Mere days after the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker origin film from The Hangover and War Dogs director Todd Phillips was made official, the actor opened up about the role in a new interview with Collider. This wasn’t the first time the actor had responded to reports that he would be playing the iconic Batman villain in a standalone film, but now that Warner Bros. has signed off on it, it seems Phoenix was more than willing to discuss it. He was especially willing to point out how much the role “scares” him.
“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,” said the actor. He also claimed that he’d been thinking about doing something like this for a long time:
“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.”
Phoenix concluded by emphasizing that Phillips’ Joker movie wasn’t a “superhero movie, or a studio movie,” but something far more “unique.” Not only because of the director’s commitment to the film, but because of the pair’s desired approach. “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,” he said. “There were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied.”
Your move, Leto.