Joker Nick Creegan Has Heroic Ambitions Off Screen

Megan Toriglia
Megan Toriglia

Yes, Nick Creegan is the first Black actor to play the Joker, but his landmark "Batwoman" role means so much more to the DC universe. Creegan spoke to POPSUGAR about the historic casting, his upcoming movie "Good Egg," and how his cofounded production company Broken Whip Media is on a mission to amplify diverse voices.

Of his casting, Creegan notes that at the time, he was only auditioning to be Marquis Jet — he didn't know the character would transform into the Joker. "I happened to wear a purple shirt [the day I auditioned]. And I just thought about it like, 'You know, everything just kind of aligns for a reason,'" he tells POPSUGAR. As a bonus, he happens to have a laugh that already suited the role (his words, not mine). "My laugh, luckily enough, was strange and crazy. I just used Nick Creegan's laugh. That's what you're hearing."

"I started thinking about other roles that a person of color had never played, and I'm like, 'Wow. It would be really dope to eventually see a Black Batman or a Luke Skywalker, or things of that nature.'"

Creegan says when he first heard he landed the part, ethnicity wasn't on his mind. "I was just shocked that I was going to be following the footsteps of these major actors like Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger," the 28-year-old actor shares. "But as the reality set in, I was like, 'Wow, there're going to be young Black and brown people and adults alike that are going to be able to dress up and do cosplay like Marquis Jet and be able to have their natural hair texture be incorporated into this outfit without having to change it for anybody or to try to be like anybody else."

The actor and former journalist's version of the Joker has purple locs, an upgraded sense of style, and no makeup. The latter aspect enabled him to show off his embodiment of the character. "It doesn't feel like a watered-down version," he says.

"I started thinking about other roles that a person of color had never played, and I'm like, 'Wow. It would be really dope to eventually see a Black Batman or a Luke Skywalker, or things of that nature.' So, it's been an honor, to say the least," Creegan adds.

Season four of the CW series has yet to be confirmed, but if we see more of Marquis Jet, Creegan says, "I don't want him to ever turn good. I want him to just be Batwoman's thorn in her side . . . I hope he just continues to grow his reign of terror. And hopefully, you can see more iconic villains team up with him next season. I hope that he recruits more and more people from Arkham and the different villains that you've seen over the years."

The actor may have evil intentions in the CW series, but his artistic and personal goals are all about forging community. Alongside his two best friends chef Kwame Onwuachi and author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Creegan colaunched production company Broken Whip Media. "We're tired of waiting on Hollywood to allow us to sit at the table. Why don't we make our own table?" he shares of the company's inspiration.

"I'm huge in believing that everything we put out into the world is important, no matter if we have influence or not. And ever since I got some influence, I was like, 'OK, I want to be able to use my platform to talk about things I care about,'" he adds. "I started out doing marches and protests during the George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery murders that took place. But then I realized that what I really want to do is create art that has to deal with these issues."

"We're tired of waiting on Hollywood to allow us to sit at the table. Why don't we make our own table?"

With Broken Whip Media, Creegan is set on making unscripted and scripted TV and films. "We hope to be able to launch our first project by the summer, which is something that Kwame and myself will be cohosting," Creegan teases.

Creegan also shares that his 2020 short film, "A Balcony in Brooklyn," was his first piece of art delving into social issues. Creegan and Gladimir Gelin were inspired by Donald Glover's 2013 short, "Clapping For the Wrong Reasons," because it provokes viewers to question what's in a dream versus reality. Through the lens of Black and brown characters, "A Balcony in Brooklyn" challenges audiences to confront their bias: "Can we agree to disagree on how we feel about everything from Black Lives Matter to wearing masks or not?"

Ultimately, Creegan says he's passionate about using his work to make a real difference, from civil rights to ocean conservation. The actor's maternal family is from Oracabessa, Jamaica, where organizations such as the GoldenEye Foundation are working to help sea turtles and create more coral reefs.

"Aside from civil rights, I really believe that healing the environment and taking care of the planet is something that all people of all creeds and nationalities need to worry about," the actor says. "My family's from Jamaica. So the GoldenEye Foundation in Oracabessa, Jamaica, where my family's from, is a cause that I truly believe in. Right now, they're helping sea turtles and creating more coral undersea. I'm trying to be a part of things of that nature."

Get used to seeing Creegan on screens big and small. He's cast in the upcoming film "Good Egg," which had its New York City screening on Feb. 17. The movie is a comedy about a woman going through in vitro fertilization, but her surrogate is actually a con artist. You'll also continue to see him on "Law & Order: Organized Crime."

The booked and busy actor has made strides since the beginning of his career. "I just want to be an artist. I want to struggle," Creegan says. "That's the path that I ended up carving." It's clearly paid off.