Mark Hamill Claims His Joker Was Inspired By 'The Invisible Man' and Jay Leno

From Cesar Romero to Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger, there's no shortage of compelling performers who have left their mark on DC Comics' The Joker. One of the more iconic interpretations of the villain came from Mark Hamill, who voiced the character on Batman: The Animated Series. Not having to physically bring the character to life, Hamill could put all his effort into Joker's horrifying voice, though Hamill admitted he was inspired by both classic horror actor Claude Rains and comedian Jay Leno when it came to capturing the chaotic character.

"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...[imitates Rains] 'Crazy? You think I'm crazy? I'll show you who's crazy!'" Hamill admitted to Sway's Universe. "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.'"

An actor isn't always consciously aware of the ways in which they absorb influences, which can end up being an effective tool in the world of voice acting.

"People don't even realize, you take elements...I don't do a very good Jay Leno, but just [imitates Leno], 'Ya know, that cadence,' And I'll use people all the time," the actor noted. "I have lots of influences.

The erratic behavior of the character and the situations he'd end up in during Batman also allowed Hamill to reinvent the character for many situations.

"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," Hamill admitted. "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."

The complete Batman: The Animated Series is slated to hit Blu-ray sometime this year.

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[H/T YouTube, Sway's Universe]