With September just two weeks out (seriously, 2019 has been a blur), we’re now about a month-and-a-half away from the release of Joker, the Joaquin Phoenix-starring “gritty” solo film about the world’s most iconic comic book villain.
Not attached to the DCEU, Joker is the first Warner Bros. film in a series of one-off projects that are intended to “deemphasize the shared nature of its DC-based film franchise”, which — given the shocking failure that was Justice League — seems like a wise decision.
The film was made for just $55 million, which is considered to be a fraction of the average modern-day superhero flick — a detail that reportedly attracted three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix to the project, as he’s always been interested in a “lower budget character study” about a character like the Clown Prince of Crime.
And while I was initially leading the crusade against a Joker “origin” story, I’ve since done a complete 180, as both the genuinely haunting trailer and comments from those involved with the project (specifically, director Todd Phillips) have eased my concerns that they’re betraying the very nature of the Joker with an origin film.
Plus, if there’s anyone in Hollywood that can possibly attempt to fill Heath Ledger’s massive shoes (yes, I’m pretending Jared Leto’s version doesn’t exist — I suggest you do the same), it’s Joaquin Phoenix.
In fact, Phoenix himself recently provided insight into how he’s made the character his own, including how he crafted his own version of the Joker’s iconic cackle.
“I started [with the laugh],” Phoenix explained. “I watched videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably.” [Il Vernerdi magazine via Comic Book Resource]
Joker, which features Phoenix as failed comedian Arthur Fleck in the 1981 Gotham City, also stars Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, and Frances Conroy.
‘Joker’ is set to be released in theaters in the United States on Friday, October 4.