Ever since The Dark Knight, there has been a lot of pressure for actors to live up to Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker. Jared Leto kind of tried and failed with Suicide Squad, and now there are a lot of people expecting a lot from Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. What’s interesting is, director Todd Phillips cites a very distinct difference between Ledger’s Joker and Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck.
During a press conference after the premiere of Joker at the Venice Film Festival, Phillips explained:
“I don’t think it was this Joker’s goal to watch the world burn. This Joker had an entirely different goal in mind… In the beginning of the movie he’s sitting here doing this [forcing himself to smile and frown] in the very first scene, and it’s a guy searching for identity.”
While Ledger’s Joker is very meticulous and deliberate when it comes to his actions, it seems that Phoenix’s Joker is merely rolling with the punches—both metaphorically and literally. It seems that he becomes the Clown Prince of Crime out of coincidence, and he just ends up embracing the character because it gives him what he truly wants—acceptance.
Phillips goes on to say:
“He thought he was put here on this Earth to make people laugh and bring joy to the world, and he made a few bad decisions along the way, but no, his goal was not that… I think he became a mistaken leader, so to speak, or a symbol. Even [Robert] De Niro, [who plays] Murray [Franklin], says it to him. And Arthur says, ‘No, I’m not political.’ He just didn’t get what he was creating.”
There has been a lot of hype for the release of Joker, and everyone who’s seen the film can’t stop raving about it online. From an 8-minute standing ovation to rumors of Oscar noms, it looks like Joker is going to be an interesting entry for DC this time around.
Catch it when it hits cinemas Oct. 4.