Joaquin Phoenix officially signed on to play The Joker in an origin movie earlier this week. Phoenix was coy when asked about the project in the past, pretending to have no idea what the interviewer was talking about. But now he’s talking much more openly about it.
Collider asked Phoenix how he got involved with The Joker and if he was nervous to play such an iconic character. Phoenix admitted that the movie scares him, but maybe that’s part of what attracted him to the role.
“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always,” Phoenix explained. “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.”
Funny enough, Phoenix suggested a movie like The Joker to his agent a few years ago. So he was very interested when he learned that director Todd Phillips was working on something like it.
“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.”
Lastly, Phoenix explained that The Joker won’t be like any other superhero movie you’ve seen.
“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 then 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.”
Phoenix will start shooting The Joker in New York City in September. A release date hasn’t been set yet.
Are you excited to see a movie like The Joker? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks to Batman News reader Gary for the heads up!