One of the final cinematic stars of his generation, Leonardo DiCaprio has mastered the art of playing leading roles in films that are both big office smashes and critically acclaimed award winners. His most well-known films include classics from different eras like “Titanic,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Revenant,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and “Inception.”
From period romance to social satire, DiCaprio has starred in almost every kind of movie. He has, however, purposefully shunned one genre to date: the superhero/comic book movie. Robin in “Batman Forever” from 1995 and Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s 2002 movie were two significant parts that DiCaprio declined.
In James Cameron’s abandoned version, DiCaprio was also a strong choice to play the web-slinger (according to Empire, via Spider-Man News). However, he is still not dressed. DiCaprio also reportedly suggested to Timothée Chalamet (via Vogue) to stay away from superhero movies, despite his insistence that he has nothing against the genre and that he simply hasn’t found the appropriate project.
The fact that director Todd Phillips told the New York Times that the movie was developed with Joaquin Phoenix in mind for the role and that Leonardo DiCaprio was never a factor should come as no surprise given that The Hollywood Reporter claimed in 2017 that Warner Bros. wanted DiCaprio to star for executive producer Martin Scorsese in the supervillain origin movie “Joker.” One artist hasn’t let that stop them from picturing DiCaprio as Batman’s biggest foe, though.
Digital Paintings Created by Royy Ledger, Who Describes Himself as an “Art Director and VFX Genius”
Online computer artworks have been shared by Royy Ledger, who describes himself as “an art director and VFX master” (via Instagram). Numerous them are various incarnations of DC super heroes and other well-known genre figures from movies, television shows, and comic books. One image, though, sticks out: an eerie portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio as the Joker (which you can view here).
With his green hair, white complexion smeared crimson lips, and possibly some scarring around his mouth, DiCaprio has an appearance that is very typical of the Joker. His broad rictus grin and manic glitter in his eyes, though, really catch the viewer’s eye. Without even seeing the Joker in action, these two qualities combine to portray him as a murderous psychopath.
Despite the fact that the role has been portrayed by numerous actors throughout the years, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix are the only performers to have won an Oscar for it. Other notable actors who have played the role include Jack Nicholson, Cesar Romero, Mark Hamill, and most recently, Barry Keoghan.
What if Warner Bros. had contacted Leo instead? Without intending to disparage Phoenix or the outstanding performance he gave in “Joker,” Royy Ledger’s recasting of Leonardo DiCaprio as the character—regularly considered one of the best movie villains—cannot help but pique interest in that movie. Plus, who knows? Maybe we will someday. Both DiCaprio and the Joker remain stationary.