Now a huge name in Hollywood, believe it or not, Mark Hamill was also once a struggling actor. He used to audition for roles and get disheartened over losing parts to other actors. While Star Wars gave him the big break, he wanted to find more roles to push himself out of his comfort zone and experiment with his acting skills. His voice-acting performance as Joker in the animated Batman series garnered him critical acclaim as well as the love of the masses.

What Inspired Mark Hamill to voice Joker?

Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill’s Joker in Batman: The Animated Series

Joker is not an easy character to emulate, whether it’s on-screen or just with voice. Many great actors have portrayed the archenemy who brought Batman to his knees including Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix. But the actor who took on the role of Joker for the longest time is Mark Hamill. He began voicing the character in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 which would later continue to spread to video games, movies, and more shows.

Also Read: WB Never Wanted Mark Hamill for Joker, Original Actor Who Was Deemed “Too Scary” Developed Bronchitis and Dropped Out

Joker and Batman
Joker and Batman voiced by Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy

His voice behind the menacing DC villain became so popular that Hamill even voiced the character for amusement park rides. Thus, he began a career so illustrious, not just on screen but behind the mic as well. In an interview with Wired, the actor reminisces about the time he initially auditioned for the role, thinking he would definitely not get it since people saw him as the hero Luke Skywalker with Joker’s personality being the polar opposite.

“When I went in, I thought, ‘You think they’re going to hire Luke Skywalker to play the Joker? The fans will lose their minds!’ I was so sure that I couldn’t be cast, I was completely relaxed. A lot of times there’s performance anxiety because you want the part; here I knew I couldn’t get the part, so, who cares? And I drove out of the parking lot thinking, ‘That’s the best Joker they’ll ever hear, and it’s too bad they can’t cast me.’”

The tipping point in the decision was DC taking on Michael Keaton as Batman in the live-action movies. While he’s considered a great choice to play the Caped Crusader today, there was a massive outcry when the actor was chosen to play Batman. Hamill thought if they could cast Keaton, an actor known for projects like Beetlejuice and Mr. Mom, then he would have a chance after all. Hamill loved voicing Joker since the character is chaotic and unpredictable, a role that helped the actor explore all dimensions of his talents.

Also Read: Mark Hamill Retires From His Run as the Joker After Co-star Kevin Conroy’s Death

Why Was Michael Keaton’s Batman Casting Controversial?

Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton as Batman

Back in the late 1980s, when the news broke that Tim Burton was casting Keaton as Batman, fans went crazy over the decision and wanted it overturned immediately. Keaton was seen as a comedic actor and one without a considerable build to take on the role. People wrote thousands of letters to Warner Bros to cast someone more suitable for the role. Fast forward to now, fans go gaga over Keaton’s voice and personality as he utters the words, “I’m Batman.”

Batman was supposed to cover a darker theme, so an actor with a comedic streak would not fit in the role well. But people were unaware of the drastic range and talents of Keaton. In the end, the actor came through and portrayed Batman in a way nobody imagined. He was strong, determined, and all geared up to exceed the fandom’s expectations. Perhaps fans just had to see Keaton donning the black cape and mask and hear him say the magic words to believe in his acting prowess.

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