In a lot of ways Joker could be the movie that really helps define where DC is going with their movies going forward. They tried to get cinematic universe off of the ground but they missed more than they hit to the point where a Justice League movie underperformed. Now it seems like Warner Bros. is leaning more toward one-off movies compared to a cinematic universe. If Joker ends up a hit that should be all the proof that Warner Bros. needs that they should be doing one-off movies instead of a cinematic universe.
The Joker, however, is not an easy character to take on. It’s a role that chewed up and spit out Jared Leto so no one is really that surprised that people were hesitant to take on the role again. However, Joanquin Phoenix spoke to Total Film and he explained that he was hesitant to take on the role.
“It took me a while [to commit],” Phoenix tells. “Now, when I look back, I don’t understand why.”
He went on to say that he was afraid of this not working out the way he wanted and that Joker was such an iconic character. This is the role that won Heath Ledger an Oscar while also making Leto the pariah of Suicide Squad. There is no middle ground when it comes to portraying the Joker.
“There was a lot of fear, yeah,” he admits. “But I always say there’s motivating fear and debilitating fear. There’s the fear where you cannot make a fucking step, and there’s the kind where it’s like, ‘OK, what do we do? That’s not good enough.’ And you’re digging deeper and deeper. I love that kind of fear. It guides us, makes us work harder.”
Phoenix went on to explain that he often sees these types of movies, we can assume he means comic book movies, as “simplified” and that helps keep the characters at a distance. Joker, he believes, is different from other comic book movies in that it is much more character focused.
“I think oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes, and that allows for the audience to be distant from the character, just like we would do in real life, where it’s easy to label somebody as evil, and therefore say, ‘Well, I’m not that,’” he explains.
“And yet we all are guilty. We all have sinned. And I thought that here was this film, and these characters, where it wouldn’t be easy for you as an audience. There are times where you’re going to feel yourself connected to him, and rooting for him, and times when you should be repulsed by him. And I like that idea of challenging the audience, and challenging myself to explore a character like that. It’s rare to explore characters like that in any movies, but specifically in the superhero genre.”
Phoenix was an interesting choice when he was announced since he is one of those actors known for being extremely method. Director Todd Phillips revealed that this version of the Joker was written specific with Phoenix in mind.
“We wrote this script for Joaquin. It’s true,” he says. “Joaquin knows it. Half the reason we wanted to even attempt writing it was, ‘Man, imagine if we get Joaquin. Think of what we could do.’ The goal was never to introduce Joaquin Phoenix into the comic book movie universe. The goal was to introduce comic book movies into the Joaquin Phoenix universe.”
This is going to be an interesting movie one way or another. The people involved from the actors to the director to the producer seem to promise that this is going to be movie worth seeing whether it entirely works or not. There is a very good chance that Joker could be bad, it could be great, but with these people involved one thing it won’t be is boring.
Summary: A failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic murderer.
Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, will star Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham. It will be released on October 4th, 2019.