Batman, Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Tim Burton

Mark Hamill Says Michael Keaton’s Subversive Casting of ‘Batman’ Inspired Him to Voice the Joker

Mark Hamill is reflecting on how Michael Keaton brought down typecasting for ‘Batman’ superhero movies.

Hamill, who voiced the Joker on the critically acclaimed TV show “Batman: The Animated Series,” reflected on Keaton’s casting in Tim Burton’s 1989 live-action film “Batman” during a video interview with Wired (below).

“I had a confidence that really helped, because there was this huge outcry that Michael Keaton was going to play Batman,” Hamill recalled of auditioning for the voice actor role. “’Oh he’s Mr. Mommy, he’s a comedian.’ I mean, they hadn’t even seen him and didn’t realize how big he was going to get. But there have been great controversies.

The ‘Star Wars’ icon continued: ‘So when I walked in, I was like, ‘You think they’re going to hire Luke Skywalker to play the Joker? The fans are going to lose their minds!’ I was so sure I couldn’t get 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 pulled out of the parking lot thinking, ‘This is the best Joker they’ve ever heard, and it’s a shame they can’t pick me.'”

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When Hamill got the role, she added, “I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t do that!'”

Yet Hamill called playing the Joker one of the best characters “because he’s crazy, and because he’s crazy, he’s never boring. It’s just fun to play a character who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.”

Keaton, meanwhile, reprises his role as Batman in the upcoming DCU film “The Flash.” Ben Affleck also plays Batman in the Ezra Miller-led multiverse film.

Keaton previously revealed he declined to continue playing the Caped Crusader in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever” after director Burton parted ways with the franchise for the “obscure” film “Batman Returns.”

“But I remember one of the things I walked away from was like, ‘Oh boy, I can’t do this,'” Keaton said of meeting Schumacher. “He asked me, ‘I don’t understand why everything has to be so dark and everything so sad,’ and I said, ‘Wait a minute, you know how this guy became Batman? Did you read… I mean, it’s pretty simple.’”

Keaton continued on how he approached playing the complicated superhero: “To me, I know the name of the movie is Batman, and it’s hugely iconic, very cool and culturally iconic and thanks to Tim Burton, artistically iconic , (but) I knew from the start it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret. I never talked about it. (Everyone would say) Batman, Batman, Batman does this, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘You’re thinking all bad here.’ (It’s about) Bruce Wayne. What kind of person does that? Who becomes that?