It’s no secret that American superhero movies are currently big news in Japan. Marvel and DC are both marketing their hits overseas, with films like Doctor Strange becoming massive hits in the international market. And one part of these Japanese releases is getting just the right dub cast.
When it came time to cast Jared Leto’s Joker, the producers went to an old hand at voice acting: Takehito Koyasu. If you don’t already know him by name, I can still promise you’ve heard him before. Touga in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Dio in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. That one hot teacher in Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side. The list goes on. He’s one of the most prolific voice actors in modern anime.
Koyasu’s roles tend to skew toward villains and pretty boys, so picking him for Jared Leto’s Joker was hardly a surprise. (Granted, this meant he didn’t get much screen time.) And so when it came time to cast The LEGO Batman Movie, producers returned to him, saying they were hoping for a repeat performance.
What they got was even better.
Rather than repeat his Suicide Squad performance, Koyasu took the time to study Zach Galifianakis’s take on the character and completely overhaul his portrayal of the legendary villain. After all, there are many different takes on the Joker — and even if the producers would have been fine with him doing what he’d done before, he wanted to make it just right.
…The producers were overjoyed with Koyasu’s second version of the Joker, too.
Did we mention? The dub also starred Miyuki Sawashiro as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl; Sawashiro was also Enchantress in Suicide Squad.
In Japan, it’s not uncommon to see a voice actor become the “official” dub voice of certain overseas actors. But in superhero franchises where actors change out — and the actors influence the portrayal — it’s interesting to see the same voice actors constantly reinvent themselves for 1 role!