Joaquin Phoenix is finally opening up about taking on one of the most iconic super villains of all time. Up until this week Phoenix had been fairly coy about rumors of him stepping into the character. Warner Bros officially announced that they would be producing a separate Joker Origin film, which would be a lower budget character driven crime drama film, focusing on a man who is “disregarded by society.” The movie is said to be a cautionary tale.
Phoenix recently opened up, and spoke about how he landed the role and his process in moving forward to make the film great:
“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. 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 f*cking sh*t out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”
Phoenix was also asked if he had seen fan response to his casting and if he felt doubled pressure from what the studio was looking for in the character:
“It’s a magnified version of what you deal with as an actor. So, when you get a script, obviously, the writer- usually for me, it’s the writer/director, last several years I’ve worked with a filmmaker that was the writer and director- and they have their expectation, and they’ve imagined things in their head, and they’ve imagined different actors, and suddenly you take it on and so there’s this moment of anxiety of Did I live up to their expectations? And at some point you have to just own it and say like, I can’t consider who they might have thought up before or what the movie was for the 6 months ago, this is what it is now and I have to find my way into it. And so in some ways it’s a very similar experience, right? But it feels magnified because it’s not just one person’s expectations, but what you’re telling me is that there’s at least a dozen.”
When asked what type of project the Joker movie would be, Phoenix said that you couldn’t quite classify it:
“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 than 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 even went on further to hint that he had actually had an idea to do a project similar to this one. He wanted to make a lower budget character study of a comic villain:
“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.”
Stay tuned for more news to come, as this project ramps up. I sound like Phoenix and Director Todd Phillips are heading in the right direction and both have a clear picture as to how they want the film to unfold.