In recent years, the Joker has been played by, among others, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, and Zach Galifianakis, along with dozens of voice actors on various DC shows (the “Joker in other media” Wikipedia page might drive you literally insane). So, does the world really need a new spin on the Clown Prince of Crime? No… unless, he’s played by Joaquin Phoenix. Joker looks very good, way better than a Joker origin story should look (especially one from the guy behind The Hangover Part III), but how will Phoenix’s interpretation of “Mr. J” differentiate itself from all the other Jokers? Brian Tyree Henry has an answer.
“I think it’s going to be very different because it really goes into just the origin story. Villains are never born that way, they’re made,” the Atlanta star explained to the Observer. “There’s something that happens in their lives that they give up their faith in humanity; they see the flaws of humanity and mankind and feel like they must correct it. And what happens with Joker is you start to see how he really was a happy person. He really was trying to find this… hope in humanity until it broke him down and he just had to give up and reshape it.”
It sounds like Phoenix’s “Arthur Fleck” will be more sympathetic than previous Jokers, whose origin stories are either unknown or told by an unreliable narrator. Tyree Henry also revealed that “there’s going to be a connection [made] about a boy and his mother,” played by the great Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under). “That is another thing that you’re going to see — that he was capable of love at some point. But, at the end of the day, I think it’s all about how he was made that way, how he didn’t start being that kind of person.”
You might even say all it takes is a little push for someone to go from this…