The very good, or very bad actor, depending on your tastes, has said that he would like to play Batmans nemesis. Will the studios take the bait?

If there were ever a Marmite actor, dividing opinion equally between those who believe he is a maverick genius and those who see him as a giant ham, it is Nicolas Cage. When the part is right, as it was for Cages Oscar-winning role as a suicidal alcoholic in Mike Figgiss Leaving Las Vegas, or as an unhinged cop in Werner Herzogs mesmeric Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, he is one of the most watchable actors on the planet. When Cage goes too far out on a limb one need hardly mention his infamous The bees! scene in Neil LaButes horrendous 2006 remake of The Wicker Man it can feel as if he is not only appearing in a completely different movie from those around him, but perhaps inhabiting a parallel acting reality.

At least Cage tries things his decision to channel Adam West as vigilante Big Daddy in the comic book flick Kick-Ass was inspired, and helped mark that movie out from the crowd. The problem is thatthe things Cage tries are as likely to go wrong as right, and once they have done so there seems to be no off switch. That should perhaps lead us to view with caution the actors suggestion this week that he might make a decent Joker in an upcoming Batman movie.

Hard act to follow? Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad. Photograph: Warner Bros

I mean, I think my comic book days are kind of Im on to other things, Cage, a noted comic-book fan whose son is named Kal-El after Supermans birth name, told JoBlo. But I always thought Id make a great Joker and I always thought that I wouldve been a good villain in one of the Marvel [movies] like Doctor Doom … At this point if I was to go back into the format it would probably have to be as a villain.

With apologies to the Fantastic Four super villain, its Cages suggestion that he might enjoy getting under the clown prince of Gothams skin that has grabbed most of the attention online. There appears to be little in the way of an opening right now at DC, with Jared Leto still inhabiting Batmans nemesis for the DC Extended Universe movies and Joaquin Phoenix reportedly lined up to take the role in Todd Phillipss upcoming Martin Scorsese-inspired Joker origin movie. But if DC studio Warner Bros is prepared to undermine Leto by casting another actor in a completely different take on the cackling supervillain, it should hardly be a stretch for studio execs to greenlight a third production.

Its not difficult to see why Cage is drawn to The Joker. For it ought, in theory, to be impossible to overact while playing the role. Not for a moment, we imagine, did Mark Hamill rein himself in while portraying the villain in the wonderful 90s TV show Batman: The Animated Series. Jack Nicholson hardly kept his powder dry for that pantomime turn in Tim Burtons Batman (1989) and Heath Ledger put everything on the table in Christopher Nolans The Dark Knight (2008).

And yet there is a fear that a Cage Joker might sending the movie he appeared in into a ravine. The actor seems too risky a proposition to replace Leto in the DCEU movies, where an unwieldy performance might further derail a cinematic universe. His Doctor Doom would be intriguing, however, and there is space to try for a definitive take on the Fantastic Fours nemesis. Fargo and Legions Noah Hawley is said to be working on an origins story for the supervillain though its unclear whether that production is likely to survive the characters imminent move from Fox to Disney.

Its hard to imagine the big cheeses at Marvel casting Cage, given the actors propensity for eccentric decision-making and the MCUs episodic nature. Cage as Doom might well become a highlight of the cinematic universe. But its just as likely that the star of the Ghost Rider movies would do something characteristically brave and daft at the same time, like deciding to play the part in unwieldy homage to Bela Lugosi (in tribute to Dooms eastern European origins).

Thats something Im sure wed all pay good money to see once. But the novelty might well wear off after another 13 episodes.

Read more:

Not the Bees

Another stinger: Cage's immortal line "Not the bees!!!!!!!!!!!!" From the 2006 version of The Wicker Man

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