Mark Hamill’s vocal performance as the Joker is iconic. His unhinged portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime has defined the character for a generation. However, during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con to promote the upcoming Blu-ray release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, legendary DC Animation veteran Bruce Timm revealed that the first choice to play the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series was not Hamill himself. Check out the quote below:
Most of you guys probably know Mark first did the voice for us in the first Mr. Freeze episode; he played the guy who caused Mr. Freeze’s wife to end up in a coma. He was so excited and full of enthusiasm for Batman. He’s a huge comic book fan and he really wanted to play one of the big villains at that time and he specifically mentioned The Joker and at that time we were using Tim Curry as the Joker. And he was really disappointed and he said ‘well, if anybody else shows up like Hugo Strange or somebody give me a call.’ So many months later we made the difficult decision to replace Tim and we brought Mark in to audition for The Joker and he nailed it.
Tim Curry of course has had a legendary career portraying many characters, including a slew of iconic and frightening villains. And while Curry is an incredible talent, it is hard to imagine anyone other than Mark Hamill’s spot-on voice work as Mr. J these past 25 years.
In addition to Hamill, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm also features the voice cast of Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda, Dick Miller, John P. Ryan, Efram Zimbalist, Robert Costanzo, and Arleen Sorkin. Here’s the official synopsis:
When the city’s most feared gangsters are systematically eliminated, the Caped Crusader is blamed. But prowling the Gotham night is a shadowy new villain, the Phantasm, a sinister figure with some link to Batman’s past. Can the Dark Knight elude the police, capture the Phantasm and clear his own name?
Unmasking the Phantasm is just one of the twists in this dazzling animated feature. Discover revelations about Batman’s past, his archrival the Joker and Batman’s most grueling battle ever — the choice between his love for a beautiful woman and his vow to be the defender of right.
The Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Blu-ray will be on sale Tuesday, July 25.