There are two sides to every coin. There are countless sides to a role. Two actors will never portray the same role exactly the same way. A director chooses actors based on what his script calls for. Due to writing and simple choices by the actor, no two films will ever have the same exact portrayal of one character.
The character of Harvey Dent has two personalities. On one side of his face, he is the handsome and intelligent district attorney of Gotham City. on the opposite side of his face, he is mangled and disfigured. Harvey Dent and Two-Face are one in the same yet vastly different.
The portrayal of two different personalities can be difficult. An actor must establish the difference in the two sides and also pull them together as one being. This means the actor will be playing two roles at once. Not just anyone can pull this off.
The first time we saw Two-Face on the big screen was in 1995’s Batman Forever. While Bruce Wayne is struggling to find a middle ground between being Bruce Wayne and Batman, Harvey Dent is the split ego gone wrong. Tommy Lee Jones portrays a slightly campy and rather deranged Two-Face. His character is true to the faith he has in his coin and flips it to make decisions. The main problem with Jones’ Two-Face is that he was not given enough time to show the Harvey Dent side of his personality.
Harvey Dent is an important piece of the character. Aside from a few lines from Dent, the movie mostly sees the wild and evil side do the character’s bidding. This is not the same for the next man to take the reigns as Two-Face on the big screen.
Aaron Eckhart would portray Gotham’s white knight in 2008’s The Dark Knight. For over one-half of the film, Harvey Dent is very much a normal man. He is fighting to fix the problems in Gotham until one of the Joker’s evil plans scars Dent for life. Dent is now obsessed with things being fair and flips his coin to decide for him.
This portrayal gave the actor enough time to build up the Harvey Dent character so we had a better idea of why he was so angry and evil. The film may have made Two-Face a bit too serious. Two-Face has typically always had a crazy side that just didn’t show in this film.
When given two roles to play at once, the actor is faced with a difficult task. Both of these men made the role special in their own ways but fell short of delivering a perfect portrayal. Both actors will be remembered for their work as Two-Face and only time will tell who will try their hand at fate next.