Jack Nicholson made him a Prince-loving art vandal, Mark Hamill played him as a cackling (but lovable!) lunatic, Heath Ledger amplified his more disturbing tendencies, and also there was Jared “Damaged” Leto. How will Joaquin Phoenix play the Joker, one of the most iconic villains in both comic book and movie history? We’ll find out in Joker, Todd Phillips’ origin story about how stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck becomes the Clown Prince of Crime. Based on the teaser trailer above, it will look a lot like Taxi Driver, but with more makeup.
Marc Maron, who will presumably ask the Joker who “his guys” are, has said that the film is a “character study of a mentally ill person that becomes the Joker. It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope.” That’s apparent in the trailer, which shows (an upsettingly thin) Fleck getting harassed by Gotham hooligans and subway riders alike, visiting Arkham State Hospital, causing chaos, and asking, “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” (if you have to ask, it’s you). Also, he does this, which is terrifying.
Phoenix is already the scariest Joker. Joker, which also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham, opens on October 4.