Joaquin Phoenix may have just delivered the performance of his life in the new Joker. Watch the first teaser trailer here.
The Joker is Batman’s very first nemesis, debuting with the Dark Knight himself in the very first issue of the comic book title Batman on April 25, 1940. From an acting standpoint, the Joker is a challenging role, with every actor from Cesar Romero (who wore the makeup over the moustache he had refused to shave off) to Jared Lito each bringing their own interpretation of the character to the screen. With this new take on the origin story of the Clown Prince of Crime, Joaquin Phoenix may just have delivered the performance of his life.
Joker is set in Gotham City in 1981. The classical origin of the Joker as an already troubled man falling into a vat of chemicals is discarded. Instead, Phoenix stars a standup comedian named Arthur Fleck, a man with bright ambitions but a dark pattern of failure. In the teaser, we watch as Arthur’s joy is literally beaten out of him. A rare few of us come out of a chain of experiences like that and rise to the challenge. Fewer still rise with rage, and that’s one of the genesis points of pure evil. This signature note that appears to define Phoenix’s performance. It is a tragedy, and we are witness to Fleck’s decent into violent madness.
The supporting cast includes Robert De Niro as a talk show host who factors into Arthur’s psychological downfall and Zazie Beetz (she played Domino in Deadpool 2) as Arthur’s love interest. Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, and Marc Maron also co-star.
Joker is a stand-alone film, not tying directly into any of the DCEU plotlines. It makes its screen debut on October 4, 2019.