A homicidal psychopath with a menacing smile, the Joker is the most notorious — and scariest! — supervillain of all time.
But when Joaquin Phoenix was approached to play the epic antagonist in the upcoming origin story, Joker, his initial instinct was to say no. “I was terrified,” admits the 44-year-old actor. “I thought. There’s no way I’m going to do this.” But after meeting with the film’s director, Todd Phillips, he had a change of heart.
“[Todd] showed me these videos of these laughing fits — the laughter was almost painful! I thought it was such an interesting way of looking at this character,” explains Joaquin, who realized that “there was an opportunity to explore” the Clown Prince of Crime in a way that hadn’t been done before. “I felt I had a lot of freedom to find my version of the Joker... it was great.”
Here, the acclaimed actor chats more about the highly anticipated film.
Your performance is incredible!
I tried to approach it from the inside as a man, and not as this iconic supervillain that everybody knows. I look at him as somebody who’s experienced a lot of trauma, and [is living in] a world that doesn’t really know how to deal with it.
The Joker is famous for his laugh. Was it difficult to master?
It was more difficult than I thought. The second time I met Todd, I w