The Neglected Nemeses: Jane Doe
Now that Christopher Nolan has brought his trilogy to a close, we look to the future, which, whther you like it or not, sees Ben Affleck starring as the Dark Knight. The newly rebooted character will make his first appearence in Zack Snyder’s upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. From there, it can be expected that Affleck will continue in a new series of films. But if I could go back to Nolan’s films for a bit, I’d like to point out that one fo the things I enjoyed so much about his films were the villains he chose. With the exception of Joker and Catwoman (villain?), these characters, more specifically, these versions of the characters, are quite unfamiliar to the general movie goer. When we see the new franchise take off, I’d like to see that trend continue, as it tends to keep things fresh and new. Having said that, I’d like to introduce you to Jane Doe. Admittedly, Jane is quite obscure and not well known character, but her potential for a film character is immense. She’s not so much a physical threat as some of Batman’s other rogues, but she is no less formidable and would bring an entirely new direction for a Batman villain.
Jane Doe made her first appearance on the pages of Arkham Asylum: Living Hell as an inmate in the infamous institution. She is a known and admitted serial killer whose modus operandi is as twisted as they come. Doe would observe, monitor and watch her victims, getting to know every little nuance that makes them unique. Eventually, she would kill them and take over their identity in every aspect. Her purpose behind this is to find the perfect fit. Jane said it best herself: “Jane is a cipher, she’s incomplete, her life is empty, so she covets the lives of others. She takes their lives so she can have their lives.” Doe does not limit her victims to any particular gender, lifestyle or occupation; as long as she can take over the mental functions of her victims.
Doe, having assumed the identity of Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Anne Carver, began giving evaluations to her fellow inmates, which didn’t last long, as she was defeated by the always observant Batman. The Dark Knight did so before she could take on the identity of billionaire Warren White. Later on in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, Doe was successful in locking White in Mr. Freeze’s sub-zero temperature cell, where his skin became bleached and he lost his ears, nose and lips, forever transforming him into the Great White Shark. Later on, after escaping, White strips Doe of her identity. More recently, Jane Doe, along with Firefly, is commissioned by Black Mask to take out the new District Attorney.
Jane has also had a run-in with Hush in the House of Hush story line. While the courts were debating whether or not Two-Face was mentally capable of standing trial, Kate Spencer, a/k/a Manhunter, has a discussion with Jane, offering her a deal that if she testifies against Dent and his insanity plea, Doe’s sentence would be reduced to life imprisonment, rather than the death penalty she currently faced. Doe delayed her decision due to the fact that Dent had also visited Doe, where a separate offer was laid out. However, Doe is also visited by Hush, who is wearing the guise of Bruce Wayne. Hush convinces the Arkham parole board to release Doe so that he can utilize her in a plan to take down Batman. But knowing how Hush repays his allies, Doe quickly escapes.
As it turns out, Jane Doe had killed Jeffrey Carter, Hush’s impending hostage that he would use against Batman. Jane figured that if she posed as Carter then she would be captured thus allowing her to get close to Hush and steal Hush’s persona as Bruce Wayne. Jane’s plan was to become Bruce Wayne and take control of a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, Batman arrives and puts an end to her plan. On the bright side, Jane maimed Hush’s face so severely that Hush could no longer pose as Bruce Wayne ever again or anyone for that matter.
As you can see, Doe is a relative newcomer to the comic book world, so her past is not very deep, but this could basically provide for a blank canvas for a film maker. With a psychotic character like this, there are numerous directions you could go, delving into various types of back stories and histories. History aside, one of the best things about the Jane Doe character is that you could have multiple actors and actresses play the role, with each person giving us a brand new version of Jane, and different levels of psychosis. Think The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with a shot of Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman.
But we need an actress to play the Jane Doe, the original, and needless to say, there is a veritable buffet of talented actresses out there who could do wonders with a role like this. My mind instantly went to Meryl Streep, who is easily one of the most talented actors of our time. But I dare say she is too old for the role. The next actress to come to mind is Britney Murphy, who has played several characters who are a tad left of normal (yes, I agree she would be the perfect Harley Quinn). Of course, she left us several years ago, and far too soon if you ask me. So who does that leave us with? A while back, a film titled Drive hit theaters, a dark, gritty drama that starred Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Both of the lead actors were incredible to watch and I can’t help but think that Mulligan would be a great fit for the role of Jane Doe. Mulligan has also had roles in the critically acclaimed An Education, as well as Brothers, Public Enemies and Never Let Me Go. She recently starred in The Great Gatsby with Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Mulligan is a gifted actress who has a very bright future ahead of her. Granted, a role like this would be a bit out of the norm for her, but that is when most actors shine; when they are out of their element.
On a side note, I’d be perfectly fine if Jane Doe happened to show up in a new Batman trilogy based on the Arkham Asylum video games…just sayin’.