"Wait 'til they get a load of me," Jack Nicholson cackled maniacally nearly 20 years ago in Tim Burton's "Batman." Well come next summer, we'll get a load of a whole new interpretation of the Joker when Heath Ledger grins from ear to ear in "The Dark Knight" and guess what, Jack is not happy.
"I'm furious," Nicholson whispered to me last week when I asked him point blank how he felt about Ledger assuming the role. (Check out my full extensive conversation with Jack Nicholson here and find out about the unrealized second sequel to "Chinatown" in part one of the Nicholson interview here.)
Clearly the passage of time hasn't mellowed Jack one bit when it comes to the Joker. His voice rose as he said, "They never asked me about a sequel with the Joker. I know how to do that! Nobody ever asked me." For Nicholson the part of the Joker was an important one. "The Joker comes from my childhood," he explained. "That's how I got involved with it in the first place. It's a part I always thought I should play."
Saying that Warner Bros. "kind of drove the franchise into the ground," Nicholson added that he wasn't inclined to go see "The Dark Knight." He went on to praise filmmaker Tim Burton to no end. "[He's] a genius. He had the right take on it. That's why I did the movie. [Burton is] one of the great moviemakers. I think the world of him."
Are you with Jack or Heath? Who is the ultimate Joker? Should Christopher Nolan and company have considered bringing Jack back? Here's your bat signal to weigh in below!