Willem Dafoe Was Considered for the Joker Role in 1989 'Batman'

Many Batman fans will tell you that they hold Jack Nicholson's take on the Joker in high regard, right up there with Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill. However, when casting was taking place for 1989's Batman film, Nicholson wasn't the only name on Tim Burton's list.

While speaking with THR about his Oscar nomination for The Florida Project, Dafoe detailed some of his more iconic roles, and others that he never had the chance to take on. This includes Batman's arch-nemesis, a character he was apparently eyed for at one point.

"[Screenwriter Sam] Hamm said something about how physically I would be perfect for the part," Dafoe revealed, "but they never offered it to me."

As we all know, Nicholson went on to play the part, which he's still celebrated for almost 30 years later.

Even though Dafoe didn't get a chance to take on the Joker, he's had other opportunities to delve into the world of comics. Marvel fans will likely remember Dafoe's performance as super villain Norman Osborne, a.k.a. Green Goblin, in Sam Raimi's 2001 Spider-Man film. The character's suit didn't look all that great, but Dafoe's performance made the Goblin one of the villains in comic movie history.


Later this year, Dafoe will finally get a stab at DC Comics, as he's playing Nuidis Vulko in James Wan's Aquaman movie. The character was originally supposed to appear in Justice League, but his scenes were cut in the final print.

You can catch Dafoe again when Aquaman hits theaters on December 21.