Ever since director Todd Phillips began (back in April) teasing Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker look in Warner Bros.’ supervillain origin story, comic book fans have been captivated. Each further reveal, including a majestic trailer, piles more promise upon promise, and the ghost of Heath Ledger might actually see a rival performance threaten his twisted crown, if the first award for Phoenix and the film’s Oscar buzz are any indication of what’s to come.
That brings us to a new interview (ahead of the movie’s competition at the Venice Film Festival) with Il Vernerdi magazine (an offshoot of the La Repubblica newspaper), to which Phoenix got real about the laugh he used to signal Arthur Fleck’s transformation into a supervillain. Comic Book Resource did the translation legwork. “I started [with the laugh],” the three-time Oscar nominee admitted. “I watched videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably.”
Well, it sounds like Phoenix found roots in reality, which is fitting for a comic-book movie that evokes more than a whiff of Taxi Driver and appears to be gritty in a good way, not in a Zack Snyder sort of way. Hopefully, we’ll see a second trailer soon because there’s been nothing but praise so far from the few lucky festival organizers who’ve screened the movie with TIFF co-head Cameron Bailey calling Joker “a cinematic achievement on a high level.”
Joker will put on a happy face at both TIFF and the Venice Film Festival before arriving in theaters on October 4.