Why Joaquin Phoenix Joined Todd Phillips' Joker Movie

Joker in the comics

Phoenix in Her

Superhero movies and TV shows are everywhere. The comic book genre continues to enthrall audiences, leading to a new blockbuster every few months. On the DC side of things, there are few characters quite as beloved as Batman and his nemesis The Joker. There have been a handful of live-action Joker adaptations over the years, with Jared Leto recently taking on the role on David Ayer's less than stellar Suicide Squad. But DC has plans for the Clown Prince of Crime, one of them being Todd Phillips' Joker movie, which would function outside the greater DCEU. Phillips managed to book Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, and the actor himself recently revealed why he's signed on for such an iconic character.

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 fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.

While Joaquin Phoenix seems ready to team up alongside Todd Phillips for the Joker movie, he also understands the immense pressure tied to his eventual performance. Fans have a lot of expectations for the character, especially as he's compared to Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance and Jared Leto's recent tattooed version.

But in his conversation with Collider, Joaquin Phoenix has also expressed his excitement for something new. The actor has taken plenty of risky projects, as well an absence from the public eye. So why not add The Joker to the mix?

Joker in the comics

The pressure surrounding Todd Phillips' Joker movie also lies in the concept itself: an origin story. Part of what makes The Joker so terrifying is that he usually doesn't have a long backstory that audiences are privy to. He's just one guy who snapped, and is intent on bringing anarchy down on Gotham City. While Joaquin Phoenix certainly has the acting chops to pull off Mr. J, delving into the psyche of the white faced monster might make him far less scary. With an origin story, he's just like any other tragic protagonist.

It's currently unclear when Todd Phillips' Joker movie will hit theaters. The next DC movie to expect is James Wan's Aquaman on December 21st. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.