COLUMN: Psychological Suicide to Play the Joker?


When a professional actor gets a new role for a movie, they start researching and becoming their character. They’re no longer Jon, Tina, or Fred, They are this character who could have a totally different set of emotions or thoughts.

So, what happens when you get the part of a homicidal, psychopath who is ruthless and sadistic like the Joker? It is a psychological challenge for anybody who tries the role.

The Joker and Batman movies have been around for some time now. The first Joker was played by Cesar Romero in the 1966 film Batman The Movie. But the newest re-creation of the Joker is played by Joaquin Phoenix. It is an amazing film that created a whole new side of the story for the Joker. It is a story that makes me feel bad for the Joker and kind of root him on.

But by playing this character, it can have serious effects on the brain. Actor Heath Ledger, who had played the Joker in the past, went through heavy psychological training for the character. It led him only getting two hours of sleep a night, pushing him to start using sleeping pills and eventually led to his death. Other actors who have also portrayed the Joker have been known to send gifts of a dead pig and or dead rats to cast members. Others would just lock themselves away from any contact. It is not healthy for your brain to be in that set stage of psychological chaos.

People do not realize how serious a character’s role can be. It is crazy how a person can totally change their entire thought process. It affects their emotions, how they react to things and how they feel by taking time to transform themselves into a character that was created from scratch.

It is truly an amazing thing to be able to do, but when you have to put yourself into a psychopath’s state of mind, that’s when it becomes dangerous.