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Joker Can't Help Itself, Casts Young Bruce Wayne

Actor Dante Pereira-Olson on the Syfy show Happy. He’s now happy to report he’s playing a young Batman.
Actor Dante Pereira-Olson on the Syfy show Happy. He’s now happy to report he’s playing a young Batman.
Photo: Syfy

Todd Phillips’ Joker movie may be focused on the origin of the Clown Prince of Gotham, but it’s gonna touch on the Dark Knight too. Because of course it is.


ComicBook first reported, and io9 has confirmed, that young actor Dante Pereira-Olson (Happy) has been cast as Bruce Wayne—the boy who will grow up to become Batman—in the film. He’ll appear alongside the previously announced role of Thomas Wayne, played by Brett Cullen, and Douglas Hodge as their butler, Alfred Pennyworth, which was also revealed by ComicBook.

On one hand, this move makes sense. By putting the Waynes in there, you give audiences a nice, recognizable, center point for where this movie takes place in an overall comic book timeline (i.e., before Bruce’s parents died). There’s also the opportunity to potentially create a link between Joker and Bruce which could play out later.


On the other hand though, are they serious? If you are making a Joker movie that is supposed to distance itself from the rest of the DC films and really dig into how a person can become as maniacal as Joker, the last character you want in there is Bruce Wayne. He’s too famous and takes the focus away too easily.

Hopefully, it’s just a super duper brief cameo and not a crucial role. That seems possible since filming has been ongoing and this casting was just revealed. However, you can’t really go by that either. More likely than not, the role was cast a while ago and is just now leaking. Either way, whether this is a major role or “wink wink” cameo, there’s no doubt it’s a piece of casting fans will have fun debating.

Joker, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, and Robert De Niro, will be released October 4, 2019.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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What is this? I just don’t understand. This kid is like 10. Joaquin Phoenix is like 50. How does this work?