Here’s How The Director Of ‘Joker’ Convinced Joaquin Phoenix To Take On The Iconic Role


Warner Bros.

Despite being one of the best American actors working today, three-time Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix is something of an enigma, as he not only largely appears in prestige dramas and indie films, but has yet to cash in with a big budget Blockbuster as some many A-listers have before him.

That’s all set to change in a couple of weeks, though, when Joker — which is being heralded as a “game-changer” in the comic book movie industry, hits theaters.

Now, to be clear, while Joker is *far* from the usual big-budget superhero films that we’re used to — the $55 million used to make Joker is a fraction of the usual comic book movie budget — it still represents a career moment for Phoenix, as it’s really the first time he’s waded into blockbuster terriotry.

And according to Joker director Todd Phillips, Phoenix wasn’t necessarily an easy sell, as The Hangover director had to put in quite a bit of leg work to get the actor on board:

“I was going to his house, basically begging him to do the movie. I go, ‘So I keep coming up here every day. At some point you, you gotta say are you in or out.’ And he said, ‘That’s not how you do it,’ Phillips said at the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Nabbing Phoenix for the Clown Prince of Crime was certainly a coup for Phillips, as his performance, and the film itself, has since racked up a seemingly endless stream of glowing reviews.

Joker — which will be released in theaters on Friday, October 4 — is beginning to look like a serious award season contender.


Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him:

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