Despite the worry over doing a movie based on Batman’s greatest villain that does not take place in the DCEU proper, and the future implications if DC/ Warner Bros decides to start making all of their movies “stand alone” in the same way, fans are still very excited to see Joaquin Phoenix step into the role of the Joker for the new movie. The man has proven to have exceptional acting chops, especially when it comes to interesting and unique takes on characters in stories that make you think, and clearly this ‘Joker’ movie is going to do that. Recently, Collider had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Phoenix a little bit about the upcoming film, and the actor shared a few tidbits about the road to the ‘Joker’ movie, including why he was basically on board from the minute he heard about it.
Turns out, the whole concept of doing a movie based on a comic-book character as a smaller, kind of character piece, was something that Phoenix has been thinking about for a few years now:
“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.”
When asked if he was nervous about taking on an iconic character who had been portrayed so well on the big screen before, Phoenix replied:
“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.”
When asked what he thought about the fan excitement about him taking on the role, Phoenix stated:
“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.”
I am definitely looking forward to seeing Phoenix’s take on the character, and cannot wait to see this movie come out! Are you? Do you think it will survive the current shake-ups over at Warner Bros/ DC? Does it have more of a chance because it is not connected to the failing DCEU proper? Share your thoughts below!