Why Joaquin Phoenix Doesn't Feel Any Pressure About Playing The Joker

Joaquin Phoenix throwing up a peace sign in Inherent Vice

Of all the comic book villains who have appeared on the big screen, arguably none has a more storied cinematic history than the Joker. Batman's greatest foe has been portrayed by a venerable list of actors who all put their stamp on the character in memorable performances. Joaquin Phoenix is set to be the next to join their ranks when he takes on the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips' Joker. Given the history and importance of the character, coupled with Joaquin Phoenix's acting abilities, expectations are sky high for this stand-alone film. Despite that, Joaquin Phoenix remains as cool as the other side of the pillow and doesn't feel any pressure about the role, as he explained:

I could care less. I don't really think that much about what people think. Who cares, who cares? My approach to every movie is the same. What I'm interested in is the filmmaker and the idea of the character.

As if his I'm Still Here antics didn't make it clear, Joaquin Phoenix really doesn't care about what people think or their expectations for him in a role or any of those sort of macro considerations that really have nothing to do with his performance. His only concern is the art, and quite frankly that sounds like the right approach. In the modern age with social media we've seen how actors can face backlash and criticism for their films, and it's probably better to just ignore all the noise entirely and just worry about what you can control. Also by keeping the same process and approaching this movie as if it were any other, hopefully that means we will get the kind of brilliant performance the actor is known for.

For Joaquin Phoenix, taking this role wasn't about topping someone else's performance or doing it because of the pressure; he was just interested in the story Todd Phillips is trying to tell and the character of the Joker. This role is notable though for the three-time Academy Award nominee in that he generally does smaller films, and is certainly not known for doing blockbuster type fare. The size of the film doesn't bother him though, nor is it what drew him to the role, as he also explained to IndieWire:

If there's something that feels unique, then I don't really care what genre it is, what budget it is. Those things aren't important. What gets my interest is examining people. Some of it is really fucking simple. It's chemistry, it's like what you look for in a lover. You know it when it happens.

Joaquin Phoenix wasn't looking to check off the superhero or blockbuster box on his career to-do list when signing on to this film. It sounds like he felt some connection with the material, and what it was going to explore as far as character. This immediate chemistry between actor and script should be really exciting for fans eager to see what he can do in this role. The actor has previously spoke about how this film scared him, but it's clear that it isn't because of the pressure involved, but because of the content itself and the challenge it will provide. These comments definitely make it seem like this is going to be a really deep character study for Joaquin Phoenix to sink his teeth into.

Joker arrives in theaters on October 4, 2019. For movies to hold you over the rest of this year, check out our release calendar.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.