DC Comics and Warner Bros. recently confirmed Joaquin Phoenix’s casting as the Joker in Todd Philips’ origin movie, now he speaks out on why he was interested in the role and why it scares the sh*t out of him.
The rumors about Joaquin Phoenix possibly taking on the role of the Joker have been circulating since earlier this year, but those rumors were recently confirmed by Warner Bros. and filming is set to begin filming this September on the popular villain’s first origin film.
When the news first broke, there was some skepticism about the film taking place outside of the DCEU where Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman currently reign. However, there was a unique sense of agreement about the 43-year-old actor’s ability to take on the role as the Joker. With the writer and director of The Hangover Trilogy, Old School, and War Dogs set to take on the Joker origin film, fans are particularly curious about which direction the creative team will take.
Speaking with Collider, Joaquin Phoenix gave some insight on what the director was bringing to the table and how he feels about taking on such an iconic character…
“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 fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”
After commenting about the near-universal approval of him being cast as the Joker, he spoke about his eagerness to play a role just like what was offered to him with Todd Philip’s origin film.
“It’s a magnified version of what you deal with as an actor. So, when you get a script, obviously, the writer— usually for me, it’s the writer/director, last several years I’ve worked with a filmmaker that was the writer and director— and they have their expectation, and they’ve imagined things in their head, and they’ve imagined different actors, and suddenly you take it on and so there’s this moment of anxiety of ‘Did I live up to their expectations?’ And at some point you have to just own it and say like, ‘I can’t consider who they might have thought up before or what the movie was for the 6 months ago, this is what it is now and I have to find my way into it.’ And so in some ways, it’s a very similar experience, right? But it feels magnified because it’s not just one person’s expectations, but what you’re telling me is that there’s at least a dozen.”
“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 onscreen.”
As far as what kind of film they are trying to make, and what direction the creative team is allowed to take with a film outside of the DCEU, he offered some insight as to what approach they are taking…
“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre. I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real-life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”
It seems as though DC fans could be in for a thrilling experience with such a talented actor taking on the Joker. Warner Bros. recently described the film as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society that is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale,” so we can certainly expect a powerful performance.
Check back for more information on the Joker origin film as it is released!
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