Did you know that 3rd Rock from the Sun and Dexter star John Lithgow almost played The Joker opposite Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman? Well, he did, and it seems like he blames himself for not landing the iconic role that was famously portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
At the Tony Awards this past weekend, the two-time Oscar-nominatee and two-time Golden Globe-winning actor told Vulture that he actually convinced Burton not to hire him. He is the story as told by the man himself:
“My worst audition was for Tim Burton for Batman. I have never told anyone this story, but I tried to persuade him I was not right for the part, and I succeeded. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. About a week later I heard they were going after Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson.”
To make matters worse, this wasn’t even the first chance the actor had to play the role of The Joker. Before Tim Burton signed on, director Joe Dante was attached to make a Batman film and had planned on casting Lithgow in the villainous role, having met the actor on The Twilight Zone movie. Just as he did the second time, Lithgow also passed on this first opportunity. The actor explained:
“I was doing M. Butterfly on Broadway and it was an exhausting show. It would have meant leaving that show and going right into a movie, and I said, ‘I just don’t think I can.’ How about that for stupid? Actors are not necessarily smart people.”
Who knows just how things would have turned out if Lithgow had taken the role in the DC Comics based film. It certainly worked out well for Nicholson, who is said to have made more than $50 million playing the role, having negotiated for a percentage of the film’s earnings, including merchandising, which included Joker toys and other items.
Every DC Comics Film, Ranked From Worst To Best Including ‘Wonder Woman’
The film legacy of DC Comics should never be understated, even as the maturing superhero genre continues to follow more diverse paths of success through comic book characters beyond DC’s iconic catalogue.
But not all DC movies are created equal, and there’s merit to reflecting on how these films measure up against one another as the DCEU approaches its fourth movie in the form of a solo Wonder Woman (and the crowd said, finally). This list attempts to do just that by holding every DC movie released in theaters to a consistent set of worthwhile standards, including the quality of the film itself, the onscreen performances, cultural relevance (both within and outside of box office considerations), overall impact, contributions to the genre at large, and originality.
Put more simply, a movie on this list won’t trump another on ticket sales, alone (or at all). But perhaps you’ll find an experimental DC film getting the leg up over another that is slightly more formulaic and unremarkable, despite being remembered fondly.
For obvious reasons, it’s perfectly alright to disagree with this list, but keep in mind that expecting it to coincide with your personal opinions and observations will only leave you disappointed. That said, be sure to offer your own arguments and lists in the comments for others to weigh their opinions against, because…well, why not?
Let’s start with the worst of the DC films (not an easy task), which is: