The Joker is a great character to play, Who else?

From the discussion of the Dark Knight/Heath Ledger’s Joker currently on the boards:

I think that all three have played the role incredibly well. I was about to post the following, but it felt like too large a hijack.

Romero’s was in the hokey series, but I think he was quite good. It was what he did with his eyes that screamed crazy. Mustache aside, I think Romero could have played a very interesting Joker had he been able to work from a darker script. He was creepy even while he was campy.

Jack was great, but he was playing Jack. His crazy was more pure homicidal.

Ledger went beyond everyone with his dark portrayal.
This led me to wonder, what other roles are as rich a canvas? Sure, very few roles have been played by so many people. The ones that have been are more a reflection of the actor and not the character (James Bond is not a rich character).

Who could be looking forward? Is Dumbledorf a rich character? Tony Stark?

Don’t forget Mark Hamill in the animated series from the nineties. His is my second-favorite Joker, behind Ledger’s.

I considered him, and agree he is excellent, but for me, voice acting is a really different art form.

I liked the animated character as well (though you have to give props to the animators, not just Mark Hamill; it’s a collaborative work.)

Among villians The Joker is going to be tough to beat because he’s such a wonderful canvas; an absolutely nihilistic, homicidal sociopath. You can write him any number of ways. Tim Burton/Nicholson’s Joker has a backstory; he’s a crime boss gone insane. Nolan/Ledger’s Joker has no backstory; he is the physical incarnation of chaos, Loki with an exceptionally mean streak.

I think you could do a lot of interesting takes on Lex Luthor. Luthor is another villain archetype, the scientific criminal mastermind. Unlike The Joker, who is obsessed with murder and chaos, Luthor is obsessed with ego. You could take that character in a lot of different directions.

The Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey versions weren’t all that different; Spacey’s was more menacing, but really, they were (and were meant to be) the same guy.

Oh, great. Now I can’t get the picture of a wizard with a German accent and really short legs out of my head.

No “F” huh? I’m so Potter illiterate.

Well that just begs to be seen, doesn’t it?

I know, I pictured Tim Conway dressed as a wizard too.

Ford Prefect. David Dixon had an aloof, sarcastic take on the role while Mos Def had a childlike and matter-of-fact take on the role. I prefer the Dixon version, but the Mos Def version was a great take on the character too.

**Willy Wonka **. The character as portrayed by Gene Wilder is very different (and more interesting) than the portrayal by Johnny Depp. The Depp Wonka was soft spoken and indirect while the Wilder Wonka was energetic and condescending. It’s one case where two actors can play the same “overgrown child” role so completely differently that adds to the richness of the overall character.

David Brent/Michael Scott Although they have different names, they are really two different takes on the same character aka “Clueless/Childish Boss”. How this character has been played shows the true depth of possibility for this character. Steve Carroll plays Michael Scott as an dolt with good intentions, or neutral intentions. Ricky Gervais plays David Brent as an idiot who attempts to cover up his idiocy by being a jerk. In my opinion the Gervais “Boss” is sometimes hard to watch because his antics are true to life. There is a real lack of care in the character that Gervais plays that makes it so believable. The Carroll “Boss” can be abrasive, and clueless but generally you get the feeling that he just doesn’t know any better. You wouldn’t want to work for him, but you could probably tolerate being his friend.

Two other characters come to mind that have been played by numerous actors, some of whom have emphasized quite different aspects of their personalities:

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone probably winning in the “traditional Holmes” category, and Jeremy Brett taking the honors for “edgy Holmes”)

Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim probably being most people’s pick for “traditional Scrooge”; George C. Scott is my favorite for “alt-Scrooge”).

Arthur, King of the Britons, of course. Camelot! Monty Python’s Holy Grail… and a thousand, thousand more.

Scrooge - that’s a good one, cjepson.

The only one I can think of is the very obvious Hamlet, who can be truly crazy, or sane but cunning, scared, or properly cautious, loyal to his father or hateful of his stepfather…even incestuously protective of his mom (if the director decides to go that way).

Count Dracula- brooding romantic anti-hero, monstrous undead rapist, aspiring anti-Christ- so many choices!

Oooh, Dracula is a good one. My favorite out of many I love is Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu. Creepy with a hint of Crazy.

I would have liked to see Frank Gorshin as the Joker instead of the Riddler, personally.

As for a fun character…Robin Hood?

There are tons of ways to write and play Jesus, and also the Devil. Faust might belong in the conversation, too. Aside from Hamlet there are plenty of other Shakespeare characters who belong in the conversation, like King Lear and the Macbeths.

Based on the book I read, I’d have to say no. He’s a pretty straightforward type.

Robin Hood has been portrayed more than one way. Noble fighter for the common people? Villain with good publicity? Something in between? I recall a version who was a time traveller with guided arrows, which explains his impossible shots…

This sounds very intriguing. Was the movie any good? Worth running (okay, sauntering) out and buying?

Bad guys are always great. Satan, Sheriff of Nottingham, Deam Wormer, Cardinal Richelieu, any upper-echelon Nazi (You don’t get better dialogue than “When people speak to me of culture, I reach for my Browning”). Too bad there’s never been a good Flashman movie; Jude Law could droll out some great dialogue for him!

Greg House.

This begs for a Justice League Unlimited arc where Green Arrow gets sucked back through time.