Joaquin Phoenix was recently confirmed to play the Joker in a Warner Bros and DC movie exploring the origins of one of the most famous baddies in pop culture. The film would be under a banner that is separate from the DC film universe, in which Jared Leto will continue to play the role of Clown Prince of Crime for the time being
The role of the Joker is challenging for anyone, even for Joaquin Phoenix who in his already glittering career has shown amazing versatility. Phoenix admitted that he is scared while speaking to Collider. “I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project. It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the f**ing shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most,” he said.
Actors like Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill (through his voice in video-games and animated series and movies) have previously slipped into the Joker’s grubby clothes and have given distinct vibes to the character. For instance, Heath Ledger’s sinister agent of chaos is vastly different from Mark Hamill’s perpetually grinning clown and Jack Nicholson’s dark yet fun take on the DC Comics character.
In an answer to another question, Phoenix hinted that the Todd Phillips directorial would be a character study, and less of a comic-book action flick that routinely come out of Marvel and DC’s own stables. The budget is set to be around 55 million dollars, excluding, I suppose, promotion and marketing costs. Which is actually great and not at all a deal-breaker as the first Deadpool film was also reportedly shot at around 57 million dollars and turned out to be a solid film.
Phoenix said, “Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done.’ So I was trying to think of other characters, and he said ‘I’ll set up a general meeting with Warner Bros.’ And I said ‘I’m not gonna go, I can’t go to a general meeting.’ So I completely forgot about it, and so then I heard about this idea, I was like, ‘Oh that’s so exciting, that’s the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character.’ I felt like you could get something on screen.”