t fall through. The actor was at the peak of his career but Nicholson always had the role in his pocket. Considering his menacing looks, he would make a great Joker and could terrify people on the big screens.

5. John Lithgow

John Lithgow
John Lithgow

He is the only actor who passed on the role of the Clown Prince of Crime not once but TWICE! It first happened when director Joe Dante approached him with the idea of playing the role but he said he was too busy with his television show. The second time, he deliberately bombed his audition for Tim Burton’s Batman as the actor was convinced he was not right for the part. Can you believe it?

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