Joker movie trailer screen shot
Warner Bros

Director Todd Phillips is making quite a few changes to the Clown Prince of Crime in ‘Joker’ and one of them will be that the character will be grounded by real-life mental issues. Actor Joaquin Phoenix previously stated that for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck he researched the condition of Pathological Laughter or Crying to be what Fleck suffers from which is a real issue some people face.

If you’re unsure as to the condition it is described by the Mayo Clinic as:

The cardinal feature of the disorder is a pathologically lowered threshold for exhibiting the behavioral response of laughter, crying, or both. An affected individual exhibits episodes of laughter and/or crying without an apparent motivating stimulus or in response to stimuli that would not have elicited such an emotional response before the onset of their underlying neurologic disorder. In some patients, the emotional response is exaggerated in intensity but is provoked by a stimulus with an emotional valence congruent with the character of the emotional display.


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This came to be what Fleck suffers from while research was being done for the film. At an early screening of ‘Joker’ which included a Q&A with Phillips, he shared:

“We researched it, and we studied that. Quite frankly, that laugh could be [a symptom]. People are afflicted in different ways. Some people cry from this, and some people laugh. And it’s always at the wrong moment, and it’s really painful. What we discovered was, it happens from head trauma as a young person, or even older. And it happens from MS. We didn’t necessarily want to give Joker/Arthur MS, so we went with this head trauma thing.

The movie, in every way, tries to be grounded in reality as much as possible. I mean, it still has a foot in the comic book world, for sure. But we just kept thinking, “Let’s put everything through a realistic lens.” Why does he have a white face? Well, we’re going to drop him in acid. I don’t know how real that – while it’s amazing in the comic books, and Jack Nicholson and all that – it doesn’t feel very real that that would happen if you fell into a vat of acid. So, let’s come up with a realistic answer for everything. And that was one for the laugh. So, yeah, we researched it. Does that make sense?”

So, the idea to go this route was for realism instead of the comic and 1989 ‘Batman’ origin of the character.

Do you have high hopes for the upcoming release of ‘Joker’? Are you glad that they are trying to ground the Clown Prince of Crime in actual real-life mental issues? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Forever alone in a crowd, Arthur Fleck seeks connection. Yet, as he trods the sooted Gotham City streets and rides the graffitied mass transit rails of a hostile town teeming with division and dissatisfaction, Arthur wears two masks. One, he paints on for his day job as a clown. The other he can never remove; it’s the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel he’s a part of the world around him and not the misunderstood man whom life is repeatedly beating down. Fatherless, Arthur has a fragile mother, arguably his best friend, who nicknamed him Happy, a moniker that’s fostered in Arthur a smile that hides the heartache beneath. But, when bullied by teens on the streets, taunted by suits on the subway, or simply teased by his fellow clowns at work, this social outlier only becomes even more out of sync with everyone around him.

‘Joker’ will be laughing into your local theater on October 4th, 2019!


Source: Screen Rant