Mark Hamill Talks About Creating His Legendary Joker Voice


Heath Ledger gave us a fantastic portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. However, he is not my Joker. My Joker is Mark Hamill who has voiced the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, the Arkham games, and a lot more. Hamill created the perfect blend of grit and happy to create the perfect kind of crazy. How does he do it, though? How did he create such an iconic voice? According to an interview on Sway's Universe:

I would imitate the old Universal horror films and I realize, in retrospect, I wasn’t doing it consciously, but Claude Rains as The Invisible Man. [As Rains] ‘Crazy? You think I’m crazy? I’ll show you who’s crazy!’ So he had sort of the grit that I incorporated into it. And I said to voiceover people later, I would do a character and I would say, ‘It’s sort of like Howard Cosell meets Jay Leno. Is that a cheat?’ And they said, ‘No, we do that all the time.’ People don’t even realize, you take elements. I don’t do a very good Jay Leno, but just [as Leno], ‘Ya know, that cadence,’ And I’ll use people all the time. I have lots of influences.

I will never look at Jay Leno the same again. What’s more, even though he had the inspiration for the voice, Hamill also talked on Sway’s Universe about how no two performances were the same:

I would say, with The Joker, he’s different every time you play him. You try and play him like the first time you’ve ever done it. In one script, he’s meant to be really menacing and another was a parody of Thelma and Louise where Harley and Ivy teamed up and Joker was left shuffling around the apartment in furry slippers and totally cuckolded, so he was played as kind of a goof in that one. So he’s different every time. That’s the way I look at it. But, boy, I’ve had so much fun doing it.

I wish they could get Hamill to always be the Joker. I know it’s not possible, nor is it feasible. I also know that it’s best if we let others have a turn, but I do love that voice. You can watch the full interview below (the Joker stuff starts around the 24-minute mark) and I'll throw in an awesome video of the different shows, games, and more where Hamill has lent his Joker voice and tell us your favorite Joker moment.

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