Mark Hamill has voiced animated versions of the Joker for the DC Universe since 1992. By now, his take on the villain is fairly inseparable from the popular imagination of the Joker, rivaled only by Heath Ledger’s too-brief take on the role for the 2008 movie “The Dark Knight.”
So when Hamill decided to start reading tweets made by Donald Trump as the famous Batman nemesis, the audio recordings obviously garnered many “Ha! Ha! Ha’s!” and overly-wide smiles perhaps too similar to the devilish source material.
The idea originated from Matt Oswalt (Patton Oswalt’s brother), who suggested on Twitter that a particular tweet by Donald Trump sounded like “something the Joker would say right before releasing a swarm of killer bees into Gotham.” That specific Trump tweet read, “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
Hamill responded to Oswalt that he was up for doing the Joker voice. As soon as the actor figured out how to upload audio to the social platform, he shared his first Trump-as-Joker impersonation. That quickly went viral and has over 78,000 likes at this time. The response is certainly no surprise, with Trump’s historically low approval ratings and Hamill’s recent return to the spotlight with reprising Luke Skywalker in the new “Star Wars” trilogy.
Watch a fan’s animation of the impersonation:
“I don’t want to make it an ongoing thing,” Hamill told The Huffington Post in a phone conversation. But the Lewis and Streep tweets crossed a threshold where the actor felt he needed to respond.
“The second one was when he insulted Meryl Streep,” Hamill said while fighting back laughter. “Nobody could ignore ... I mean, c’mon, it’s like a Mel Brooks comedy. He’s so funny!” Hamill felt the Lewis attack was too offensive to let go. (Trump’s tweet happened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, despite Lewis collaborating closely with MLK in the civil rights movement.) “I mean, my jaw hit the ground,” explained Hamill. “That one I felt I almost had a moral obligation to do.”
The most important aspect of this project to Hamill, though, is that the quotes are recreated word-for-word. He is openly a Trump detractor, but wants these tweets to be able to stand by themselves ― allowing listeners to decide whether the quotes do in fact sound like the dialogue of a supervillain.
“Having done villains for so long, you do recognize rich dialogue,” said Hamill, adding, “in a bipartisan way, these are his words ... not mine. The fact that they sound perfect coming out of such a demented character, that speaks for itself.”
Hamill has been tweeting various depictions of Trump as the Joker since his initial impression, as seen below:
The actor really doesn’t want the focus of this project to be on him. After agreeing to explain the motives behind it, Hamill expressed to HuffPost that he also wanted to promote his recent appearance in the Kyle Mooney-led “Brigsby Bear,” which debuted earlier this month at the Sundance Film Festival. Hamill was very excited about Mooney’s work, saying, “He doesn’t make a false move” and “I like him on ‘Saturday Night Live’ too, but he’s underutilized.”
Hamill also made a point of highlighting a similar Trump project by another actor, Peter Serafinowicz, who is reading the president’s quotes verbatim in different voices, such as “sophisticated” and “sassy.”
Hamill doesn’t want the attention, just the results.
"These are his words ... not mine. The fact that they sound perfect coming out of such a demented character, that speaks for itself.” Mark Hamill
Clearly some aspect of Trump’s personality is magnetic to his millions of supporters, so there’s value in finding ways to break down his charisma to allow people to take the words as they are.
“I totally agree with people who say, ‘Ah you’re a celebrity, shut up, we don’t want to hear your opinion,’” said Hamill, “But I’m also a citizen. They’re entitled to their opinion, as well. I’m not interested in telling other people how to vote. I mean, honestly, I think this man has showed us who he is, and if you find that acceptable in a president, more power to you, that’s what America is all about ...”
The actor, who despite voicing the Joker is also famous for playing a character that led a rebel alliance against a seemingly unbeatable imperial darkness, continued, “I’m a member of the resistance, and I always will be.”