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What Willem Dafoe Looks Like As The Joker

There have been many very good (and some less than great) versions of the Joker, but whenever people discuss potential casting for Batman's iconic nemesis, you can be fairly sure that Willem Dafoe's name is mentioned. Dafoe was actually in consideration to play the Joker in Tim Burton's "Batman," and although the role has eluded him over the years, his instantly recognizable features and particular strengths as an actor still make him seem like an obvious choice for the role.  

In recent years, it's technically been possible to point out that Dafoe is in his 60s, and as such, it might be challenging for him to portray a supervillain. "Spider-Man: No Way Home," of course, thoroughly debunked that idea in 2021. In that movie, Dafoe handily reprises his terrifying role as Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn, who's just as off-kilter as the Joker, but far more physically intimidating. What's more, Dafoe's one condition to revisit the role was that he'd be allowed to do his own fight scenes. As anyone who's seen him gleefully manhandle Spider-Man (Tom Holland) can attest, the actor still clearly has what it takes to bring both the drama and the physical presence in any supervillain role he chooses to play — and as far as the Joker's requisite creepy laughter goes, Dafoe once again shows in "No Way Home" that there are few who can match him on that front.

Is it any wonder, then, if people are once again boarding the Dafoe Joker hype train? In fact, one artist has even created an image that shows just how creepily effective Willem Dafoe could be as the Joker. 

A terrifying look at the Joker that could be

In this image by digital artist Elilusionista.cl (via the artist's Instagram), it's evident just how easily Willem Dafoe could slip into the role of the Joker. The picture shows a Joker-ified version of Dafoe, with all the classic aspects of the character: green hair, red lips, pale skin, a wild grin, and a fashion sense that skews toward the color purple. It's clear that the Joker in the image is in the middle of something, since he has a spattering of blood — or perhaps red makeup — in the corner of his mouth, and a fresh cut on his forehead. Judging by the character's fixed gaze and the snowy cityscape visible on the background, it wouldn't be outside the realm of reason to assume that he's locked in a rooftop showdown with the Dark Knight himself. 

All in all, this is a very impressive Joker. What makes the image even more astonishing is the fact that it's surprisingly close to what Dafoe looks like in his everyday life, color pattern notwithstanding. As the last image of the artist's post reveals, the image of Dafoe as the Joker is based on a photo of the actor laughing. While the colors and the background have been changed to fit the Joker theme, it's clear that Dafoe's features are the same in both photos, right down to the hairstyle and the configuration of the lines on his face. Even with the knowledge that Dafoe is uniquely suited to play the villain, it's almost shocking to see just how casually he can contort his face into a Joker-worthy grin. 

Willem Dafoe has his own ideas about playing the Joker

The "Dafoe for Joker" fan-casting has been going on for quite a while, and in a January 2022 interview with GQ, Dafoe noted that he's very familiar with it. In fact, people have been nudging him about the whole Joker thing for years. This, it appears, has piqued the actor's imagination, and he's come up with at least one possible scenario for tackling the iconic role — though, as is so often the case with the roles Dafoe picks, it'd come with a twist. 

"There is something interesting about, like, if there was a Joker imposter," he described his take on the Joker — or, rather, a fake Joker. "So it would be possible to have not duelling Jokers but someone that [claims] to be the Joker that isn't the Joker." 

Dafoe also revealed his ideal dance partner for such a movie, and it's none other than Joaquin Phoenix, the star of Todd Phillips' "Joker." 

"And that kind of opens up the possibility of an interesting story, particularly if you had Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker', and then you had someone who was either imitating or riffing off what he did," Dafoe said. "I fantasized about that. But other than that I am not talking to anybody [about it], you're the first one."

Dafoe, of course, was quick to pump the brakes after sharing his vision, and he probably wouldn't discuss such a project if it was actually in the works. Still, the idea of Dafoe's fake Joker going up against Phoenix's version of the real one is indeed intriguing. After all, considering that Phoenix won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in "Joker," why wouldn't a potential sequel double down with not one, but two Academy Award-worthy Jokers?