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Wanted: HARLEY QUINN
Author: Cary Ashby
Sunday, February 25, 2007

Now that Chris Nolan has cast Aaron Eckhart as Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent -- bring on The Joker's girlfriend!

There is no doubt Harley Quinn should be in The Dark Knight. After all, the character was so popular after her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series that seven years later, DC Comics made the unusual move of inserting Harley into its official universe. The Joker's voluptuous partner-in-crime also starred in her own short-lived series.

Consider these The Dark Knight storyline scenarios:

Dent and Lt. Jim Gordon could hire psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel to do a case study on The Joker, who is on the run. The case study is done in hopes that "Gotham's Big Three" (Batman, Dent and Gordon) will better understand the psychotic murderer, warn the public about how dangerous The Joker is and help Batman and Co. bring him to justice.

Unfortunately, Quinzel falls in love with the super villain. Her obsession goes so far that she dons a red and black harlequin jester costume and calls herself Harley Quinn to fight authorities alongside "Mr. J," her "Puddin'."

OR...Dent and Gordon use Quinzel as an expert while hunting for The Joker. "Mr. J" meets the psychiatrist after being captured in a creepy scene at the end of TDK, with lots of Silence of the Lambs-like sexual tension and foreshadowing.

Quinzel's story picks up in the third film where she is evaluating The Joker's mental state to see if he's fit to stand trial. The villain seduces her, making the enamored psychiatrist believe he is being unjustifiably imprisoned, and she starts her life of crime. This would be a huge subplot to the theme of "good people going bad" surrounding Dent, now Two Face.

Now, let's play the casting game!

Cameron Diaz, with her goofy laugh and bubbly charisma, would be perfect, but I also could envision Jenny McCarthy because of her zany personality. (Both would do a fine job of, er, filling out Harley's skintight costume.) Reese Witherspoon and Kate Hudson would make equally endearing Harleys, but they would need to embody the character's psychotic edge.

Sounds ridiculous?

In late January, the movie Web site Latino Review contended that Nolan and his crew are hoping to cast an "Elizabeth Pena type" to be a "female Latin cop in her 30s." That sounds too much like Gotham Police Officer Renee Montoya to be a coincidence - yet another animated character who later was introduced to the Batman comics.

BOF contributor Cary Ashby writes a twice-monthly comic book column for the "Norwalk Reflector." He is the newspaper’s crime reporter. Cary has an extensive collection of Batman comics and has been an avid fan for nearly 30 years. He can be reached via e-mail at ashby@goreflector.com.

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