Is it possible to create a Joker that’s even more controversial and derided than what Jared Leto came up with for Suicide Squad and the Snyderverse? Apparently so, as Warner Bros. has released a deleted scene from The Batman that gives us a better look at Matt Reeves’ interpretation of the clown prince of crime, and he is really disgusting to look at. Irish actor Barry Keoghan plays the latest incarnation of the character, one that tries to set itself apart from Leto, Ledger, Nicholson, and Phoenix’s versions with a balding scalp, badly burned skin, and nasty bleeding around the mouth. Contrary to the usual origin of the character falling into a tank of chemical waste, Reeves clarified that this Joker looks and acts the way he does because of a congenital disease.
“It’s like Phantom of the Opera,” Reeves explained in an interview with Variety from earlier this month, one that confirmed the mysterious Arkham inmate that Riddler talks to at the end of the film is, in fact, Batman’s arch nemesis. “He has a congenital disease where he can’t stop smiling and it’s horrific. His face is half-covered through most of the film.”
“It’s not about some version where he falls into a vat of chemicals and his face is distorted, or what [Christopher] Nolan did, where there’s some mystery to how he got these scars carved into his face,” the director added. “What if this guy from birth had this disease and he was cursed? He had this smile that people stared at that was grotesque and terrifying. Even as a child, people looked at him with horror, and his response was to say, ‘Okay, so a joke was played on me,’ and this was his nihilistic take on the world.”
How Did Barry Keoghan’s Joker Get His Scars? ‘The Batman’ Director Explains the Backstory (Variety)
In an interview with Variety‘s Adam B. Vary earlier this month, “The Batman” director Matt Reeves broke down the comic book tentpole’s ending and the ambiguous Joker cameo. Reeves said at the time it was intentional for Keoghan’s Joker to break with tradition when it came to the villain’s physical appearance. This Joker did not fall into a vat of chemicals (see Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman”) or have an open-ended reason for being scarred (see Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”).
Reeves told IGN that a reference point for Keoghan’s Joker was David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man.” Now that Keoghan’s Joker has been revealed more fully, courtesy of the deleted scene, will this iteration of the Crown Prince return in the future?
“There might be places,” Reeves told Variety in the same interview. “There’s stuff I’m very interested in doing in an Arkham space, potentially for HBO Max. There are things we’ve talked about there. So it’s very possible. It also isn’t impossible that there is some story that comes back where Joker comes into our world.”