The Neglected Nemeses: The Ventriloquist & Scarface
With Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy now finished, the future of the character and his place in the DC Comic film world is up for debate and has been discussed greatly. As it stands now, WB and DC plan on introducing a new version of the character in their (supposed) upcoming Justice League film that is set to release in 2015. From there, the character is expected to spin-off into his own new series of movies. That is really about all we know at this point. So, until we get more info, everything is based on pure speculation. One thing I would say, though, is that if WB were smart, they’d avoid using any rogues that were featured in Nolan’d films, especially Joker, until a bit further in the new films. Which brings me to the here and now. Previously in the Neglected Nemeses series, I highlighted Solomon Grundy, a powerhouse bad-ass that could potentially serve as a villain for a Batman film, or Superman, or Green Lantern, and I’m headed back to the land of Gotham for this installment to present to you The Ventriloquist and Scarface; a two-for-one special if you will.
As always, before I get into the why, let me talk about the who. The Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker, first appeared in Detective Comics #583 in 1988 and is the creation of Alan Grant, John Wagner and Norm Breyfogle. Arnold is a shy, quiet man who plans his criminal acts and crimes via a dummy named Scarface, who is modeled after a Capone-era gangster- pin-striped suit, Tommy gun and all. Wesker was born into a Mafia family and after seeing his mother murdered by a rival family, Wesker developed Dissociative Identity Disorder. There is also an alternate origin story for the character where Wesker is jailed after a bar fight, in which he killed someone in a wild fit of anger. While in the Blackgate Penitentiary, he is introduced to “Woody,” a dummy carved from the old gallows by his cell mate Donnegan. Woody convinces Wesker to off Donnegan and escape. In the tussle, Woody is scarred, which lead to him using the name Scarface.
In 2001’s Batman/Scarface: A Psychodrama, it is eluded that Scarface may be his own entity, rather than an alternate “personality” of Wesker. In that story, the dummy is shown to be indirectly responsible for two accidents, one of them being fatal, while separated from Wesker. Scarface also retained his speech impediment while being operated by a young boy and even showed awareness of his name during that time. In the story The Adventures of Batman which was based on the hit animated series, Wesker decides to reform himself and takes a job on a children’s show featuring puppets. There, he adopts a puppet known as Froggy. Soon after, the show is cancelled and the female star of the show, knowing Wesker’s criminal past, reunited Wesker with Scarface. When Scarface and Wesker are attempting a getaway, Froggy steps int to try and rescue Wesker, causing a car wreck and killing Froggy.
The shy Wesker always lets Scarface handle the dirty work and is constantly being bossed around by the mini-mobster. Wesker is not able to pronounce the letter “B” while throwing his voice, so he replaces it with the letter “G” (Batman becomes Gatman). Wesker’s “issues” were highlighted in Knightfall, where Scarface winds up missing and Wesker replaces him with Socko, a sock. Towards the end of the story, once Scarface is located, a stand off between Socko and Scarface occurs in which the two puppets shoot each other. This leaves Wesker unconscious and bleeding from his two wounded hands.
That last story is one of the reasons why I’d like to see this duo on screen. Ventriloquist and Scarface, with the right script, actor and director could be a very creepy and menacing villain for Batman to take on. The previously mentioned story shows how sadistic the character can be, despite his rather innocent looks. He could easily be placed in a role of power and hidden leadership; the mastermind behind the gangs and mafia families in Gotham. An interesting take may be to have Wesker & Scarface take on the Black Mask character in a battle for turf within Gotham. With Black Mask’s lack of self control and Scarface’s brutal insanity, you could potentially have a rather dark and interesting Batman film.
To portray a character like this, you need someone who is able to pull off playing two completely different people in the same film. It’s been tried before and it takes a damn fine actor to do it. I’ve seen several actors suggested for this character, including the always great Steve Buscemi and comedian Colin Mochrie. I enjoy Buscemi as an actor, but I can’t get behind him for this role. However, the actor I’d like to see take this part on has played a variety of roles including an over-protective priest/father, an alien visiting Earth and the sadistic Trinity Killer. John Lithgow is among the top actors in Hollywood, taking on a huge array of characters and owning every single one of them. He can be funny, dark and creepy all in the same scene. There is no doubt in my mind that Lithgow could take on a role like Arnold Wesker and pull it off flawlessly.
Ecksmanfan (Josh Johnson/GeekBoy) is a contributor here at Comic Book Therapy, helping readers to control the geek within. Josh is the owner and editor of GeekBoyMovieNews, your go-to website for all things related to geek movies, plus a little bit more. If you have suggestions for the next installment of The Neglected Nemeses, be sure to mention it in the comments below! You can view past installments of The Neglected Nemeses by CLICKING HERE.
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