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We will be seeing a lot of Batman's greatest nemesis, The Joker, on screen in the next few years. Not only will Jared Leto will be portraying the Clown Prince of Crime in David Ayer's 2016 blockbuster Suicide Squad - not to mention the larger DC Cinematic Universe - but the character will also be playing a key role in the upcoming LEGO Batman Movie. Up until today we haven't known who would be portraying this animated version of the classic villain, but now new reports are saying that the role is going to belong to Zach Galifianakis.
This exciting news was revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, which says that Galifianakis is now in final talks to be the villain in the upcoming feature. The actor is joining a cast that already includes Will Arnett, who will be reprising his role as Batman from The LEGO Movie; and Michael Cera, who will be playing the Dark Knight's young sidekick, Robin. As you might expect, it looks like The Joker will be the central villain of LEGO Batman, so this will be a significant voice role for the comedian.
Since really breaking out with his performance in Todd Phillips' The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis has very much become a live action star - but he has developed an extensive resume as a voice actor as well. This includes a great turn in 2011's Puss In Boots, but his credits mostly include animated television shows - including Bob's Burgers (where he has a recurring role), The Simpsons, American Dad, and TripTank. One can imagine his experience serving him quite well while creating his own version of The Joker.
Of course, Galifianakis will also have a certain amount of pressure on him starring in LEGO Batman, given that voicing The Joker is a big deal in voice-actor communities. Mark Hamill's version from both Batman: The Animated Series and the Batman: Arkham video games is considered some of the greatest work the medium has ever seen, but the list of greats to take on the esteemed role also includes Kevin Michael Richardson, John Dimaggio, Frank Welker, Troy Baker, and more. Knowing that Galifianakis is a thoughtful and talented performer, it will be great to see how he makes his version of the character special.
Chris McKay, who worked as the animation supervisor on The LEGO Movie, is taking the helm of LEGO Batman, and while Phil Lord and Chris Miller are producing, the script is being written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). At this stage, very little is known about the plot of the film, but we can likely expect that the next few weeks will be filled with more casting announcements for notable characters in the Batman canon. The film is still in its early days, but has been dated by Warner Bros. for release on February 10, 2017.