By this point, there are several actors on the list of on-screen portrayals of The Joker. From Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger and Jared Leto. And we can’t forget our small-screen clown princes, Cesar Romero, Mark Hamill, and Cameron Monaghan. Now, there is Joaquin Phoenix. With a plethora to chose from, everybody has their favorite. Though, once the villain’s first solo movie hits theaters next month, Phoenix might be everybody’s favorite. But with as deep as the character’s profile gets, many are concerned about its effects in the real world. When asked about these effects in a recent interview, Phoenix stormed out.
The actor has been known as a hot-head interviewee in the past. Although some reporters can really cross that line. In this interview with The Telegraph, Phoenix was posed with:
“(Will Joker) might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results?”
“Why would you . . . ? No . . . no,”
He then walked out.
He eventually returned to the interview after the Warner Bros PR department ironed things out. But it begs the question: Who do you think was out of line in this situation?
It’s easy to see where these conclusions were drawn. The Joker was conjured up by the Batman creative team of Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. He appeared in the first issue of the caped crusader’s ongoing series in 1940. Back then, super-villains were not expected to have a sympathetic origin. Readers just knew that they were evil. It wasn’t until Stan Lee came around that comic book characters started to develop multiple dimensions.
Nowadays, it’s commonplace for a villain to have their own comic book title. Though, a feature motion picture is still foreign to moviegoers. And when a villain is the centerpiece of a story, the writer is obligated to attract some sympathy for the character. Therefore, people are afraid that, with the sympathy viewers might draw to this Arthur Fleck, some might think it’s okay to commit the heinous crimes that he will in the movie.
Director, Todd Phillips, said that Fleck has a mental illness where he laughs at spontaneous times. The treatment he received from the public is what supposedly drives him to his negative thoughts and actions. The film is said to focus more on a person with mental illnesses than a criminal. Joaquin’s performance of said character has already garnered some awards. The film won the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Film Festival. And there are rumblings that he might receive an Oscar. Note that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his portrayal in The Dark Knight.
Joker will laugh its way into theaters on October 3rd. But with how serious this movie looks, I wonder how many will be laughing by the end. For more on DC’s slate of upcoming movies, stay tuned to Screen Geek.