Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tommy Wiseau is still trying to play the Joker, still being terrifying

Recent photos and clips of Joaquin Phoenix’s take on The Joker are a good reminder that the iconic Batman villain is a pretty unnerving character. He’s unpredictable and utterly determined to make his strange visions reality; he’s prone to sudden outbursts yet somehow disturbingly charismatic. He is, in other words, not just a great supervillain, but a good comic book analog for infamous creator and star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau.

Wiseau—and the folks at Nerdist—seem to understand this well. Back in March, they worked together to make a Joker audition tape in which Wiseau took to the role with chilling ease. Now, perhaps concerned that viewers may have allowed Wiseau’s turn as the character to slip from the marquee of their current nightmare schedule, all responsible parties are back for another go at the project.

The most recent installment to this grim undertaking sees Wiseau starring in a re-shot section of 2008's The Dark Knight. His long, luxurious hair died bright green and his face slathered with make-up, the actor takes a drawling tour through the film’s climactic interrogation scene. As before, it’s both bewildering and disquieting. Wiseau’s eyes appear startlingly empty peering out from black painted circles and his delivery of The Joker’s lines vacillates between sleepy and intense within the space of single sentences.


“Don’t talk to me like that,” he responds to one of Batman’s accusations. “Like one of them. You are not ... YOU ARE NOT ... you’re just a freak ... like me.” Throughout, he interrupts lazy, drunken laughs and languid gestures with speaker-breaking screams. Combined with the unorthodox rhythm of his lines, Wiseau’s version of The Joker has matured into something like a malfunctioning, homicidal android.

While Joaquin Phoenix has said that preparing for his version of The Joker frightens him, Wiseau’s ability to assume the role any time he’s required to marks him as a talent of a different sort—a nightmarish talent, to be sure, and one dreadfully well suited to the character.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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