There’s a New Joker in Town

by The Cowl Editor on October 4, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Joaquin Phoenix Brings New Perspective to DC’s Popular Villain

by: Madeline Weaver-Nolting ’19 A&E Staff

Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

One of the darkest villains of all time is about to get his own movie. Actor Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in the Warner Bros. newest film, Joker. With big shoes to fill, including Jack Nicolson and the late Heath Ledger, there is a lot of pressure on Phoenix to fulfill the iconic role. The DC Universe movie is also very important to the DC franchise because it is one of the first stand-alone movies that does not intersect with the rest of the DC Universe. If Joker does well, DC may shift its focus towards making stand-alone movies. 

The movie is supposed to be an origin story about the Joker. Warner Bros. describes the movie as “an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” The Joker has been in several Batman movies and in Suicide Squad, but this is the first time that he has ever been featured in his own movie.  Now, fans will gain insight into how he became one of the most disturbing and diabolical masterminds in cinematic history. 

Audiences will see how the Joker became the Joker. Instead of running away from the darkness, Joker is said to embrace it. CinemaBlend says, “This version of Joker is originally about a man named Arthur Fleck, who is reportedly a stand-up comedian that turns to a life of crime after being ostracized by society.” This is a different Joker than ever shown before. The face paint is different, but more sinister than it has been in the past. With white face paint and blue triangles around the eyes, the new makeup resembles that worn by real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Besides the makeup change, Phoenix will bring another unique portrayal of the Joker to life. The Observer stated, “Cesar Romero turned him into an innocuous jester; Jack Nicholson made him a jubilant gangster; Heath Ledger painted him as a cunning anarchist; Leto rendered him an outright psychopath.” 

The character has been said to be cursed because some of the actors have experienced weird occurrences after playing the role. Apparently, the role has even had an impact on the mental health of the actors. Ledger took the portrayal so seriously that he isolated himself before filming to try to get in the mindset of the murderous character and would only get two hours of sleep per night. When Leto was filming his movie, he supposedly sent his castmates dead animals among other things.  

Also interesting is the selection of the director for Joker. Todd Phillips is new to the superhero universe. He has only made comedies such as The Hangover trilogy and Old School. This could bring a very different perspective that incorporates humor into the Joker’s dark personality.