Tim Curry And Joker: A Missed Chance
Tim Curry has voiced and portrayed numerous villains in a long and storied career. Most famous for portraying Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Curry has made a career of playing delightful bad guys. In the 1980s and 1990s, particularly on the then new Fox Kids network, he voiced several villains. His most famous role at the time was Captain Hook on Peter Pan and the Pirates. Then, Warner Brothers called him up to play the Joker in a new Batman animated series. However, after recording some dialogue, the role went to Mark Hamill. The rest is history. For years Curry has been silent on the subject. That is, until recently at Canada’s Fan Expo at a panel with Curry. ScreenRant’s Martin Lis asked him about it in this video:
The transcript is thus:
ScreenGeek: Back when the Batman Animated series was being made, there was very minimal news on your involvement that you were originally cast as the Joker before Mark Hamill took over.
Tim Curry: I did play Joker for a while, but I had bronchitis and they fired me – and hired Mark Hamill. That’s life.
Conflicting Stories To Make The Joker Proud
While Curry says he was fired for being ill, there have been several stories over the years over why he was replaced. Mark Hamill’s take is that he was hired due to the fact Curry was the villain’s voice for multiple cartoons. Bruce Timm and Paul Dini wanted a different voice to help sell the character. Another story is that upon hearing Curry’s take on the Joker, even the adults were unnerved. They didn’t want to terrify children with the Joker, so they had to replace Curry on short notice.
It is a case that even the Joker would enjoy: multiple choice. While Hamill has undoubtedly become the voice of Joker for millions of fans for decades, it is a good case of “what if” as we wonder how Tim Curry would have played the Joker.