Sunday, May 20, 2007

Is this Ledger's Joker from THE DARK KNIGHT?

About 36 hours ago on Friday night I posted about some of the developments that came out this past week about The Dark Knight: next year's sequel to 2005's Batman Begins. One of the things I posted was that great "Harvey Dent for District Attorney" graphic. And I closed out the post by saying "Now if only a really good picture of Heath Ledger as the Joker could turn up somewhere..."

I had no idea this was coming. Honest, folks. It was a crazy coincidence...

...'cuz this past day or so the publicity gang for The Dark Knight has been doing something very, very crafty. Yesterday another website turned up at When that page loaded, this is what you got:

And after a few seconds, that graphic started "peeling away" pixel by pixel, like so:

The page has fill-in forms where you enter your e-mail address and have to also manually enter-in a code that's on the screen. I did that, and received this e-mail from """ a few moments later:

I always say, you never know what a man is truly made of until you peel the skin off his face one piece at a time. Here is your chance to help:


If you follow the link you get to the "peeled-away" graphic, but this one shows you which pixel it was that I'm responsible for uncovering (it so happens that it's right on the left-hand edge). That's how it's been going since yesterday: everyone has been using their e-mail addresses to remove one pixel from the picture, slowly revealing whatever lies beneath one individual dot at a time.

It hasn't been completely uncovered yet, but Moriarty at Ain't It Cool News has apparently come into possession of the complete image, or a good simulacrum of it anyway. What's it look like? Here it is:

So... is this really Heath Ledger as how he'll look like as the Joker in The Dark Knight?

If it is... man, I'm really split on this. It's totally not like anything I was expecting. I didn't think it would be like Jack Nicholson's Joker from Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. "Less prosthetics" was my belief, but still the traditional Joker "smile" for the most part. What I was most expecting was for Ledger's Joker to look like Conrad Veidt's appearance in 1928's The Man Who Laughs (right), which was the biggest thing that influenced Bob Kane's original design for the Joker. Look at that pic on the right, and tell me that wouldn't work for a modern audience in a serious film treatment of Batman. That certainly looks realistic enough. Heck, it looks no more out-of-place in a real-life setting than Phil Spector's hair usually has during his murder trial lately.

So that's what I was subconsciously thinking we would see. And not a lesioned clone of the Crow.

But then I remember that when the first pics of Willem DaFoe's Green Goblin came out during Spider-Man's production, and I thought that there was no way that would fly either. And then the actual movie comes out and I totally bought into that Green Goblin, and it made me realize that if they had gone with the traditional comic book look for Goblin then it wouldn't have been as convincing. And that comic books and movies really are two quite different mediums to tell the same story: a wise artist is going to have to take that into account. And then I remember the very, very first appearance of the Joker in Batman #1 in 1940:

Looks pretty darned close. It's enough to make me hold off judgment from completely dissing it at this point. I do kinda like it... it's just not "Joker" like I've always been used to. Which I think is going to be the problem for most people.

But if they give him shocking dark green hair and yellow teeth and a purple-enough suit... along with a homicidal sense of humor... then I'll accept this Joker wholeheartedly. The 'tude is everything!