Creating Joker’s Gotham

As Batman’s arch-enemy Joker steals the limelight with his own origin film, CR speaks to Production Designer Mark Friedberg about reimagining one of the comic world’s most recognisable cityscapes

Even if you’re not a comic book fanatic, chances are you’ll be aware of one of the comic world’s most notorious villains, Joker. Best known for being Batman’s nemesis, the clown-faced character has traditionally been portrayed as a psychopath with no superpowers but a sadistic sense of humour and a penchant for weapons including razor-tipped playing cards and acid-spraying lapel flowers.

Our ongoing obsession with superhero movies has also broadened the influence of their villainous counterparts in popular culture. This is particularly true in the Joker’s case, with the character being played by Hollywood heavyweights including Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman and the late Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 adaption The Dark Knight, which made ‘why so serious?’ one of the most quotable lines in film history.