Superhero films remain some of the hottest tickets at the box office, despite a down economy. People are anxiously awaiting films such as The Green Lantern or Iron Man 2. And let us not forget the ever-popular Batman films from director Christopher Nolan, whose harsh realism and gritty take on the masked hero has endeared Batman to new generations. But what is a superhero without a supervillain or, more importantly, a supervillainess?
Which brings us to Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is the paramour of The Joker, a vivacious blonde who is a good-natured ditz who means well. She's always seeking to impress The Joker but usually ends up violently upsetting him. Where The Joker seems to maintain real control over his minions, Quinn is another case altogether. Formerly Dr. Harleen Quinzel, before her encounter with The Joker in Arkham Asylum, the character of Harley Quinn was first created in 1992. Harley Quinn remains one of the most enjoyable characters in the DC universe despite her unfortunate relationship with The Joker; she's absolutely enamored with him and would do anything he asked of her. Though they frequently fight, and he can be often quite abusive to her, they make up just as often and she has become his most well-known sidekick.
Sadly, the death of Heath Ledger makes The Joker's appearance in any future Christopher Nolan films likely impossible, though there's a chance Harley Quinn may make an appearance without The Joker. One can only imagine what Nolan's realistic take on the Batman saga would have brought to the character of Quinn, a dark, brooding woman who was just as cruel and relentlessly insane as Ledger's Joker. Unpredictable and wholly without compassion -- it could have been magical. However, daydreams aside, if a studio is going to make a stand-alone movie about Harley Quinn, then they would almost certainly turn the comic book Mad Love into a full-length film, as it is the most popular and complete Quinn story.
Casting Harley is a delicate matter; one must balance the absolute insanity with a bubbly character, a beautiful face with the madness that lingers behind it. There's something almost sweet and charming about the kind of devotion that Quinn showcases, so different from many of her fellow Batman villainess. Can I just take a moment to make an impassioned plea for a Gotham Girls movie of some sort? Of course there was the short-lived series Birds of Prey, but nothing that really fulfills the promise of Catwoman, Batgirl, Poison Ivy (Harley's best friend and frequent collaborator), The Question, Harley Quinn, and all the others. Think about it: Marion Cotillard as Catwoman? How about Eva Green as Poison Ivy? The women of the Gotham skyline deserve their own film.
But let us return to the problem at hand. Harley Quinn is funny, sexy, ridiculous as can be, and it's high time that she got her own movie or at least a shot at Christopher Nolan's next film.
5. Hayden Panettiere
One major deterrent to Panettiere taking on the role is how young she looks, and the probability that she would be unlikely to carry an entire feature film on her own. Hayden Panettiere could play both sides of Harley's character, both the effervescent silly-kins as well as the cold-blooded killer seeking to impress The Joker time and again. Perhaps if she were cast, the film could focus in on the early years of The Joker and Harley, the first few tumultuous crime sprees and the idiocy of young love. Panettiere would likely be thrilled to work a physically demanding role with plenty of acrobatics and excitement, and she's cute enough to work the latex bodysuit angle.
4. Lily Cole
Last seen in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Lily Cole is beginning to make her mark as an actor, though she started out as more of a model. The redhead is currently studying Art History at Cambridge and is also only 21! With her heart-shaped face and striking features, it's easy to imagine Cole filling the role of Quinn with ease. But could she be zany enough? Only time will tell if her film career continues to bring her as much fame as her modeling career did, and with such a background we can only imagine the outlandish costuming choices.
3. Zooey Deschanel
The dark-haired beauty is becoming more popular by the month, if her recent film 500 Days of Summer is any indication. It's a pity she's been cast so frequently as the tender object of affection, because it's surprisingly easy to picture Deschanel playing the role wide-eyed and creepy. Though Christopher Nolan would have to endure scores of naysayers should he cast Deschanel in an upcoming Batman film, he might just be the director to pull a solid performance out of her and create a lasting vision of a darker kind of Harley Quinn.
2. Anna Faris
Faris seems an obvious choice with her signature blonde locks and an arsenal of goofy films behind her such as The House Bunny. Faris may be the perfect-looking actress to play Quinn, as she looks a great deal like the comic interpretation: tons of blonde hair, large doe-like eyes, pouty mouth. But looks are certainly not everything. Faris, an experienced comedic actress, would easily tune into the ludicrous bumbling of the lovably dim villainess. And, it's certainly possible that Faris could handle an entire stand-alone feature film without losing control of the situation.
1. Jayma Mays
Currently playing a guidance counselor on the TV show Glee, Jayma Mays is the number one choice for the role. Mays isn't as well known as the rest of the list as she's mainly made guest appearances on various American television shows, but that could work in her advantage since there wouldn't be many pre-concieved ideas of how she might play Quinn. Plus, she's got it all: a sly self-awareness, the perfect figure and face, and she's the proper age for the role. In her capable hands, Quinn could come to life as the harebrained murderous babe she is, through and through.
(Special thanks to Jonathan Olson and Heather Anne Hogan for their invaluable consultation.)
Now you decide...