Things are moving fast for Joker, one of in-the-works standalone movies about Batman’s most beloved nemesis and sometimes near-frenemy. Yesterday, director Todd Phillips (of The Hangover cycle) revealed the first look at Joaquin Phoenix’s hero-villain, which turned out to be … him without make-up, not smiling, and looking pretty sloppy. Today, we learn, via Variety, that Alec Baldwin, who was cast as Batman’s dad for about 48 hours earlier this month, has finally been replaced by Brett Cullen.
Who, you may ask? Cullen is a longtime character actor getting what may be his big break in his early 1960s. His credits, about a 30-70 split between film and TV, go all the way back to episodes of M*A*S*H and The Incredible Hulk with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. Most recently, he had a 15-episode run on Narcos, playing Ambassador Arthur Crosby. One thing that makes him ideal for the role is he had a small role in The Dark Knight Rises, so he already has footing in this wing of the superhero multiverse. He’s also, very interestingly, Meat Loaf’s best friend.
The role of Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce, has been described as going against the usual depiction of him as a noble businessman, tragically slain. Instead, and at least as he was to be incarnated by Baldwin, he’d be a tanned, ’80s businessman — which sounds exactly like one thing Baldwin has done a lot. Cullen joins a cast that already includes Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, and Deadpool 2 stand-out Zazie Beetz, on top of a lead who once fake-dropped out of the movie business to make I’m Still Here, a semi-fake documentary in which he fake-pursued a fake-rap career.